If you’re impressed by shiny little boxes you’ll love Pano System, a VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) solution from Pano Logic, which features a unique “zero client” device in the form of a glossy three inch metal cube. Unlike traditional thin clients, designed to work with Windows Terminal Services, the tiny Pano Device has no CPU, memory or any kind of local storage. Neither does it run any firmware, OS or other software. All it does is provide the hardware interfaces needed to cable together screen, keyboard, mouse and other desktop peripherals and attach them to the LAN. Of course, by itself, that’s of little value so you also get a bundle of tools to connect Pano Devices to remote virtual desktops, hosted on the only part of the Pano System that needs to be sourced separately – a VMware ESX server.
A very neat and effective solution, users get the look and feel of an ordinary desktop PC (complete with sound and the ability to plug in printers and local storage devices) while network administrators get centralised management and automated provisioning tools.
Security is enhanced because there’s no software in the Pano Device that can be hacked and they’re also very efficient, consuming less than 5 watts in use. Added to which Pano Logic claims an up to 70% reduction in TCO.
Prices start at $319 for black and $329 for the shiny chrome cubes to which you you need to add the cost of monitors and other desktop paraphernalia. Plus VMware, with vCenter recommended if you want automated provisioning or need to manage multiple servers. You’re also limited to Windows XP at present, although Windows 7 support is promised in a future update to this interesting VDI solution.