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Pano Logic woos SMBs with 'one-step' VDI

Size of step may vary

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Desktop virtualization outfit Pano Logic has uncloaked two new server contraptions that feed virtual desktops to its "zero clients", curiously small silver cubes meant to replace big and beefy client PCs.

With these server bundles, the Redwood City, California outfit is wooing all those small- and medium-sized businesses that might need a little help erecting a virtual desktop infrastructure.

On Wednesday, the company introduced Pano Express SMB and Pano Express HA, servers that arrive with all the software you need to operate those little silver cubes, including Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and VMware vSphere 4 virtualization. The HA incarnation – that's "high availability" – also offers virtual storage software from DataCore that provides replication and failover.

The SMB version is designed to drive up to thirty clients, while the HA bundle is meant for up to sixty. Both ship alongside the client devices.

"These are what we call one-step [virtual desktop infrastructure] solutions, including the storage and the server and the hypervisor and the management tools and the end-point device," executive vice president of marketing Dana Loof tells The Register. "I would call them 'plug-and-play', but we all know that's not a reality."

Well, that's about right. That one step may vary in length.

Pano Logic's pitch is that it "stretches the system bus across the network". In other words, its silver cube clients run no local software, and according to the company, they never require firmware updates. The company says that a recent double-blind study showed that this "zero client" setup outperforms both the P20 and Xenith desktop virtualization clients from Wyse.

Pano Cube

Curiously small cube

The Reg tried the company's taste test this summer, and we actually picked the Wyse P20 over Pano silver cube, but differences were slim. And if you exclude the rather demanding example of video playback, both virtualization clients compared well with a standard desktop PC.

Generally, Pano sells only those silver cubes and the management software they require. But it has sold server bundles in the past. According to Loof, previous bundles included Microsoft VDA ( virtual desktop access) licenses, but these are not included with the new bundles, since most customers, Pano says, already have them.

Pano Express SMB – which uses a server from HP – is priced at $30,099 for 30 seats, while Pano Express HA – a Fujitsu server – is $72,000 for a 60 seats. But the HA incarnation is also available for a smaller number of clients, and that'll cost you less. Prices include the curiously small silver cubes. ®

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