Blade Vendor ClearCube Embraces Channel

Currently, about 60 percent of the company's sales go through the company's 100 channel partners worldwide, 80 of whom are in North America. But ClearCube plans to double that this year through a targeted recruitment effort, says Bruce Flory, vice president of channels for ClearCube.

ClearCube plans to double its number of partners, says channels VP Bruce Flory.

The ClearCube Global Solutions Partner Program is targeting PC resellers, IT services providers and system integrators who want to incorporate PC platform capabilities into turnkey solutions.

ClearCube will provide partners with training, marketing support and a partner portal with customer and product information and access to technical support. It's also redirecting its field organization to focus on helping channel partners sell and find new opportunities. And going forward, it will look to extend more services opportunities to partners.

"In the past, we've done all of the professional services and after-sale support for end-user customers," Flory says. "We want to move that more into the partner domain."

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While PC blades are gaining in adoption, they still comprise a small fraction of the total PC market. Two million PC blades are expected to ship in 2010, less than 2 percent of the projected desktop market for 2010, according to market research firm Endpoint Technologies Associates.

The technology has gained the most attraction in environments with heightened security restrictions and physical environments not well-suited for traditional PCs, such as trading floors, hospital operating and patient rooms.

One of ClearCube's partners, which sells manufacturing shop floor solutions into the automobile industry, uses the PC blades in lieu of traditional PCs, which require expensive enclosures to protect against extremely high temperatures.

"An automobile assembly factory in Michigan in July on a 100-degree day can be 120 degrees, and because the facility might be a couple hundred thousand square feet or more, it may be two to three weeks before the temperatures inside the plant change," says Joseph Staub, with Pyramid Solutions.

And the PC enclosures are expensive; for just 10 workstations alone the company could pay $20,000 on enclosures, and typical installations range anywhere from five to more than 20 workstations. Moving to a the PC blades helped the company shave costs, Staub adds.