Monday Aug 06, 2012

Got Java (configured correctly)?

Have you ever had firefox crash with the following error when trying to access a Java-based application?

Didn't find JVM under /<path to>/firefox/plugins
Assertion failed: foundJVM, file ../../../../src/plugin/solaris/plugin2/common/JavaVM.c, line 104
Abort (core dumped )

I'm not talking about a sophisticated Java app here.  Just hitting the "Do I have Java?" test page on Java.com will crash Firefox and pretty much any Mozilla-based browser left with the default Java configuration.

Here's what the default (and incorrect) Java configuration looks like on pretty much every version of Firefox since 3.5.  You can see it by typing about:config in the URL bar, acknowledge the warning, and filter on "java" (click for larger view):


Stating that the default Java configuration is incorrect, really means that it's set to use the old Java plugin and (in most cases) a rather old version of Java.  This plugin that is configured by default is incompatible with Firefox 3.5 and beyond.   The first generation Java plugin is called javaplugin_oji and cannot be used with any modern version of Firefox. 

Unfortunately, even the latest Firefox (14 at the time of this post) comes configured to use the old Java plugin by default. 

This means that if you're trying to run a Java-based app on anything greater than Firefox 3.5, you'll wind up with a crashed app and a core file a few seconds after the browser tries to start Java. 

If you've been frustrated by not being able to run Oracle Forms-based apps, WebEx, or any other Java-based browser app on Solaris or Oracle Linux, follow the instructions below.  If you're an Oracle Forms user, get ready for smoking fast response time sans MS Windows and IE. 

Disclaimer: I know neither Solaris or Oracle Linux are supported clients for Oracle Forms-based apps.  Doesn't mean it doesn't work.  It, in fact, works great!  :)

First things first, learn the name and location of the "second generation" Java plugin.  The second generation Java plugin is called libnpjp2.so and is located in:

<path to java>/jre/lib/i386/ for x86 based machines

<path to java>/jre/lib/sparc/  for SPARC based machines.

NOTE:  The second generation Java plugin was introduced in Java 1.6 update 10.  Ensure that you aren't running an older version of Java, if you are upgrade.  Solaris 10 U9 ships with 1.4.2_26, so that will need to be updated in order to access Java-based apps with Firefox 3.5 or greater.

TIP:  Sun Ray Software and Oracle VDI always ships with a relatively recent Java release.  An administrator can symlink these installations to /usr/java.  This will ensure that the browser's Java configuration will always be as current as the JRE used with Sun Ray Software or Oracle VDI, even across upgrades of those products.

For a Sun Ray Server:

rm -rf /usr/java
ln -s /etc/opt/SUNWut/jre /usr/java

For a Oracle VDI server:

rm -rf /usr/java
ln -s /opt/SUNWvda/java /usr/java

Note: The remainder of these instructions assume the following three things:

1) Java, greater that 1.6 U10, is installed (or linked to) /usr/java
2) Firefox, greater than 3.5 is installed in /opt/firefox.
3) The platform is x86

If any of those assumptions do not match your environment, just substitute the correct paths to Java, Firefox, and the correct platform (i386 or SPARC) for your environment


Step 1) Configure Firefox plugins directory

1.1) Create plugins sub-directory under /opt/firefox.  

The plugins directory doesn't exist by default since about Firefox 6, so you'll have create it.  Just create /opt/firefox/plugins and change the permissions so everyone can read/execute the contents:

mkdir /opt/firefox/plugins
chmod -R 755 /opt/firefox/plugins


1.2) Create symlink the new plugin in /opt/firefox/plugins/

Given the location and platform assumptions above, create a symbolic link in /opt/firefox/plugins that points to /usr/java/lib/i386/libnpjp2:

ln -s /usr/java/lib/i386/libnpjp2.so /<path to>/firefox/plugins/libnpjp2.so

Note:  Do not "copy" the library to the plugins directory, this will not work.  The plugin is dependent on the relative path of where it resides.  This is different than other plugins that you may be used to installing such as Acrobat Reader or Flash.

1.3) Remove any symlinks that point to the old java plugin.

rm /opt/firefox/plugins/libjavaplugin_oji.so

Note: Some sites may use a personal plugins directory.  If so, be sure to remove any symlinks for libjavaplugin_oji.so from $HOME/.mozilla/firefox/*.default/plugins

1.4)  Test.  At this point, accessing the "Do I have Java" test page from java.com will now succeed and tell you are using the second generation plugin, but certain apps, such as Oracle Forms and WebEx, will still fail. 

