Are PC blade based virtual access solutions better than what you're doing now?

Are PC blade based virtual access solutions better than what you're doing now?

Summary: ClearCube just announced that they now have an OEM relationship with VMware. Their press release can be viewed here.

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TOPICS: Hardware, Software
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ClearCube just announced that they now have an OEM relationship with VMware. Their press release can be viewed here. Should your organization be deploying this type of solution for its task-oriented staff to better support the organizations requirements for efficient client-centric computing? Here's a quick SWOT analysis of the announcement.

Strengths

There are many benefits to using virtual access solutions rather than providing each staff member with a PC. I'll briefly summarize them here.

  • Cost reduction

    • Individuals share hardware and, thus, reduce the costs of hardware acquisition
    • Sharing hardware resources also reduces the costs of installation, updating, operations and administration

  • Easier management

    • Organizations find it easier to manage the environment if they don't have to go to every staff member's office to deal with issues
    • IT staff can carefully control what software is loaded. This means updates of applications, data management tools and operating system software can be tested, staged and put into production according to a plan rather than having it happen "organically" in the environment.

  • Better levels of security

    • Since the IT staff controls what's loaded onto PC blades or application servers, it is much less likely that a virus or worm will be able to get into the environment.

Weaknesses

Knowledge workers and developers often need a wide verity of tools, only part of which are known and supported by the IT department. Centralizing systems and forcing them to use only "approved and supported" software might reduce productivity at a time when most organizations are seeking to increase productivity. For example, I've long used a mind mapping tool called MindManager by Mindjet, to design and implement presentations, research and reports. The IT department at my former employers didn't know I had this software installed on my system and certainly never offered to support it. I never asked them for support anyway.

Opportunities

Since only a small portion of PC users access their computing solutions using virtual access technology, ClearCube faces a large opportunity. Their biggest challenge is educating decision-makers about this solution. Once they understand what virtual access can do for their organizations, they're very likely to be interested.

Threats

ClearCube's approach is one of a number of different ways to offer virtual access. The company can demonstrate the power and flexibility of its management and provisioning tools as a way to distinguish itself from others offering PC blade solutions. Since organizations must purchase PC blade "servers", the company must take a different tack to distinguish itself from those offering virtual access software supporting applications on a general purpose system. I suspect they'd focus how some applications are not compatible with shared access on the fact that a PC blade may offer better performance and more flexibility than offered by a general purpose solution.

Summary

Decision-makers would be well advised to learn about this approach to virtual access. It certainly could make regulatory compliance a bit easier for heath care and financial services organizations.

Topics: Hardware, Software

About

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. In his spare time, he's also the managing partner of Lux Sonus LLC, an investment firm.

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