Startup Pano Logic is looking to bring its desktop virtualization to the next level.
The Menlo Park, Calif., company, which began selling its small desktop device and server-based software in 2007, is expanding its software suite-Pano Virtual Desktop Solution 2.0-for the first time to included new support for VMware’s Virtual Desktop Manager as well as WAN support for its customers.
The new software should allow IT managers to expand the number of virtual desktops that employees can use. The software allows IT departments to create virtual desktop environments within remote offices or allows them to give employees access to their desktop image from a home or remote office, said Aly Orady, the company’s co-founder and chief technology officer.
The updated software package will allow the Pano Logic device to support dual displays and users to access a range of USB devices, such as PDAs and cell phones. The device itself is a small box that connects a keyboard, mouse and other components to an IP-based connection. The user can then connect to the operating system image that is running on a VMware virtual machine within the data center.
“I think the benefit is that these improvements make the technology more applicable in more cases,” said Orady. “In the past, you might have had a Pano device in the main office and within the data center, but you couldn’t deploy it to a remote office because it lacked the WAN optimization. The update within the software is really about expanding the number of environments and the number of users that can use it.”
For now, the Pano Logic device and software work only with VMware’s hypervisor and provide support for Microsoft Windows environments. The goal, Orady said, is to eventually work with any and all hypervisors, including open-source hypervisors, such as the Xen-based Citrix offerings, or with Microsoft’s own Hyper-V that will be an option within Windows Server 2008.
No Dominant Model
Although several vendors are offering versions of desktop virtualization-VMware, Citrix and others-there is no one model that is dominating the way enterprises and midmarket businesses think about and use the technology. There is potential for this market, however, with Gartner predicting the number of virtual desktops growing from 5 million PCs in 2006 to more than 660 million in 2011.
The question now is which model of desktop virtualization will dominate the market. Currently, IT administrators can choose from a wide array of offerings, from terminal services VDI (virtual hosted desktop) PC blades to operating system and application streaming models. There are also options that include a choice of diskless desktops and traditional thin-client PCs.
What Pano Logic is attempting to do with its package of hardware and software is to begin bridging the gap between thin-client and application virtualization technology. For IT departments, this should make PC administration easier, cut down on cost and make the entire enterprise more secure by centralizing the applications and operating system in the data center.
“What Pano Logic has is a technology that can easily drop down into the enterprise, and it’s very simple to use and very cost-effective,” said Chris Burton, an analyst with the Burton Group.
While Burton said he has been impressed with the approach that Pano Logic and some other companies have taken within the field of desktop virtualization, he noted that the technology behind some of these concepts are not fully mature and many enterprises are only deploying desktop virtualization in a limited capacity.
One area that seems likely to embrace the technology first is health care, where many more workers are now located off site or at home, but where there still is a need to protect patient information.
The new version of Pano Logic software is slated for release May 5. The pricing for the Pano client and the software remains $300.