ClearCube blades offer a bank in a box

ClearCube has been recruited by IBM to help banks to run a branch office on a single blade server

IBM is using ClearCube's blade technology to offer an enticing product that could be a cost effective solution for branch banking.

Dubbed "Bank in a Box" there seems little reason why the IBM/ClearCube should not find its way into other areas of the banking and financial sectors.

According to IBM's director of BladeCenter strategy, Tim Dougherty, there are clear advantages for branch banks in using blade servers. "You can have a 'Bank in a Box' but for smaller banks you can have a bank on a blade."

In a banking environment, Dougherty believe, this makes for greater security since the branches are kept completely seperate, in system terms, while they stay in one physical location.

"This can make deployment so much easier when you deploy across all the blades in a system in one go," Dougherty said.

ClearCube and IBM have been working together on blade strategy for some time withy ClearCube providing software and hardware. Now, IBM will be selling ClearCube systems under its own label for the first time.

ClearCube already has an impressive list of customers, or would have if it were allowed to talk about them — since many of them are in the defence, government and security area as well as the financial sector.

"The scalability, performance and security of our blade technology gives companies an edge, and they are reluctant to talk about it," said Ken Notts, senior technologist at ClearCube. Deployments include some of the most secure sites in the US, and the UK's Ministry of Defence.

The Bank in a Box from IBM is a preconfigured, pretested platform and uses IBM's Virtualized Hosted Client Infrastructure which is based on VMWare along with ClearCube hardware and software running on IBM's BladeCenter. This lets organisations host more than 15 users on one blade server and will, according to IBM, give end users full desktop functionality.

The product is built on the Intel Xeon-based IBM BladeCenter and xSeries platforms and includes software, networking and security features to allow operations across branch locations to be locally monitored and administrated and controlled and for software to be deployed centrally.

For Dougherty, many of the advantages using blades will come from scalability. "Even a small bank can have 28 security cameras and those can generate a lot of data, that can be stored and searched easily and centrally with this technology," he said.

Click here to read a review of ClearCube's PC blade product.