Pano Logic launches “VDI capex buster:” Everything you need for $489 per desktop

Two of the biggest arguments against VDI have been (1) it’s too complicated, and (2) it costs more to buy and implement than just buying traditional desktops. (We had an interesting conversation on BrianMadden.

Two of the biggest arguments against VDI have been (1) it’s too complicated, and (2) it costs more to buy and implement than just buying traditional desktops. (We had an interesting conversation on earlier this year around the reasons people don’t use VDI.)

Pano Logic hopes to change the conversation around VDI complexity and capex cost with the announcement of “Pano Express,” a 50-user turnkey VDI system which they’ll sell for USD $24,450 ($489 per desktop). The Pano Express system is completely turnkey, including 50 Pano client devices, an HP server with the horsepower and RAID ready to run the 50 desktops, 50 Microsoft VECD licenses, VMware vSphere Essentials and all the virtual servers and desktop templates ready to go. You can literally be up and running in 20 minutes!

For those who aren’t familiar with Pano Logic, they make the Pano Cube zero-client device that connects to their connection broker running on ESX. Their sweet-spot is in the small-to-medium VDI deployment space. (Maybe 10 to 200 desktops?) The client devices are super tiny zero clients. (We talked to their CTO Aly Orady and got a demo a year ago on Brian Madden TV #11.)



I really like that the Pano Express bundle comes with all the VMs you need to be running quickly. You just take one of the 50 Panos out of the box and plug it in, and the wizard comes up automatically (to configure domain authentication, etc.). And I also love that it includes the VECD (well, I guess technically they’re VDA licenses now) and the vSphere stuff you need to get up and running.

What you get for $24,450:

  • 50 Pano client devices
  • 50 VECD licenses for 32-bit Windows XP or Windows 7
  • HP DL160 G6, dual Intel E5620 CPUs (2.4GHz, quad core, 12MB cache), 48GB RAM, 7 146GB 10k SAS drives (RAID5)
  • VMware vSphere Essentials (includes ESXi 4, vCenter Server for Essentials, vCenter Agent & Update Manager licensed for three dual-proc hex-core CPUs and 256GB RAM.

Each desktop virtual machine is configured for 1GB RAM, 12GB disk space, 18 IOPS. Then the server has the following pre-built VMs:

  • Four templates for desktop VMs (Windows XP and Windows 7, each with and without OpenOffice(
  • Pano Manager VM
  • vCenter VM
  • Setup VM

You can configure the desktop template to be used for many-to-one, one-to-one based on user, or one-to-one based on device. The whole process is outlined on Pano’s site.

So what do you think? Most people no twitter yesterday (when this thing was announced) thought it was cool with the only negative being that there’s no redundancy. (i.e. just one server). Although if redundancy’s important then there’s nothing stopping a customer from buying a second server and adding into the group.

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Dang! I love it. I have been thinking about the concept of offering an all-inclusive bundle solution and how it would suit SMB customers. PanoLogic delivers! Great job.

And the Pano Cube is the best looking zero/thin client out there. I think this level of simplicity (simple technology and easy to grasp cost model) is exactly what VDI needs to kick off at larger scale. This makes VDI easier to understand for the customer and the customer feels like he is in full control of his VDI (because he can set it up all by himself instead of paying big bucks to consultants to implement VDI)


Unfortunately, just adding a server to this implementation won't cause it to become high availability.  Each server is using local storage and there is no method in place to replicate or share the data.  For a small business looking for a quick, small and unreliable solution that locks them in, this is great.


is this similar to KAVIZA in which Citrix invested recently (except I think Kaviza didn't provide the hardware) ?


I wonder what kind of IOPS you can get with something like a Drobo or Buffalo box? Like I wonder whether a $1500 consumer NAS could support the home drives and data for 50 users? I guess probably not.

But if I'm a small shop with traditional desktops, I don't have any desktop HA to begin with, so this doesn't really make it any worse. (Except with a failed server you'd lose everyone at once.) But what about a second server and a consumer NAS for nightly backups? I think that'd be pretty solid for what, maybe another $5k?


Or actually with two servers you don't even need the NAS. Just some way to replicate the data. And for me I'm fine with that. I mean come on.. these are desktops. The servers have RAID 5.. that's getting a pretty high number of nines without a lot of money.. certainly much higher than whatever the customer had before.


