ClearCube Virtual Desktop Offerings Expand

The ClearCube Virtual Desktop Infrastructure suite is expanding to include a new blade chassis, additional thin-client PCs, support for Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor and an update to its Sentral management software. In building out its virtualization offerings, ClearCube is competing against the likes of HP and IBM when it comes to PC blades.

PC blade vendor ClearCube is expanding its desktop virtualization infrastructure offerings to include a new blade, chassis and thin-client PCs, along with support for Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor.

ClearCube, which has been moving away from its origins as a traditional hardware vendor to expand into more into software development, is looking to enter the desktop virtualization space by combining its PC blades and other hardware with desktop virtualization suites from a variety of other vendors.

ClearCube calls this combination of hardware and software its Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Solutions suite. The company announced the offering Aug. 6.

While ClearCube competes against Hewlett-Packard and IBM when its comes to PC blades, the company has looked to expand into the virtual desktop space by developing relationships with VMware, Citrix and now Microsoft to offer a number of different virtualization platforms to build this type of infrastructure.

Many businesses already are using virtualization technology to perform a number of tasks within the data center, from physical server consolidation to offering a way to develop disaster recovery plans and offer high availability. Some analysts say desktop virtualization is the next area for expansion with VMware offering its Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Citrix with its XenDesktop product.

The benefits of a virtual desktop infrastructure range from better security by storing data and applications in the data center as opposed to individual desktops to reducing the number of desk-side visits by the IT department. The drawbacks are that this technology remains fairly new and untested, there are additional costs, and since PC prices keep falling, many companies find it easier to simply replace older desktops with new ones.

In the case of ClearCube, the company is looking to offer customers a chance to virtualize a PC blade to allow for more than one user to utilize that one physical piece of hardware instead of the one-to-one scenario common with more traditional PC blade infrastructures.

Included in the updated ClearCube suite is a new blade chassis called the V7000, which is a 7U (12.25-inch) structure that can hold up to 10 of the company's V7100S PC blades, which are also new and use dual-core Intel Xeon processors, have 64GB of RAM and can support up to six SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) or SATA (serial ATA) hard disk drives with up to 1.5TB of storage.

ClearCube also is offering a pair of new thin-client PCs-the I8440 and the I8442-that work with its PC blades and Sentral management software. Some of the new features include dual-monitor support with the I8442 client. Both thin clients support Windows XP embedded and Linux.

In addition, ClearCube is updating the 6.0 version of its Sentral management software to support Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor. The new version of the software also offers a physical layer of support for IPMI (Intelligent Platform Management Interface) and new management features for the V7000 chassis and V7100S blade.

The ClearCube Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Solutions suite will sell for about $1,000 per seat, according to the company.