IBM Developing Blades for Server-Based Computing

IBM wants to take client computing back to the data center.

Along with Devon IT, IBM is developing a new BladeCenter system that will allow IT administrators to control and manage a fleet of thin client PCs from a back-end data center—a concept that several other vendors have begun proposing as a more secure alternative to traditional desktops.

Big Blue and Devon IT will demonstrate this new system, which the two companies are calling a “Workstation Blade,” at the 2007 IBM PartnerWorld Conference in St. Louis May 1.

This offering will consist of a co-developed BladeCenter server, the HC-10, along with new thin clients and broker software developed by Devon IT, which is based in King of Prussia, Pa. The two companies also have plans to market and sell the new system together as well as through their channel partners.

“There is an extremely strong emerging interest with end users and our customers to move the operating systems and applications normally found on desktops back into the data center,” said Tom Bradicich, chief technology officer for IBM’s System x and BladeCenter. “The technology has really matured and it’s now possible to have the full PC experience through a thin client in an uncompromised and secure environment.”

Click here to read more about IBM and its mainframe servers.

While offering thin clients that are controlled by back-end servers as a more secure and cost-effective solution to traditional desktops is not a new concept, the number of vendors pushing these new systems as a viable alternative has increased.

In April, NEC, also know for its servers and PCs, began to sell a complete system of thin clients, software and servers for enterprise customers. ClearCube, a longtime developer of server-based computing technology, recently offered an update of its management software suite that included new virtualization capabilities.

By using thin clients, which offer a monitor, keyboard and mouse but no moving parts, OEMs can also present these various systems as a way to cut down on electrical costs.

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