Now that the correct second generation plugin correctly linked to the Firefox plugins directory, it's time to tell Firefox the name of the plugin and the location of Java.


Step 2) Configure Firefox with the location of Java and the name of plugin

Note: This step needs to be done by each user who has ever ran Firefox with the old Java configuration. 

2.1) Open Firefox
2.2) Type "about:config" in the URL bar and acknowledge the "I'll be careful" warning
2.3 ) In the Filter Box, type java and hit return
2.4) Set both java.default_java_location_others and java.default_java_location_solaris to: /usr/java
2.5) Remove/blank out the existing entry under java.global_java_version_file (as the file referenced there does not exist)
2.6) Set the java.java_plugin_library_name to libnpjp2 (or libnpjp2.so, either will work)
2.7) Remove/blank out the existing entry under java.private_java_version_file (as the file referenced there does not exist)
2.8) Close and re-open firefox.  Enter about:config in the url and ensure the settings took place.

The about config screen should now resemble this picture (click for larger image):


2.9) Test out a Java based app, such as WebEx or Oracle E*Business Suite (EBS uses Oracle Forms).  The applications should work correctly, and more importantly, firefox should not crash anymore. At least not due to an incorrect Java plugin configuration!

Step 3) Create default Firefox preferences file for new users

This will prevent first time users of Firefox (or those who wanted to create a new profile) from having to perform the actions in Step 2.  To do this, the administrator creates (or appends to the contents of) a file called prefs.js under the firefox default profiles directory and fills out these values for all new users.

3.1) Create the default profile directory, if one does not exist under /opt/firefox/defaults/

mkdir /opt/firefox/defaults/profile
chmod -R 755 /opt/firefox/defaults/profile

3.2) Edit /opt/firefox/defaults/profile/prefs.js

The contents of prefs.js for a proper Java plugin configuration would be:

# Mozilla User Preferences
user_pref("java.default_java_location_others", "/usr/java");
user_pref("java.default_java_location_solaris", "/usr/java");
user_pref("java.global_java_version_file", "");
user_pref("java.private_java_version_file", "");
user_pref("java.java_plugin_library_name", "libnpjp2");



That's it.  All users should be good to go for running Java-based apps on a modern release of Firefox.

Friday Apr 22, 2011

Webinar: Real World VDI with Oracle VDI

Hey Folks,

We have a great webinar coming up on Thursday, April 28 at 9AM PT that will feature Think Thin's own Jeff Reilly.  The main topic covered will be the "real world" scenarios that customer face when they choose to virtualize their desktops.  Read a bit more about it over on Oracle's Virtualization Blog including the link to register for the event.

 Hope to see you there!


Tuesday Jan 11, 2011

VDI In The Sky: Encore

A while back my colleague ThinGuy posted a blog entry called "VDI In The Sky" showing photos of the Oracle Virtual Desktop Client on a Netbook accessing a Oracle VDI hosted desktop from 30,000 feet.   On a trip I took to San Francisco I could not help wanting to try it myself.  I often talk of the benefits of the Sun Ray Appliance Link Protocol to customers.  With wifi service available on many airlines and at reasonable prices for business travel I was in luck.   

As a side note, when I am discussing with customers the concept of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure I always get the "What about when I am not connected like on a airplane?" question.  I ask you to look at the evolution of being connected (or "Online") and the pace of the adoption of network technologies making network access ubiquitous.   It is amazing how quickly network access and network speeds have evolved.   So I ask in return, "When are you not connected?  if you are not, do you really have much to do?"

So there I was on a plane in premium economy with a bit more leg room, wifi internet access, a Cisco VPN connection to my lab,  and the Oracle Virtual Desktop Client installed.  It was too hard to resist trying what Thinguy showed, so I fired up my mobile phone video recorder and gave it a try (Sorry for the shaky hand but typing and recording at the same time was a challenge)

I couple of things I want to point out as you watch this:

  1. The internet access was from 30,000 feet traveling at several hundred miles per hour (A incredible networking feat on it's own)
  2. The greatest challenge to using internet access on a airplane is "Latency" that impacts the user experience by having to wait for those emails messages to load,  files to download / upload,  or in this case for the screen to draw a VDI hosted desktop.   Latency is measured in milliseconds (ms) and on your home broadband network will likely be in area of 100ms to 150ms depending upon what you use.  Over airplane wifi connections you will see in this video it is 300ms to 400ms latency and it is not consistent, it changes up and down frequently thanks to the plane's airspeed.
  3. In order to access my VDI hosted desktop securely I needed to create a VPN tunnel so now I have added IPsec encryption to the 300-400ms latency. 

