Thursday Mar 28, 2013

Oracle VDI 3.5 Installation notes for Solaris 11.1

Oracle released Oracle VDI 3.5 last week. You may have seen the announcements on the Oracle website, Blogs or social media. In this article I want to share my installation notes of Oracle VDI 3.5 software on the newly supported Solaris 11.1 platform. 

For me, this was also my first Solaris 11 server installation experience and I was happy to find out that installing Solaris 11.1 and Oracle VDI 3.5 was a rather easy activity. On my lab server I used the Solaris 11.1 text-based installation, this is the image for server deployments and during the initial configuration I configured the server with static IP-address, my lab DNS server and DNS domain.

During installation I created the initial user account with username vdiadmin. As you may know you can't login as the super-user root in Solaris 11 and for all the remaining system commands with root-privileges you can use the sudo command (or just change to the root-role with the su command).

Solaris Package Repository

After the basic Solaris 11.1 installation you need to configure the Solaris Support repository. By default only the Release repository is configured. This is important, because Oracle VDI needs more Solaris packages then installed in the standard configuration, the Oracle VDI installer will download the packages automatically from the repository.

Run the below pkg command in Solaris to check the repository, initially it shows you the Release repository:

    # pkg publisher 
    solaris     origin online 

I used the information from the Solaris documentation to configure the online Solaris Support repository. If your server is not connected to the Internet, then you should configure your own, local repository by using the Solaris 11.1 Repository Image

To configure the Solaris Support repository, obtain key and certificate files from Login with your MOS credentials and follow the steps for Solaris 11 support. After you have finished the steps you can verify the changed repository and run a pkg update to install the latest Oracle Solaris 11 Support Repository Update (SRU) and reboot:

    # pkg publisher
    solaris     origin  online
    # sudo pkg update 
    # sudo init 6

Oracle VDI Installation Process

If you download the Oracle VDI 3.5 software package, you should pay attention to download the correct installation zip-file. There is now a difference between Solaris 10 and Solaris 11 installation zip-files. 

After unpacking the VDI 3.5 installation zip-files, I decided to run vda-install and vda-config separately:

    # sudo ./vda-install -i

The installer starts to check the required libraries and packages in Solaris 11.1. In my case (text-based Solaris 11.1 installation) it needed to download about 600 MB of data from the Solaris 11 repository. After the download and installation of the packages, the Oracle VDI installer automatically continues with the basic Oracle VDI installation.

Depending on your network connection, downloading 600 MB of Solaris packages takes some time. You may monitor the process by viewing the installation log file (in a separate Terminal window) for information about the progress of downloading and installing the packages.

    # tail -f  /var/sadm/install/logs/vda-install.timestamp.log

I decided to do a reboot when vda-install was finished because of all the newly installed packages. I'm not sure if this is really necessary. After the reboot I continued with the vda-config command to start the configuration of my single-node Oracle VDI server. In the configuration settings I used my initial user vdiadmin as VDI Administrator:

    # sudo /opt/SUNWvda/sbin/vda-config
    Review the settings for a new Oracle VDI Center:
       Name: VDI Center
       Administrator Password: ********
       VDI Administrator (super-user): vdiadmin
       DNS name of this host: ovdi-host20.ovdi.local
       Maximum number of sessions on this host: 100
       User ID range start: 150000
       Database: Embedded Oracle VDI
    Do you want to create the Oracle VDI Center now?
    Enter 'c' to customize the settings. ([y]/c):


Virtual Box Installation Process

Because of the changes in Solaris 11 for the root-role, I decided to configure the Virtual Box processes under non-root privileges: you can use your standard user ('vdiadmin' in my case). 

Because of the non-root priviliges, you are also forced to configure a non-privileged TCP port for the Virtual Box web-service. I used the TCP port that was suggested by the installer:

    # sudo ./vb-install 
    Oracle VM VirtualBox Installation for Solaris
    Unpacking Oracle VM VirtualBox package.
    Select an existing user for VirtualBox: vdiadmin
    Enter the password for user 'vdiadmin': #########

    Specify the VirtualBox SSL port [18083]: 18083
    Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.2.10 Installation
    + Installing Oracle VM VirtualBox Core
    ...etc etc....


Connect to the Oracle VDI Manager

If you connect with Firefox to the Oracle VDI Manager for the first time, you got the following error message on the secure port of the VDI Manager:

This error is mentioned in the Oracle VDI 3.5 Release Notes. Oracle Solaris 11 uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) version 1.1, which Firefox does not support yet. The workaround is to connect and authenticate with TLS 1.0 disabled in Firefox preferences:

    Advanced -> Encryption, unchecked Use TLS 1.0.


Some Closing Remarks

  • NTP services: works exactly the same as with Solaris 10, just make sure /etc/inet/ntp.conf has the right server settings before you start configuring Oracle VDI.
  • Kerberos: also works the same as Solaris 10. I used copied my /etc/krb/krb5.conf configuration file from Solaris 10 without any changes.
  • I also did another Solaris 11.1 installation where I used the Oracle Solaris 11.1 Live Media for x86, that also worked fine. I only had some difficulties changing IP-address from DHCP to static. Just read the documentation or Google to use the right procedure.

