Friday Feb 09, 2007

#3 Pricing

OK this isn't a feature but it is a change that happened with version 4.3 and something that has "lowered the barrier" as they say;-)

Compared with earlier versions, the price of 4.3 is roughly 30% less!

That's all.

Thursday Feb 08, 2007

#4 - Windows XP as a "server"

So now we're getting to some new "features" which are really making an impact to the SGD business.

But what is this one all about? When would you want to connect to Windows XP Pro as a "server"?

Well, as it happens, there are a couple of compelling situations when you might.


  1. Connecting to your traditional fat client

    Many organisations that haven't yet seen the light, are running the traditional desktop architecture of a windows PC on the desk and all applications installed locally on it.
    This model has served us well but is creaking a little with new demands.
    You see, in this model the work environment is heavily dependent on that good old PC sitting in the office.
    So what happens when the inevitable happens?
    What will it mean to your organization when 60% of the guys can't get to the office, can't get to that good old PC?


    So one solution is to deploy SGD in a configuration where employees can reach their desktop PC from home.

  2. Connecting to a Windows XP Pro instance running on a Virtual Server

    Desktop Virtualization is hot! We're seeing people now deploying XP Pro on VMware or Xen Servers and using SGD to access them in a secure, controlled way. This delivers the benefits of server based computing (security, mobility, manageability, device choice, etc) by delivering a familiar environment. Not a bad idea eh?

So in the words of a famous European beer manufacturer, SGD 4.3 can now refresh the parts other products can't reach.
And that's why this feature is in at #4

Tuesday Jan 30, 2007

#5 - Client Drive Mapping for UNIX apps

Out of the box, SGD is pre-configured so that any remote apps you run cannot touch the drives on your client device, e.g. your Windows PC.
Reasons for this may be to protect against "contamination-in", where viruses, malware etc may be uploaded to your protected server-side apps.
Another reason may be to protect against "data leakage-out", where you don't want sensitive data leaking out of the internal network.

But at other times you really, really do want to open or save files to your local drives.
So it was great to see yet another cool feature appearing in the SGD 4.3 release, Client Drive Mapping for UNIX apps.

This means that I can run an app on a Solaris or Linux server, say StarOffice, and have that application "see" my local client's filesystem.

It works like this:

And here's how you set it up on the application server:


  1. Create a mount point:
    e.g.
     mkdir /smb
    chmod 755 /smb

  2. Export it:
    On Solaris you can add a line like this to /etc/dfs/dfstab
     share -F nfs -o rw -d "UNIX Drive Mapping" /smb 

  3. Restart NFS
    On Solaris 10:
    svcadm enable network/nfs/server

  4. Install the SGD Enhancement Module (tem) on the Solaris server:
    download it from http://yourservername/tarantella/cgi-bin/modules.cgi
  5. And start the drive mapping component:
    /opt/tta_tem/bin/tem startcdm 

The Administration Guide tells you how to set up the SGD server and how to control which users can/cannot use client drive mapping.

So the end result allows me to see something like this:

...which is me running StarOffice on Solaris 10 accessing files on my Mac OS X Desktop.
Pretty cool huh?
So it makes it into my Cool List at #5.

Wednesday Jan 03, 2007

#6 - Integrated Client Mode

Resuming my personal countdown of cool features in SGD 4.3.....

I guess the fact that you are reading these ramblings of Fat Bloke means that we share some knowledge of the world of server-based/thin client/virtual display computing. And you already know that by deploying your users' apps on servers it makes for a more secure, more manageable, more agile desktop approach. But what about the end-user experience?

End users can be demanding but on the whole they're a fairly simple bunch. They don't care about architectures, or security of the system, or load balancing, or even the platform of the applications they need to use. They simply want to be able to run their applications as if it were local.

And whilst previous versions of SGD addressed usability demands such as opening/saving docs to local disks, printing to local printers, and displaying windows in a seamless way, just like local apps, the new version takes integration with the client to a new level.

You see, in SGD 4.3, users can choose to have their remote apps appear in the Start Menu alongside their local apps.
Thus....


And as these Start Menu items are simply links, they can be dragged onto the desktop for quick access too....

So that's why this feature makes it into my Top 10.

FB

Tuesday Dec 19, 2006

#7 - PDF Printing. Now to Mac OS X, Linux and Solaris

Previous versions of SGD support that cool PDF Printing feature if you had a Windows client.
This is where the SGD client sees if the client understands PDFs and if so creates a synthetic printer on the app server.
When the user prints to that printer, a PDF file is sent to the client where the PDF viewer is used to print it.
Quite cool because it saves installing printer drivers on the servers, and the resultant print job is hi-fidelity.

Well, in SGD 4.3, we Mac users and our cousins that use Linux and Solaris, can also use this cool feature.
The SGD client knows that if it finds a Mac PDF viewer (Preview.app) or UNIX viewers (like gview) then the client is "pdf-aware" and the magic begins...

Thursday Dec 14, 2006

#9 - A Single Installable Package

Not so long ago, SGD, or Tarantella as it was then, came like a piece of IKEA flatpack furniture.
There were separate installable components for:
  • Base component
  • Windows Connectivity Pack
  • Mainframe Connectivity Pack
  • AS/400 Connectivity Pack
  • Security Pack
...in addition to the separately downloadable Enhancement modules and clients.
And all of these used a special non-standard SHell eXecutable (shx) install mechanism.

So Cool Thing about SGD 4.3 Number 9 is a single Solaris package (pkgadd) or Linux rpm package that contains everything.
One download, one install and away you go. Nice one.

My Top 10 of new stuff with SGD 4.3

We fat blokes are seldom emotional. However, sometimes we stumble across something which so impresses us we grudgingly raise an eyebrow.
A week after downloading and playing with the latest SGD release, I've decided to bare my soul and expose my Top 10 list of cool stuff about version 4.3.
Doing so in one go would be far too traumatic for me, so I take it one blog entry at a time, beginning with, in reverse order, at number 10...

#10 - Automatic Proxy Detection
Unless you ran a Windows client, SGD 4.2 was never able to detect this. So poor old fat bloke, with his  trusty MacBook, and the myriad of Sun Ray users inside Sun, had to manually change proxy settings when jumping on and off the corporate network to access SGD servers that are located on the Internet, such as the Sun Demo SGD Server.
With Firefox 2 still insisting on having its own settings, but  Safari using the Location System Settings, life was getting complicated. 

So thank you the engineer that fixed this.

Wednesday Dec 06, 2006

Good things come to those who wait?

You can't rush a good pint or a software release, it seems.
At long last those patient SGD engineers have finally unveiled the latest model, Version 4.3.
So now you can not only read about What's New but you can go download it and try it too.

Monday Nov 27, 2006

Who is this guy?

Right then, time I pulled my finger out and set things straight...
I'm the Fat Bloke and this is what I stand for:
\*Football - real football as played by real men.
\*Beer - real ale as drunk in Yorkshire .
\*Sun Secure Global Desktop Software - server-based computing for fat or thin clients.

Hope this gives you all the context you need.

FB

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