My goal was to answer the question "Would accessing a Virtual Deskop from 30,000ft at high latency be usable or just a gimmick?" I will certainly say that playing youtube videos over this connection is entirely unreasonable so I did not even try.   I set out to access a variety of desktops - Windows 7,  Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, and Ubuntu Linux all accessed by Oracle VDI software.  My focus was on the following tests:

  • Responsiveness of the Oracle VDI login and desktop selection screens
  • Initial desktop screen draw time and pix-elation  from network delay.  Initial screen draws are typically the largest.
  • Mouse click response time such as selecting windows manager functions and having them respond reasonably.  Click delays will drive even the most patient user crazy.
  • Determine the impact of accessing different desktop back-ends such as Windows Server, Windows 7, and Ubuntu Linux

I could have spent hours on different tasks but I chose these basic ones for the sake of time and so I have a reason to test other things on another trip ;-)

Some conclusions for me:

  • The usability for displaying a desktop is very good for a variety of desktops with Oracle VDI using the Sun Ray Appliance Link Protocol
  • I could certainly do more over this connection with remotely displaying a VDI desktop and applications.  Data intensive tasks are better left in the data center such as:
    • Trying to load a large inbox to a mail client and open attachments. When opening mail using a VDI hosted desktop that one big attachment can be opened in a few seconds rather than loading it into a mail client over the airplane wifi at high latency
    • Many applications are accessed by a browser and are very "chatty",  meaning they frequent transactions back and forth and will suffer by high latency on a WAN. These applications will perform well in a VDI model since the browser and the applications are on a data-center backbone and not on a WAN.
    • Trying to access large files from a home directory.  Users can load any size file needed into OpenOffice that resides a VDI hosted desktop and not worry about the data transfer time to a laptop
    • I prepared a presentation during travel time and never had to close then re-open the file.  Same thing goes for email messages I was editing.
So what is the big deal?  Why VDI in the sky anyway?
  1. Corporate and customer data are completely secure in the data-center. (As long as it is kept there)
  2. Desktops OS and personal data are backed up transparently - Less time spent as a desktop administrator and more time for what users are paid to do.  (Example: My corp laptop is old and makes unnerving noises at times so I am worried)
  3. With Oracle VDI users can have a variety of desktops and not be limited by the hardware they carry - Windows XP, Windows 7, Ubuntu Desktop, Oracle Enterprise Linux, Solaris, and more.
  4. Tasks can be started then disconnect and reconnect from them as needed without having to restart from the beginning
  • Think editing a OpenOffice presentation, document, spreadsheet and not having to worry if your laptop battery dies losing critical changes
  • The ability to access any size file a user needs whether it is in email, on a home directory, or on a company shared folder and not be impacted by limitations of the network being using at the time
  • A developer can load source files into development tools and run tests or compiles then disconnecting while traveling and  knowing they keep on running as needed

There are many more examples that I will save for a forth coming blog series called "Why VDI"

 Thanks for reading

Saturday Oct 02, 2010

Bein' Green

Kermit was right, it ain't easy being green.  To create truly eco-friendly products, you have to consider their entire life-cycle.  From supply chains to disposal, Oracle has worked hard to make the Sun Ray 3 family the most efficient and environmentally friendly thin client ever.  The 98% recyclable (and ENERGY STAR® 5.0 Thin Client Category A certifiedSun Ray 3 and Sun Ray 3 Plus even share the same eco-friendly box.  A space saving box that was designed from the ground up using recycled materials to maximize palletization, thus reducing the carbon footprint when shipping the device from the factory.  With a 20 year MTBF, "WEEE" expect Sun Ray 3's to be around for a long, long time.  For more information and facts about the green design of the Sun Ray 3 family, check out Michael Dann's Oracle Technology Network webcast.

Sun Ray 3 Sun Ray 3 Plus

Desktop Virtualization Webcasts from Oracle OpenWorld

A few webcasts that were shown live during the week of Oracle OpenWorld/JavaOne/Oracle Develop.

Michael Dann discusses the eco-friendly aspects of the new Sun Ray 3 family:

John Bondi discusses the new 4.6 release of Secure Global Desktop:


Brad Lackey and Craig Bender discuss Oracle VDI with Rick Ramsey:

Monday Sep 20, 2010

New Arrivals to the Sun Ray 3 Family

The Sun Ray 3 Plus is proud to announce the arrival of two siblings.  The Sun Ray 3 and the Sun Ray 3i.

Check them out!

