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Pano Logic VDI supports latest VMware ESX 3.5 hypervisor

Bridget Botelho
On Tuesday, Feb. 19, Pano Logic announced a new version of its Pano Virtual Desktop Solution that supports VMware Inc.'s ESX Server 3.5 and VirtualCenter 2.5 and offers a broader

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range of user-access modes than the previous version.

Launched in August 2007, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based Pano Logic offers thin-client devices and software in support of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) -- server-hosted desktops running in virtual machines – running on top of VMware's ESX hypervisor. In the future, Pano Logic plans to support hypervisors from other vendors as well, said Aly Orady, CTO of Pano Logic.

For more on desktop virtualization:
VMware VDI shops get thin client option with Pano Logic

VDI is risky without multimedia support, NEC says

In the meantime, the new version of the Pano Virtual Desktop 1.5 suite is outfitted with new management features for users doing LAN deployments, Orady said, including a kiosk mode that enables Pano devices to be deployed in public or shared locations for any user. Kiosk mode gives users access to secure virtual desktops, whether deployed in conference rooms, or work areas.

Now Pano Virtual Desktop 1.5 also supports device- and location-based access that lets users connect to desktop virtual machines based on the Pano device and its location within the network. For industries such as health care with data privacy policies, the capability provides the advantages of desktop virtualization while still restricting access to certain areas.

Previously administrators could manage an end user's Windows experience but could get only as granular as a single user or as large as a group managed by an authenticated user. Until the release of 1.5, there was no way for administrators to manage by the location of login or by the device itself. With 1.5, administrators can provide enhancements or restrictions based on the device or location of authentication.

Other features of Pano Virtual Desktop 1.5 include new resource optimization capabilities that conserve CPU and memory resources by powering down idle desktop virtual machines and consolidating them on to fewer VMware servers so that idle servers can be powered down. It also supports expanded USB peripheral support to devices such as printers, scanners and authentication devices.

Pano Virtual Desktop: What it is and what to expect
The Pano Virtual Desktop Solution is unique compared with thin-client offerings from vendors like Wyse Technology Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and NEC Corp. in that Pano Logic's device does not have a CPU, memory, operating system, drivers, or software. In fact, Pano doesn't even want to be considered a thin client but as an extension of the I/O subsystem out of a virtual machine, said Orady.

The Pano Device connects keyboard, mouse, display, audio and USB peripherals over an existing IP network to an instance of Microsoft Windows XP or Vista running on a virtualized server. In addition, Pano consumes only 3% of the energy typically consumed by a desktop computer, said Pano Logic.

Pano Logic software consists of Pano Management Server and Pano Desktop Service. Pano Manager software is delivered as a virtual appliance and runs on ESX. It can be installed either in a virtual machine (VM) or on its own server. The Pano Manager provides connection broker services, but provides additional Pano-specific capabilities as well. It also provides out-of-band services to an end user, including the ability to restart a desktop VM, create a new desktop VM or additional services as configured by the IT administrator.

The Pano Desktop Service is a small application, or control panel, that runs in the desktop Windows itself. It communicates with Pano Management Server and ultimately manages the session between the authenticated user and the server. The Pano Desktop Service manages the USB pass-through and provides the screen bits back to the Pano client, a company spokesperson explained.

The number of VMs that can be deployed to desktops using Pano's software depends on the hypervisor, but a typical server running VMware ESX 3.5, running a typical workload, can deploy between 30 and 50 desktop virtual machines, Orady said.

The whys and wherefores of VDI adoption
So far, industries including health care, law firms, call centers, and finance have adopted Pano's Virtual Desktop Solution, Orady said.

"When your Virtual Desktop is deployed centrally [using a Pano device], security concerns disappear because if the PC is stolen, the information is not stolen along with it – that info is stored on a server in the data center," Orady said. "Also, when you work with a device that just plugs into a network, you never have to worry about a virus infecting software, or having to run patches."

There is also the management benefit; when a company hires a new employee, IT can deploy a new virtual desktop and that employee can be up and running in two minutes, Orady said. IT can also upgrade to say, Windows Vista, on the server and not worry about end-user upgrades, he said.

It also adds mobility, in that end users can be at any PC in the company that is connected to the network and log onto their virtual desktop.

The new 1.5 software release will be available on Feb. 25, 2008. Pricing for the Pano Virtual Desktop Solution starts at $300 per client. This price includes a single Pano device and all the software to make it work with VMware virtual infrastructure. There are incremental costs for service and support, which involve a yearly subscription. The total cost for five Pano clients, Pano Logic Virtual Desktop software, and a year's service and support is $1,800.

Pano also provide subscription pricing on a client basis ($25 per month and per client).

Let us know what you think about the story; email Bridget Botelho, News Writer.

Also, check out our news blog at serverspecs.blogs.techtarget.com.


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