HP clears desktop space with blade PCs

Hewlett-Packard's bc1000 blade PCs are now available in North America for customers looking to manage their employees' desktop...

Hewlett-Packard's bc1000 blade PCs are now available in North America for customers looking to manage their employees' desktop PCs from a central location.

Blade PCs are thin computers which are stored in a rack in a company's server room. Users connect to individual blades through a small device that sits on their desks. HP has its own access device called the HP Compaq Thin Client for this purpose.

The idea behind blade PCs is that centrally managed PCs are easier to secure, repair and update. They also save maintenance costs for organisations with limited space and resources.

Most customers deploy about eight or nine blade PCs for every 10 users, said Tad Bodeman, director of product marketing in HP's Personal Systems Group.

Some organisations need to ensure that each employee has a blade available at any given moment, but most companies interested in blade PCs do not have every employee online at the same time, he said.

Each user connects to a single blade PC with a processor and storage for the blade's operating system and applications. Personal storage for documents or files is done directly on a San or Nas device.

Network managers can connect the individual Compaq Thin Client devices through standard Ethernet wiring or over a wireless connection to their Lan, Bodeman said. Remote users can purchase thin clients with integrated modems that can dial into the Lan and connect to a blade PC through a VPN connection.

Each bc1000 blade PC comes with a 1GHz Efficeon processor from Transmeta, a 40Gbyte hard drive, and up to 1Gbyte of DDR (double data rate) Sdram (synchronous dynamic Ram).

The blades start at $820 each, and customers can buy a package with the thin client device, storage, installation and training for about $1,400 per seat.

HP's Blade PC bc1000 is part of its Consolidated Client Infrastructure, a larger strategy for consolidating PCs with virtualisation software and storage devices.

Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service

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