Sunday, February 20, 2011

Desktop Virtualization

We are always updating computers in our labs at school. Recently, we decided to test cloud computing and knew that we wanted to use the Pano Logic system. We have already virtualized some of our servers and wanted to test desktop virtualization as well. I found a great article on the Pano Logic systems in eWeek magazine. Check out the article if you’re interested.

In planning for the installation, we had to upgrade all of the network switches in each building on campus. New Cisco switches were needed so that each Pano units could connect to a virtual Pano Manager server located in our server room. Each of these servers can run up to 25 Pano Units. This number works great for all of our labs. We normally have 20 to 25 computers in each room.

There are so many good reasons for moving to this technology. First of all, we have one central place for all updates and troubleshooting. No longer do we have to run across campus to work on an individual computer. The units are very small in size, and they require a fraction of electricity to run as compared to a conventional desktop computer. I’m amazed at how little electricity they use. A normal desktop computer (this does not include the monitor and other peripherals) requires approximately 400 watts of electricity to run. The Pano units only needs 9 watts to run. This in itself is a great cost savings to our already taxed budget.

All of the software needed for a particular class only has to be installed one time, on a server. Then when students log on to a computer (the Pano Unit), the software they need is there. This cuts down on the time it takes for our PC technicians to set up a lab.

We have had wonderful results with this system in the three of our labs so far. We do plan on expanding to all our labs as soon as possible.

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