Pano Logic: Fast, easy, VMware-based

Pano Logic's Pano Cube is a very small 'designer'-looking cube containing three USB jacks, VGA and audio/mic jacks. It ostensibly has no CPU or memory/storage inside, permitting it to be used strictly as a KVM+ access device. Pano Logic also makes a USB dongle called Pano Remote for Windows-based machines that logs them onto a VM as well, but we couldn't find any use for it. Pano Remote does have the ability to constrain data transfer between a host and client PC, including print data, but this was not extensively tested.

The Pano Manager provisions desktops through ESX/vCenter and also enables policy controls about what IO can go through the Pano Cube. It's possible to restrict printers, and so on for any particular session. The Pano Gateway in turn, sets up connection brokerage relationships for VPN and proxy access from branch to 'home'.

Pano Device setup was very simple, as there's little to set. Pano Manager allows for persistent and non-persistent VMs to be used. VMs can be organized into collections, which can host a number of VMs in which the Pano Cubes connect as a single logical unit). The collections can be user-based collections where VMs have specific relationships with users (like first cousins), Pano Cube or Device-specific relationships (for example this Cube always gets this VM). If you don't want to do either, VMware View can manage the VMs.

The Cube Clients, we found, are wicked fast. They logon in just seconds, and were able to reproduce multimedia very well — even when we loaded the hosted VMware server down (a local host with 8GB of RAM) with all 10 Cubes sent to us.

The Pano Manager and Cube require VMware, but is a decent investment atop this expensive platform. Its simplicity is bliss, and it doesn't require VMware's vCenter to do the majority of its work. A baseline VMware server platform should do the trick, and it can use the "free" VMware ESXi platform.

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