Tuesday May 10, 2011

Sun Ray Software 5.2 Now Available!

If you've been eagerly awaiting Sun Ray Software 5.2, the wait is over! 

Highlights of this release include:
  • Real-time audio support and audio bandwidth optimizations.
  • Better multimedia.
  • An integrated installer. This combines the server side components that were previously installed separately into one installation package.
  • Support for more smart cards.
  • If you're using Solaris IPMP, Sun Ray Software 5.2 now supports it.
Go get it, or read the press release.

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!

Wednesday Nov 17, 2010

Webinar: Access to Oracle Applications with Oracle Secure Global Desktop

Please join us today at 9 AM PST as we discuss how to increase security and simplify user access to your Oracle Applications by using Oracle Secure Global Desktop.  Brad will be one of the presenters, and I'll be helping with the Q&A chat.

Get more info and register here.

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!


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: 


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.

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.

Monday Jul 19, 2010

Sun Ray Connector for VMware View 4 Available

In a recent post I highlighted some new features offered for Sun Ray Software 5.  If you actually read the press release, you probably saw mention of a "Sun Ray connector for VMware View 4".  And you might be wondering why I didn't blog about it in that recent post.

Since people are asking about it,  I thought it would be smart to provide the link to the actual software.  You can download the Sun Ray Connector for VMWare View 1.2 Manager today.  You can also read the Installation and Configuration Guide.

Why didn't I mention1 this new feature?  I was actually waiting to blog about it once the VMware HCL pages reflected both the new software and Sun Ray 3+ as being View 4 Certified under a search for "Oracle".  But since the software is available, why wait?  The certification process is done, and we are just waiting on web pages to be updated, so have at it.

Update:  Since I was already asked if the VMware View 4 certification applies to only the Sun Ray 3 Plus, I thought it best if I addressed that here as well.  If you understand the Sun Ray Architecture (i.e. nothing runs on the Sun Ray itself, it all runs on the Sun Ray Server) , there's no reason to have any correlation between the actual Sun Ray device models and our Sun Ray Connector for VMWare View.  However, that's not how VMware does their HCL (or one can read that as nothing else is like a Sun Ray). So in short, this will work with everything from a Sun Ray 1 to a Sun Ray 3+ (including the OVDC) though our MMR features will vary.   We've asked VMware and we will have to wait to see how open they are to a single entry that reads "All Sun Ray Clients".

1Since I'm all about honesty, now I'll tell you the real reason I didn't mention it.  I \*thought\* we were going to name it something easy to remember that,  you know, made sense to someone looking for a Sun Ray connector that was certified to work with View 4.  Perhaps even something catchy like "Sun Ray Connector for VMware View 4".  When looking at the download page I saw "Sun Ray Connector for VMware View 1.2 Manager" and thought it was the old version. Note this is purely my opinion and it is not that of my employer, nor is it meant to disparage, poke fun at2,  or otherwise make those who named the product feel bad.  I honestly thought we were changing the name.

2 OK, I may be poking fun, but it is well intended, utmost respect, kind of poking fun.

Thursday Jul 15, 2010

SRS 5: Big updates disguised in a patch

Greetings Think Thin Readers,

Those who watch things like SunSolve for new patch releases noticed starting last Saturday that a slew of new patches began showing up.  If you read the "fixes" in the patch read me files, that's exactly what it looked like...a patch.  But there's so much more.  Beyond numerous bug fixes ("black screens", High CPU using Flash or USB redirection, etc) these patches enable some great new features, details of which were in a press release today.  Just some of the highlights:

New Platform Support:

  • Support for Oracle Enterprise Linux as a Sun Ray Server Software Platform
    • Continued support for Solaris, RHEL, and SLES
Oracle Virtual Desktop Client 2.0 (formerly SDAC)
  • Renaming & Oracle branding of the Sun Desktop Access Client (SDAC) to Oracle Virtual Desktop Client (OVDC)
  • New Apple OS X Version of the OVDC 
    • Continued support for Windows XP, Vista, 7
  • Smart card support for OVDC
    • Hot Desk from your PC or Mac with a smart card reader to a Sun Ray Thin Client
  • Support for Upstream Audio
  • Support for Client Serial Port Mapping

Sun Ray Connector for Windows OS

  • Upstream Audio
    • bidirectional audio capabilities for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003
    • Requires SRSS 4.2 and SRWC 2.2 patches, version -03 or later, and the SRWC Components 1.1 patch, version -01 or late
    • Note upstream audio is off by default.  New uttsc argument required -r soundin:(low|medium|high)
  • Multiple pesky bug fixes ("Double login" for 2008 session directory, black screens, Flash and USB-R fixes)

Install the latest patches per platform, download the new OVDC and let us know what you think!

And as always...Stay Tuned.  Hopefully making noise about things like this will put to rest any doubt that Oracle is committed to it's Desktop Virtualization Portfolio (Sun Ray, SGD, Oracle VDI).

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!


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!


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:

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

Documentation is available here:

Support is available through the Sun VDI Forum here:

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:

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:

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.

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 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!

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


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.

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.

Monday Jan 12, 2009

VDI with Sun Ray 2

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

Tuesday Oct 14, 2008

Sun Ray Software 4 10/08 - Released!

The Sun Desktop Virtualization Team is proud to announce the availablity of Sun Ray Software 4 10/08!  Download it now!

Sun Ray Software 4 10/08 includes the following new features:

Enhanced multimedia playback
for Windows - Capabilities on the Sun Ray 2 family of clients for H.264 (MPEG4) and VC-1 (Windows Media Player 9) streams using Windows Media Player on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

Enhanced multimedia playback for Solaris and Linux - Accelerated YUV playback with applications such as RealPlayer by leveraging standard Video for Sun Ray 1 and Sun Ray 2 family of clients where YUV streams are sent directly to the Sun Ray client

Please see the SRSS and SRWC documentation for more information on supported video types and known limitations (SRSS, SRWC)

Remote Hotdesk Authentication provides enhanced security by authenticating users before connection to existing user sessions in a separate session.

Support for 30-inch monitors on the Sun Ray 2FS virtual display clients via a single link to dual link converter box available from Thruput Ltd.

In-Session Desktop Resizing - Move between different sized displays and adjust your desktop size without logging out

Service tags support - Easily track and register Sun  Ray Server Software with Sun

Expansion of VPN Support - Along with Cisco EzVPN, SRSS 4.1 now includes support for Juniper/Netscreen IPSec based VPN solutions (no SSL support)

Configuration Enhancements - Ability to force compression on, enable lossless compression, force duplex, set keyboard country code, bandwidth limitations, syslog events, log host, and MTU via the "parms" file.

Other Enhancements - New XServer (XNewt) based on Xorg 7.2, DNS lookup changes, Packet loss fixes for bad switches and certain low bandwidth scenarios, Group Manager support for Trusted Extensions,

New Add-On Components:

Sun Ray Connector for VMWare Virtual Desktop Manager (VDM 2.0) allows Sun Ray users to connect to Windows virtual machines via the VMWare Virtual Desktop Manager) Download here.

Smart Card authentication with PC/SC-Lite 1.1 this new release replaces PC/SC-Lite 1.0 and enables access to smart cards via USB readers or Sun Ray readers.  Download here


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