Wednesday Nov 17, 2010

November to remember

Update: On December 1 and 2 we’ll be conducting a Solaris Day event at 101 Park Ave (Dec 1) and Bridgewater NJ (Dec 2).   Here’s
the registration link for both locations:  http://www.oracle.com/dm/11q1field/60801_oracle_solaris_days.html



Solaris 11 Express is out as of this Monday - http://www.oracle.com/us/products/servers-storage/solaris/solaris-11-express-185123.html


We are planning a Solaris Day: Part XIII event for NY and NJ for 12/1 and 12/2 - please go ahead and "pencil in" these dates if you're interested in learning about what's going on in Solaris-land (and are local to the NY/NJ area).  We shall have engineers from various parts of Solaris development universe talking about significant activities and accomplishments leading up to the Solaris 11 Express release.


See you there!




Friday Oct 08, 2010

Solaris 11

Its 11 minutes past 11 pm here...


Solaris 11 was announced just before Oracle Open World this past month.  For many, it is the most anticipated Solaris release YET, primarily because of its introduction of a completely new package management system that Solaris engineers have been working on for the past number of years, known as Image Packaging System (IPS).  Contrary to many of the other features that are, while important and relevant, won't be as key in the user's initial introduction to the release, IPS is really really critical and essential.  It directly ties into the installation experience (which is, by itself, new and improved with Automated Installer technologies), as well as the presence of the ZFS file system being the root file system (not default, which may suggest a non-default option), but actually THE one and only option - THE root file system.  While other file systems for data devices are quite common, if we learned anything from releases of OpenSolaris distributions that had been out in the open for the last number of years, ZFS is absolutely key to solving software and data management challenges.  Its approach to handling storage as pool of storage blocks/devices and the operations possible on said devices illustrates the beginning of the next milestone in operating system innovation. Much of this has already been seen through products such as the Sun ZFS 7000 Storage appliance.  For a taste of other innovation that has been brewing, have a look at what OpenSolaris distributions have been offering for sometime - have a look and take a OpenSolaris for a spin.  This quick entry is not meant to be an exhaustive list of things to come - one could get a pretty good flavor of that by looking at OpenSolaris releases that had been trickling over the past few years.  If anything, Solaris 11 Express should be a great vehicle to get ISVs and most consumers of OpenSolaris back in the driver's seat to experience what cool new OS technologies will power the datacenters in the not-too-distant future.  If you are in the NY/NJ area, keep your eyes out on an event we're looking to be putting together in the months ahead - similar to the Developer Days we have previously held.  Better yet, make sure to subscribe to the NY OpenSolaris User Group mailing list to ensure you get an invite when the time is right.


Friday Sep 17, 2010

Solaris Zones at Oracle OpenWorld 2010

Happy to report that a joint proposal to speak at Oracle OpenWorld on the topic of how Solaris Containers (aka Zones) have been used by our customers has been accepted earlier this year!  Next week I am being joined by two of my colleagues, Duncan Hardie - Solaris Product Manager, and Jeff Victor - Solaris Virtualization Specialist, to deliver a talk on this subject. The title of our talk is: Optimizing Legacy and Modern Application Environments with Oracle Solaris Containers


We are speaking on Tuesday at 2pm PST and if you're attending OpenWorld, JavaOne or Oracle Develop and are interested in learning about metrics and approaches to getting better performance while reaping cost savings for Solaris application environments, do come down and see us - Moscone South, Room 301


The session link is:  http://www.eventreg.com/cc250/sessionDetail.jsp?SID=317636


The session abstract is: 


The Oracle Solaris OS includes support for Oracle Solaris Containers, a virtualization technology that provides isolated and secure runtime environments in a single OS instance. With Oracle Solaris Containers, administrators can manage separate workloads, control resource usage, and maintain IP network separation. These features let multiple applications--or even multiple instances of the same application--securely coexist on a single system, for server consolidation savings. Customers win by leveraging a unique way of effectively and efficiently running applications, even those from legacy environments. This session explores benefits others have seen by using Oracle Solaris Containers to effectively move legacy applications to new systems.



