Little Silver Boxes On The WAN

Pano Logic's virtual desktop solution (VDS) is getting a major rev update to 2.0, picks up WAN, wireless and USB support for its tiny, shiny VDI solution.

Joe Hernick

April 14, 2008

2 Min Read
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Pano Logic's virtual desktop solution (VDS) is getting a major rev update to v2.0, picking up WAN, wireless, and improved USB support for its tiny, shiny VDI client. It looks like Pano has been spending its latest round of VC funding well. If you're unfamiliar with Pano, the company takes thin clients to a new level; Pano's marketing calls its cube a 'zero client.' $300 gets you a very small silver box with no CPU, no memory, no moving parts. Plug in a monitor (or two), keyboard, mouse, and speakers, add a network connection to VMware VDI infrastructure, and you've got a Windows desktop.

V2.0 lets customers put Pano boxes out on the WAN and/or lets 'em connect via a wireless bridge jacked into the client's NIC. This is not a remote-desktop or VPN solution; Panos needs a DHCP'd IP address in the enterprise's range to connect to VDI. USB peripheral support also should be substantially improved in this version. The management/connection brokering software talks to Active Directory, LDAP, and Novell's eDirectory, and integrates with VMware Virtual Desktop Manager.

Green concerns? Running into power or HVAC constraints? The 3 1/2-inch cubes can run on POE, though I wouldn't plan on juicing up USB accessories off a POE'd Pano. Did I mention it's small?

The company has roughly 1,000 of these devices running out in the wild at 100+ customer sites. Cost is $300 per box, plus the associated expense of your VDI environment. Pano pushes ease of setup, remote management, and long term savings in the sales pitch. I think all those arguments make sense in large deployment situations and in branch-office models as more enterprise sites jump on the virtualized-desktop boat. Thin clients may finally grab more than a fringe following as they move past a terminal-services model.

The big question for Pano isn't whether or when VDI takes off, but rather if it will be able to compete in a market with established offerings like the Sun Ray 2 at a comparable ($249) price point. I should be getting both a Sun Ray and a Pano cube in the test lab this summer; I'll let you know how respective setup, management, and performance play out.Pano VDS 2.0 is slated for release on May 5. Pano cubes start at $300 for a single client.

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