Datasheets:

Saturday Sep 18, 2010

Desktop Virtualization Happenings at OpenWorld

Howdy Think Thin readers,

A lot going on this year at Oracle OpenWorld on the Desktop Virtualization front.   My Senior VP, Wim Coekaerts, is speaking about Oracle's Virtualization strategy in the general session.  John Bondi, Dirk Grobler and I have speaking sessions.  Brad Lackey and his team are running an awesome hands on lab and have setup DEMOgrounds where you can play with our latest offerings.   There is also an Enterprise Architect Summit on Monday that features Brad, Jeff Reilly, and myself moderated by Chris Kawalek. 

If we've never met in person, I hope to do so this trip.  If we have met before, I look forward to seeing you again.

Here's the schedule (Click image for a PDF):


Wednesday Aug 18, 2010

VDI In The Sky

On a recent trip (my first as an employee!) to Oracle HQ, I decided to test out Oracle VDI 3.2 from an airplane.  Sure, everyone (who can...if the latency will allow their protocol to work that is) has done this, but hey it's been my first trip since being part of the Big O.  One could say I don't travel like I used to. 

Unfortunately, I was a bit ill prepared to do this demo from a battery standpoint on my video camera, but still managed to get some screen caps with my phone.  On my next trip I'll bring my flip fully charged to get the full sequence.  But I'll tell you, from some 30K thousand feet, 300 ms (plus) latency, it did awesome.  While it won't surprise most to know I really believe in our technology, I did all of this on my own dime.  From the the gogo inflight internet to the first class upgrade.  Hey, us tall folk need space to work!

 My Building:  (The "Big Building" if you know what I mean)


Somewhere over the Mojave:


And Let's Connect:


Picking my Windows 7 Pool: 


And here we are: 


This is the Virtual Desktop Client in windowed mode. It's hard to make out the latency, but it's over 300: 



OVDC and MTU

A few years ago I wrote about the "Importance of MTU" as it pertains to Sun Ray clients.  Things changed with the Sun Ray and in most circumstances, we can detect and adjust the Path MTU accordingly.  While the Oracle Virtual Desktop Client (OVDC) is designed to be just like a physical Sun Ray, for various reasons it currently lacks the Path MTU Discovery (PMTUD) code.  In short, what's old is new again..Or is it what's new is old again.  Either way, you need to set the MTU for the best experience (improper MTU demo video below).

You can set the MTU with a slider from the network tab:

Unfortunately the slider isn't as precise as you might need it and seems to jump in blocks ranging from 6-8 (i.e. try to set yours like mine with an MTU of 1333 and good luck!).  If somewhere within that range lies the your value, you can use the command line to set a precise MTU.  Simply run the vdc command with the --mtu argument.

For Windows:

C:\\Program Files\\Oracle\\Virtual Desktop Client\\vdc --mtu 1333

For OS X:

/Applications/Oracle Virtual Desktop client.app/Contents/MacOS/vdc --mtu 1333

The MTU setting is sticky and will stay for all subsequent connections, unless of course you use the slider and change it.

Quick (no audio) Video of what an improperly set MTU looks like:

Monday Aug 16, 2010

Oracle VDI 3.2 In Action!

An attempt to use Jing here.  Even went "Pro".  Still a five minute limit and I got cut short, but you'll get the gist.  Check out the functionality!  Big hat tip to the folks in Hamburg, Leeds, and Dublin.  :)  (I just realized I have 2GB traffic limit per month with pro...I'll see what I can do)

(And no, I cannot tell you why Javier was not ruled offsides there. )




Oh, and Jaap...this is for you.

Wednesday Aug 04, 2010

Oracle Virtualization Event line up...Holy Cow!

On August 19th from 9 AM until 3 PM, Oracle will be hosting an Online Virtualization Forum that covers our v12n technology from the Desktop to the Datacenter.  What I'm really impressed by is the two people that will comprise the "panel".  Former Sun hardware guru and now Oracle's Executive Vice President of Systems John Fowler and my boss's boss's boss, Oracle's Chief Corporate Architect Edward Screven.

Folks, these are what we call "Big Guns".  What's more, they are extremely intelligent...no scratch that.  They are "scary smart".  Be honest, you've sat through more than your share of executives pitching things they could care less about.  These two gentlemen are in a different league.  Passionate is the best word that describes them. 

I'm sure long time followers of Think Thin are more than familiar with the Executive branch of "the company formerly known as Sun Microsystems" and you've seen John Fowler many times.  But unless you were an Oracle customer, you may not have had the chance to hear Edward Screven speak.  With absolutely zero patronizing involved here (like he reads this blog), watch him.  He's brilliant.  He gets it.  And by "it" I mean pretty much anything you could imagine, but specifically he gets VDI.

