ClearCube Eases PC Blade Management

Sentral 5.0 brings enhancements to virtualized environments.

ClearCube Technology wants to make it easier for enterprises to manage their server-based computing environments.

The Austin, Texas, company this summer is rolling out Sentral 5.0, which wraps under one umbrella several of ClearCubes management software modules and makes them a better fit for larger businesses and virtualized desktops, according to officials.

"Its now one component and scalable to thousands of nodes," said Trent Fitz, software product manager for ClearCube.

Sentral 5.0 is in beta now and will be generally available in the third quarter, he said.

ClearCubes technology enables businesses to house the key PC components—from hard drives to memory to processors—on centrally located blade computers. Workers at their desk have a keyboard, mouse and monitor, which are connected to the back-end systems via ClearCube user ports. Like traditional thin clients, the setup is designed to make the PC environment more secure and easier to manage.

Since ClearCube first began selling its PC blades in 2000, the company has seen the use of the technology grow as initial adopters began to increase their use, Fitz said. Initial test environments have given way to wider adoption, he said. All this has created a demand for greater management of these environments.

Sentral 5.0 brings in upgraded versions of the Sentral Console, as well as the Switching and Dynamic Allocations modules. It also brings the enhanced capabilities to virtualized environments and supports other vendors blade systems.

The console is a dashboard interface that enables administrators to view and monitor the performance of their blades and chassis, and remotely take control of the blades and user sessions. The console also is customizable to the needs of the users, who can view devices by type, geographical location or business unit.

/zimages/5/28571.gifHP unveils a cool fan design for its blade servers that is based on a model airplane system. Click here to read more.

In addition, there are custom alerts, which send notifications to either the console itself or a third-party application, Fitz said.

Sentral 5.0 also incorporates enhanced versions of ClearCubes Switching Module and Dynamic Allocation Module. The Switching Module can be used to switch users between blades or to enable administrators to take control of particular blades. Carsten Puls, vice president of product marketing, said that as the number of PC blades and chassis has grown, the challenge has been to give administrators more capabilities to quickly find the hardware devices theyre looking for.

"This still has the GUI, but it also offers search and more database capabilities so you can find one blade out of thousands," Puls said.

Through the Dynamic Allocation Module, users can now log into the infrastructure from any location and get back to their existing sessions, all without having to log in or restart applications, Fitz said. Remote users also can get connected via a Web browser.

New capabilities also extend to virtualized environments, Fitz said. ClearCube is working with OEMs—including IBM in its Virtualized Hosted Client Infrastructure—to create virtualized desktop environments hosted on blades.

Sentral 5.0 will manage virtual machines, such as allocating users to virtual machines. "It intelligently distributes and allocates users to the best machine," based on availability and utilization, Fitz said.

ClearCube also has enhanced the security of the software, allowing for greater granularity in determining who can do what within the infrastructure, he said.

/zimages/5/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.