HP blade PCs to be offered to the channel

Hewlett-Packard on Nov. 1 will make available to the reseller and integrator channel a product that until now has been only available direct from HP?namely, HP blade computers. The company calls its blade lineup Consolidated Client Infrastructure (CCI).

Blades are PCs in a low-height rack configuration, designed to be housed in a central facility and accessed by users via a LAN or over a WAN using thin clients.

John Snaider, HP's vice president for business PCs in North America, said several federal customers are using blade setups. He declined to identify the agencies, but said they are used in enterprise quantities.

Agencies like the CCI idea, Snaider said, because client PCs are more secure in a central facility and because users don't have physical access they can't load rogue software or introduce viruses and other malware with CDs or keychain drives.

He added that federal resellers had already expressed interest in obtaining CCI products. Some will simply resell them, but others will build host facilities that government customers can use on a time-sharing or fee basis.

At a day of briefings in New York, HP also said it would make available a light version of its HP Open View Client Configuration Manager. The existing version automates the maintenance of software in PCs and other devices on a network.

According to Bob Myer of HP's change and configuration management group, federal agencies are among the largest users of the full version. He said EDS Corp. uses it to maintain integrity of the hundreds of thousands of seats on the Navy Marine Corps Intranet. Military branches use it to make sure new versions of tactical software are distributed identically to all platforms worldwide.

The new version will be priced at $75 per device managed, versus $123 per device for the enterprise edition. The so-called premium version requires more manual intervention and is intended for smaller bureaus or businesses. New HP PCs come with the client component of Open View already installed.

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