Tuesday Nov 24, 2009

Sun VDI Software 3.1 is out

The latest release of Sun VDI Software is now available. Head on over to Think Thin where I describe the new features for more detail!

Tuesday Mar 24, 2009

Introducing Sun VDI Software 3

Today we announced Sun VDI Software 3. This is a HUGE update to the product and includes some amazing improvements:

  • Significantly reduced storage consumption - Integration with Solaris ZFS and Open Storage eliminates wasted disk space for identical VM clones.
  • Choice of virtualization hosts - Use VMware Infrastructure or the built-in Sun virtualization to host virtual desktops.
  • Larger deployments with VMware - Supports multiple vCenter servers for large enterprise VDI deployments.
  • Wide variety of virtual desktops operating systems - Provides virtual desktops of Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 2000, OpenSolaris, and Ubuntu.
  • Instant VM cloning - Instead of waiting for multi-gigabyte file copies, virtual machine clones are created instantly and consume virtually no disk space by using ZFS snapshots.
  • Multiple virtual desktops per user - A user can have multiple virtual desktops and can choose between them when logging in.
  • Use nearly any client - Access a Sun VDI Software 3 session from nearly any modern Windows PC or thin client without installing any software.
  • Integration with Active Directory - Assign virtual machines to users in Active Directory.
  • Simplified installation - Integration of the core components into a unified installer to make administration and setup easier.

You can download it right now and you can read through the documentation.

There is also a new one stop shop for Sun desktop virtualization at our spiffy new URL:


Here are a couple of videos that tell you about the product:

We're incredibly excited about this release and hope you are, too!

Thursday Jan 29, 2009

Sun VDI Software 3 Early Access 2 is now available!

About 45 minutes ago we released Sun VDI Software 3 Early Access 2. You can get it from the Sun VDI Software download page (scroll to the bottom). This is tremendously exciting release for us, the culmination of many months of work by our excellent engineering team.

What have we done? A lot! We've expanded our VMware support so you can do much larger deployments (yes, we support multiple vCenter servers!), we've included a virtualization platform based on VirtualBox that can do VDI desktops for older versions of Windows, Solaris, Ubuntu, etc., and we've added support for Open Storage and the Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems to massively reduce storage expenditure. We've also added built-in support for ActiveDirectory.

I'll be going into more detail in the coming weeks. But if you're looking at deploying VDI, download the early access release right now, kick the tires, and let us know what you think at virtualdesktop at sun . com.

Wednesday Jan 21, 2009

New Patch for Sun VDI Software

The Sun Virtual Desktop Connector component of Sun VDI Software has been updated to patch 3. Dirk gives some detail on the changes (including support for VMware ESX 3i!) and lists the patch numbers. However, it looks to me like SunSolve is being a bit picky, so I wanted to give you direct URLs:

For Solaris on SPARC:

For Solaris on x86:

For Linux:

For the Windows vda-agent and vda-tools:

Sunday Nov 09, 2008

Cool! Can we use it for VDI?


The Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems, a.k.a Amber Road, launch is today. You can read through all kinds of amazing product info and you can watch a live webcast of the launch.

This is really interesting for us on the desktop side because storage is a big hurdle for VDI deployments.  Sun is introducing an amazing storage platform leveraging ZFS and ISCSI, two technologies that will have a big impact (both in terms of performance and cost reductions) for us in the VDI world. They are eco-friendly, too, using about 75% less power than competing systems. A 4 watt client device (like our Sun Ray clients) is great, but isn't it a problem if your backend systems are consuming gobs of power? Now they don't have to! Add in DTrace Analytics, ZFS Snapshots, clustering, and so on, and we're looking at a serious platform for VDI storage.

I'll be writing more about this as we get closer to launch, but the next version of Sun VDI Software (now in early access) cozies up really nice to these devices, and Open Storage in general.

Bringing storage cost in line is a large goal of ours, and our position as part of the larger Sun engine puts us in an amazing spot to bring the best value to VDI customers. Stay tuned for more!

Thursday Oct 30, 2008

And remind yourself

Megan Casey at SquidBlog posted a few reminders that pretty much sum up the way things should work:

Tie a string around your finger

And remind yourself:

People online are real people.

