Thursday Jul 07, 2011

Sun Ray coolness ala iPad

    I've been a fan of Oracle's Sun Ray technology since I first saw it as a Sun Labs project 14 years ago. I've blogged on it many times, and while I am not as directly involved in the sales process for Sun Ray and other desktop virtualization technologies, I still try to stay on top of what is going on. I also try to get some hands on time as well, but that's not as easy as it used to be.

    What makes me excited enough about Sun Ray technology to again take to my blog? My iPad 2. I got an iPad 2 a few weeks ago, and I'm still working on getting the most from it, beyond just being a bigger version of my iPhone 4, which has it's merits for my aging eyes. I really love the Smart Cover, and the size has made it even easier for me to do stuff that I used to prefer doing on my MacBook, but in a lighter and quicker to access form factor. I like my iPad a lot, but my iPhone is still my ultimate 'portable' computer.

    I've played with a couple apps for getting remote access to a desktop machine, for accessing my kid's PC at home and my PC at work. Heck, I even have it set up to remotely access my MacBook, when my MacBook is left running somewhere. But none of them are as seamless and full featured as the Sun Ray at home I had when working for Sun. Wouldn't it be neat to have that kind of access, with the portability of an iPad? Yes it would, and it is now available. Oracle has just announced the Oracle Virtual Desktop Client App for iPad.

    For those that didn't just dash off to get it, here is the link to it on the Apple AppStore. And did I mention that it is free. Obviously you will need access to a Sun Ray server, but that's the point, isn't it. This takes the existing Oracle Virtual Desktop Client (OVDC), available on Windows, Oracle Linux and Oracle Solaris, to a new, more portable platform that has not only created a new market, but is extremely popular, and continuing to sell faster than they can stock them.

    I got the chance to try this iPad OVDC internally and I'm impressed. One thing I really love about it is the keyboard. By tapping with 3 fingers at once, it brings up the on-screen keyboard, which includes access along an additional row across the top to various additional capability. This includes a button to bring up all the function keys (F1-F12), another button to bring up cursor keys, as well as toggle-able Control, Alt, and Shift keys, and Esc, Tab and Del keys. Man, I wish there was a way to get that keyboard for many of my other iPad apps. :-) You can use the standard iPad gestures for zooming and moving around the screen. A quick 2-finger swipe to the right brings back the connection panel, allowing you to easily change connections or disconnect the current session. It also has a button for getting help on supported gestures.

    It's probably just the geek in me, but I'm loving this new client. If you have access to a Sun Ray environment and have an iPad, check it out. For years customers have wanted Sun Ray laptops and tablets. I can't think of a better option for filling that need. For those of you who try it out, please let me know in the comments your impressions. Mobile corporate computing just got more accessible. Congratulations to the Sun Ray engineering team for a great addition to the Sun Ray family.
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A place where Perley Mears sounds off on topics relevant to his work at Oracle.

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