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ClearCube is VMware’s latest OEM

PC blade manufacturer ClearCube has become the first non-server vendor to OEM VMware’s ESX hypervisor, which it will sell to customers implementing virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

As indicated in an article this April, ClearCube will sell ESX on a per user basis, rather than per host. This makes it cost-effective to run fewer virtual desktop sessions per blade, explained Tom Josefy, ClearCube director of product management. With this arrangement, IT managers can “guarantee a great end user experience but don’t need to have 30+ users per server to amortize the cost of ESX,” he said.

Josefy said ClearCube expects customers to be able to run up to about 12 VDI sessions on one of its R2200 PC blades, for a list of about $250 per seat including support. “At higher numbers it’s at least a 50% reduction in cost per seat,” he said.

Josefy also weighed in on Microsoft licensing for virtual desktops. Thus far, two licensing models have emerged. With Windows XP, the EULA requires each user to have a “unique set of bits” in the form of a full packaged product, he said. Microsoft’s Vista Enterprise Centralized Desktop (VECD) model, on the other hand, charges “per access device, per year” and is only available to Microsoft Software Assurance customers, typically large enterprises.

Small companies, Josefy said, “will like the Windows XP full packaged product,” even though “they do have to worry about when XP goes end of life.” Large companies, on the other hand, “are looking at the [VECD] program because it’s simple [for them,]” he said.

Of course, VECD requires that they move to Vista, which in ClearCube’s testing, has been shown to consume more resources. How much more? Josefy couldn’t say yet. “I don’t know it it’s a 10% penalty, a 20% penalty, or what.”

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