I look forward to connecting with many customers and colleagues attending this event and am hoping to see you there! Shoot me a note if you're coming down to the Bay area and would like to connect at OOW: isaac {at} sun {dot} com



---


Update: 10/1/2010 - The presentation from the Oracle OpenWorld session has been posted here The talk had the following outline/agenda with the following sections comprising the talk:
Business Challenges
• Oracle Solaris Containers
   - Capabilities and Value Drivers
• Using Oracle Containers Today
• Deployments in Financial Services


Tuesday Jun 29, 2010

Solaris, seriously


Seen this one before?


Bet you have!


Ever since the acquisition has closed, many end-users, customers and some industry analysts have registered their expressions of angst toward figuring out exactly what WILL Oracle's OS strategy shape up to be ? If the previous Sun/Oracle welcome events held globally, or numerous webcasts with Oracle executives and public statements that have been made by them are of any indication, followed by the progress that is being made since the acquisition had first been announced, then it would appear to be self-evident that things are looking really good, and that the OS strategy is comprised of 2 operating systems: Oracle Enterprise Linux and Oracle Solaris, each of which have registered their place in the appliance segment of the market.   Having just
completed yet another whirlwind set of meetings with some of our key financial customers across the country, I see a number of parallels in terms of common challenges being faced by them: aggresive strides toward power consumption reduction, whilst facing the need to consolidate diverse workloads, all while handling datacenter moves/consolidations from coast to coast (this is happenging globally, as we have learned  European banks are facing similar types of problems). We like to think of these as opportunities. 




All of this brings about questions of 3-5 year investment roadmaps, OS strategy and platform decisions that come up for review only so often - and the eye is really laser focused on what Oracle is doing with Sun's assetts, as well as what Oracle is doing in terms of delivering on the integration of the stack benefits ala database appliance, network attached storage appliance, and others in the works.  I did manage to squeeze in a few recaps of some of the highlights from recent World Cup matches; enough to make me wonder whether FIFA can begin to accelerate its acceptance of the notion of appliances and leveraging available technology to avoid repeating judgement mistakes (see my November 2009 blog entry about FIFA's lack of using technology for the benefit of sportsmanship and accuracy) - just this past week we witnessed 2 more World Cup matches falling victim to errors made on the field (Argentina vs. Mexico and England vs. Germany). 



When it comes to our "playing field", however, things aren't always cookie-cutter - or at least they ought to be looked at through a chronological lens, exercising restraint in jumping to judgements whilst taking into account the order of events having taken place over the past few years.  Without pretending to be an oracle, I would like to offer some thoughts on, what a general investor would consider to be, an important set of avenues that lie ahead for operating systems.  In the mid-90's, Oracle and Sun had gone separate ways in their strategy. Sun went on to focus exclusively on SPARC (practically abandoning most of the x86-specific bits in Solaris development) and Oracle went on, almost orthogonally, to leverage the commodity platforms available to run its business software with better price/performance ratios.  It made business sense where and when it did. Moreover, for Oracle,  it clearly wasn't enough to simply rely and depend on the OS variants being made available by open-source OS suppliers so Oracle differentiated itself by (1) innovating with Oracle Enterprise Linux, adding the necessary and unique ingredients to linux, giving back to the community where the community would take it -  to ensure that Oracle's customers choosing Oracle software would benefit by having it run (function and perform) better on Oracle's distribution of linux - AND - (2) creating a solid, enterprise-grade support system known as Oracle Unbreakable Linux.  Henceforth one can begin to see the idea of datacenter appliances beginning to emerge:  Oracle software, Oracle operating system - not as a full/complete stack (yet), but the foundation and business benefits were clearly there! One of the challenges that this approach brings about is the notion of ownership and control (think as an investor now, if operating systems are an asset (and they are) where are you likely to get the most benefit from your assets: when you own them, or when you control them - or both?).
Now, I'll admit that things aren't always "black and white" and that there're a few other ingredients that make for a tasty recipe - such as decisions, budgets, changes in ther market demands, time lines, etc. Here's one way to see what OS makes sense for your business challenges: OEL is owned by Oracle, but because its based on (and tracks) RHEL,  effectively it is not really
controlled by Oracle.   



