Rackmount PCs boost security

Rackmount PCs boost security


An Austin, Texas, company keeps desktop PCs off of desks by racking them inside the data center.
ClearCube Technology makes rackmount PCs that link to desktop components via Ethernet and a C/Port, a small box placed near the desks. The system is designed for call centers and other crowded workplaces as well as for secure environments, product manager Carsten Puls said.

One 5.25-inch-high ClearCube rackmount frame, called a cage, holds eight blades, or PCs. Each blade has a motherboard, processor, RAM and hard drive. The cage incorporates 10/100-Mbps Ethernet connections for the blades.

The C/Port sits on the desk or can be mounted underneath, Puls said. It connects to the cage by Category 5 cables from up to 200 meters away.

'You can't tell your computer is 200 meters away,' Puls said.

Preventive measures

The blade includes a hardware switch that lets a system administrator keep a user from connecting any mass storage device to a blade, Puls said. The company also makes a C/Port with four Universal Serial Bus ports.

The ClearCube rack holds up to eight blades, each of which is a PC without floppy or CD-ROM drives.
'Doing this with USB turned out to be quite a technical challenge' because USB typically requires much shorter connections, Puls said.

A C/Port with a serial port permits synchronization of personal digital assistants. A secure C/Port has only keyboard, mouse, video and audio connections.

The administrator can switch a user from a failed blade to a spare by using ClearCube's management software through any Web browser.

A single entry-level blade with a 633-MHz Intel Celeron processor and Microsoft Windows 98 lists for about $695, Puls said. A package with one entry-level blade, one rack and one C/Port costs about $1,000.

Contact ClearCube Technology at 888-266-8115.


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