Financial traders at a London company wear shorts to work because heat from workstations under their desks is so bad.
So HP has invented technology to take the workstations out from under the desks and replace them with blade-style housed in a separate data centre.
HP's Blade Workstation, to be introduced today, is an addition to the company's ProLiant line of servers. While end users still have a monitor, mouse and keyboard at their desks, the central processing unit (CPU) is now in the data centre. The configuration shares similarities with the ‘thin client’ architecture that has been available for a number of years, in which end users are connected by a network to remote servers.
And while some of HP's competitors offer blade style replacements for personal computers, an industry analyst says HP's is the first known product that replaces desk-based workstation hardware with a blade at a remote location.
"HP has kind of caught the other guys napping with regard to really applying this technology to a workstation," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst with Enderle Group, a technology consulting firm.
The Blade Workstation is designed for environments where end users need a lot of computing power at their desks but don't want the CPU generating excessive heat, said Don Olsen, worldwide business development manager for HP's Blade Workstations.
People on the trading floor of the London financial firm operated with as many as three to five workstations under their desks that fed multiple monitors displaying all sorts of financial data, Olsen said, declining to identify the firm. Although the room was air conditioned, it was still as hot as 30 degrees centigrade below the desks.