Monday Sep 08, 2008

Using Virtual Box on MacOS to host a Solaris Sun Ray server

With the release of Virtual Box 2.0, I'm happy to report that VB for Mac now supports "host networking." What does this mean to you?  In the 1.x version of VB for Mac, only NAT support was included which made it extremely difficult for your Solaris OS within VB to actually act as a server on the network.  With the new host networking, the Solaris VM can now assign itself an IP address on your network.

With this in mind, I set about to reproduce the steps I detailed earlier this year for creating a Sun Ray thin client server on my Mac.  After configuring a new Solaris 10 VM with 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of disk and host network, I installed the Sun Ray server software (using my handy instructions previously posted),  and it worked with no problem.

In case you haven't heard of it, Virtual Box is:


Tuesday May 15, 2007

Sun Ray thin client saves customers big bucks and makes them "Green."

At Sun for the last 7 years, we've known that using Sun Ray ultra thin clients saves customers money while increasing security. We have over 25000 of them deployed and everyone from the CEO on down uses them. Our global mobility configuration allows me to move my running desktop session from my house to my office in McLean VA, to Broomfield, CO to Bejing China by simply taking my smart card with me.  Trust me, the first time you see this work, in appears to be no less that magical.

Most recently Verizon has installed over 5000 Sun Rays in their call centers and find it reduces their power bill, management costs while making them more "green."  According to the article in Network World:

Verizon has seen a 60% to 70% drop in desktop problems and a 30% decline in electrical use at each center.Generally, Verizon had four dedicated tech staff members per 1,000 seats to handle desktop trouble tickets. With the Sun Rays, that’s been cut to one staffer.

How does the Sun Ray help the environment?

  • Lower power and cooling usage. 4-7 watts vs. over 100 for the typical PC.
  • Reduced waste.  A Sun Ray has no disk drive, DVD drive or fans.  When discarded it has a significantly smaller circuit board, enclosure and power supply than a typical PC.  Our basic Sun Ray 2 weighs less than one pound.
  • Improve real estate usage.  At Sun we have reduced our real estate significantly because of the "hot-desking" feature of the Sun Ray thin client.  We can allocate 2-3 mobile workers to one cube.  This reduces waste, power, cooling and other factors.
  • Improved resource utilization.  Processors can be shared among users.  No longer is a 3 Ghz processor locked up in a box in the cube next to you while that person is out of the office or on vacation.  In this shared environment, many users can be allocated to a small number of processors. 

 The Sun Ray thin client also helps to control costs in a number of ways:

  • No patching required.
  • No local software installation on each device.
  • No reason to replace it every three years.  We have Sun Ray devices over 7 years old.  Think of it as a VT100 terminal on steroids.
  • Reduced system administration costs through centralized management.
  • Upgrades for hardware  (CPU, Memory, Disk) and Software (Word processing, mail, etc) occur in a centralized location rather than on the desktop.  A single a central Sun Ray server provides additional power to all of its users.
  • Reduced cost to move an employee.  Simply pull out your smart card and switch to any cubicle available.
  • Reduced data loss and backup issues.  All data is kept in centrally managed and backed up data centers by professionals.

The Sun Ray can also increase your security posture for a variety of reasons:

  • No hard disk drive, floppy or CD-RW device to be stolen, lost or to extract data
  • USB ports can be disabled to prevent the injection of viruses or removal of data via flash memory drives
  • No operating system means that it's virus free and doesn't require constant monitoring, securing and patching
  • Smart Card authentication provides two factor security.

These are just a few of the benefits of the Sun Ray thin clients.  DISA management has stated that they plan to move to a thin client architecture when they move their HQ from VA to Ft. Meade, MD.

Thin implementations have also taken hold in the United States. One of its advocates is CDR W. Stevenson Bowman, who is the officer in charge of the San Diego detachment of SPAWAR, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in Norfolk, Va. Bowman was involved with a thin-client implementation at the data center of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) in San Diego, where they were able to eliminate their help desk completely.

"The whole idea was to get rid of all the thick clients and the cost associated with them," Bowman said. They moved from Wintel PCs to Solaris running on a Citrix server. The agency first went from seven to two support personnel, then eliminated them completely.

 Whether you are a Solaris, Linux or even Microsoft Windows shop we have many more success stories of Sun Ray deployments around the world.

If you would like to know how to take advantage of Sun's thin client computing computing technologies, call our Sun Federal headquarters at 703 204 4100.

About

Jim Laurent is an Oracle Sales consultant based in Reston, Virginia. He supports US DoD customers as part of the North American Public Sector hardware organization. With over 17 years experience at Sun and Oracle, he specializes in Solaris and server technologies. Prior to Oracle, Jim worked 11 years for Gould Computer Systems (later known as Encore).

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