If there's one thing I've learned about the executives at Oracle, it's that they don't mess around.  You wouldn't get this caliber of people talking about the entire virtualization stack if Oracle was not committed to it.  I've also noticed, "Committed" = "Wants to dominate" in Oracle speak.

So to the v12n world out there, and specifically the VDI market, watch out.  The "Big Guns" are about to fire a warning shot across the bow of the marketplace.  To paraphrase Al Pacino's character in "Scent of a Woman", We are just getting warmed up.

Monday Aug 02, 2010

TechCast Live: Sun Ray and Oracle VDI Edition

Happy Monday to all the Think Thin readers!

I'll be on Oracle TechCast Live tomorrow at 10 AM Pacific where I'll be having a nice little chat with Justin Kestelyn about Sun Ray and Oracle VDI.

I'll also be taking some community questions.  From the TechCast Live page, you can can sign in using your Twitter, Facebook, AIM, or Myspace account.  Can't promise I'll be able to answer every type of question, we have different rules at Oracle than Sun did.  I hope however to make it worth your while and I hope you find it enjoyable.

Friday Jul 30, 2010

Multi-Core or Hyper-Threaded? Or Both?

Recently a question was posed to the Sun Ray User Community:  Intel or AMD for Linux Sun Ray Server?

Ford vs Chevy!  Coke vs Pepsi!  What a great blog topic for a Friday.

You could choose from dual Intel 6 core X5670 2.93 GHz ("Nehalem") or dual AMD Opteron 12 core 6168 1.9 GHz ("Magny-Cours")

Of course the "I love my job and I'd really like to keep it" answer would be Intel since Oracle does not offer any servers based on the 12 core Opteron (just 8 core models).  But let's throw caution to the wind and think about this in the context of what a Sun Ray Server in "traditional" mode (i.e. not kiosk mode) really is.  It's a desktop.  Unlike kiosk mode where normally applications execute "somewhere else" (i.e. terminal server, a VM, etc) in traditional mode the applications execute on the Sun Ray Server.  Unlike a desktop, it's multi-user.

So while you definitely want something "server class", you also want something that is going to run \*your\* applications at the best price/performance ratio.

At the end of the day, both options offer 24 threads.   The Intel solution does so by offering 6 Hyper-Threaded Technology (HTT) cores per socket and the AMD by offering 12 single threaded cores per socket.  There's a 1 GHz clock speed difference favoring the Intel solution, but let's not fall prey to the "megahertz myth".  Not just yet anyways.

While you can go out there and find all kinds of "Bench This", "Spec That" types of reviews, those tests are generally written to take the most advantage out of any platform.  However, most of the end user applications we all use aren't.

So, which design is better for "desktop applications", Intel with HTT or AMD with all those glorious physical cores? 

Here's I get to use the most popular, catch all answer of all-time when it comes to any Server Based Computing or VDI question. 

It depends. 

It depends on the applications.  Doesn't everything?

Recent history would indicate that desktop applications prefer the multiple cores over HTT.  Or perhaps better stated, the developers of those applications may prefer multi-core development (or at least find it easier).  

Remember that Pentium HTT ("Northwood") actually was replaced on the desktop in favor of  multi-core processors (see CoreDuo). In a traditional Sun Ray environment where a variety of "desktop applications" execute on the Sun Ray Server, understanding some of the possible reasons HTT was replaced by multi-core is interesting, if not important.

When HTT was introduced, most desktop applications simply weren't able to take advantage of the it.  Add to that, the HTT chips actually consumed a lot more power.  End result was a system that increased your energy costs while decreasing your application's performance.  Explain that one to your boss, Mr Technology influencer.   Especially with "all those CPUs" showing up in mpstat or perfmon.

None of that of course was the fault of the technology, well the power was, but not the bad performance or the misconception of threads as physical processor that sits in a socket.  Truthfully our traditional performance monitoring tools still promote that misconception.  The performance was due to applications not taking advantage of the HTT and it being on a single core.  Didn't it seem like around 2004-05, the catch-all response to all desktop application performance queries was: "Pentium 4, you say?  Did you try disabling Hyper-Threading in the BIOS?"

With Nehalem, Intel put all that bad PR behind them and brought HTT back to the desktop, but with a twist, it's also multi-core.  

This is different, but is it better?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Probably, but...it depends.  (Ha!)

We know that the OSes are better equipped for HTT (i.e. Solaris is now optimized for it along with a million other things), and they actually don't consume that much more power, so they are "greener".  Goodness for the data center.