If you send a nasty email, there’s a real human being on the other end who gets it.
If you flame in a forum, you’re wasting real people’s time.
If you spam someone, you’re really only making yourself look bad.
If you write IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS it sounds like shouting.
If you want something to happen your way, try asking instead of demanding.
If you give, you’ll probably wind up getting, too.
If you blog just to pick fights, don’t be surprised when people don’t trust you.
If you collaborate, say thanks.
If you’re independent, say no thanks.
If you like someone, tell them.
If you don’t, walk away from the computer.
If you’re giving feedback, lead with just one good thing.
If you’re getting feedback, realize that the person must care a lot to have sent it.
If you goof, apologize.
If you apologize, mean it.
If you smile, mean that too.
If you don’t like something, don’t do it.
If you do like something, spread it.

But far far more important:

Give people a break.
The break you probably deserve yourself.
People are out to do good, 99% of the time.
You probably are too.
Say thanks out loud and a lot.
Try making someone’s day.
Chances are they’ll make yours in return.

This list made my day today!

Tuesday Oct 14, 2008

Sun Ray Software 4 10/08 Now Available

Sun Ray Software 4 10/08 is now available! Details about the new features can be found on ThinkThin.

Why is this an exciting release for us? Well, if you have a read through the ThinkThin entry, you’ll see the feature set is impressive. But I thought I’d take a moment to map those features to the people who will benefit most from them:

- For the end users, we’re trying to provide a more natural PC experience with a virtual desktop. Ultimately, the person working shouldn’t care what kind of device they’re on. And if we can give them an experience that’s pretty close to a regular PC, they’ll be quite happy to work on the device IT decides on.

End user features: Enhanced multimedia, 30-inch monitor support, in-session desktop resizing.

- For the IT managers, we’re trying to make it easy for them to manage these environments. Even though there are often some additional pieces in a virtual desktop environment (like a virtualization platform), if we do a good job, we can ease their burden.

IT manager features: Support from VMware VDM, Additional VPN platform, configuration enhancements, remote hotdesk authentication.

- For the procurement department, we’re trying to make it easier than ever to get our technology when your IT organization falls in love with it. Sun is well known for innovative business models, and the desktop products are supporting that heritage by offering unique pricing.

Procurement features: Both perpetual and subscription pricing models.

As you can see, there is a lot to be excited about! The worldwide demand for enterprise thin clients continues to grow and Sun can leverage our 10 years of experience in delivering full screen desktops over the network to help you meet the challenges of your organization.

And this is really just the first step into the new world of a more realistic PC experience from a thin client. In the not too distant future, you’ll be able to install all sorts of operating systems as VDI desktop environments, even older versions of Windows without RDP services. You’ll also be able to see the startup and shutdown process of your virtual desktop, boot up Windows in safe mode, or, if Windows fails on you, you’ll see the dreaded blue screen of death. Yes, that is a good thing!

It’s a great day for us. I hope if you’re an existing Sun Ray customer you’ll go and download the new software and get started with it right away. If you’re a potential customer, please read through the documentation, and talk to your Sun rep about seeing Sun Ray technology first hand. It’s your Windows desktop, no PC required.

Monday Mar 17, 2008

Sun Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Software 2.0 hits the (virtual) shelves!


Over the last few months I've written several posts on the Sun Virtual Desktop Connector. Well, I have great news! The Sun Virtual Desktop Connector is now available as part of Sun VDI Software 2.0, available today for download on sun.com.

The Sun Virtual Desktop Connector is really a fantastic piece of software. It allows you to create pools of virtual machines in VMware Infrastructure 3 (VMware ESX Server 3.5 and Virtual Center 2.5) using templates that you define. Are you continually wiping and re-imaging machines for temporary workers? Make your standard image available to your ESX Server, tell the Sun Virtual Desktop Connector how many virtual machines you want to have available and voila, you've got a massively scalable desktop infrastructure instantly. As users connect they are assigned a virtual machine based on policies you define (more on that later) and the pool is refilled. It couldn't be easier.

And you're not limited to one pool. You can create multiple pools that fulfill your standard job functions – maybe you have a pool for the aforementioned temporary workers that contains a severely locked down Windows XP Pro image. And maybe you also have a pool for your Standard Operating Environment (SOE) that contains a more open Windows XP image with all of your corporate applications pre-installed for the general user base. And maybe you have a third pool just for people who work in HR with their unique set of applications. Once you have your different pools, you simply assign which groups of users get routed to which pools.

