The PC blade specialist is rolling out new hardware and offering an update to its Sentral virtual desktop management software.
ClearCube, a company that specializes in PC blades and management
software, is rolling out new hardware Jan. 22 and updating its virtual
desktop management software suite.
In addition, ClearCube announced that it would begin selling its
Sentral management software independent of the company's hardware for
the first time, according to CEO Rick Hoffman. The new hardware and
software management suite update are immediately available from the
Traditionally considered niche products, PC blades and their
thin-client PC cousins are getting a serious look by some IT
departments that want to adopt a more centralized way to manage a fleet
of desktops and client images.
To help strengthen its own position in the market, ClearCube has cut
deals with VMware, the leading x86 virtualization vendor, to help
solidify the virtualization capabilities of its PC blades and
management software. ClearCube also has OEM deals with Microsoft and it
also works with other vendors of Xen-based virtualization technology.
Another part of the problem with the adoption to this type of
approach to client management is that PC blades and thin client have
not been able to deliver the type of graphics, video and audio
capabilities of traditional desktops.
"The one unique thing that we have done is to focus on the users,"
Hoffman told eWEEK. "It's a little unusual for users to think about
going back into the data center for the applications that they need for
their desktops. One of the issues that Citrix had when it tried a
centralized architecture, the users kind of felt degraded when it came
to performance and support for peripheral devices. We have always tried
to focus on making sure the user has a good experience."
ClearCube is looking to address some of those graphic and video
issues with its new R1350 PC blade, which supports Intel's Core 2 Duo
processors-the E6300 or E6600 models-and a also a pair of new port
devices called the I19420 I/Port and the C7420 Fibre C/Port, which both
support dual-monitor displays and better graphics and video
In June, ClearCube announced that it has struck an agreement with
Teradici, a Canadian startup company that uses ASIC microprocessor
technology and has developed what it calls "PC over IP," which
compresses rendered display data and USB signals into a digital formant
and then sends a signal from a company's computer network through an IP
network to the desktop.
This technology is being used in both of ClearCube's new port
devices. In addition, the Teradici technology also allows for a more
secure IP connection with the C7420 port, which ClearCube primarily
sells to the government agencies. For added security, the new PC blade
support Trusted Platform Management 1.2 technology for additional
Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group, said that
ClearCube's use of Teradici's technology have begun to overcome some of
the performance obstacles in setting up a centralized model that is
controlled through a network, as opposed to one that is wired.
"The big plus for ClearCube is that it enhances the video component
and there's also a security component, which fixes two of the larger
historical problems that faced a network solution," Enderle said.
Besides the hardware and port devices, ClearCube is also offering
the 5.6 version of its Sentral management software, which includes new
features that support a larger array of connection brokers,
virtualization, better load balancing across PC blades, as well as new
features with the management console.
What appears more important than any additional features within the
Sentral suite is that ClearCube will begin selling its software
directly to customers. With this announcement, ClearCube clearly wants
to move beyond mere hardware to offer customers the type of software
needed to maintain a centralized client infrastructure.
"ClearCube has always been thought of as a PC blade company and we
want to get the word out there not only about our hardware solutions,
but that we also have solutions for the VDI space and we have strong
software to support it," said Hoffman.
ClearCube's move from a traditional hardware company into more of a
software provider is risk for the company, but one that could benefits
customers looking to create a virtualized environment in the data
center with standard hardware equipment, said Enderle. The fact that
ClearCube has OEM relationships with both VMware and Microsoft also
gives it an advantage
"There are some real benefits the company offers in terms of
real-time provisioning and helping with fail-over problems that will
help with backup and allow for better recovery of images," Enderle
said. "When you apply what ClearCube has to conventional hardware, you
can get some of the same uptime experience you normally have with