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!

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Data Center from Microsoft in Washington

Very soon, Microsoft will be unleashing a state-of-the-art data center in Washington after receiving a tax cut from local politicos. Microsoft has promised to open up what it is calling "one of the most innovative new data centers" in Quincy, Washington in the early part of this year. There aren't a whole lot of details, but it is said that the center is expected to host services like Microsoft's Azure cloud.

This new data center is based almost entirely on pre-assembled computing models that are designed to give you a greater scale as well as greater flexibility. The center also uses server cooling techniques that were developed at the Dublin and Chicago data centers of Microsoft in order to help cut running costs. The data center will open up next to Microsoft's existing 500,000-square-foot data center facility in Quincy, which was opened back in 2007.

General Manager of Microsoft's Data Center Services Kevin Timmons wrote in a blog post that the expansion takes new ideas that were forged in Dublin and Chicago one step further, using modular building blocks for electrical, mechanical, server and security subsystems. At Microsoft's other data centers the modules were capable of scaling from 400 to 2,000 servers.

According to Timmons, "Our modular design enables us to build a facility in significantly less time while reducing capital costs by an average of 50% to 60% over the lifetime of the project."

This new design means that the Quincy extension will be housed in a steel and aluminum structure instead of the concrete building that is the existing Quincy center. A report from Data Center Knowledge back in May said that the building will completely lack side walls. This news comes following an eight month experiment where Microsoft ran five HP servers in an outside tent with absolutely no failures.

"The Structure," according to Timmons, "is virtually transparent to ambient outdoor conditions, allowing us to essentially place our servers and storage outside in the cool air while still protecting it from the elements. The interior layout is specifically designed to allow us to further innovate in the ways that we deploy equipment in future phases of the project."

This is all very exciting stuff, but it almost didn't happen. Back in 2009, Microsoft released news that they were closing the existing Quincy data center and moving operations to San Antonio, Texas. This news came as a Washington tax exemption that favored data center providers was set to expire. However, local politicians responded with a 15-month sales tax exemption on the purchase and installation of computers and energy for new data centers in 32 rural counties in the state of Washington, the place where Microsoft has called home for 32 years.

This tax break was backed by the political pressure group Washington Needs Jobs who has members including Microsoft, Yahoo and VMware as well as the Washington Technology Industry Association and the town of Quincy. It was also said that, along with Microsoft, Yahoo and VMware are also planning on producing data centers in Washington.

Source: The Register

Computers, Desktops, Laptops, Servers and the latest in Portable Tablet PCs are available from your computer rental company,

Talk to a Tech Travel Agent Today!
Call Toll free 800-736-8772.