HP upgrades its PC blade desktop alternative

Hewlett-Packard this week unveiled its fourth generation of blade-based PCs, as the company continues to hope the systems can boost their position on corporate desktops.

The upgraded blades are bundled with a license for Citrix Systems XenDesktop virtualisation software. Pricing for the optional Citrix license was not disclosed.

HP unveiled its first PC blades in 2003, and last unveiled new systems about a year ago.

The new systems will ship in two blade configurations -- the bc2200 with a single core Advance Micro Devices Athlon processor, and the higher performing bc2800 with a dual core AMD Turion processor. The new systems also included an expanded 80GB disk drive.

PC blade experts note that the systems can be managed centrally, which has a strong appeal to IT managers in the health care industry and in government. Blade PCs are also targeted at call centres. However, despite HP's efforts to replace half of corporate desktop systems with blade PCs, the market for the newer technology remains relatively small.

Mark Bowker, and analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass., said that to date, most of the users adopting PC blades are trying to solve a niche problem. Over the longer term, he added, compliance issues will increasingly drive the adoption of blade PCs and virtual systems.

The ability to centralise control of such systems "within the four walls of a data centre is absolutely something people are going to look at going forward."

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