Once a user is assigned a virtual machine, you can control the life cycle of that virtual machine. You can do things like set the lifetime of the virtual machine (i.e., 5 days, 1 year, and so on), and decide what action to take when processing the virtual machine at the end of its life span. You can choose to simply destroy the VM when it's no longer useful (don't worry, you'll never run out of VMs because the pool is constantly being refilled from the template as long as you have enough disk space), or you can drop it back into the pool as-is. You can even set the VM to automatically revert to a snapshot in VMware. This is fantastic for kiosks, temporary workers, or even for people who store all of their data via roaming profiles on the server because it means they can be working with a fresh environment every time they login. Did your user install a piece of software they weren't supposed to and you don't want to manage it? With this option, it'll be gone the next time they login. No more tech support calls because a user installed application hosed the work environment!

There's another way to assign users to virtual machines, too: you can do it manually. This means you can load up your ESX Server with a bunch of virtual machines (maybe you got them there using a P2V tool) and assign them one by one to your users. From a management perspective, you could opt to treat your VDI architecture a lot like your physical distributed desktop infrastructure. The advantage here would be that you can backup the VMs (how many desktop PCs are really backed up every day?) and take advantage of VMware features like HA and VMotion to utilize your servers in the best possible way. From an IT perspective, there's very little work in "VDI management", you can either setup pools and have it handled automatically, or you can manually manage the virtual desktops like you'd manage the physical machines on users' desks. And when those physical machines start to breakdown, just replace them with anything you'd like (we'd suggest Sun Ray virtual display clients) without disrupting the user.

Speaking of the user, a VDI infrastructure provides some real benefits to them. First and foremost, the onus of data security is shifted from the individual user back to IT. I've never lost a laptop, but I do know that losing a machine with sensitive data on it (Social Security numbers, medical records, credit card numbers, payroll records, and on and on) is a very big deal. Not only is it unpleasant for the people whose data has been compromised, it has a tremendous cost from a public relations standpoint and maybe a measurable cost in the cleanup effort. However, if all your data is on the server and is never really sent to your client device (you're only manipulating pictures of it!) you can't lose it.

Data security is probably in and of itself enough reason for an end user to like VDI. However, there are two more that I'd like to talk about that are related to each other. The first is the ability to work with your full complement of applications, network resources, etc., available to you from nearly anywhere. We do this here at Sun and I can't tell you how many times it's come in handy. Instead of having to manage different sets of documents on my laptop and my work computer, I keep everything on my virtual desktop environment and access it remotely when I need it. If I bring my laptop with me on a trip (which, unlike most people, I don't automatically do anymore!), I grab the documents I'm likely to work on while disconnected and just keep them handy. But my heavy lifting work is all done on my virtual desktop. I can even print to any printer in any Sun office around the world from wherever I am.

The second item is around installing complicated software on my personal machine. I don't have a Sun issued laptop, I instead use my personal machine when I have to work offline. However, I don't want to have to own a particular type of machine in order to get support from my employer and I certainly don't want to install the specific anti-virus program IT issues or install a bunch of other software tools on my home computer. The wonderful thing about a virtual desktop environment is that IT can manage the environment I work in, but I can manage the access to that environment. So my personal computer stays that way.

Sun VDI Software 2.0 includes the Sun Virtual Desktop Connector, as well as components that provide secure, high performance access from Sun Ray clients and nearly any computer with a Java technology-enabled web browser. If you haven't had a chance to read up on it, please head over to the product page and have a look or download the software and try it for yourself. There's also a really informational step by step guide available. Enjoy!


Saturday Mar 08, 2008

The what, why, and how of Sun VDI Software #4

#4 - Does the Sun Virtual Desktop Connector support the latest VMware Infrastructure 3 products?

Yes! After our beta release of the Sun Virtual Desktop Connector, VMware revised VMware ESX Server and Virtual Center and we found some minor incompatibilities with the latest versions. So, as part of our ongoing improvements while we readied the code for general release, we went and ahead and fixed these issues. This means that you can run the Sun Virtual Desktop Connector against the last two major releases of the VI3 product stack (3.0.x/3.5.x for ESX and 2.0.x/2.5.x for VirtualCenter).

