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Pano Logic's minimalist business networking solution

By

May 24, 2010

All the software available to the user is generated from a virtual desktop on the server(s...

All the software available to the user is generated from a virtual desktop on the server(s) at the data center

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Instead of looking to upgrade a network of computers with the familiar PC-server setup, Pano Logic offers a solution where users still benefit from a Windows-like experience but the desktop PC is gone. The PC is replaced by the Pano Device, a small silver or black box which connects to a virtual computer hosted at a data center. It's said to require little or no maintenance thanks to there being "no processor, no operating system, no memory, no drivers, no software and no moving parts."

For some time now, computer deployment across business estates has seen servers communicating with user machines that, to varying degrees, rely on some processing power being available at the user end. Desktop virtualization negates the need for processing power at the user's desk and, in the case of Pano's zero client model, replaces such things with an attractive 2 x 3.50 x 3.50 inch black or silver box.

Pano Logic's zero client model

Pano Logic claims that its zero client model could reduce the total cost of computing ownership for businesses by up to 80 percent and makes IT administration a relatively simple affair by having everything controlled through one console. At the user end, it's business as usual. Not too dissimilar to the dumb terminals of old, the Pano Device provides a hardware bridge for sending and receiving data to and from input/output peripherals (such as mouse, keyboard and monitor) and a virtual machine at the data center.

The Pano Device has a VGA-type video output, three USB 2.0 ports and a fast ethernet port ...

The Device has a VGA-type video output, three USB 2.0 ports and a fast Ethernet port to the rear. There's audio in and out and an input for an auto-sensing 100-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz power adapter. And apart from a power-on button to the top right, that's it. An end users requiring an optical drive would need to use an external unit via one of the USB ports. All the software available to the user is generated from a virtual desktop on the server(s) at the data center.

Communication between input/output devices or optical drives and the Windows drivers at the data center is taken care of by Pano Direct Service software, which doesn't alter drivers in any way, it just links everything together. The Pano Manager gives administrators control over the entire virtual desktop estate through a web-based network management interface, reducing the need for software-related IT callouts and potentially "cutting break-fix cycles from days down to minutes."

Relacing the familiar desktop PC, a simple, stylish black or silver box sporting only one ...

Pano Logic is hoping that businesses currently looking to upgrade to a Windows 7 infrastructure will ditch familiar and costly thin client models for its zero client solution.

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.   All articles by Paul Ridden
9 Comments

All one would need then is an wi-fi or usb plug in the back of one's skull plus a pair of those 'screen-in-front-of-eyeballs' glasses and you have the complete 'mobile' solution! Look out - Big Brother can track you!

The Skud
24th May, 2010 @ 08:14 pm PDT

But a reliable network & server not included... ?

With individual PCs, if the web/ethernet/network is down I can still work, also being a laptop user I can take my work with me but with this system one becomes a slave to their desk and is at the mercy of the network gremlins.

Sounds like a great way to reduce overhead at the cost of system redundancy; when that single server crashes, EVERYBODY's computer crashes at the same time - brilliant! Sounds like a neat idea in theory, but a recipe for frustration in a real world work environment.

Oh - also makes for a nice environment for a virus to propagate too with all those virtual PCs all in one conveniant location to hack.

PeetEngineer
25th May, 2010 @ 09:09 am PDT

Is it possible to have a virtual computer, with a software processor and the other bits and pieces?

windykites1
25th May, 2010 @ 10:28 am PDT

An HDMI or DisplayPort adapter would be great as well

John Graven
25th May, 2010 @ 03:18 pm PDT

Of course the appeal of such 'lock-down' solutions is as a result of the high cost of ownership of a Windows desktop. The other alternative is something like Ubuntu (ubuntu.com) the most-consumer friendly Linux desktop, which auto-finds all drivers, auto-installs with full office functionality etc. And because all of the software is free, there are no licence numbers or other limitations, so an exact copy of another computer can be used, or you can turn up and boot off your thumb drive (USB memory stick), so the Operating System, all applications software and all of your data can be on such a stick. Right now the USB sticks aren't quite big enough for large media hoarders, so those people would need to use a pocket drive (500GB disk that fits in a shirt pocket) and you could have identical computers at home and work or holiday home, and just move with your active data on you... as well as having a backup copy in the 'cloud'.

But let's be clear, the costs are not in the size of the box/unit, but in the Windows' self-management approach. Linux keeps system program data quite separate to your user data. Microsoft could have implemented a decade ago a solution whereby your web-connected PC could keep itself an identical match to a master somewhere else (connecting and comparing via the internet).. but Microsoft preferred the 'buy the cardboard package' approach to application purchases, with separate serial numbers for each, so that every computer everywhere becomes its own on-going unique set-up, which needs back-up and management.

