While PC blades are growing in usage, they still make up just a small fraction of the total PC market. Two million PC blades are expected to ship in 2010, which is less than 2 percent of the total projected desktop market for 2010, according to Roger Kay, president of market research firm Endpoint Technologies Associates. Heightened security and simplified IT management are often cited as key benefits for PC blade computing.
ClearCube is hoping the lower-priced blades will expand usage of PC blades beyond the niche vertical markets where they have gained the most traction and into other enterprises and smaller businesses as replacements to traditional desktop PCs. The blades cost about $999 per seat, which is about half the price of ClearCube's lowest-end PC blades now.
"This product is even more applicable to the channel because it's easier, less complicated and lower cost," says ClearCube President and CEO Carl Boisvert. "There's also more margin points in VARs' pockets. We're competing against HP, Lenovo and Dell PCs, where these guys are making two to three points margin; with us, it's more like 10 to 15 points."
The new A Series PC blades and chassis can be used with any of ClearCube's I/Port access devices, which are paperback-size devices that sit on end users' desks and connect peripherals such as keyboards and mice to PC blades in the server room. The blades also work with other access devices that use Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).
The A series blades became available Oct. 2.