Fast forward to 2010 - Oracle buys Sun Microsystems - and obtains ownership and control of the Solaris ecosystem - an operating system that Sun had continued to innovate  (even though there were elements of defocus from commodity platform support in the mid-90's, Solaris 8 had been the last Solaris distribution available for x86), it didn't take Sun engineers too long to realize, and ramp up support for, Solaris on x86 platforms with the release of Solaris 10. The key fact that needs to be pointed out to those who may not appreciate this, is that Solaris is derived from the same source tree that OpenSolaris comes from and is (roughly)
95% the same across all platforms it runs on: Intel/AMD/SPARC/virtual machines/hypervisors - etc. - the small differences reside in the low level architecture and driver implementation differences (or elements of paravirtualization, as is the case in VMs).  Further on deriving bits from the Solaris source tree - the notion of storage appliances begins to get productised by Sun - brought to life by the same engineers that brought (and continue to enhance) DTrace - in the form of a network attached storage appliance (hint: DTrace, itself, came about as a solution to the whole notion of making it easier to troubleshoot systems wholistically, by asking questions of the system and formulating a hypothesis that leads you down the path of understanding systems better, thus reducing the time it takes you to get to the resolution of your problem).   Sun had started building appliances even prior to that.  Have you heard of the desktop appliance ala Sun Ray and the business benefits it gets its users in terms of desktop security, mobility and reduction of licensing and desktop power consumption ? (Yep, we've got Banks, Telco's, Universities, and other industries using these devices to save money).  And while Oracle had begun building appliances, in parallel, with its Exadata machine, Sun and Oracle continued to leverage their strengths - and now these strengths are working cross-organizationally, accelerating development and value to clients.  Sun brought Java, Hardware, Solaris to Oracle's existing portfolio of business software. So - putting our investment cap back on: Oracle now owns and controls Solaris and hardware systems.  Oracle has talked about investing in these MORE then Sun had - have a look at Oracle's job postings, particularly in TX!  See some of the recent benchmarks and, before you bait and switch away from Solaris "just because everyone claims its the good-enough thing to do" (and in certain few ISV-led cases it might be today - as an artifact of where Sun had been).  But, don't judge Sun on where it had been, but rather where it is now and where Oracle is taking it; pause and ask yourself whether taking that turn makes sense for you today and, if you do take it, whether it will continue to make sense for you tomorrow.  Solaris has a few of its gaps and those are being addressed; there is intent and accelerated development to ensure that, over time, the availability of software portfolio for Solaris is on par (where it may not be today) - and that the software portfolio is a 1st class citizen of Solaris, that the stack gets integrated in a performant manner with Solaris; and elements that go into making it better for middleware or databases will also benefit other 3rd party and open-source workloads as well...and that it will continue to give you the rich platform choice, continuing to be the world's #1 enterprise OS that lends itself to Very Many flavours of situational computing out there.  Would love to hear your thoughts, your successes or challenges.



I look forward to seeing you at Oracle OpenWorld 2010 in San Francisco this September! Duncan Hardie,  Jeff Victor and I are
hosting a session on the 21st of September, title of which is "Optimize Legacy/Modern Application Environments with Oracle Solaris Containers" (part of "Oracle Solaris" track) at 2pm in Moscone South, Room 301


'till then!

Sunday Jan 24, 2010

The Last SUNday?


Is today the last Sunday for Sun?

Between this week's Jonathan's comforting note to Sun employees suggesting we all light a candle and the grim feelings on the Sun tombstone expressed in Jim's blog - one key realization that I personally am feeling rests in quite the opposite way with which I choose to view Sun's position today. Hopefully it isn't just me.

Without enumerating Sun's contributions to the industry and undeniable product positioning  - one fact remains undisputable - and that is that the winds of change were blowing. And now those winds are here, the change is being fulfilled.
What is changing, however, is not as much what gave Sun its reputation and respect over the last 2+ decades, but the organizational approach to putting together bits of the strategy for (and executing) the process of running Sun profitably.