From my experience, I'd say both Sun Ray Software and the Oracle VDI stack performs better with HTT (based on sizing numbers in kiosk mode and per core VM sizing data under Solaris) than they did under the non-HTT models of those chips.  Considerably better, all other things being equal (clock speed, # of cores, etc).  But those aren't typically considered "desktop applications", they are more in the realm of pseudo-operating systems, or at least "Server Systems".  Both of which have been HTT aware for a long time, but that doesn't exactly help \*your\* application.  Which leads us to the million dollar question:

How many of the applications that you use today are parallelized so they can execute across multiple threads simultaneously (i.e. HTT aware)?  If the answer is "very few" then you're not taking advantage of the Intel design and the physical cores on AMD solution may actually perform better for your apps even with the "lower clock speed". 

Making applications multi-core aware is fairly easy (says the non-programming "developer"), and most existing applications already support this.  However adding HTT capabilities to existing applications is considerably far more work.  And sure, there are those that will say that HTT can help certain multi-core aware applications depending on what they are doing. Though I think a lot of these arguments mistake multi-threading for Hyper-Threading, which in fact is simultaneous multi-threading.

But really, to get the most out of HTT, you need to code your applications a certain way.  Intel has guides, and all kinds of tools to aid the application developer get the most out of HTT.  But what if those aren't used?

In a single user use case, the average person might never know the applications they are using aren't taking advantage of HTT technology because of the multi-core and relatively high clock rate. The HTT multi-core becomes a Swiss Army Knife so to speak.  If your app can take advantage of HTT, great.  If it can't, we've got cores.  And on top of that we have speed!  That's beautiful for a PC.  A single user PC.

But how well does it scale out when we are talking about multiple users running those "non-HTT aware" apps on the same server? In the AMD design, multi-core (but non-HTT aware) apps have 24 "physical" cores to work with, what's the trade off of the "virtual" cores on the HTT chips?  Is the clock speed enough to overcome? The other features on HTT chips enough to tip the scales? Maybe.  Probably.  It depends.

If you were running Sun Ray Server Software in Kiosk mode or choosing a server to be the hypervisor for Oracle VDI, go with Intel and their HTT "Nehalem" processors.  You won't be disappointed.  At least I haven't been.  I'm sure I'd also have a lot of good things to say about the AMD as well.

But if you are actually running desktop apps on the Sun Ray Server, and trying to do so at any kind of scale, I'd say it's at least worth doing some investigating and maybe even some application testing at scale.  Then you can really understand what's the best fit for your environment.

Tuesday Jul 13, 2010

Sun Ray Boot Process Defined

Hello Think Thin Readers,

I am proud to present a new page on the Sun Ray Software Wiki, a detailed work flow of the Sun Ray Boot Process.  This took a bit of work to get into human readable format on behalf of several people, not the least of which are Paul Kasper and (the non-blogging) Kent Peacock.  Please take a look and provide feedback!

Enjoy

Saturday May 29, 2010

Sun Ray 3 Plus Firmware now available

Hi Think Thin Readers,

Sun Ray Core Services Patch -02 for SRSS 4.2 is available for download from sunsolve.sun.com

New firmware for the new Sun Ray 3 Plus clients is included in this patch, which means you can now deploy your 3 Plus clients via VPN (factory firmware is the non-GUI variety).

140993-02 - Solaris SPARC
http://sunsolve.sun.com/search/document.do?assetkey=urn:cds:docid:1-21-140993-02-1

140994-02 - Solaris 10 x86
http://sunsolve.sun.com/search/document.do?assetkey=urn:cds:docid:1-21-140994-02-1

140995-02 - Linux
http://sunsolve.sun.com/search/document.do?assetkey=urn:cds:docid:1-21-140995-02-1

Enjoy!

Tuesday Nov 24, 2009

Please Welcome Sun VDI Software 3.1

Hot on the heels of the Sun Ray Software 5 release, Sun VDI Software 3.1 was just made available (get it here). This is an exciting update for us, here is a quick overview of what's new: 

