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“Virtual clients” run Linux

Apr 24, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

ClearCube is shipping a Linux-powered “virtual client” that offers secure remote access to a dedicated blade server running Windows XP. The I/Port I8020 client has more inherent security than a laptop, and provides the “full power” of a Pentium 4 from anywhere in the world, according to the company. It targets medical and defense applications.

(Click for larger view of I/Port I8020)

In ClearCube's centralized computing model, each client enjoys exclusive access, via Microsoft RDP (remote desktop protocol), to a single, designated blade server. This differs from the traditional “thin client” model, in which multiple clients share time on centralized servers. However, the underlying technology — RDP — is borrowed from the thin client world, as are the devices themselves.

ClearCube says its I/Port clients are custom-made by thin-client specialist Neoware. Along with the Linux-based I8020 client, a Windows XP Embedded based I8820 client is available. Additionally, several stock Neoware client devices, including the Capio One (pictured at right) and EON e100, are available through ClearCube running I/Port client software.

ClearCube also offers a “Grid Center” product that allows multiple I/Port clients — typically four — to share a single blade, according to company spokesperson Ken Knott. The company's primary business seems to be blade servers and computing blades based on Pentium 4 processors.

Knott adds that many I/Port users deploy the devices on battery-powered carts, which he says can provide more battery life than laptops. However, the Linux-based I/8020 does not appear to offer wireless networking capabilities.

The I/Port I8020

The I/Port I8020 is based on an AMD Geode processor, clocked at 333MHz. It has 64MB of Flash, and 128MB of RAM. Its video subsystem supports 24-bit color, and resolutions up to UXGA (1600 x 1200), at 85Hz.

I/Port I8020 I/O ports
(Click to enlarge)

I/O includes three USB 1.1 ports (two front, one rear), two PS/2 ports, one serial port, audio I/O, VGA, and 10/100 Ethernet. Supported USB peripherals include DiskOnKey, CD-ROM, floppy, and printers.

Rob Israel, of John C. Lincoln Hospital, stated, “The I/Ports are useless to potential thieves since there is no data stored in the I/Port.”


The I/Port I8020 is currently available, according to the company. Pricing was not disclosed.

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