SunRay NG Discussions
By user9157252 on Jul 14, 2004
My thanks to those that have commented so far. I have to say that I'm most amazed that anyone is even reading this blog.
I wish I could comment more on the ideas we're throwing about, but that would break the rules here, and posibly give out proprietary information. That being said, I also am appreciative about the comments about the JavaStation and the NCD. I was around for the entire JavaStation fiasco at Sun -- and was deep in the middle of most of it -- so I take those comments seriously. I don't want us to go back down that rat hole.
But I am most interested in the comments about the possible addition of further USB support. It has long been one of my contentions that one of the limiting factors of SunRay's adoption has been the lack of support for additional USB devices. At least when I was in the field with Sunray customers, I heard this endlessly.
Here's my thinking on this subject, and why I see it this way. The SunRay, by centralizing all management and process execution, enables session mobility, centralized management, and centralized application and OS upgradability. these are all strengths of SunRay that no other system out there has. There's no local memory, no local processor to speak of, etc. Nothing to upgrade on the client side, ever. This is the strength of the SunRay. These are also some of its weaknesses. The SunRay would make one heck of a cash register for Home Depot if it could support USB scanners, receipt printers, etc. Think about it, every cahs register in the store, hooked to the system "in the back" that tracks inventory, etc. Any cashier can walk up to any register and be instantly authenticated to that register. No more rebooting the cash register (have you had to stand there while they do this? I have). So more USB device support is warranted in such a case.
Without the support of just about every USB device known to man, the willingness of many enterprises to deploy SunRay is likewise limited. Like it or not, enterprises want the ability to attach local storage devices, etc. to their desktop. In addition, the current SunRay only support Composite Video In, not USB. Have you tried to buy a Composite Video webcam lately? It was never very easy, but it is close to impossible now as USB webcam prices drop to the floor. So video-conferencing via a SunRay is now nearly impossible -- and I'm not even going to get into the bandwidth restrictions around such activities.
But let's also look at a potential market for SunRay that has never been explored. The Consumer Market. The Mass Market. Let your mind wander to checking into a Hotel and your room key (a SmartCard) gives you access to a full range of Internet services, an IP-based phone, etc. All you need is your USB Mass-storage device and you can get to work. If you (like I used to) spend the majority of your time in Hotels, how nice would it be to have continuous access to your data, and indeed your entire session, from any room within a Hotel Chain's operations? Let's imagine that that same Hotel chain could assign you a 'virtual phone number' that would follow you from room to room, no matter what property you were staying in.
And that's not even the Consumer Market, per se. The ability of a broadband provider to sell it's services to customers without requiring them to own a PC, and to then up-sell additional services (like on-demand software) is an entirely new, and un-tapped, market potential.
I'd love to write more on these subject, and if the comments and responses warrant it, I may.