  • Microsoft Hyper-V support
    • Previous versions of Sun VDI Software already allowed for heterogeneous virtualization hosts, but we extend this support to include Microsoft Hyper-V in VDI 3.1. This means that you can use Sun built-in, VMware vSphere (or just ESX and vCenter, if that's what you've got), Microsoft Hyper-V, or any combination(!) to host your virtual desktops. This provides amazing flexibility and really reduces concerns around lock-in of any particular vendor. Want to change platforms? Easy, put up the new environment, test it with a group of users, migrate everyone over, and shut off the old one when you're ready (or keep it as a backup).
  • Remote Desktop Services support
    • We have lots of customers who use both classic server-based computing (SBC) and VDI at the same time. The trouble is that many architecture have you managing the two environments completely separately. But with Sun VDI Software 3.1, Windows Server 2003 and 2008 can be desktop providers. This means you can choose to assign any combination of VDI and SBC desktops to each of your users and manage the assignments from one management interface.
  • Sun Desktop Access Client
    • Sun VDI Software has leveraged both Sun Secure Global Desktop Software and the Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection client to provide access from Windows PCs. With version 3.1, we add the Sun Desktop Access Client into the mix (no, we haven't dropped SGD or RDC support!). The Sun Desktop Access Client is a purpose-built piece of software that installs on Windows PCs and allows direct access to Sun VDI Software without any further server configuration or setup. It also leverages the exact same protocol as our award winning Sun Ray clients. It's simple, high performance, and allows you to seamlessly shift your virtual desktop session between a Sun Ray client and a PC.
  • Enhanced Adobe Flash media support
    • For a virtual desktop to be truly useful, it needs to approach the capabilities of a full desktop PC. A traditional stumbling block for any sort of remote access technology is high performance video and animation. With this release, Adobe Flash content is accelerated for both Sun Ray clients and Sun Desktop Access Client enabled PCs.
  • USB direction for Windows XP
    • If you're using a Sun Ray client and Windows XP as your virtual desktop operating system, you can now plug many USB devices into your Sun Ray client and they show up automatically in your Windows XP session.

There are lots of other smaller updates, too. For the full skinny, please read the  full product documentation and enjoy the new release!

-Chris 

Thursday Nov 12, 2009

What can the Sun Desktop Access Client do for you?

On November 10th we announced the release of Sun Ray Software 5. Among the fantastic set of new features, we included a new client called the Sun Desktop Access Client. Simply put, this is a software application that installs on Windows PCs, allowing you to access your desktop session on Sun's desktop virtualization technology. This sounds great, but what does it really mean for me or my customers? Let me explain...

A couple of fairly common scenarios I hear from customers is they believe only a portion of their end-users will fit the desktop or even laptop thin client model. Or many times customers have recently refreshed all their desktop systems and don't want to switch them out just yet. They all agree on the unequaled security and simplified management aspects of the architecture, but usually have concerns for mobile end-users who require a usable laptop even when offline, or maybe they need more graphical power locally, or simply are not ready to exchange their desktop systems for whatever the reason. With the Sun Desktop Access Client, users can now leverage their existing PCs to access the same virtual desktops any Sun Ray client user would. And with the added convenience of choosing between window mode or fullscreen, it's easy to work side-by-side on their current PC.

This now means all end-users, whether they're on a Sun Ray client or not, can access the same data and applications on the same secure architecture. And to make it even more convenient, you can "hot desk" or move your live session between any Sun Ray client and any Sun Desktop Access Client enabled PC.

This makes the Sun Desktop Access Client an extremely powerful and simple migration tool. For example, we have a customer that has several offices all over the world, some very small in remote locations, some large housing over a thousand employees. This makes training each group of employees on any new infrastructure a real challenge. With the Sun Desktop Access Client, they are able to provide everyone instant access from their current PCs to the new infrastructure, and roll out Sun Ray clients to groups in controlled stages. The option to deploy Sun Ray clients in this staged manner, allowed them to immediately standardize onto a single secure and scalable architecture on the back-end, providing every employee access to the same data, without spending all their money and IT resources trying to do a near-impossible replacement of all desktops in one big switch.

These examples use cases are just a sample of how the Sun Desktop Access Client might be able to help you and your business. I'll be posting many more use cases and customer examples in the weeks to come; however, for now, the best use case I can think of is to download the software and try it yourself! Of course you can contact your Sun sales reps and try out a Sun Ray client anytime you want. But for now, with the free 90 day trial period and the ability to use your Windows PC as a client, there's nothing stopping you from giving it a try right now!

-Jeff

Thursday Oct 29, 2009

Will Oracle continue Sun’s virtualization strategy?

From page four of Oracle's Oracle and Sun Overview and FAQ

"Yes, Oracle plans to continue Sun’s “desktop to datacenter virtualization” strategy and integrate with Oracle’s virtualization products. By unifying management across desktop virtualization, server virtualization, storage virtualization, and network virtualization, Oracle and Sun provide comprehensive, flexible, eco-efficient solutions to maximize utilization, consolidate to reduce costs, increase productivity, and decrease management complexity.

