Friday, January 21, 2011

Zero Client Virtual Desktop Gets Updated by Pano Logic

Pano LogicPano Logic, a leader in the world of virtual desktop vendors, is updating its zero client hardware and desktop virtualization software with a new release. The Pano System 4.0 update gives users improved hardware which enhances USB device support and adds Xen hypervisor support. Pano Logic technology has been in the market since 2007 touting itself as an alternative approach to thin client or traditional desktop deployments.

According to Pano Logic co-founder Aly Orady, "Effectively the way we accomplish our zero client is by stretching the system bus across the network." Orady went on to explain that in a normal desktopPC there is a system bus which is connected to I/O ports used for keyboards, displays and USB devices. Pano Logic has taken everything that normally represents the PC and transfered it to the data center as a virtual machine. Orady also stressed that the Pano Logic device is not a typical thin client machine.

"A thin client is basically a stripped down PC with memory, processor and an operating system and is running on some kind of software," Orady noted. "What we did is we built our system from the ground up with a device that is extremely secure and has no management burden or software on it."

Orady added that zero client doesn't have a traditional PC processor in it. All the drivers for operating the device are on a virtual machine that runs in the data center. Even though the zero client does not have a CPU, it does have some silicon in it. Orady added, "What is in the Pano device is a chip that we designed and in that chip is the data path for moving data off the system bus and onto the network. We have a little bit of hard coded logic in there that is just intelligent enough to get an IP address using DHCP."

The chip isn't actually a chip but a field-programmable gate array FPGA. The system also has onboard memory. Orady explained that the system has a DRAM chip for local frame buffer storage though most of the RAM is allocated dynamically on the back end virtual machine server. The management piece of the virtual desktop solution is called the Pano Manager. This talks to all the Pano devices and pumps out login screens, authenticates and associates desktops with users.

Prior to the release of the Pano System 4.0 only VMware and Microsoft's Hyper-V were supported by the Pano Manager. Now the Pano Manager supports Citrix XenDesktop, the latest addition to the group. The Pano System 4.0 also includes new hardware that has DVI ports in addition to the VGA output that was supported in earlier versions of the device. An additional monitor is now supported, and the system also includes support for isochronus USB devices. These types of devices include webcams, headsets and other devices that require real-time requirements for data transfer.

According to Orady, "We'll continue to expand the set of use cases for which the solution is applicable. So you'll see software updates from us over the next 12 months that will include things like better performance and management which will allow folks to run the device in more types of scenarios and run more rigorous types of applications."

Source: Server Watch is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!

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