In a previous podcast on Frugal Friday, I spoke to Pano Logic CTO Aly Orady about the Pano, a revolutionary thin client for virtual desktops for medium and large enterprises that brings us a little bit closer to "The Screen" which I talked about some time ago.
Aly promised me a Pano unit to evaluate, and sure enough, I was sent one to look at a week later. Let's take a look at the goodies.
Click on the "Read the rest of this entry" link below for more.
The Pano is a small, maintenance-free solid state device with no operating system and simple boot firmware which connects a monitor, keyboard and mouse and other USB peripherals to Virtual Desktops running on VMWare servers.
The Pano has SVGA, USB, Ethernet, as well as audio in and audio-out ports.
Pano devices are managed and provisioned by a virtual web administration appliance that you install on your VMWare ESX server. While I was able to install the virtual appliance on the free ESX 3i software, Pano requires both vCenter (formerly VirtualCenter) as well as an Active Directory Domain Controller running on Windows Server 2003 or 2008 in order to work (I had no problems with the release candidate of Windows Server 2008 R2).
EDIT (5-11): It appears there is an undocumented way to run Pano without Active Directory or vCenter for small/medium businesses so the entire infrastructure can be hosted without a VMWare Infrastructure license on the free version of ESX 3i. I'll be hearing from Aly Orady shortly on how to do this. Apparently it is possible to tie a Pano MAC address to a specific VM running on ESXi without an external authentication mechanism. Tune in for an update where I try it this weekend.
Pano also requires a set of special drivers to be installed in each virtual Windows desktop in order to support the remote video, mouse and keyboard sessions.
Ideally I would like to see the solution able to run on other hypervisors such as Microsoft's Hyper-V as well as XenServer 5 and RedHat's KVM.
I'd also like to see Panos to be able to connect to virtualized Linux desktops. Currently Pano only supports Windows XP destkops but support for Windows 7 is in beta and will be ready in time for Windows 7's release in late October. (Click on the photo to enlarge)
The Pano administrative interface allows you to assign virtual desktops to Active Directory users. Effectively this allows anyone with an AD account to log in from any Pano device installed on your network.
Pano starter packs which include 5 devices, the Pano Manager virtual appliance, a Pano Remote USB stick (which allows you to turn any PC into a Pano Device) and one year of support are $1989.00
Have you deployed Pano-based solutions in your environment or considering deployment of solid-state thin clients in your enterprise? Talk Back and Let Me Know.