HUNTSVILLE, Ala.-Redstone FCU is not regretting its decision to convert 75% of its personal computers to a virtual desktop solution, despite the fact the company that makes the hardware connecting workstations to the main server has shut down.

But some analysts suggest there is reason to begin making backup plans. Pano Logic, Redwood City, Calif., the once-promising company at the forefront of the desktop virtualization movement, has gone out of business. Pano Logic offered a small piece of hardware that connects an end user's monitor and peripherals to a network, eliminating the need for a CPU, and more importantly, tech support for desktop computers. The computing resources are drawn from a centralized server.

But Redstone CEO Joe Newberry told CU Journal there is no reason the $3.4-billion CU's move to save 60% of its PC costs by switching to a virtual desktop solution will present any issues going forward. "We use a third-party vendor that sold Pano Logic and have a maintenance contract with them. They tell us they will have no issues fulfilling that agreement."

Newberry added that if any of the Pano Logic hardware installed already malfunctions, the CU has the option to simply buy similar hardware from another manufacturer. "There are other vendors, like HP and Dell, who make these little boxes. It's like buying a flower pot and the flowers die, the pot still works, you just go out and get more flowers."

Eight-Year Lifespan

Newberry said the life expectancy of the Pano Logic hardware is eight years. "There are no moving parts in these boxes, so not a lot to go wrong. I don't regret this decision at all."

Blaine Pack, consultant with exaChange in Lodi, Calif., agreed that the CU has little to worry about."Everyone was surprised when Pano Logic went out of business because they had made several big sales recently and have been around for a while. I am not an expert on the company's business, but I strongly suspect someone will step forward to support or buy Pano Logic's assets."

Even if Pano Logic isn't bought, Pack said companies that have converted to Pano Logic's desktop solution should have few concerns. "There are a few ways to virtualize, and Pano Logic being one. Once you go down a virtualization path and you have to switch there would be a little pain and some expense, but no major crisis. Plus, there are still a lot of the Pano Logic boxes floating around on the market and if some went bad you could likely find the identical box to replace."

Proprietary Issues

But Alvin Cruz, senior strategic project manager at Symitar, San Diego, disagrees, saying there may not be many Pano Logic boxes still on the market now. What Cruz said should raise concerns of organizations using Pano Logic is that the software to drive the boxes is "very proprietary," which could lead to issues.

"Everyone today using Pano Logic will be fine, we say for at least the next year. But as technology changes, and say a new device needs to be hooked into the network, there will be no drivers to support it. Plus, as any bugs creep up, say from new technology being introduced into the network, there will be no software updates."

Greg Clem, director of network and hardware services for Symitar, confirmed that Pano Logic users should have no immediate concerns. "The hardware is pretty solid and stable, and is low risk to fail. However, anyone running Pano Logic should put together an exit strategy to migrate to alternative technology."

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