There is no spoon

For those of you who weren't paying attention, we did a formal launch event last Friday of the new Sun Ray Server 3 and a new form factor in the Sun Ray 170.  As I sat through the questions from the Press and as I continue to read the online "feedback" from what these Journalists wrote, I've come to the conclusion that there is a widespread lack of understanding of what the Sun Ray is, or more importantly what it isn't.

First of all Sun Ray is not LTSP, not even close.  Now Sun circa 1985 with boot -net and diskless workstations, that might be close to LTSP.

Sun Ray is not an X - terminal.  Sun Ray does not speak X11.

Sun Ray is Stateless.  What does stateless mean?  It means there is absolutely NOTHING running on the client, no embedded OS, no local user accounts, no configuration settings, no NVRAM to program.  There is no way for a Sun Ray to be "reset to factory defaults".  Nothing else even comes close to this.  Sorry Wyse/Neoware/HP, if you have local accounts or a way to get back to factory default, you do have state despite what your marketing literature says.  What does having a stateless client offer you?  Just a few small things:

The ability to never worry about someone stealing a client and walking away with your data. 

The ability to never worry about desktop viruses, worms, trojans. 

The ability to stop upgrades on the desktop.

The ability to never have to visit the desktop to troubleshoot/repair/look at a problem 

The ability to completey lose power/networking and continue working \*EXACTLY\* where you left off when they are restored.

For those in more secure areas, the ability to move a client across different classified networks without having it visit the "drill press of death".

As above, when combined with Trusted Solaris, the ability to access those multiple classified networks from one client.

Sun Ray is an appliance.  When Sun Ray first came out, we actually called them "Enterprise Appliances", but the majority of people could not grok that (or worse thought of something like Audrey).  Now we call them Thin Clients because that's what the market understands.  Regarding appliances, when is the last time you upgraded your toaster so you could make toast?  The first Sun Ray sold in 1999 is still 100% useable with the latest Sun Ray Server 3 software.  Want a new Office suite, put a new one on the server.  Want more horepower, upgrade your server.  Same as a Windows Based Terminal and Terminal Server environment you say?  No, not at all.  If you still want to argue, why does HP have  6 models of their Thin Client with 7 different processors and 6 different amounts of RAM?  Why does Wyse have page after page of EOL'd thin clients?  With our competition, you're never getting out of the desktop hardware lifecycle nightmare.

Nothing runs on the Sun Ray.  People often ask me what software can they run on a Sun Ray and they get puzzled when I say they can't run any software on the Sun Ray.  Sun Ray displays a session running on a Solaris or Linux Server.  Using Citrix or an RDP client running on the Sun Ray Server, a Sun Ray can display a session running on a Windows Terminal Server.  Using a 5250/3270/6530 emulator on the Sun Ray Server will allow the Sun Ray to display sessions from AS400's, Mainframes, Tandems.  With our "Controlled Access Mode" (aka Kiosk Mode), you can make the Sun Ray into basically anything you want it to be.

Sun Ray = Office Supplies.  You can't "Fix" a Sun Ray.  Out of the 33,000 Sun Ray desktops inside of Sun, how many "desktop" techs do you think are required to manage that install base?  How does the number zero grab you?  On the ultra rare occasion that something happens to your Sun Ray (let's say a power supply failure), you replace it and send it back for a warranty replacement (5 years on the SR1g).  In the meantime you walk to the closet, grab a spare and plug it in and pick up exactly where you left off.  Anyone who can replace staples in a stapler or replenish their supply of post-it notes can replace a Sun Ray

So you can compare Sun Ray to LTSP, to Windows Based Terminals, to highly managed PC's.  But do me a favor and really give Sun Ray a try and compare everything (including deployment time).  You can learn all you want about our competition from their product specs because almost everyone understands a PC.  That's basically what they are selling, a locked down manageable PC.  That is nothing close to what Sun Ray is and to grasp the difference you have to try them out.  Only then you will really understand that there is no spoon.


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My name is Craig Bender aka ThinGuy. I'm a Principal Software Developer for Oracle's Virtual Desktop Engineering group.

I architect and evangelize the use of Oracle's Desktop technology including Sun Ray, Secure Global Desktop, and Oracle VDI.


« July 2016