Hewlett-Packard Co. officially entered the PC blade space Monday as it rolled out the Blade PC bc1000.
The system is part of HPs Consolidated Client Infrastructure initiative, which offers a virtualized PC environment including other products such as thin clients and network storage offerings.
With the Blade PC bc1000, Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP enters a space that for the most part had been the realm of PC blade pioneer ClearCube Technology Inc. For its part, ClearCube next month will unveil new software that in the event of a failure will dynamically switch users from one PC blade to another.
In a blade setup, the users desk holds a display, keyboard and mouse, which are linked to a PC blade hosted in a rack in the data center. The goal is to increase the security and manageability of an enterprises desktop environment—such management issues as hot fixes and security patches can be taken care of in the data center rather than at each client desk—while reducing the downtime and costs.
HP officials recommended that users interested in the Blade PC bc1000 use an HP thin client as the access device, which is linked to the PC blade via Ethernet connectivity.
The bc1000 is powered by Transmeta Corp.s 1GHz Efficeon TM8000 processor and offers a 40GB hard drive and up to 1,024MB of memory. Starting price is $820.
For its part, ClearCube, of Austin, Texas, is looking to expand the capabilities of its systems. The company offers two connectivity options—the C/Port, which offers one-way analog connectivity between a users desk and a single PC blade—and the I/Port, which enables multiple users on a single blade. In May, new software for the I/Port will enable dynamic allocation of users from one blade to another, said Ken Knotts, senior technologist for the company.
“If there are problems with a PC blade, users will be automatically shifted to a new blade,” Knotts said.
ClearCube began offering the Ethernet I/Port connections last year as a way of extending the reach of the blades—which use Intel Corp. processors, from a single Celeron or Pentium 4 up to dual Xeon chips—while cutting the per-user cost.
In February, ClearCube announced that IBM had agreed to sell ClearCube PC blades in Japan. Knotts said the company expects to expand that relationship to cover other geographic areas.