HP, Citrix to Bring Virtualization to PC Blades

Hewlett-Packard and Citrix Systems are looking to combine virtualization and PC blades to allow a more centralized desktop infrastructure. Citrix's XenDesktop 3 virtualization software will be integrated with new HP BladeSystem PC blades that are based on AMD processors. HP also offers different hardware bundles with VMware's virtualization software.

Hewlett-Packard and Citrix Systems are looking to offer their customers easier ways to build out centralized computing infrastructures using desktop virtualization technology.

On Feb. 11, HP announced that it plans to integrate Citrix's recently released XenDesktop 3 product with a pair of its own BladeSystem PC blades that are scheduled to hit the market in March. The two new HP PC blades-the BladeSystem bc2800 and bc2200-are based on Advanced Micro Devices processors.

For years, HP has touted its blade architecture as a more efficient way to pack more compute power into data centers that are at maximum capacity when it comes to space, power, heating and cooling. By using virtualization, HP and Citrix aim to allow IT departments to run even more desktop images from a single PC blade.

As one of the world's top makers of server systems and blades, HP has agreements with other virtualization vendors that bundle and integrate their hypervisors into the hardware itself. HP has had a long-standing relationship with VMware-still considered the world's leader when it comes to x86-based virtualization-as well as with smaller vendors, such as Virtual Iron Software.

The HP BladeSystem bc2200 PC blade is based on a single-core AMD Athlon 64 processor, while the BladeSystem bc2800 uses a dual-core AMD Turion X2 TL-66 processor. Both blades use ATI graphics and they each offer 8GB of main system memory along with an 80GB hard disk drive and pair of Broadcom 10/100 Ethernet adaptors.

The two new PC blades both fit within HP's BladeSystem enclosure.

Meanwhile, Citrix has been making an aggressive push to show that its Xen-based virtualization products can compete with VMware. On Feb. 4, Citrix released Version 3 of XenDesktop, which improves the number of virtual machines a piece of hardware can support. XenDesktop 3 also offers better graphics capabilities through the use of HD-X technologies.

Citrix is also offering its Delivery Center Suite, which includes Citrix XenDesktop, XenServer and App Receiver, as way to create a virtual desktop infrastructure. The suite can deliver virtual desktop images from a centralized data center to the individual PC.