Thursday Apr 08, 2010

The New Sun Ray Hardware Information Center...Pass It Along!

This might be old news for some of you, but Oracle has just released the new Sun Ray 3 Plus Client.  Beyond providing the normal Getting Started Guide that typically comes in the box, the product team wanted to provide a place to give you (our users) up-to-the-minute release notes, detailed technical specifications, and the environmental data for the new shiny Sun Ray. 

Since I was fresh off of using for the Sun Ray Software 5 release, I made the case for to be that place for sharing and the Sun Ray Hardware Information Center was born.

The Sun Ray Hardware Information Center isn't fancy (yet), but it does provide the juicy tidbits and important information for the new Sun Ray 3 Plus Client.  If there is anything missing or other information you'd like to see, either provide a comment on the wiki or on this blog.  As always, I'll see what I can do.

BTW, here's a cool unboxing video of the Sun Ray 3 Plus Client.

Paul Kasper, Sun Ray documentation guy

Monday Nov 16, 2009

Sharing is Nice: The User Tested USB Redirection List

We all learn at an early age that sharing is the right thing to do.  I get to constantly remind my 3- and 5-year old girls about this very important aspect about being a good person.

How do I get from small kids sharing to the new Sun Ray Software 5 release?  Wait for it...wait for it....

It's another ThinkThin update about the Sun Ray Software wiki!

In my earlier posts, I talked about how you can use the Comment feature on any page to leave feedback. And, I still encourage everyone to keep doing that.

But, since the SRS 5 Early Access releases, we've provided the following User Tested page for all wiki users to share the USB devices they've tested with the new USB redirection feature.

Currently, Sun supports USB redirection for all USB devices that fall within the following device types:  flash drives, printers, scanners, USB-to-serial adapters, and USB-to-parallel adapters.

The USB Redirection User Tested List lets you (the Sun Ray user community) share what devices are working for you, including USB devices not in the supported device type categories.

This page already has over 200 edits and over 100 entries from a number of users. And, I just added a Recent Contributors section that dynamically shows who has made the latest edits to the page.

So, what are you waiting for?  If you are using the USB redirection feature and you want to share the devices you are using with this cool new feature, share away! 

- Paul, SRS documentation lead

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....)


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.


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