Cstation takes PC off the desktop

For agencies looking to centralize and secure their PCs, 2C Computing Inc. has introduced a tool that allows a computer's chassis to be removed from the desktop and put in a secure location while not affecting users' work routines.

The Cstation L1000, unveiled Nov. 12 at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas, allows multiple PC chassis to be moved to an enterprise's data center up to about a half-mile away while the experience for end users remains the same, said Don Davidson, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Huntsville, Ala.-based company.

The PC bus is replaced on the desktop by the Cstation, which is about the size of a Iomega Corp. Zip drive (8 square inches). The Cstation connects to the relocated PC system bus via Category 5 cabling that's already installed in most facilities.

The arrangement increases security by keeping the hard drives in a centralized, locked location where they can upgraded, maintained, repaired and replaced without disrupting users' work. It also reduces the cost of IT support and maintenance, Davidson said.

The company already has had meetings with the Defense Department and the General Services Administration about the technology. Davidson cited the example of one GSA office where employees physically remove all the hard drives in their department every night and then replace them in the morning. He said the 2C solution could be a cost-effective alternative to that situation.

"It gives them the ability to centrally locate all of the PCs in a single room and lock up the physical asset itself to control whatever the end user is capable of doing," he said, adding that the end user still has full application support and can use any authorized peripheral.

The Cstation L1000 is "agnostic to any hardware or software environment," and consists of two components: a C-Link interface card (a standard 32-bit/33 MHz PCI adapter installed in the PC base unit) and a Cstation L1000 that resides at the user's desk.

The product is available for $895, but that price is expected to be cut at least in half within a year, according to the company. The Cstation L1000 is available through a number of government resellers with more on the way, Davidson said.

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