Thursday Nov 08, 2007

Developer Resources

I was asked recently to compile a list of resources and information that was available on line globally (and the implication of the question was free of charge) that were available for developers using Sun technology to assist with learning, education and support. I though that the information might be of interest to others so I have posted it here. Anyone interested in this should also consider Sun Learning Services who provide a wide range of high quality training and certification course online and instructor lead around the world.


Information and Learning Resources

for Solaris and Java Developers


Sun Developer Network

For all users of Sun Products and Technologies this is a rich source of information. Sections cover all forms of Java Development (eg. Enterprise, Desktop, Consumer, Wireless, SmartCard) as well as Developers and System Administrators for Solaris. It is designed to provide information to all levels of expertise from begineers to seasoned experts.

The two NEW centres provide introductory training  for both  Java developers and for Solaris Developers.

Some of the information is completely open and some requires the developer to register with the developer network. Registration for the developer network is free. The type of resources availabel includes on line training, FAQs, HowTos, early access code, free download of tools and software and examples. There are also a number of communities and discssion groups on specific products and technologies from which help can be obtained.

JavaOne Conference Materials

As the premier global developers conference for Java Developers and all other users of Java the event generates a considerable amount of content that is available on line. There are video recordings of all of the keynote sessions and also copies of all the presentations from the technical sessions. There are also multimedia versions of many of the technical sessions available to registered users of Sun Developer Network.


A community of Solaris users, adminstrators and developers it has a wealth of information about Solaris from both Sun and the wider community of users.


The feedroom provides a wide variety of video sessions from Sun.

Also available are a number of podcasts.
Also a search on YouTube and Google Videos for Sun Microsystems yields a number of videos about Sun technology and products.


Sun actively encourages it's employees to blog. Many of these blogs are produced by individuals or groups from the engineering and technical community. As well as providing a rich source of information direct from Sun's technical community it also provides the opportunity to have informal interactions with the authors view the comments section. I have highlight a small collection of blogs below.

User Groups

Open Source & Communities

Many of the open source collaboration sites offer documentation, community forums, FAQs and How-tos which can be invaluable sources of information and learning. There is a full list of Sun's Open Source projects on Sun's Website and some of the most popular sites for developers are listed below.
  • CoolTools - A set of tools optimised for the Open SPARC platform that is using in the T1000/T2000 family of CoolThreads Servers.
  • CoolStack - An optimised version of the Open Source web stack of Apache, MySQL, Perl, PHP, Squid and TomCat tuned for the OpenSPARC and coolthreads platforms.
  • - Collaboration site for the Java Community
  • Open Solaris
  • Open Office
  • Open JDK - Home of the Open Source Java Standard Edition community.
  • Glassfish - The Java Enterprise Edition and Application Server community
  • Open DS - The Open Directory Server Project
  • NetBeans - The open source developer tools
  • Sun Grid
  • Mobile and Embedded community - The open source project and cummunity for Java in consumer, mobile and embedded applications.
  • OpenSPARC - The OpenSource of the T-series of SPARC microprocessors
  • Open ESB - The Open Enterprise Service Bus project is an open source implementation of the JBI specification.
  • Open Media Commons - Includiing Project DReaM this is an open source project to develop uncumbered solutions for digital media including digital rights management.
  • Open SSO - An open source implementation of single sign on, access control, authentication and distributed idenity management.

Friday Jul 13, 2007

Interview with DTrace Team

Robert Scoble has posted an interesting interview with the creators of DTrace at Sun as part of his ScobleShow series of video podcasts. For anyone wanting to get started with DTrace the DTraceToolkit is a great place to start.

Tuesday Dec 05, 2006

Virtualising the Desktop

In spring 2005, nearly 2 years ago, I started on a brainstorming session with a couple of people from Reuter's CTO office which started a train of events that was to lead to the delivery of a virtual desktop infrastructure that has now been deployed in Reuter's newest development facility in Beijing.

The problem that Reuter's were facing and trying to address is one that is common to many software development organisations. Each developer had on his or her desk several machines. One which acted as their main “desktop” running standard things like email, web, desktop publishing, etc, these machines were centrally managed. The other machines were behind a local firewall/router and had little or no central control, these machines were to provide development, test and build environments and were unique to the developer or the project that they were assigned to. The problem was that when you looked at the total estate it was large (typical estimates for this type of environment are between 2 to 4 machines per developer), heavily under utilised, taking developers time away from their day jobs to administer the systems and not standardisation of tools or versions of applications being used. It was also difficult if not impossible to get a handle on when or indeed if resources (software and hardware) were being re-used or recycled between project or if geographically distributed development teams were duplicating resources. The solution that we were looking for therefore needed to address the following needs.

  • Reduce Costs – Ownership and aquisition
  • Improve Standardisation – Common tools and environments, enable sharing and re-use
  • Share Infrastructure – enhance utilisation
  • Asset Management
  • Security & Audit
  • Mobility
  • Resilience – Political, Pandemic, Geophysical, Meteorological
  • Support for Windows, Solaris and Linux developers


The solution that we came up with has been called a number of things none of which truly describe the solution adequately. These include Common Developer Desktop, Thin Client Desktop, Utility Desktop and Display Utility. In actual fact what we did was to first virtualise the machines that developers had previously had on or around their desks and move them back into a shared piece of infrastructure that could be housed in a machine room or data centre. We then provided an access layer that allowed access to the system through a variety of client devices. The client devices included a browser based thin client application (Sun Secure Global Desktop) either locally or remotely, Sun Ray devices on a local area network and remote Sun Ray devices. Access control was managed by interfacing to the Reuter's pre-existing Active Directory system for authentication and authorisation and was via secure username/password authentication from SSGD or JavaCard when using the Sun Ray devices. The infrastructure virtualisation was provided by Vmware ESX for the Windows environments and by Solaris Zones and Logical Domains for the Solaris Environments.

I will talk in some more detail around the solution architecture and how it delivers the various benefits requested in later postings but it does seem that increasing numbers of people are beginning to wake up to this type of approach. Desktop Virtualisation is in danger of being deployed before data centre virtualisation. Also as the pressures of space, power and cooling start to hit office facilities in our big cities this approach provides a solution.


Architecture Overview





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