ClearCube announces thin clients

ClearCube Technology on Tuesday announced centralized software and hardware to help thin clients behave more like PCs and to help administrators deploy and manage virtual environments.

The company announced the R1350 PC Blade, which stores data and resources accessible to remote thin clients. The blade establishes a secure connection with a thin client and delivers data, graphics and complete PC functionality, the vendor claims, including support for USB (Universal Serial Bus) drives attached to the thin client.

Implementing Teradici's PC-over-IP (Internet Protocol) technology, the new PC blade can deliver 32-bit graphics, which overcomes network latency to provide real-time graphics to thin clients, said Rick Hoffman, CEO of ClearCube. Teradici's technology compresses the graphics output on the PC blade and sends it over a network, with a Teradici chip on the thin client that decompresses the graphics.

The R1350 blade runs Intel's Core 2 Duo processors and supports PCI Express graphics cards. It supports Trusted Platform Management 1.2 (TPM), a hardware-based authentication technology for system security.

The company also announced two thin clients, the I9420 I/Port and C7420 C/Port, which use Teradici technology to deliver better graphics, ClearCube said.

The I9420, which supports two monitors, connects to the PC blades using a copper-based Ethernet connection. The C7420 C/Port, which also supports two monitors, accommodates fiber-optic Ethernet connections. The new hardware allows USB devices including printers, USB drives and webcams to link to the thin clients, Hoffman said.

Designed for financial and public-sector organizations, the new products combine security, connectivity, better graphics and longer distances of connectivity, Hoffman said. In case of a disaster, a broker in a financial organization can shift work to a thin client at home that connects to a PC blade. The data sits on the blade, keeping it secure, Hoffman said.

ClearCube also announced Sentral v5.6, an update to its virtual environment management software that allows the deployment and management of physical and virtualized desktops. The software supports the new thin clients, enables better graphics and allows a server to establish connections over longer distances, Hoffman said.

Sentral 5.6 works with virtualization products from vendors including VMware and Xen.

ClearCube, which started off as a hardware company, is shifting its focus to software, said Roger Kay, president of industry analysis firm Endpoint Technologies Associates. The company has regrouped itself around its proprietary software stack, Kay said.

"If you look at virtualization as a piece of computing to apply to IT infrastructure -- virtual storage, virtual networking and virtual displays -- their [software] covers different pieces," Kay said. "ClearCube is morphing from a solutions company to a software company. They are willing to unbundle their software and sell it."

ClearCube competes with multiple vendors, including Hewlett-Packard, in the thin-client space. Hewlett-Packard announced some thin clients of its own this week.

The company will continue to focus on selling both hardware and software, Hoffman said. ClearCube is selling unbundled software to allow users to take advantage of ClearCube's knowledge in the thin-client area, Hoffman said.

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