Thursday Sep 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Sun Ray!

The Sun Ray was announced to the world on 9/9/99.  Happy Birthday little guy! Have you been working out?  You've definitely lost some weight!

Sun Ray 1 Family Sun Ray 2 Family

Here are some trade articles from various sources that ran on 9/08/99, the day before the announcement:

Forbes: Corona is a ray of sun (shine)

cnet: Sun looks toward a new dawn in thin clients

SRO/ZDNet (via Linux Today): Sun Takes Another Shot At The PC

Wired (via Linux Today): Sun Tries Net Appliance, Again.

Thursday Aug 27, 2009

New Sun VDI 3 Hands On Training Course

Sun is finally offering a hands on instructor led class for Sun VDI 3.  Since I personally know the folks that created the content for this course, I know it's going to be top notch!

A brief description:

This five-day workshop introduces you to Sun VDI Software 3 technology and software administration. Along with installing Sun VDI Software 3, you are introduced to the architectural details of the software, providing a foundation to understand the individual features introduced in subsequent modules. Through a combination of instructor-led lectures and hands-on labs, you are introduced to the following VDI components and features:

  • Sun xVM VirtualBox and VMware® Virtual Center desktop brokers
  • LDAP and Microsoft® Active Directory directory server integration
  • Open Storage platform for the back-end storage of user desktops
  • Sun Ray Software (SRS) and Sun Secure Global Desktop (SGD) for the display of user desktops
  • Sun VDI administration tools
Sign up today!

Thursday Aug 06, 2009

Using The Sun Desktop Access Client For Scalability Testing

Note: The Sun Desktop Access Client is the proper name for what was called the Sun Ray Soft Client.  Since this name change took effect after the Early Access 1 code, the commands and file paths will change with EA2/RR.  This post will be updated as the changes occur in the product.  Notable differences are directory names and executable names between EA1 and what will be the final product.  This article is for the code that was available with EA1 hence the directory names of "Scalp" and the binary name "alpclient.exe"

It's possible to use the new Sun Desktop Access Client (SDAC) to make many Sun Ray Connections from a single Windows instance, the trick is to use different connection profiles.  This is great for scalability testing of different servers where actually having hundreds of Sun Ray Ultra Thin Clients set up for sizing is impractical.  Here's how you do it.

How To:

  1. Install the SDAC on a supported MS Windows Platforms (XP, Vista, Windows 7)
  2. Run the soft client and choose all the options you'd like to have.  I prefer to have the soft client run in a window rather than fullscreen and I also like to constrain the screen to 800x600 so I can see many of the SDAC instances at one time.  Once you've set all your options, go ahead and connect to a server, then end your session.
  3. Now we must go and edit the "default" SDAC profile which contains all the preferences you just set
    1. XP: Open the file C:\\Documents and Settings\\username\\Application Data\\Sun\\scalp\\default
    2. Vista\\Windows7: Open the file C:\\Users\\username\\AppData\\Roaming\\Sun\\scalp\\default
    3. Remove the Line that starts with DSAKey=
    4. Save the file
  4. Now we must create a profile for each connection we wish to make
    1. Open a command prompt and navigate to the directory noted above as determined by which version of MS Windows you are running
    2. In that window type the following:
      FOR /L %i in (0,1,XXX) DO copy default SDAC%i.txt
      1. Where XXX is the number of unique copies you wish to make
    3. You will now have XXX  uniquely name copies of the default connection profile with no DSA Key info
  5. Now we want to launch the SDAC from the command line so we can pass the unique profile name to each instance
    1. From the same command prompt, navigate to C:\\Program Files\\Sun Ray\\alpclient
    2. Type the following
      FOR /L %i in (0,1,XXX) DO alpclient --profile SDAC%i.txt IP/Name_of_Sun_Ray_Server
      1. Example to launch 50 soft clients to a server at
        FOR /L %i in (0,1,50) DO alpclient --profile SDAC%i.txt
      2. As the command executes the SDAC will inject a new random DSA Key into each connection profile and connect to the Sun Ray Server.
      3. For the sake of this blog, I'm just showing a login screen, but if your Sun Ray Server was configured for Kiosk Mode you could actually run programs automatically in each SDAC Instance.  This is particularly useful for windows sizing tests where you can pass a windows user name and password via uttsc and combine that with something like AutoIT to actually simulate real working users.
        1. Note on the windows sizing link:  That blog was done during the days of CAM where users where named utcuXX.  Since Kiosk mode (SRSS 4 and greater) the user ids are utkuXX so change the directions accordingly.

