I spoke recently with Aly Orady, co-founder and CTO, and Benjamin Baer, VP of Marketing, both of of Pano Logix, about Pano Logic Virtual Desktop Solution (VDS) 2.0 and the Pano Logic "Zero Client." They're offering another variation on the desktop virtualization theme - this time based upon a clever, very small, inexpensive client hardware device and software that creates and manages desktop images. I've spoken with the company in the past as can be seen in this post: Pano Logic Another Take on the Virtualized Desktop
As an aside, Benjamin and I seem to be constantly running into one another. Each time we've been with different organizations. In Benjamin's case, he's been with SGI, Sun and now Pano Logic. In that same period of time, I've been with IDC, Open-Xchange and now the Kusnetzky Group LLC. One thing I know for certain, he puts up with my strange sense of humor better than most.
How does Pano Logic describe Virtual Desktop Solution 2.0?
Here's a snippet of Pano's description of VDS 2.0.
Pano Logic" today announced a major new software release for its innovative desktop virtualization solution. By leveraging existing virtual infrastructure and integrating hardware at the desktop with software in the data center, Pano Logic provides the most complete and easiest-to-use virtual desktop solution on the market. The new release, Pano Virtual Desktop Solution (VDS) 2.0, can be deployed in new environments and network topologies, providing support for wide area network (WAN) deployments, dual monitor requirements, and offering certified support for wireless bridges and USB devices. Also, as a further extension of the partnership between Pano Logic and VMware, Pano VDS 2.0 fully integrates support for VMware Virtual Desktop Manager (VDM), giving users even greater deployment flexibility.
What does VDS 2.0 actually do?
Here's Pano's presentation of what the product actually does:
- Optimization for wide area network (WAN) deployments enabling organizations to deploy Pano Logic at remote offices while keeping the desktop virtual machines and data storage secure in the corporate or regional data center.
- Support for VMware Virtual Desktop Manager (VDM) allowing for easy integration into existing desktop virtualization deployments which use the VDM interface for management, ensuring that users can leverage existing investments and use the management tools familiar to them.
- Dual-monitor support enabling easy administration of dual-monitor groups, providing users with the ability to easily roam to and from a dual-monitor workstation while optimizin their display settings.
- Certification for wireless bridge and USB devices allowing for wireless bridge certification which enables and certifies compatibility with a number of low-cost and widely available third-party wireless to Ethernet bridges, as well as extending support for composite USB devices such as personal digital assistants, cell phones, and combination printer/flash card readers. This new support enables Pano devices to replace PCs in critical support intensive point of service and point of sale environments.
In addition, Pano VDS 2.0 offers improved install and remote DVM management which allows for easy updating of the Pano Desktop Service.
The folks at Pano appear to be doing their best to make it possible for organizations to deploy today's desktop environments with the ease that they formally deployed terminals to access applications on mainframes and minicomputers (now known as "midrange systems"). This has meant the development of a device that can control a monitor, a mouse or some other form of pointing device, a keyboard and allow many USB devices to connect to a virtual desktop environment running somewhere in the datacenter. This also has meant the development of software that makes it possible to quickly deploy and then manage an organization's desktop environnents.
The approach appears vaguely similar to deploying thin clients talking to an access virtualization product such as Microsoft's terminal services or Citrix's XenApp. The key differences are that the client device isn't a thin client that runs an operating system such as embedded Windows, Linux or some other special purpose client operating environnment and the desktop environnment is encapsulated in a VMware virtual machine rather than running natively on the host's operating system. The encapsulated desktop environment has no idea that it is talking to Pano Logic's "Zero Client" and so, needs no modification.
It appears to be a pretty simple way to deploy a virtual desktop environment and would be a useful replacement for a full desktop PC for many staff members.