Friday Aug 21, 2009

Clo- (Sun Ray) -ud

I'm mostly finished with my preliminary testing of Sun Ray in the cloud (which the title of this post refers to), and it's been a pretty successful test. One of the goals for this project was to make it a public cloud that anybody could create an account on, which so far has been accomplished. There is a web interface to register for an account for the Sun Ray server. This will automatically create a account for you, and gives you a brief line of direction for configuring your Sun Ray or Sun Desktop Access Client (SDAC) to connect to the server test it out.


It would be great to be able to expand this type of implementation to allow users to be able to pick their operating system - pretty much like what Sun VDI does. I would have used VDI for this except for the fact that VirtualBox doesn't interract with Xen very well (which is what Amazon uses), and thus doesn't install properly. The alternative to this would be to utilize the ec2 API and have the main "head" start the other instances and manage everything, but this is a. re-inventing the wheel, and b. not the easiest, since each instance would need to have the Sun Ray Server Software (SRSS) installed and configured, given an IP, and so on.

As mentioned earlier, if you'd like to try out the Sun Ray server running on OpenSolaris 2009.06, feel free to click this link, register, and have fun!

Friday Aug 14, 2009

Sun Ray in OpenSolaris 2009.06 on Amazon EC2

While running Sun Ray on OpenSolaris might not be supported as of today, it most certainly does work! My latest project was getting a Sun Ray server set up as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). Doing this is fairly simple, as there is already an OpenSolaris 2009.06 AMI (two, actually – one 32bit, the other 64bit – depending on the size of the instance you want) in the list that you can choose from.

After launching the new instance, all you really need to do is to download Sun Ray Software 5 EA1 and then follow this configuration guide. If you’re attempting to enable NSCM, RHA and the other components that need Motif libraries, follow the OpenSolaris 2009.06 appendix. Otherwise, just read and follow the page.

Notes for EC2 Instances

\*For EC2 instances, there is no need to play with NWAM – it is disabled by default, which makes everything just that much nicer.

\*When running utadm, I used the private IP that was assigned to the instance, instead of it’s public address. You should also use the private IP between Sun Ray servers if setting up a FOG.

ex. “utadm –A” if your IP is in this range. //Edit 2009-08-15, 0030 - changed "-a" to "-A"

One requirement that I was playing with was how to allow a Sun Ray to use multiple Sun Ray servers without needing to configure VPN, although this is not a hard step (as demonstrated here). The easiest way I came up with was to instead of put a single server in the “Servers” menu of the Sun Ray firmware, put in a DNS entry that had multiple entries for Sun Ray servers. I created a subdomain “”, which points to the two Sun Ray servers that I set up so that both are available to be used by the Sun Rays.

Multiple DNS records for Sun Ray servers

Downsides of Multiple A Record method:

Now there is a downside to this method of foregoing VPN and simply using multiple A records in DNS. With this, you’re not guaranteed to be connected to the same Sun Ray server again if your Ray disconnects for any reason. In addition, you might need to reset your Sun Ray multiple times if a server goes down; nothing prevents the Sun Ray from skipping the offline server.


If the Sun Rays were VPN’ed into your Amazon “network”, the full Fail Over Group (FOG) experience would be there, and it would automatically fail you over to a different server if the one you were on were become unavailable.

If you just want a simple set-up and to be able to use a Sun Ray anywhere in the world with a 1-line configuration in the Ray’s firmware, you now know what to do. Happy Sun Ray using!

Edit 2009-08-14 1223 EST - If your machine is running headless, you may need to append '0=inactive' to /etc/X11/gdm/custom.conf to silence GDM errors that may show up in your logs.

Tuesday Jun 23, 2009

Sun, Day 1

Well for those that do know me and don’t know but happened to come upon this site and didn’t notice the URL, and for those that don’t know me but happen to glance at this, I’m working at Sun this summer at the Sun Federal labs in McLean, VA. I was originally introduced to the guys in charge of the lab here when Scott McNealy, Chairman of the Board here at Sun, came to visit TJHSST, my now-former high school. I helped to give them a quick tour of our operations in the Syslab, and then Mr. McNealy gave a short presentation about Sun.

Fast forward a couple months, I now get the privilege to work at Sun Federal, and at what a more interesting time than in the middle of a merger of two large companies, Oracle and Sun, with market caps of 99.02B and 6.84B, respectively; it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, especially since I have a sort of mixed view being an outsider coming to Sun in the midst of the merger. Regardless of this information, my project for the summer is to build a flexible and extensible “cloud” system for enterprises and government groups to be able to run applications on with as little effort as possible.

My first day at Sun was pretty chaotic, fast-paced, but also very interesting, rewarding, and I hope this level of energy stays for the whole summer! We started to plan out the line of action for the summer, and talked about how to go about designing and implementing the system. The term “cloud” has been thrown around a lot in the recent months, but for this project I think we’ll be focusing on a type of system that can be implemented at a user’s site instead of being run by a third-party company (in this case, being Sun). More to come soon.


Welcome to my blog. My name is Stephen (Trey) Repetski, and I'm working at Sun for the summer. I graduated from TJHSST, and am headed to Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in the fall, studying Network Security and Systems Administration (NSSA)


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