  6. You use different Sun Ray Server administrative commands to view all the new sessions 
  7. Caveats/Tips:
    1. The SDAC uses around 15 MB of RAM per instance so size the number of connections you wish to launch according to how much available RAM you have on the MS Windows instance you are launching them from.
      1. A MS Windows XP instance with 2GB of RAM should be able to launch 100 or so SDAC sessions.
      2. The beefier the client, the faster the SDAC sessions will start.
    2. It's helpful to set you task bar to "Group similar taskbar buttons".  Right click on your task bar and choose properties to set this.
    3. The X/Y coordinates on the initial launch will all be the same so the SDAC Windows will all be stacked on top of each other initially.  You can arrange them in a tiled or cascaded fashion by right clicking on the Windows Task Bar and choosing the either the Cascade or Tiling options
    4. If you are using Kiosk Mode for these tests, ensure that you have enough Kiosk users configured.  The default is 25 kiosk users and you can extend that using /opt/SUNWkio/bin/kioskuseradm extend -c XXX
      1. Where XXX is the number of Kiosk users you wish to add


Monday Aug 03, 2009

SRS 5 Wiki Documentation: Everything is O.K.

Last time I talked to you, I was trying to ease you into the new way we are delivering the Sun Ray Software 5 documentation.  What can I say, I'm a very nurturing person.

Positive Feedback

The good news is that my prediction that everything was going to be o.k. held true.  After going through a vigorous Early Access program (which ended on July 31st), the wiki documentation held its own.  In fact, we actually received the following positive feedback from customers:

  • "I like the new wiki format for documentation."
  • " online documentation is huge improvement"
  • "I relied heavily on the wiki.. certain steps are always tricky during an upgrade and the wiki documents these better."
  • "Again the wiki is cool, but it is hard to find information sometime and customers want pdfs."

Dynamic PDFs

The last feedback brings up a good point about some users still wanting (or needing) PDFs, and I forgot to mention in my last post that we have that covered as well.  On both the SRSS and SRWC documentation sites, you can dynamically build PDFs based on all the information on the wiki.  And, the PDFs will be in sync with the latest content on the wiki.  Here are the specific pages where you can get to the PDFs, and the links to these pages are also provided on the left-hand nav bar on each site:

I know these PDFs are not as slick as what you are used to from Sun, but we are working on that and the output will continue to improve. I'm on it.

Comments, Calling All Comments

Now, even with the positive feedback, there is still room for improvement...there is always room for improvement. We are getting ready for the next Early Access program and we are continuing to improve the content based on reviews and comments.   If you are feeling some post-EA1 blues and want to provide more input to the SRS 5 release, you are in luck.  The wikis are always open for comments and you can make comments on a specific page.

Here's how to provide a comment on the wiki:

  • Log in to
  • Navigate to the page. 
  • Choose Comment from the Add icon.
    The comment section is displayed.
  • Enter your comment. 
  • Click Post.

From our good friends over at the Sun xVM Ops Center team, see the How to comment on a Sun Wiki page screencast for a visual, step-by-step tutorial.

Looking forward to your comments, and I'll be back again soon with some more documentation goodness.

(BTW, if you are wondering why I've included a picture of a koala bear, I don't have a good answer for you.  I like when blogs have pictures and I didn't have one to provide.  So, I thought I would give you a random koala bear picture.  It's hard not to smile when you see one of these marsupials.  Again, I'm all about the nurturing....)


Wednesday Jul 22, 2009

New Blog Post Showing Sun Ray Laptop over 3G and VPN to VDI 3 and Multimedia

A new post is on my blog at with a video showing a Sun Ray Gobi 8 Laptop accessing Sun VDI 3 over 3G Wireless and VPN.  Then running multimedia redirection technology.  The Sun Ray protocol combined with a laptop and 3G wireless can deliver a excellent hosted virtual desktop environment to mobile users.  Granted,  good 3G wireless coverage is required.

Wednesday Jul 15, 2009

Not Exactly A Sign Of The Apocalypse...

But far bigger news than cats and dogs sleeping together!  I kid, but how cool is this Microsoft Whitepaper on VDI using Sun Rays!

Sunday Jul 12, 2009

Sun Ray Software 5 Early Access

With the recent release of Sun Ray Server Software 5 Early Access release we put together some How-To's to get you started.

Friday Jul 10, 2009

What Happened to My Sun Ray Software Docs?

For those of you who have used the Sun Ray Software product before and are ready to help us test out the new Sun Ray Software 5 EA 1 release, you might notice a change to the product documentation.

You've been used to seeing this:

And now you are seeing this:

First of all, don't panic!  Take a deep breath.  Everything is going to be o.k.

To coincide with the change in the VDI 3 product, the official SRS 5 product documentation has moved to a wiki.  Although there are a number of advantages with using a wiki, we are focusing on the following benefits to the SRS 5 customers:

  • The ability for you to provide feedback (comments) on a per page basis, much like a blog.
  • Giving you information in a more topic based structure, specifically focusing on tasks (procedures).
  • Instantaneous updates to you from the product team during the Early Access programs.
  • Exposing more information at a higher level, so you can hopefully find it more easily.

I also want to make it clear that the change to the wiki has not changed our commitment to provide quality documentation. The SRS 5 documentation wiki is based on an enterprise-level wiki, it has dedicated writers assigned to it working closely with the product teams, and this new platform should help improve the accuracy of the content. 

My job is to moderate the documentation wikis and to make sure you get the information you need.  And, to do that, your continued comments and feedback are vital.

Once you get to the main SRS 5 Information Center page, just click the SRS 5 Documentation tab and check out both the new Sun Ray Sever Software 4.2 and Sun Ray Connector for Windows OS 2.2 wikis. 

I'll be back in the next few weeks to do a tour of each of the new wikis and give you the highlights.  If there is anything you'd like me to focus on, just leave a comment on the wiki or on this blog.

I look forward to your feedback.
Paul Kasper

Wednesday Jul 08, 2009

Sun Ray Software 5 Early Access Now Available

The Sun Ray Software product team is pleased to announce the Sun Ray Software 5 Early Access 1 (EA1) program.

The EA1 period will run from 7/8/09 at 12:00 pm PDT and it will end on 7/31/09.

The focus of this program is on three core new features:

1) Adobe Flash Enhancements
Sun Ray Software 5 provides Adobe Flash enhancements which enable customers to experience improved frame rates along with synchronized audio, video, and Adobe Flash animation playback for the Sun Ray 2 family of clients.

Supported environment:
o Internet Explorer 7 and 8
o Adobe Flash 9 content with all Adobe Flash plugins from versions 9 & 10
o Windows Server 2003 R2 (32-bit) and Windows XP SP3 (32-bit)

Users will need both components of Sun Ray Software - Sun Ray Server Software & the Sun Ray Connector for Windows OS. In additional to the Windows environment mentioned above, users need to install Sun Ray Server Software which runs on the following platforms:
o Solaris 10 5/09 or higher on SPARC and X86
o SuSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 10 Service Pack 2 (32-bit and 64-bit)
o Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5 Update 3 (32-bit and 64-bit)

2) Windows Server 2008
Sun Ray Software 5 enables customers to display applications within Windows Server 2008 in 32 bit color. Windows Server 2008 Session Directory support is also included.

Supported platforms:
o Solaris 10 5/09 or higher (SPARC and X86)
o SuSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 10 Service Pack 2 (32-bit and 64-bit)
o Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5 Update 3 (32-bit and 64-bit)

3) Sun Ray Soft Client:
The Sun Ray Soft Client is a software application that easily installs on common client operating systems and provides the ability to connect to a Sun Ray server and initiate a Sun Ray desktop session from a Windows laptop or desktop computer. An alternative to using a Sun Ray hardware client (DTU), the Sun Ray Soft Client meets the needs of end-users who do not fit the desktop thin client model or may need to connect from their existing laptop or desktop PC. The Sun Ray Soft Client also provides the flexibility to 'hotdesk' to and from your Sun Ray thin client and any supported Sun Ray Soft Client enabled PC.

Supported platforms:
o Microsoft Windows XP
o Microsoft Windows Vista
o Microsoft Windows 7

You download the software here:

After you have downloaded and tested the software, please fill out the survey here:

Documentation is available here:

Support is available through the Sun Ray Software Forum here:

If you have additional feed-back for the product team, please send it here:

Early Access 2 (EA2) will kickoff in the late summer time frame. The focus of EA2 will be on USB connectivity support for Windows Remote Desktops - allowing users the ability to use USB devices in a full screen kiosk environment on a Windows XP desktop (Solaris SPARC and x86 only). 

Wednesday Jun 24, 2009

A Little Remodeling

Depending how you read this blog, you might have notice a few subtle changes aimed at increasing usability.  The very talented Matthias Müller-Prove, Sun's Desktop Virtualization Engineering Group's User Experience Architect added some cool new features to the Think Thin Blog. 

Updates in a nutshell:

A big thanks to Matthias, the changes look and work great!

Tuesday Jun 16, 2009

Wikis For The Win!

When the VDI 3 team decided that all the documentation for our new product would be done on, I really didn't give it a lot of thought.  I'm a huge believer in and consumer of social media from blogs to twitter and I know the power they can have if used correctly. 

After we released the product there was a lot of negative feedback on the documentation for a variety of reasons such as no access to the internet, not portable, etc.  While those are valid concerns, I believe the primary reason for the negative feedback boiled down having to navigate something new.  But honestly I was starting to have my doubts as some customers weren't happy at all.  Maybe the world wasn't ready for wiki only documentation for a Sun product.

The VDI 3 team made the docs available in a PDF (Release notes included).  However the purpose of this entry isn't about changing to PDF, it's about the real benefit of the Wiki format for documentation.  Not to take anything away from the old documentation process, but in all fairness it is a slow process.  Now consider this.

Recently we added support for Solaris 10 U7 with our first patch for VDI 3, this allows one to use a S10 U7 Server instead of OpenSolaris for the iSCSI/ZFS storage magic that is a huge part of Sun VDI 3.  This morning a Systems Engineer asked this question:

Is somebody preparing instruction for Solaris10 Storage Server?

Within a couple of hours, this response came back:

I've added


I could rattle off more 100 examples like that one for topics like clarification, errors, missing info, etc.  Changes that used to take days, weeks, or months to make its way into the official documentation and out to the user base is now done in minutes.  The response time is a credit to our great VDI engineering team, the agility is due to the wiki and the combination is a win, plain and simple.  Many thanks to the Sun VDI team and the Sun Community Services Engineering team.

Sunday Jun 07, 2009

SRSS 4.1 on Solaris 10 5/09 With Trusted Extensions

Here's a detailed installation log for a simple SRSS 4.1, SRWC 2.1 on the latest release of Solaris 10 5/09 with Trusted Extensions.  Download a zip file with everything you need here.  After downloading & unzipping, you'll find the detailed installation & configuration instructions in this file: srss4.1-on-s10u7-tx-install-log.txt.

The installation is based on this example topology:

Wednesday Jun 03, 2009

Patch Releases: SRSS 4.1 (02) + Kiosk (01) + SRWC 2.1 (01)

The following patches have been released & are available at SunSolve.

SRSS 4.1 Patch Rev 02:

SRSS 4.1 Kiosk Patch Rev 01:

SRWC 2.1 Patch Rev 01:

Thursday Feb 05, 2009

Meta Kiosk: How to run multiple different types of kiosk modes on a Sun Ray Server/FOG

Haven't you ever wanted to be able to have more than one type of  kiosk running from the same Sun Ray server or FOG? Now you can. JDS, UTTSC, VDA, VDA no Card, VDM, and even non-kiosk uses like X11 (using Xnest), VNC and full screen apps. (I've even thrown utswitch and xterm for convenience.)

I've "productised" a Kiosk mode that sits above other Kiosks to call on them as required - as always, based on what you tell your tokens to use, leveraging the "Other Info" field.

It's called "META KIOSK".

Monday Jan 26, 2009

VDI Performance and Scalability on Sun Fire X4450 and X4600 servers

While most of our readers by now recognize the technical guidelines for scaling and performance of a VDI setup based on shared experiences (Sun and VMware), it is always good to have a "measureable" standard reference to use as a starting point. Here are official references of a set of independent test reports commissioned by Sun and produced by Lionbridge/Veritest:

The tests were performed using Windows XP SP3 with 512MB and 1 vCPU as the base VDI desktop.

Tuesday Jan 20, 2009

Sun Ray Core Services version 4.1 patch released

SRSS v4.1 (Sun Ray core services) patch revision 01 is now available on sunsolve:

139548        Solaris/SPARC
139549        Solaris/x86
139550        Linux

Monday Jan 12, 2009

VDI with Sun Ray 2

found on Virtual desktop infrastructure with Sun Ray 2 devices, 29-Dec-2008 by Rick Vanover.

Wednesday Jan 07, 2009

Sun Ray Connector for VMware Virtual Desktop Manager (SRVC)

With the release of the Sun Ray Connector for VMware VDM/View several blog entries have been written to document the procedures for setup and configuration:

/All articles with tag 'srvc'

31Jan2009 Update

  • acworkma & madhatter did some collaboration & testing (acworkma did the testing)
  • The SRVDM connector does not handle lock screen @ VM disconnect (pull card, etc.)
  • To ensure Windows VM receives a lockscreen (Meta L) @ disconnect, you need to handle that.
  • Easiest way to do that is to install bhlackey's Sun Ray Connector Lockscreen SRWC Lockscreen Addon that's available here

Saturday Dec 13, 2008

SRSS 4.1 on OpenSolaris 2008.11 Procedures Posted

Procedures for installating SRSS 4.1 on OpenSolaris 2008.11 are available here (

Saturday Dec 06, 2008

HSPD-12/PIV Cards (mostly Oberthur) Corrections

9 Dec 2009 Update:  This fix is only delivered in SRSS 4.2.  SRSS releases prior to that will require the work-around below.

Sun Ray & some supporting Sun engineering organizations have developed fixes to help recognize certain HSPD-12/PIV compliant cards for Sun Ray.  Recent HSPD-12/PIV Oberthur card releases...

  • Oberthur/ID-One Cosmo 64 v52D Fast ATR card
  • Oberthur Card Systems, PIV End Point Dual Interface 64K Smart Card
  • Oberthur CS v1.08 card

...are not recognized or produce erroneous tokens when inserted into a Sun Ray card reader. 

In the future, Sun Ray Engineering will release a patch to SRSS 4.0 & SRSS 4.1 which includes this fix. However, that release has been delayed due to higher priority activities.  Padu Iyer gave permission to release this via the ThinkThin blog.  Eventually this entry will be overcome by events (hopefully Padu or I will remember to update/retract this later).

Here's the fix...

  1. Download this file with the Oberthur card fixes
  2. Save file as OberthurCS.cfg into /etc/opt/SUNWut/smartcard directory on all Sun Ray servers
  3. Edit /etc/opt/SUNWut/smartcard/probe_order.conf
  4. After the 1st line comment (# EDIT WITH CARE...), add this:
  5. Save the file
  6. Cold restart Sun Ray services: utrestart -c

This has only been tested on SRSS 4.0 & 4.1. 

Thanks to Ramesh Nagappan, Marc Puverel & Padu Iyer for their support on this.

Tuesday Nov 25, 2008

Citrix ICA Clients (new SPARC Solaris release)

A new version (v8.59) of the Citrix ICA Client for SPARC/Solaris was released (by Citrix) on 18 Nov 2008.

Download new Solaris/SPARC Citrix ICA Client (V8.59) here

Corresponding Admin Guide is available here

No recent changes, but listed here for completeness, the Solaris/x86 Citrix ICA Client (Version 8.50) released on 25 Sep 2007 is available here


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