Wednesday Dec 14, 2011

White Paper: Design Proposal for Hosted Virtual Desktops

Oracle released a white paper for Oracle VDI: A Design Proposal for Hosted Virtual Desktops. The white paper discusses a design proposal for Windows 7 virtual desktops hosted on Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. It proposes infrastructure for 500, 1000 and 1500 users.

Topics discussed in the white paper are the high-level architecture, capacity planning and design decisions. The white paper finishes with performance optimizations.

The infrastructure in the white paper is based on the full Oracle stack of products, from the end-user client to the storage in the data-center. 

For the storage tier it discusses the Oracle Sun ZFS Storage appliance and calculations are  presented for IOPS for the virtual desktops.

The virtualization tier is represented by the Oracle VDI built-in hypervisor Oracle VM VirtualBox running on Sun Fire x86 servers.

The session management layer discusses the Oracle VDI core technology. For a 500 desktop deployment, only a 10 core capacity is required for the client sessions. This may be deployed on bare-metal or virtualized on a server-hosted platform. 

Furthermore, the client tier is used by several hardware clients: Sun Ray ultra-thin clients and the OVDC software application running on Windows PCs, Mac OS X and tablet devices such as the Apple iPad. 

The white paper finishes with the following statement: "A complete VDI solution requires tying together server hardware, storage hardware and networking technology, in addition to deploying VDI software. Oracle is alone as a VDI vendor in being able to deliver the complete stack: software and hardware engineered to work together."

Monday Aug 23, 2010

Working with RDP settings in Oracle VDI

The display protocol between Sun Ray DTUs (or the software application Oracle Virtual Desktop Client) and the Oracle VDI servers is ALP, the Appliance Link Protocol. ALP is a latency friendly protocol and very efficient in Wide Area Networks. Between the Oracle VDI servers and the Virtual Desktops, hosted on the virtualization infrastructure, the RDP protocol is used and implemented through the Sun Ray Connector for Windows.

The Oracle VDI broker uses standard RDP settings that you may change as an Oracle VDI administrator. This is done per pool configuration and available through the Oracle VDI GUI or via CLI-commands. In the below picture you see how to navigate in the Oracle VDI GUI to the pool settings: select Pools in the left column, select the Pool you want to customize (in my case Windows XP Pool) and select the tab Settings.

If you scroll down on the Pool Settings page you see the section for Sun Ray specific pool settings and the option to customize the settings for RDP. Pay attention to the order of selecting the options:

  1. Select the hyperlink Edit Sun Ray RDP Settings and enable the desired settings in the page that displays, save the changes and go back to the Pool Settings page.
  2. Select the checkbox Use Customized Settings,
  3. Save the changes
I have made multiple times the error to go directly to the Edit Sun Ray RDP Settings after I selected the checkbox. If you don't save the change, and you come back from Edit Sun Ray RDP Settings page, the checkbox is not activated anymore.

In the case you have changed the Sun Ray RDP settings and the result is still different then what you were expecting, you can go to the Oracle VDI server command-line (via SSH or Putty) to do some trouble-shooting. As you may know already, the RDP client for a Sun Ray session is called uttsc in Solaris. The desired RDP settings that you configured in the GUI are passed as arguments through this uttsc process on the server.

A very nice tool in the trouble-shooting process is the Solaris pargs CLI-command, which gives you information about the arguments that are passed to a Solaris process (identified by a Process ID).

In my example (see below) I want to investigate the RDP settings for a Sun Ray user with userid jaapr. I have to find out to which server Jaap's Sun Ray session is connected (press the three audio-keys on a Sun keyboard), I connect to this server with SSH/Putty and with the process ID of the uttsc process (better to use uttsc-bin for this) I investigate the RDP settings:

root@vdiserver:~# ps -ef|grep jaapr|grep uttsc-bin
   utku5 28223 28204   0 17:42:11 ?      0:00 /opt/SUNWuttsc/lib/uttsc-bin -m -u jaapr ...

root@vdiserver:~# pargs 28223
28223:  /opt/SUNWuttsc/lib/uttsc-bin -m -u jaapr -S 5 -d SUNVDI -i -r usb:on -E wallpap
argv[0]: /opt/SUNWuttsc/lib/uttsc-bin
argv[1]: -m
argv[2]: -u
argv[3]: jaapr
argv[4]: -S
argv[5]: 5
argv[6]: -d
argv[7]: SUNVDI
argv[8]: -i
argv[9]: -r
argv[10]: usb
argv[11]: -E
argv[12]: wallpaper
argv[13]: -E
argv[14]: theming

And here you have the complete listing of the RDP settings that are used for a specific Desktop session in a selected VDI pool.


I post here hands-on examples which I have used in my Oracle VDI Desktop Virtualization projects at customers and partners.


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