HP has rolled out the industry's first blade workstation which stores the computer safely away in the datacenter closet. The ProLiant Blade Workstation Solution is stacked vertically in blade chassis cabinets and several dozen can be placed in a standard 19" wide server rack.
Workstations are typically kept on, under or to the side of employee desks. The easy access to hardware is a double-edged sword for often overworked IT staff because employees usually try to install their own software, plug in their own drives or even perform their own hardware upgrades. Having the computers nearby also raises temperatures and clutters up the work area.
HP says Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets recently installed 280 blade workstations. IT staff had been dealing with employees bringing in USB keychains and trying to install their own software. Now the computer hardware is only accessible by the IT staff.
The move to blade workstations follows the industry's move to blade servers where entire servers, complete with hard-drives and network cards, are packed onto vertical boards. Some companies, namely special effects companies that need many computers to render movie scenes, have switched to blade servers.
The workstations are currently available for around $450 to $800 if purchased in volume, while the hardware chassis starts at around $4900.