@ Brian: Average VDI desktop IO is about 10 IOPS which are typically 50/50 Read/Write

7,200 rpm SATA delivers 75 IOPS

10k Fiber Channel spindles deliver 120 sustained IOPS

15k Fiber Channel spindles deliver 180 sustained IOPS,

Solid State delivers 3000 sustained IOPS

you can roughly calculate how many desktops a spindle will support


For high availability you'd really only need the server hardware (at ~$5,000) - the included VMware vSphere Essentials is licensed for up to 3 servers.  You could also setup a Pooled Collection and spread double the number of DVM across both servers (remember the Msft VECD licenses are tied to the devices and not the DVMs).  With a pooled collection the DVMs are essentially disposable.

Consumer-grade NAS might not be optimal since they likely wouldn't provide the IOPS and low latency needed for running DVMs but they could provide a good place to back them up or as a network share for user profiles and documents stored outside the DVMs.


At first glance, the "His and Hers Pano Watches" depicted in the above picture are quite impressive.

In reality, the Pano solution, Express or otherwise, is only applicable to low-complexity, limited-user environments. I say this because any solution that utterly dumbs down the client endpoint will ultimately prove to be non-scalable and feature-poor, and just as unmanageable and costly as a traditional PC deployment. This is the case because Pano is simply the 180-degree diametric opposite of a traditional fat PC.

The sweet spot is somewhere in the middle of these two extremes - Not a fat PC, but not a Swiss watch either (no offense to the Swiss).

Remote protocols are way too critical to the success and viability of VDI. And then there's printing, device redirection, location awareness, and a whole gamut of optimization technologies requiring local processing capabilities on the client end. But I assume Pano already knows that - And being a low-complexity, limited user LAN solution, Pano has obviously launched their "Express" solution because that's the only niche in which they can really play.

Let's recognize Pano's solution for what it is. But if I am to guess, Pano's CTO will soon rush to say how this and that company has already deployed their solution to thousands of users across LANs and WANs.


Kaviza is completely different as their "VDI-in-a-Box" omits:

* endpoint client hardware

* endpoint OS (if needed)

* VDI protocol (except RDP)

* virtual desktop OS license

* hypervisor and its manager

* server and storage hardware

* none of it preconfigured

VDI in a box? Not so much.


Shouldn't "complete turnkey / everything you need" include keyboard, monitor and mouse?


This is a cool solution but a VDM solution brings other costs into factors some of which are above but you have to keep in mind upfront:

1. comparable on-site DR server with vSphere installed and ready to go

2. virtual backup & replication - haven't heard great things about Vmware's data recovery solution but Veeam Backup & Replication has good reviews

3. shared storage solution - a beefy desktop should do the trick here to keep costs down for a small biz

4. time for all this good setup - no rocket science but nothing is plug n play

So long as you are prepared, no worries, right?


Jesus when is everybody going to stop drinking the Thin Client OJ :-) WTF is Pano Logic. A great industrial design, locked into their own protocol, and use RDP to do anything over WAN or securely to access any network. Lock into crappy View which makes no sense. 8000 customers 1 million deployments = TOY product and the greatest hype machine in history AKA VMware. What about POSoIP and Pano? that's never going to happen is it..... If the new Wyse client was put in a shinny silver box and they charged to a subscription model, what's the difference? Apart from they do it with HDX, so at least it will work. You can get all the benefits of thin client with commodity cheap hardware. Granted, Wyse did a nice job with instant on, but how hard would it be for HP/Dell to use their brains and build a similar commodity device using something like SplashTop. Oh yeah that means Citrix has to build a decent LInux Receiver. Hey MS perhaps you could do something innovative for once, well that's not going to happen, just like you will never build OS containers that anybody can use,


VECD, VDA, and VDI o my!

Taking some conversation from customers considering solutions such as the one referenced here.  The VECD item referenced in the article is a cost worth considering.

For devices hosting Windows OS instances under SA, VECD is no longer a purchase requirement as of July 1st.  For these devices you will however be required to purchase VDI Suite Licensing (I love the play on sweet), in the Standard or Premium Suite selection at $23 and $53 per year.  So, 50 devices covered under SA with the Standard VDI Suite = $1150 per year, while those choosing the Premium VDI Suite will pay $2650 per year for the same SA covered devices.

