Sharpening blades to survive tough times

CIOL Bureau
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HP Blade PC bc 2800: HP and other PC vendors are now betting big on blade solutions as it offer not just energy efficiency but better manageability, scalability and securityHONG KONG: Global PC giant HP has announced a series of measures, both in terms of tech features as well as pricing, to attract corporate users that want much more than their traditional PC can offer.


As CIOs and IT managers of growing organizations struggle with reduced IT budgets on and hand, and the need for better infrastructure control, scalability, security, and increasing energy requirements on the other, blade technology is emerging to be a formidable option for future. No wonder then that blade solutions is becoming more and more prominent on the menu card of other vendors like Lenovo, Dell, and Sun, all of whom have gone on partnership spree with other technology companies.

The latest move from HP, to build up its portfolio of remote client solutions, is the tie-up with Citrix. This agreement will give business customers solutions that integrate affordability with high-performance blade PCs better manageability, scalability and security.

"Based on HPs blade PCs bc2800 and bc2200 and Citrix's XenDesktop software, we now offer a cost-efficient client virtualization solution for companies that want to upgrade and better manage their IT infrastructure in this challenging economic environment," says Dennis Mark, VP and GM, Personal Systems Group, HP.


The sharp blade

Energy is a big issue, specially in the growing economies the world over, and blade technology is touted as the best solution for that.

"At 25 watts per blade, our solution offers the highest rack density and lowest power usage of any blade client solution in the market today. With capacity for 280 blades per rack and using only 7.4 kilowatts, users can maximize available rack space and implement larger deployments without having to build additional and costly power and cooling systems,” informed Tom Flynn, chief technologist at the Desktop Solutions Organization, HP.


“Combined with energy-efficient thin clients, the new blade PCs create a complete client virtualization solution that uses significantly less energy than a traditional desktop PC," he added.

Users like Bas Berendsen, IT Manager at Optiver, an Amsterdam-based securities trading firm, agree. "For our main office, which is a heritage building, power capacity is a limitation. There blade is a big help as it allows us to offload to remote sites, and power is no longer an issue."

What is now clearly emerging is that blades are not just about energy efficiency, as it is often perceived to be.


"We needed a solution that was innovative, high performance, flexible and reliable. The blade solution has revolutionized the use of IT in teaching, and significantly reduced opex," claims Luke Angel, principal technology officer at the University of Queensland.

Technologists agree that it offers simplified and highly secure management for confidential and business-critical data applications, and help users meet regulatory standards. And for simpler IT management, it offers advanced administrator tools, including remote access, control of hardware and software configuration and quick setup, as well as user allocation tools.

Blades give users a streamlined client architecture for enhanced, high-definition user graphics and multimedia experience from any device on any network. The combination of blade PC and desktop management solution enable organizations to leverage the power of the data center, and endpoint devices to significantly reduce desktop total cost of ownership.


For instance the HP blade PCs bc2800 (AMD Turion X2 TL-66 dual-core processor, 767 MHz memory speed and integrated ATI graphics), and bc2200 (single-core AMD Athlon 64 processor, 520 MHz memory speed and integrated ATI graphics) offer all of the above.

Expected to be available in March, both will come pre-installed with Windows Vista Business edition and support a range of operating systems, including XP Professional SP 3 and Linux. There is also a $850 offer that is an HP bc2200 bundled with a thin client HP t5630 solution. Surely, similar offerings are coming in from other PC vendors too.

The push to replace traditional PCs with blade PCs has just started. "In the current slowdown it is clear that organizations will be forced to do more with less" is what Jeff Groudan, VP of marketing, Desktop Solutions Group, HP says about the future of IT in business, and nobody can deny that.

What remains to be seen is that which vendor is able to build a strong eco-system of systems integrators and VAS players, who will actually help businesses to truly leverage blades.