Pano Logic brings us closer to "The Screen"

Pano Logic brings us closer to "The Screen"

Summary: Pano thin client by PanoLogic from Tech Broiler on Vimeo.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.

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TOPICS: Hardware
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Pano thin client by PanoLogic from Tech Broiler on Vimeo.

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.

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Topic: Hardware

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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21 comments
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  • I'm sorry but it still contains an operating system

    A few years back at VMWorld I had a 'healthy' discussion with one of the stand techies since no matter what Pano Logic say if the device can boot and connect there is at least some form of OS on the device, even if it is minimal to say the least. Having worked in embedded systems for so long, no matter what they say there is firmware on this device and that means there is scope of having to patch their firmward just like any other.
    wilsons
  • Wrap It Up, I'll Take It

    Wrap it up in a Dell Mini 9...replace the wires with Wimax connectivity and I'll take it...for under $200 including the netbook.

    This is the "cloud" interface I've been wanting.
    jabailo1
  • RE: Pano Logic brings us closer to

    Requires MSWindows on the backend? And requires VMWare server? No thanks.
    lefty.crupps
    • No doubt about it

      I can totally agree - tied to MS with all the other, more efficient, options available must be a short-sighted oversight. ;)
      Mr G Fellow
  • RE: Pano Logic brings us closer to

    There is rarely anything new in the world. For those of us with a few years behind us, this is simply a reemergence of the display terminals of the sixties and seventies -- albeit with significantly enhanced display capabilities. Think back to the DEC VT-100 or IBM 3270 families of terminals, along with a plethora of others by all the computer manufacturers and third parties.
    Bruce_B2
  • RE: Pano Logic brings us closer to

    How is this different from a Wyse Thin Client solution?
    abissman@...
  • RE: Pano Logic brings us closer to

    Ncomputing provides something similar (but different)with a couple options that runs on windows or linux workstation/servers.
    dmhertzler
    • RE: Pano Logic brings us closer to

      I agree with you, Ncomputing was no diffrent than pano in term of thin client. But in ease of use, Ncomputing was far more better, I dont have knowledge over VmWare, nor any virtualization. But with Ncomputing just install the software and plug the hardware, voila it's up and running in no time.
      bim2
      • Ncomputing

        Is only suited for small implementations. Pano is designed for large enterprises that would have to deploy hundreds or thousands of desktops, and would have to otherwise assume the management and maintenance costs if they were full blown PCs.
        jperlow
        • NComputing has multiple deployments over 10,000 seats

          NComputing likely has the largest virtual desktop deployments to date with over 1.2 million desktops sold with many deployments over 10,000 desktops each.

          Much of the VDI industry focus is TCO and cost of management over time because it remains a premium product targeted as user segments where the performance is good enough. You spend 2-4X per desktop upfront and you "hope" that as you scale to the thousands (if you can), you see the return, and that you don't have to add more and more expensive infrastructure resources and IT specialists to support it. NComputing shines in small and very large (ten of thousands of seat) deployments because it simply takes whatever desktop management efficiencies you have today and extends them by up to 30X (ratio of users to host OS) while saving 70% of the upfront acquisition costs. If administrators are already server virtualization savvy, they can deploy that way with NComputing desktops, but it isn't core to the solution, it's just another great way to manage images.

          (Disclosure, I am an NComputing employee)
          stroh7@...
  • Small is nice

    At the school I worked for, we took similar devices (capable of PXE booting on the network) and mounted them directly to the back of LCD monitors. Added a Linux server running a thin client solution. It made it nice for a classroom setup. The best thing? Just power it off whenever you feel like it, so the next time you boot you will get a fresh setup, with the ability to CHANGE the setup jealously guarded by the admins, and not the students.
    kevincoughlin
  • around $400 x client.

    i think it is a bit expensive in comparison with a real desktop but i think it will work fine for some organization that want some solution that works out of the box.
    magallanes
  • not very cost-effective are they? it has to have a virtual server with a

    host of available windows accounts ready to download with proprietary device drivers and a proprietary device manager loaded.

    way too much infrastructure needed.

    not a solution for a small business model.

