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Hit the Pano button - desktops go virtual

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Realizing that it's asking customers to make a radical shift, Pano has come up with some interesting pricing models. You can, for example, buy the device and software for $20 per month or $180 per year with support. There's a $300 perpetual license available as well with support available at $60 per year. Those prices include VMware's Server software and VirtualCenter 1.4.

There are also different pricing models for mid-sized companies with around 50 devices and virtual desktops and large companies with hundreds of systems that will need VMware's high-end ESX Server. Pano expects large corporate service providers to view its device as a gateway to adding virtual client management as an option to their regular data center management spread.

While initially a corporate play, Pano hopes to attract consumer interest in its device by teaming with service providers that would charge a subscription for a network connection and desktop maintenance.

As with all thin client and blade PC vendors, Pano claims an overall management cost savings by moving to this type of arrangement. Customers often spend a $700 per PC for employees and thousands of dollars dealing with security, maintenance and upgrade issues. By moving the PC to the data center, an administrator can handle most of those tasks centrally.

Pano's pitch seems just as strong to us as the other thin client and blade PC vendors out there. Unlike the Teradici camp, which offers top performance via desk side and server room silicon, Pano gives you a virtual desktop. So, you're saving money and probably getting a good enough experience in most cases. In addition, Pano has a much reduced desktop software burden when compared to most vendors, although we have seen other software-free set-ups.

The company's success will seem to hinge on how well its virtualization software works and how many sophisticated tools Pano can add to match rivals such as VMware and Citrix that own core virtualization technology and have eyes for the PC as well.

You'll find Pano here. ®

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