Pano Express: A Simple Path to Virtualization?
Pano Logic, developers of the zero-client box you see here, has unveiled a new way to deploy up to 50 virtual machines. It’s called Pano Express — an all-in-one zero-client desktop virtualization suite, and it starts at a $489 a user. Here’s the scoop and some channel implications.
I spoke to Parmeet Chaddha, executive VP of engineering at Pano Logic regarding the announcement and it boils down to this.
Pano Logic will offer the entire 50-seat setup — including Windows Licenses (XP or 7), VMware vSphere Essentials, the dual-quad server (with 48GB of RAM and RAID5) and of course, the zero-clients — for $24,450.
Pano is positioning Pano Express for organizations that want virtualization benefits without requiring deep virtualization expertise. One example: Schools.
Chaddha says Pano focused aggressively on Pano Express’s price tag, since he felt many thin-client solutions require more expensive hardware and embedded operating systems. Everything is pre-configured and tweaked to use Pano Logic’s special PanoDirect protocol via UDP, which tricks the Virtual Windows instance into thinking the zero-client is simply a hardware extension of a logical physical computer. As a result, there’s less than half a second of delay, and machines can even playback Flash content, Chaddha says.
Just in case you felt like I glossed over it, a zero client is simply that — zero. It’s a tiny box with Ethernet-in and a bunch of USB ports with VGA and sound output. No CPU, no hard drive, no moving parts.
Chaddha noted that Pano Logic has an extensive channel program with more than 200 active partners, most in North America.
For VARs that aren’t familiar with Pano Logic, Chaddha says Pano’s zero-client works best for medium and light workloads and companies with less than 2,000 employees. Chaddha mused that if all the boxes were calling on YouTube you’d see a considerable drop in performance.
Currently, Pano is selling through the VMware reseller channel and the Pano Express bundle will be ready for shipping in June 2010,
I pressed Chadda about Linux support, since I postulated a Linux alternative would’ve dropped the cost of the deployment considerable. He noted that it would indeed drop the cost, and that…
“Fundamentally, [the setup is] hardware and OS agnostic. It’s more a commercial decision — when it make sense to offer a non-Windows environment”
Bigger picture: Does Pano Logic’s Express suite pave the way for similar deployments and easy proliferation of virtualized workplaces?
Lastly, if you’re curious about the color the zero-client comes in, the shiny metallic one you see here actually costs about $10 extra, but you’ll get plain black ones with the Pano Express set.