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HP upgrades its PC blade desktop alternative

Citrix XenDesktop virtualization tool bundled with new HP blade family

February 12, 2009 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Hewlett-Packard Co. this week unveiled its fourth generation of blade-based PCs, as the company continues to hope the systems can boost their position on corporate desktops.

The upgraded blades are bundled with a license for Citrix Systems XenDesktop virtualization software. Pricing for the optional Citrix license was not disclosed.

HP unveiled its first PC blades in 2003, and last unveiled new systems about a year ago.

The new systems will ship in two blade configurations: the bc2200 with a single-core AMD Athlon processor, and the higher performing bc2800 with a dual-core AMD Turion processor. The new systems also include an expanded 80GB disk drive.

PC blade experts noted that the systems can be managed centrally, which has a strong appeal to IT managers in the health care industry and in government. Blade PCs are also targeted at call centers. However, despite HP's efforts to replace half of corporate desktop systems with blade PCs, the market for the newer technology remains relatively small.

Mark Bowker, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass., said that to date, most of the users adopting PC blades are trying to solve a niche problem. Over the longer term, he added, compliance issues will increasingly drive the adoption of blade PCs and virtual systems. The ability to centralize control of such systems "within the four walls of a data center is absolutely something people are going to look at going forward."

Read more about PCs in Computerworld's PCs Topic Center.

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