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

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 wikis.sun.com, 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 http://wikis.sun.com/display/VDI3/How+to+Set+Up+a+Solaris+Storage+Server

~Thomas

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.

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