In the Panalogic instance referenced in this article, and for any other similar approach to VDI (nCompute anyone), the annual costs will also include the Microsoft VDA License (the VECD replacement as of July 1st) at $100 per year per device, plus the additional VDI Suite licensing at the Standard ($23), or Premium ($53) option.

So, for the 50 seats referenced above, I do not see the cost of the Standard or Premium VDI Suite, or the annual renewal of the Windows VDA.

Year 1: $24,450 (Pano buy in) + (VECD/VDA Incl Yr 1) + $1150 (VDI Standard Suite)= $25,600

Year 2: $5000 (Windows VECD/VDA) + $1150 (VDI Standard Suite) = $6150

The year two line item recurs at the rate referenced.

Total 3 Yr cost: $38,900

Total 5 Yr cost: $52,150

I have a bias in these matters.  But, does this sort of thing really reference a value proposition for business.  The businesses I meet today that are investing in technology are growing.  If a business is investing capital in delivering applications to employees, will this sort of product offer a platform that can scale to meet future business need?  Underlying costs aside, I have my doubts.


does this come with PCoIP?


to get dual monitor support with Pano Device you have to buy an additional device namely "Pano Dual Monitor Adapter" that uses the USB slot for the second monitor. It doesn't use DVI either so a converter is needed for DVI monitors.


The "his and hers boxes of imported French fragrance" aren't capable of supporting PCoIP. This device is more like a sub-zero thin client far from capable of meeting any sort of requirement verging on the complex. Think of the Pano device as a single-port KVM giving you access to one virtual computer.

To be far, Pano offers a Pano-Remote option on a USB key. This is intended for use in conjunction with a Windows-based client over the Internet. This  option probably uses RDP to remotely connect to the same desktop that you would other access from inside the LAN using the Pano box.


A couple of you had mentioned Kaviza, so I wanted to clarify what we do.

With Kaviza, you can deploy full virtual desktops with either Citrix HDX or RDP and built-in high-availability for a total cost per desktop of  between $260 and $500.

Kaviza VDI-in-a-box is a software-based virtual appliance that automates all the VDI functions - provisioning, load balancing, high-availability, user management and scalability.  The architecture is Google-esque and scales on inexpensive commodity hardware with just direct attached storage.  Kaviza provides HA using direct attached storage.

Total cost per desktop is under $500 and it breaks down as follows:

-Commodity server: $100/desktop

-Kaviza license: $125 to $160/desktop depending on RDP or HDX

-Hypervisor license: $0 to $50/desktop (XenServer or ESX)

-MS VDA license: $0 to $100 (depending on whether you have SA or not)

Total cost per desktop: $225 to $410 per desktop.

This assumes the use of a repurposed PC, but you get a complete solution with HA and built-in scalability and complete provisioning automation and the choice of protocols and hypervisors.  

We have reseller partners who bundle everything into a complete solution if a customer wants that.  Hope this helps.  You can try it for yourself from our website.  


As Brian mentioned, cost and complexity are two key factors that hamper VDI.  You need to address them but in a way that doesn't compromise high-availability, scalability, vendor agnosticity, while maintaining good user experience even over WANs.  

At Kaviza we address each of these key concerns.  Ours is a SW appliance that costs $260 - $410 per desktop (total cost including MSFT VDA, Server with DAS, cost of Hypervisor) assuming a refurbished PC (which the bulk of the customer base start with).  

Kaviza announced V3.0 at Citrix Synergy (in trial use by customers/partners)  and runs on ESX and XenServer and provides BOTH the RDP and HDX protocols.   It does not need vCenter (or any other hypervisor manager) and yet provides:

* linked clones

* automated provisioning

* dynamic load balancing

* hot pluggable servers for scalability

* high-availability

out-of-the box.   You don't have to create server pools and create your own infrastrux to duplicate your data etc.  The virtual SW appliance does all of this using SW that we have painstakingly developed over several years.  BTW, if you have an allergy to using direct attached storage (DAS) our solution will work on SANS as well.  

As one of the posters above suggested .. we need a middle ground.  Something that is simple but doesn't compromise on fundamentals and lock you in.   We feel Kaviza is such a solution because you can get it up and running in 2 hours and scale on demand while your users get the benefits of a tried and true protocol, HDX.


@Rick....doesn't the Enterprise TS CAL now cover the VDI suite license?  


What P/N of VECD are included? How do they transfer SA to the client from one region to another region? There is a hidden cost to me in the Windows XP or Windows 7 licenses: