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HP Looks Toward Blades To Cut Costs of PC Ownership

Hewlett-Packard is upping the ante in the utility computing space with moves to virtualize the desktop PC with server blades and expand its pay-per-use offerings.
The moves are all part of the company's Adaptive Enterprise strategy, said Nick van der Zweep, HP's director of utility computing and virtualization.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company's new Consolidated Client Infrastructure is aimed at replacing the typical desktop PC with a blade architecture to reduce the total PC cost of ownership by about half, said van der Zweep.

Under the plan, HP is tweaking its BL10e server blades with software to enable them to be used as desktop PCs, van der Zweep said. They are connected to a thin-client-type device on the users' desktops to which a keyboard, mouse and monitor are connected. When a user logs on, his or her desktop environment is automatically downloaded onto an unused blade. When finished, the blade is freed for other others, he said.

Customers will be charged $1,500 per user, or as low as $1,000 per user in large installations, to have their desktops replaced with the blades, said van der Zweep. The customer needs to implement only as many blades as it has concurrent users, and not one desktop per user, and can manage them centrally. "Typical customers now spend $4,000 to $8,000 to manage a PC over four years, including acquisition, management and software," he said. "With a blade PC, this can be cut in half."

The new PC blades are available now in limited quantities for use in pilot programs and are scheduled for general availability in March, van der Zweep said.

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