Lenovo To Sell ClearCube's Desktop PC Blade

Lenovo, the PC giant formed through the acquisition of IBM's PC Division by China-based Lenovo, has picked up ClearCube-branded PC blades and management software as an option for midrange and enterprise customers, said Raj Shah, chief marketing officer at Austin, Texas-based ClearCube.

Up to eight ClearCube desktop PC blades fit into a 3U rack-mount enclosure and connect to a node on the user's desktop. The node connects to the user's monitor, mouse, keyboard, audio and USB devices.

The ClearCube blades allow customers with a large number of computers to improve their system uptime, as IT administrators can move a user's application to a new blade with only a couple seconds of disruption, Shah said. The blades have found traction with customers in the financial-services, health-care and government segments.

Joe Vaught, executive vice president and COO at PCPC, a Houston-based IBM and Lenovo solution provider, said server blades have become a big part of his company's business, and he looks forward to seeing ClearCube's desktop blades.

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Vaught said that ClearCube's new desktop PC blades might fit well with IBM's recently announced Express Desktop Management Services, which are aimed at providing a full range of services to manage and monitor desktops. "Express Desktop makes the desktop blades look better than they seem," he said.

Another solution provider, who used to work with ClearCube, said some partners may find the PC blades a harder sell than might be expected.

"The concept was great: centralized management of desktop PCs," said the solution provider, who requested anonymity. "But the cost is high. It's a hard sell when, like in our area, Dell is in the backyard. Managers look at the acquisition and management costs and say, 'Eh?' "

The average price of a ClearCube desktop PC blade with the user port is $1,200, not including the rack enclosure.

About three-quarters of ClearCube's sales are through the channel, Shah said. He expects some of ClearCube's solution provider partners to opt to buy the systems through their Lenovo relationships.