Couple days back I happened to notice an article on the Sun internal webpage the summary
of which said something like,
"Sun Provides Sun Ray Solution to Chitkara Institute
At Chitkara, Sun has installed four high end SUN servers with the best in class Solaris
operating system. 300 thin clients are spread all over the campus connected on Nortel
switches through a Fibre backbone.
The Sun Ray architecture is comprised of Sun Ray thin clients and Sun servers. By
moving resources to a central location on the network and removing complexity, a much
more flexible and easy-to-maintain environment is achieved."
(Apparently, the actual article appeared in Chandigarh, India, Tribune News Service)
And, the first thought that came to my mind is,"Chitkara? Is it the same as the Chitkara I
knew when I was in high school in India? If so, there's an Institute by that name?" Once I
read the entire article, it was clear to me that it was the Chitkara I used to know.
The same guy who taught Math classes out of his house (couple miles from my parents'
house) when I was about to get into engineering school (around 1994). And, yes, it had
been turned into a full scale Institute or rather a group of Institutions. Wow!
This was an amazing news from my perspective on a couple of counts.
First, one of the well known educational institutions in the city of Chandigarh, where most
of the population has typically been Microsoft savvy (that is true for majority of India as well),
had adopted a Sun solution running Solaris! This is a huge acknowledgement of the fact that
Solaris has come a long ways in terms of being more approachable and user friendly. Mind
you, there still is a lot of a catchup still left to do but it is approachable enough for students in
Secondly, there were going to be Sun Rays in classrooms. Just like a bunch of other educational
institutions around the world have adopted. I've always thought of the Sun Ray technology as
one of the best pieces of technology created at Sun. And, where better to put them than in the
classrooms -- no need to have 300 different workstations that need to be maintained on a regular
basis and draw a significant amount of power, the students can't do crazy stuff on 'em and they
can't even physically break the damn thing coz it's just a dumb thin client (well, for the most part).
Just ideal! Plus, you get all the benefits of a carrier grade OS in Solaris.
And, thinking about it for a moment - it doesn't even have to be Solaris. You could very well be
serving up Windows or even Linux sessions (how long will it be before a Mac OSX virtual client
is available?). So, you could very well bring up a screen on the Sun Ray that gives the users the
ability to choose from the available operating environments -- they could choose whichever they
like potentially based upon the kind of activity they wish to undertake.
Having been a long time user of the Sun Ray at Home solution, I wonder how long will it be
before service providers like Comcast, in addition to providing you internet access, also serve up
virtual desktops for an additional charge. The users benefit because they don't have to be sysadmins
anymore and the service provider benefits because it gets to deliver value added services.
So, really how long will it be before we hit a tipping point for the Sun Ray technology?
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