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HP touts blade PC

Computing in the cage

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It's a few weeks late, but HP's Blade PC has arrived, bringing with it the same thin-client computing fluff that has existed for what feels like ages.

Last year, HP promised to roll out the Blade PC bc1000 in March, saying the product would provide serious PC management cost-savings to customers. The Blade PC concept basically moves the desktop into the server room. Instead of having a physical machine by their desks, users connect into a blade server, running on Transmeta's Efficeon 8000 processor.

The blade PC concept is a slight modification of traditional thin-client computing. Companies such as Sun Microsystems have long sold a thin-client system that gives a user local access, via a smallish PC-like device, to a session running on a server. With blade PCs, there really is no on-desk hardware, other than a small connection port, and each user can have information stored on their own server.

ClearCube is one of the better-known start-ups to have been pushing blade PCs for a while. It has a nice diagram of the set-up here.

Advocates of the blade PC say companies should be able to save both time and money with the technology. Administrators can, for example, apply patches, updates and security fixes from a central point and never need to make "desk-side" support visits. In addition, users don't have to deal with the unpleasant whir of a loud desktop.

HP's bc1000 product starts at $820 and is available in North America only at this time. HP plans to sell the product overseas in due course. ®

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