Graeme Harrison
25th May, 2010 @ 05:41 pm PDT

Dumb terminals upgraded with VGA, USB and RJ-45 Ethernet instead of the old monochrome TTL, RS232-C and ARCNET, Thicknet or coaxial 10 Base-T Ethernet.

It's a BOFH's dream, and nightmare. Back to the 1970's and 1980's days of "The computer is down." When the server was kaput *nobody* could do anything.

What this would need for reliability is one or more mirror servers with instant failover to keep everything going when anything goes *poof*.

Does this little cube have Gigabit ethernet? It's yet another not-new gizmo on Gizmag. I first saw these two or three years ago. It needs updating with DVI or DisplayPort, Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0.

Facebook User
25th May, 2010 @ 05:48 pm PDT

Oh goody NOT.

I have said before and I will say it again - that getting anything Microsoft is in some ways quite similar to owning a lemon car.

Not only is the engine falling out every few miles.... the body has no paint and is continually rusting through in spots, and not only is there no locks on the doors and ignition system, there are not even any doors...

And so as you potter around the web, using 2 litres of electricity for every Km you drive - because based upon just how much power it takes to run it - to do nothing, it is an efficient operating system, because it uses sooooooo much power so efficiently...

And as the pottering along continues, not only do you need to stop for frequent repairs and patch ups and fixes, you have to pay for a team of mechanics to tow a spare car around behind you, for a fresh supply of parts and maintainance.

So ones power guzzling PC with the latest and greatest and most expensive CPU's - just to get it running Microsoft's super expensive and processor hungry range of software and DRM spyware...now has 5 X the electricity consumption, 10X the additional costs for servicing and 100 X the requirements and running costs for security software - of a Linux PC....

Since this is the case, while I applaud the idea of this cutesey little device - until someone breaks the internet, I am disappointed that the manufacturers have failed to include any PR on using Linux - the superior operating system.

Mr Stiffy
25th May, 2010 @ 07:55 pm PDT

To help out those who are technologically sub-optimal and those who think linux is the saviour of the human race.

1. The server you run your virtualised desktop on would not be a single server but a cluster or "cloud" with redundancy, UPS and high capacity networking. You would need to lose your entire data centre to have the computer down. You'd also likely have a fail over data centre.

2. This sort of set up is excellent for reducing costs in LARGE businesses and government departments where hundred or thousands of desktops are used primarily for word processing, email and other such basic uses. It is a complete waste of money to buy a dedicated computer for a person who needs what amounts to a fancy typewriter. If you replace 10,000 pcs with this type of device you save buckets of money and buckets of time. If you replace just a few IT professional desktops / laptops with this you are an absolute idiot deserving of scorn.

3. There is a good reason Linux is not used more: it reeks of weekend enthusiast. There is a decided lack of true professional applications a lack of driver / hardware support and a lack of skilled support staff. I know you Linux boys (and girls) will see this as a troll but you try to find AutoCAD for Linux, you can't (I know there are some Linux cad-like programs but none that you'd want to call professional as in a real honest to goodness professional would use). You'll go on about how good the driver / hardware support is but really we all know it isn't as good as what you get with an OS X or Windows pc. Linux has its place and is very good at what it does, but it doesn't do desktop replacement for ordinary office workers.

4. Network reliability can easily be addressed by having a wireless and a cable network. Though of course if the router explodes (either literally or figuratively) all computers are down, but on the other hand with all the money you save it would be cheap to have a few spare.

And a car analogy:

If you live down the end of a twenty kilometre dirt track that tends to flood each winter then you don't buy a prius, you get a land cruiser. If you live in the middle of a big city you don't buy a car at all. Tools for purpose or are you lot that short sighted? Or just that dedicated to waving your banner at every opportunity?

Scion
26th May, 2010 @ 09:58 pm PDT

I don't think UNIX/LINUX is the savior of human race....but it sure does help a lot of people FOR FREE.

"3. There is a good reason Linux is not used more: it reeks of weekend enthusiast. There is a decided lack of true professional applications a lack of driver / hardware support and a lack of skilled support staff."

Obviously, this guy has never used Ubuntu #.# LTS. But, it's ok. This is not about an ad hominem comment.

There ARE EXCELLENT REASONS why LINUX IS USED, STILL, EVER (with no elaboration, but simple presentation of statistics)

Here's a little statistic for you.

http://www.top500.org/stats/list/36/osfam

There is no AutoCAD for LINUX. So what? Read this

http://architectafrica.com/bin0/news200411111_wine.html

Here, another powerful program running under UNIX/LINUX:

http://www.ansys.com/products/icepak/unix-linux.asp

There is no way a FREE OPEN-SOURCE COMMUNITY-BASED OS that runs more efficiently than a COSTLY PROPRIETARY OS will ever go away.

As of points: #1 and #2, agreeable. #4 - debatable.

silent K
22nd January, 2011 @ 02:28 pm PST
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