Desktop Virtualization Made Easy

Convergence Corner

Desktop Virtualization Made Easy

By Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director  |  November 01, 2010

This article originally appeared in the November 2010 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY

Virtualization is quickly becoming as big a trend as social media or unified communications, and for good reason. It allows users to leverage the benefits of UC and integrated enterprise social media platforms – and all other business resources – while relieving IT departments of the burden of having to manage individual PCs for each user and simplifying resource administration and management.

In fact, at several recent trade shows, the most widely discussed topic, by far, was virtualization – whether communications, security, storage, application and service delivery, or, of course, desktop virtualization.

In all my conversations, one stuck out for its simplicity and ease of use and, that, we know, is a key consideration when IT managers and business executives make purchasing decisions. In fact, according to Parmeet Chaddha, executive vice president of products and technology at Pano Logic (News - Alert), his company has seen great traction with its desktop virtualization appliance, and I use that term very loosely.

In fact, the Pano Device is hardly an appliance at all. It is a sleek 2.5 x 3.5 x 3.5 inch box that sports a zero client architecture, making it merely a dumb box. The zero client architecture is also what Chaddha says differentiates Pano Logic from other DVI vendors.

“It’s about as dumb as it gets, and that’s the beauty of it,” he says. “It allows you to focus on your centralized host.”

The Pano Device has no CPU in it. Instead, it acts merely as a connector between the user and the data center. It includes three USB ports for connecting a mouse, keyboard, and other USB devices (a USB hub can be connected to support additional devices), as well as a VGA port for a desktop monitor, audio in and out ports, and of course, an RJ-45 for connecting to the network. For those users needing multiple displays, Pano Logic also provides a dual monitor adapter.

One Pano Logic partner has taken it a step further, embedding the zero client architecture into its monitors, further simplifying deployment and removing one more piece of hardware from the system.

The device is also much more energy efficient than running PCs at each desk, drawing a mere 3.5 watts of power, compared to PCs that can draw as much as 200. Chaddha says one client received a rebate check from its utility company that was three times its investment within one year of deploying the Pano system. 

The cost savings doesn’t stop there. In addition to comparing favorably to the purchase price of business PCs at a mere $489 per user up to devices, including any necessary licenses, businesses can enjoy a reduction in upgrade costs of as much as 80 percent, according the Chaddha.

For mobile workers or laptop users, there is also Pano Remote, a secure USB key that extends the Pano virtual desktop across a WAN or wireless LAN. Users can connect via their Pano Device when at their desks, and via Pano Remote when in conference rooms or other office locations, at home, or traveling.

The entire virtual infrastructure is controlled by Pano Manager, which runs on any data center server and discovers and controls all the Pano Devices on the network, ensures availability of virtual machines, handles the connections between users and their virtual desktops, and monitors the status of active user sessions. The system currently supports multiple VDI platforms, including Microsoft’s (News - Alert) HyperV and VMware’s vSphere, with Citrix XenServer coming soon. It is also in the process of being certified for use with VMware’s View 4.5.

Naturally, the virtual infrastructure must be deployed by the IT group, but once that is in place, the Pano Logic solution offers a simple, easy to use VDI solution that provides maximum flexibility for users, while reducing TCO and IT management and can be deployed in less than an hour.

And for all its benefits to users and IT departments, the Pano Device is also as attractive a desktop device as you’ll find.

Erik Linask (News - Alert) is Group Editorial Director of TMC, which brings news and compelling feature articles, podcasts, and videos to 2,000,000 visitors each month. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi