Thursday Dec 20, 2007

Largest Windows XP VDI desktop ever?

Not too long ago a customer asked me what was the limitation for a Windows XP desktop as delivered from a VM to a Sun Ray. I didn't know what were the limitations for Windows XP itself and I had never had the opportunity of experiencing it myself, so I went on a techo quest to "do it".

The question has a few implications, and I'll explain as I go, but the first one is, what is Windows XP really capable of? The answer as found here, is 4096x2048, as long as your client can handle it. As it turns out, the Sun Ray Windows Connector can.

The next thing was to match that to something that could be handled by the Sun Ray Display capabilities. If you look at the largest resolution from the Sun Ray range, a Sun Ray 2FS maxes out at 3840x1200... (that's 2 x 1920x1200). Not quite big enough. This is a job for the multihead feature!

So the next avenue of exploration was to figure out a multihead config that made sense. Instead of doing the maths, I went and ruffled through the Sydney Solution Centre to see what my test base would look like, and found a number of Sun Ray 1 and 1G units and a few 19" monitors. As the monitors were 1280x1024, the best possible fit came to be 6 monitors in 3x2, with a total resolution of 3840x2048. Close enough this time :)

After creating a multihead group with the right configuration, I connected this to my Windows XP VM, and this is the result!

And yes, this was done using 4-8 year old Sun Rays... Doesn't get better than this! The only way I was able to showcase performance on a screen this size, was to run a screen saver. This is now a permanent demo at the Sydney Sun Solution Centre.

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