ClearCube's Tom Josefy and Kala Ranaganathan briefed me on ClearCube Sentral 5.5, an updated version of their desktop management software that is designed to work with applications encapsulated in VMware's ESX Server 3 or VMware Server Virtualization Software as well as managing applications running on of ClearCube's own PC Blades.
Although the company speaks about virtualization in a broad sense, it appears to me that ClearCube largely focuses on providing a virtual access mechanism and management software for their PC Blades and relies on partners, such as VMware, to provide the virtual machine software.
At first glance, ClearCube's solutions appear reminiscent of those offered by Citrix, HP, IBM and Microsoft. ClearCube, HP and IBM offer Blade PC hardware-oriented solutions that allow organizations to centralize most of the hardware that makes up a personal computer in a datacenter and allow individual's to access these systems using a thin client device. Citrix and Microsoft offer software-oriented solutions that work with general purpose servers or Blades running Windows.
Citrix, HP, IBM and Microsoft all would point out that centralization of personal computer hardware results in a configuration that is less costly to manage, more secure and more reliable. This approach offers task-oriented users and some knowledge workers a productive environment. Developers and power users, on the other hand, would find the reduced access to the machine they're using and the strong liklihood that they'd be required to use only approved tools and applications problematic.
ClearCube appears to be focusing on offering a very flexible, very managable approach to this type of virtual access. The company has long focused on high performance access to centralized PC blades. It's newest products have increased the performance and the distance from the datacenter an individual's thin client can be positioned.
ClearCube Sentral additionally allows many individuals to share a single PC blade or virtual machine, allows each of these images or groups of images to be managed from a central location.
The product capabilities look very interesting for task-oriented or some knowledge workers at healthcare, government and financial services organizations. ClearCube's biggest challenge is going to be getting the word out about its solutions over the noise created by much larger companies, such as Citrix, HP, IBM and Microsoft. ClearCube is addressing this challenge by creating partnerships with these companies.