Lenovo Group will offer ClearCube's PC blade systems to its customers, partners, and distributors in the U.S., executives from both companies are expected to announce Monday.
ClearCube sells PC blades, a new take on the old idea of centralized client computing resources. In the past, IT managers looking for easier ways to maintain their PCs have used a thin-client arrangement in which individual users share processing resources on a centralized server, but users have complained about performance problems.
In ClearCube's system, each user has a dedicated PC processor, hard drive, and memory subsystem. Those hardware resources are stored in a central server room as a rack of thin PCs, similar to how blade servers are stored. A small box sits on the user's desktop that connects peripherals such as a monitor and keyboard to the PC blade back in the server room.
Lenovo's customers in the banking and financial services sectors are increasingly interested in this type of setup, which allows IT departments to spend less time visiting individual workstations to upload new software or fix small hardware problems, says Bob Galush, vice president of product marketing with Lenovo. Each PC blade can also accommodate an additional user in the event of a hardware failure, which helps users in demanding environments, such as securities trading desks, stay online and working, he says.
Lenovo will also sell ClearCube's management software along with the blades, Galush says.
ClearCube has a similar relationship with the services arm of IBM, which sold its PC business to Lenovo last year. ClearCube is hoping that the relationships Lenovo and IBM have developed with large corporate customers will help it gain acceptance among IT managers at large businesses, says Raj Shah, chief marketing officer at ClearCube.
The companies are confining their relationship to the U.S. at this time, executives say. They declined to comment on plans for international expansion, but Shah notes that right now ClearCube earns the majority of its revenue from the U.S. and Canada.
Hewlett-Packard has released its own blade PC systems, but PC market share leader Dell has yet to enter this market.