VDI startup Pano Logic closes shop but keeps it a secret from customers

The maker of the chrome zero-client device and cloud desktop software appears to have disappeared without a trace

Pano Logic, the virtual desktop infrastructure vendor and creator of the infamous tiny chrome zero-client device, has reportedly closed its doors and shut down the business. I say "reportedly" only because there has yet to be any official statement or announcement from the company itself.

The news was originally broken on Oct. 30 by The Credit Union Times, which stated it had received its information from Pano Logic's former San Francisco-based PR firm, which said as a matter of fact: "The company has gone out of business." This news was later confirmed when InfoWorld spoke to a former Pano Logic employee who asked not to be named.


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The fact that The Credit Union Times was able to get the news before anyone else may be attributed to the fact that Pano Logic has had a fair amount of sales success with credit unions. Pano Logic's website home page is still splashed with news of the company's most recent deal with the $3.1 billion Redstone Federal Credit Union in Huntsville, Ala., a deal that would have had Pano Logic replacing 80 percent of the credit union's PCs with Pano Logic systems over the next 18 months.


While the silence from Pano Logic is deafening, many people are waking up to the news and asking questions. The company's previously active social media marketing efforts suddenly went radio silent on Oct. 22. Pano Logic's final tweet was about how Redstone Federal Credit Union was going through a major transformation using Pano Logic technology. This same news was also the final word on its Facebook fan page. Then just like that, the company's social engagement ended.


But questions from customers and virtualization community members quickly began appearing across the company's social media platforms. On Twitter, people began asking if the company was still around with tweets like, "is panologic dead??" and "hello are you still with us?" These concerns for the company's well being were not necessarily the same questions being posed on Pano Logic's Facebook page, where customers were trying to find some form of communication to speak to someone in the company -- because email and phone calls were evidently going unanswered. Even if you hadn't heard the news yet, you could tell something was off by comments on Facebook, such as "What is your post-bankruptcy plan for support and parts? We have equipment that needs to be RMA." Another stated they had driven by the company's office and it was "all closed up."

It is clear that even employees were caught off guard when they were let go, and like everyone else, they still don't have all the answers. An ex-employee of the company told InfoWorld that "things had gotten crazy near the end," addubg, "It seemed as though the investors weren't happy with the process in selling the company and instead just pulled the funding."

The company's corporate website is still up but with one notable difference: The management team and investor pages are both blank -- text disappearing in the middle of the night as fast as the company itself. One has to wonder if that disappearing act on the website was done in order to disassociate themselves from the company. It seems strange -- then again, what about this doesn't?


Existing Pano Logic customers will find themselves in a tough predicament because this isn't a case of simply plugging in another company's zero-client device; the Pano Logic system is a completely proprietary end-to-end solution. Its zero-client cube contains no CPU, no memory, no operating system, and no software, and it moved all computing to the client's data center or to the cloud. Unlike competitor thin client devices, Pano Logic's dedicated hardware technology only works with its data center software. While the solution's connection broker technology does work with the major hypervisor platforms like Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V, and VMware vSphere, the connections themselves are still dependent on Pano Logic software.


If there is any consolation, it's that the Pano Logic solution was on the cheaper end of the spectrum. That said, organizations may not find themselves losing as much on capital expenditure as they could have, but this is still a hard pill to swallow, considering customers will need to "rip and replace" much of their desktop virtualization environment in order to transition to something that can be supported long term.

The Redwood City, Calif.-based company was founded in 2006. It raised $38 million in venture capital funding over the years, which included a $20 million Series C funding round led by venture capital firm Mayfield Fund in February 2010. According to the company's LinkedIn profile, Pano Logic employed nearly 70 people near the end.

The company could not be reached for comment and it has yet to issue a public statement.

Startup companies like Pano Logic go out of business all the time. But what's interesting about this closure is that the company appeared to be on the right track and showing signs of success only days earlier. Beyond that, it's the way that everyone in the company just seemed to disappear off the face of the planet without any explanation. That's just weird.


This article, "VDI startup Pano Logic closes shop but keeps it a secret from customers," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization and cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.

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