We expect to continue Sun’s desktop virtualization products: VDI, Secure Global Desktop, Sun Ray, and VirtualBox."

Ed note: Recommended Music to Read By

Monday Sep 14, 2009

Sun VDI 3.1 Software EA & Sun Ray Software 5 EA 2

The Sun Desktop Virtualization Marketing team is pleased to announce the Sun VDI Software 3.1 Early Access program and the Sun Ray Software 5 Early Access 2 program. Both programs begin 9/15/09, at 5am PDT and they will end on 10/2/2009.

Which program should you join?

Choose Sun VDI Software 3.1 when you want to deploy server hosted virtual desktops running inside virtual machines to a variety of client devices.
Choose Sun Ray Software 5 when you want to deploy Sun Ray Software to Sun Ray Thin Clients or PCs in a more traditional server-based computing model. You should also choose this program if you want to deploy Sun Ray Software + VMware View Manager.

Sun VDI Software 3.1 Early Access

Sun Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Software 3.1 allows organizations to deploy a secure desktop environment hosted in the data center and displayed on a number of client devices, including Windows PCs and Sun Ray Thin Clients. This release adds Microsoft Hyper-V as an additional virtualization host, support for virtual desktops generated by Microsoft Terminal Services, and the Sun Desktop Access Client for simplified access from Windows PCs. Sun VDI Software 3.1 also includes a number of additional features for Sun Ray client devices, including USB redirection and Adobe Flash enhancements. More details on new features are covered in the support documentation.

You can download the software here:
https://cds.sun.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/CDS-CDS_SMI-Site/en_US/-/USD/ViewProductDetail-Start?ProductRef=SunVDI-3.1-EA-SP-G-F@CDS-CDS_SMI

After you have downloaded and tested the software, please fill out the survey here:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=_2bOaIS5LgthO0B125F5_2bVLg_3d_3d

Documentation is available here:
https://wikis.sun.com/display/VDI3dot1/Home

Support is available through the Sun VDI Forum here:
http://forums.sun.com/forum.jspa?forumID=992&start=0

Sun Ray Software 5 Early Access 2 (EA2)

Sun Ray Software is a secure, cost effective solution that delivers a rich virtual desktop to PCs or Sun Ray Thin Clients. The Sun Ray Software Early Access 2 program delivers four core new features: USB device redirection to Windows, Adobe Flash Enhancements, Windows Server 2008 support and the Sun Desktop Access Client (code name was "Sun Ray Soft Client"). Details of the features are listed below.

1) USB device redirection to Windows
Remote Windows XP Desktop users can now deploy a multitude of Windows USB devices with Sun Ray Technology.  A full list of supported devices is available here.  Installation of Sun Ray Software for Solaris x86 or SPARC is required.  This feature is supported with Sun VDI as a part of the Sun VDI 3.1 Early Access Program or with VMware View Manager in the Sun Ray Software 5 EA2 program.

2) 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 and its follow-on product family.

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)

3) 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)

4) Sun Desktop Access Client (code name was "Sun Ray Soft Client").
The Sun Desktop Access Client is a software application that easily installs on common client operating systems and provides the ability to connect to centralized desktops running on Sun's desktop virtualization software products. An alternative to using a Sun Ray Thin Client, the Sun Desktop Access Client meets the needs of end-users who do not fit the desktop thin client model or who may need to connect from their existing laptop or desktop PC. The Sun Desktop Access Client also provides the flexibility to 'hotdesk' to and from your Sun Ray Thin Client and any supported Sun Desktop Access Client enabled PC.

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

You download the software here:
https://cds.sun.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/CDS-CDS_SMI-Site/en_US/-/USD/ViewProductDetail-Start?ProductRef=SRS-5-EA2-SP-LX-G-B@CDS-CDS_SMI

After you have downloaded and tested the software, please fill out the survey here:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=edIU7UCv9CbC_2bFiyD8POow_3d_3d

Documentation is available here:
http://wikis.sun.com/display/SRS/Home

Support is available through the Sun Ray Software Forum here:
http://forums.sun.com/forum.jspa?forumID=875

If you have additional feed-back for the product team, please send it here:
srs-feedback@sun.com

Thank you for your participation in the Sun VDI 3.1 and/or the Sun Ray Software 5 Early Access 2 Program!

-- 
Angela Carducci
Product Line Manager
Desktop Virtualization Marketing
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
angela.carducci@sun.com
twitter.com/angelacarducci
http://www.sun.com/vdi



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!

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 http://blogs.sun.com/jreilly/ 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!
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Think Thin is a collection of bloggers that work with Oracle's Virtual Desktop portfolio of products.

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