Blade runner - workstation power on a thin client

Published 01 May 2008

Posted by greg corke

Article tagged with: hp, workstations, graphics

It’s been a long time coming, but HP has finally released a Blade Workstation solution specifically designed for the MCAD market. The concept is that you run all your CAD/CAM/CAE applications on a rack of blades which are locked away in a secure data centre and the end user works on their designs using a thin client at the desktop, which can be anywhere in the world.

All data remains on the blade and only pixel information is squirted down the line to a thin client using HP’s Remote Graphics Technology. The client only needs a relatively small processor, memory and not even a 3D graphics card. It might sound like wouldn’t work due to bandwidth issues but I saw this running on a Blade Workstation with a low end Nvidia Quadro FX560 graphics card last year and it worked a treat and HP claims it even works over the Internet.

What’s new about this release is that HP has upped the graphics card to a FX 1600, which gives it a bit more power for serious 3D users. However, it’s interesting that it has taken HP so long to get this new model out as this was originally scheduled for release a year ago. My guess is that HP came across thermal problems. We’ll find out more soon.

Anyway, it’s an interesting technology, which boasts better data security as no actual CAD files leave the blade, easier control as IT staff don’t have to support individual workstations, and no whirring fans under your desk. Watch this space for a full review soon.

www.hp.com/go/bladeworkstations

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