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 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 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."

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.