Monday Jan 07, 2008

New Inner Circle article on data security and destkop virtualization


The title says it all: Inner Circle (one of my favorite Sun publications) has an article about data security and desktop virtualization that I was fortunate enough to be involved in. Have a look.

Wednesday Nov 28, 2007

The what, why, and how of Sun VDI Software #3

#3 - How does the Sun Virtual Desktop Connector fit in with Sun VDI Software?

The Sun Virtual Desktop Connector is software that allows Sun VDI Software, Sun Ray Software, and Sun Secure Global Desktop Software to manipulate and connect users to virtual machines. The first version of the Sun Virtual Desktop Connector is debuting with support for VMware Infrastructure 3. This means that if you have ESX of VirtualCenter installed, you can leverage the Virtual Desktop Connector to create and manage pools of VMs, deal with VM life cycles and other very cool things.

Many of these capabilities were available prior to release of the Virtual Desktop Connector, but the product makes setup and management much easier. For example, you could manually map each user that logged in via SGD or SRS to a specific VM by IP address, but it was a completely manual process. With the Virtual Desktop Connector, you can completely automate the assignment of VMs to users. Here are some features from the beta documentation:
  1. Connecting users with their virtual desktops from Sun Ray virtual display clients
  2. Connecting users with their virtual desktops from PCs or Java-enabled browsers
  3. Managing hundreds of virtual desktops through a simple interface
  4. Permanently assigning users to virtual desktops
  5. Temporarily assigning virtual desktops to users out of pools of identical instances
  6. Offering policies to control the creation, lifetime, and end-of-life of a virtual desktop as part of a pool
  7. Support of VMware Virtual Center 2.0x as a virtualization platform, including all resource and high-availability features
  8. Support of VMware ESX 3.0.x as bare-metal platform for small and medium size deployments
If you have some familiarity with SGD or SRS and would like to try it out, please go grab the software and read through the docs.

Tuesday Nov 27, 2007

Sun Virtual Desktop Connector 1.0 beta

The beta release on the Sun Virtual Desktop Connector 1.0 is now available! Go get it from the bottom of the Sun VDI Software Get It page. If you're having any problems getting the docs (there have been some glitches in our docs.sun.com publishing today), you can get them from this post on Think Thin. Get the documentation here.

Wednesday Nov 07, 2007

The what, why, and how of Sun VDI Software #2

#2 - Wait, did the product name change to "Sun VDI Software"?

Yes, and you'll see the previous post in this series has been updated to reflect that (keeping the old text as strikethrough, of course!).

Wednesday Oct 31, 2007

Virtual Desktop Talk


Virtual Desktop Talk is a new podcast series available from our group here at Sun. Have a listen here:


Monday Oct 29, 2007

New series: The what, why, and how of Sun VDI Software

If you tried googling "Sun VDI" a few weeks ago you would have gotten references to this blog and a small smattering of other stories. If you try doing it now, you'll find that we introduced Sun xVM Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Software 1.0 at VMworld and you may even see that it is now described on sun.com.

So, what is it and why is it cool? I'm going to outline some details about Sun xVM VDI Software in the next few blog entries.

#1 - What is Sun xVM VDI Software?

There's been a growing wave of excitement around VDI because it solves some of the fundamental problems of managing desktop systems. IT wants to centralize applications and deliver them over the network (the original client server model with simple terminals turns out to be the easiest way to manage applications), but the users want a rich graphical user experience and a dedicated environment that they can manipulate as they please, just like a full desktop computer. Up until now, these two things were mutually exclusive.

With the emergence of VDI, users can now have dedicated virtual machines running on servers in the data center where IT can manage them properly. Users will be able to run nearly all of their applications just as if they were on a desktop system, but they won't have the burden of managing that system. They can use existing PCs (still a bit of management there, unfortunately), or completely stripped down terminals like our Sun Ray virtual display clients. Sun xVM VDI Software provides a rich delivery mechanism for getting these centralized desktops to end users in these VDI style deployments by leveraging two mature products in this space: Sun Secure Global Desktop Software and Sun Ray Software.


Chris Kawalek


« September 2016