    :)
    .

    wessonjoe
    • Depends on your starting point

      If you were looking to replace say 50 PCs, the cost of 2 servers with ESX and 50 Pano thin clients with software would be in the same ballpark. What you would gain with the Pano solution is much better management, administration as well as remote access capabilites. In 3 or 4 years when you be looking to replace those 50 PCs - well then you would see the real savings kick in: replace the 2 servers, none of the clients. Along the way, save on electricity and AC....
      jcunningham@...
  • The term you seem to have forgotten

    is "dumb terminal".

    I do not want a "dumb terminal".

    I can understand the push to turn a computer into nothing more than another means of selling me content that someone else decides I should receive, as has happened with Cable Television.

    But, for me, I want the computer where I can touch it, control it, possess it. What I run on *my* computer is nobody else's business.
    hiraghm@...
    • Terms YOU have forgotten

      Totally understand your perspective. You want your PC. These
      solutions are not for you but rather for business IT. They don't care
      that you want a PC. You want one then go and buy one. IT wants to
      lower overall costs, secure the clients and protect their IP. Thin
      clients, virtual desktops, nComputing's solution (which doesn't really
      fit in either category) solve IT's problem.

      Scott McNealy (in pushing Sun's Sun Ray thin client solution) was once
      told that if Sun Ray could play a customer's kid's CD-Rom game he
      would install them in the homes of his employees. Scott immediately
      said that if they wanted to invest company resources to help their
      employees children play games they should stick with PC's and all the
      challenges associated with that infrastructure. As far as he was
      concerned if the company was paying for it he wanted it to provide a
      business ROI and he purposely didn't want it to do all that other stuff.

      Say what you want about Scott but I think he was right on with this!
      baerjamin
  • Message from Pano CTO

    Hey Jason ? Glad you received the box and got it up and running so quickly! Good news ? you actually don?t need active directory or vCenter to run Pano. You can skip the AD configuration and point Pano Manager directly at your ESXi server. You can then create Windows Login type collections - these are policies that tie Pano devices by MAC address directly a virtual machine on the ESXi server ? no AD or VC required.

    For the post stating that Pano must run an operating system, this is absolutely untrue. Pano is a pure hardware device with no cpu, memory, operating system, firmware, or software. This is why we call it a zero client and not a thin client. We did this particularly because we wanted to make sure the device didn?t require any management and wasn?t susceptible to viruses.

    Thanks,

    Aly Orady
    CTO, Pano Logic

    aorady
    • Cool

      Aly if you can send me the docs on what is required to do this I'd appreciate it, I tried pointing PanoManager directly at the ESXi but it didn't work.
      jperlow
  • Mini-ITX is not much bigger than the Pano.

    I can probably build one for less than $400.00, with a gig of ram, 2.5" HDD and an Atom CPU. Buy the parts in bulk and the price drops even more.

    Sorry, I don't see the big attraction of thin clients when Linux is free.
    djchandler
  • Promising but too expensive

    "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 ... tune in for an update where I try it this weekend."
    Thanks for your article ... I'll be back.

    "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"
    So I supply the server hardware, the virtualisation software, the virtualised OS licenses, the network, the keyboard, mouse and monitor, the central administration staff(albeit reduced) ... and you want $400 for each zero client running over protocols designed by companies other than Pano Logic? No chance. OK so you have made significant savings for me elsewhere ... but its no good if you want those savings up front! The package needs to be $100 tops per client or I pass.

    Or maybe I look at the option to purchase just the Pano Remote USB stick. [Moreover I'd bet that Jason could write a user guide to configure a Windows PC to talk to an ESX server without the need to buy anything but the USB stick!]

    SVGA: revolutionary would be smooth at 2560x1600.

    Looking at the Pano Logic website shows a graphic of a monitor being thrown out of a skyscraper. Aren't I going to keep that part of the setup ;-)
    jacksonjohn