Oracle has made public statements that indicate intentions to continue (and in some cases, increase) investing in key product areas that had earned Sun its reputation over time - Java, Solaris, SPARC, MySQL, etc.
How can something that's got legs be dead?

Somehow I have trouble reconciling those thoughts with the thought of a tombstone...

And while lighting a candle or looking at a tombstone might be a worth a moments notice, I am certainly of the opinion that any extended grievance (or capturing and carrying the image thereof on a shirt or a mug) is
not how I (and probably many of you) would like to think of celebrating the confluence, the effective condensation of operating system, middle-ware software and hardware for delivering better business systems.

Sun is not dead - it is going through an evolution of being acquired because it is a living, breathing organization.  We are still having our monthly New York City OpenSolaris user community group meeting this Thursday! So is the NYJavaSIG (next week) ;-)

Oracle is going for, and stands to gain Sun's innovations and intellectual capital, products, customers and employees. Maybe time will prove differently - but today, with 11 amazing years at Sun at my back,  looking at it through the bright candle light lit by a grave is ...not something that I concur with. Its not denial - naturally, organizational directions will dictate the future. One thing is almost always certain, change is inevitable. I am just not sure I agree with the idea of a R.I.P. being applied to such an industry-shaping move.


So in concert with many others, I am moving forward, looking toward the red horizon where the oracles are planning Sun.Next

Friday Nov 20, 2009

Sun Ray for soccer: France vs. Ireland illegal goal

Yestday's world cup qualifier soccer match between Ireland and France sure ended with quite a stir, particularly due to the 1986 Maradona-like handling of the ball by one of France's strikers that gave France a 2-1 lead over Ireland.  The striker actually admits to having instinctively handled the ball in the penalty area and it is FIFA's inflexibility to leverage the available technology that's most interesting and disappointing to soccer fans like myself.  Read the full story on Yahoo... How difficult would it be to have a thin client like a Sun Ray placed behind every goalie's net, allowing a referee to watch an instant replay with the use of their smart card right then and there?  Maybe it will take a few years, but it is surely something that could easily be accomplished today. Sad that it will take process and people to let a ready product be useful in securely and cost-efficiently replaying what actually transpires. A loss for many sports fans until it does happen.





Wednesday Jul 08, 2009

Oracle of the Sun Shiraz

They say wine is made by taking a bunch of grapes and crushing them together ...to produce great tasting results (in most cases). California is the number 1 state in wine production in the US.  How interesting, then, is the following: A few holiday weekends ago I walked into a local liquor store (to do a Solaris deep-dive) and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a bottle of South African Shiraz with a label: "Oracle of the Sun".  Although the Shakespearean reference to "What's in a name?" blazed through my mind at first, I instantly gravitated toward buying a bottle! Now, I have not opened it yet and shall probably be tasting it in the near future at one of the upcoming personal events.  In the meantime, I searched for it on the 'net and found it being sold here (among, likely, many other places).  How interesting, indeed.

Friday Jun 26, 2009

Part XII - June 2009

We held an action-packed event this past week at Sun offices in Somerset, NJ and New York City, NY - the recent in the semi-annual Developer Days series (Part XII) that we had started in 2004. Those of you that had attended - a sincere thank you!


Based on the types of feedback I've heard from attendees, it had been very well received. Many of you have shared your positive reactions regarding the content that various members of Sun's engineering organizations have contributed and flew in to share at events of this sort.  A good number of customer meetings were held one-on-one in parallel, and we encourage you to take advantage of events like these to reach out to the engineering community. As promised, all of the presentations from the event have been posted and are available as one compressed file here


Just to recap, the agenda that we followed is listed below. 


• Agenda
> 9:15am Welcome Back, Quick Sun Update – Isaac Rozenfeld
> 9:30am Evolution of the Network stack – Markus Flierl/Sunay Tripathi
> 10:30am x86 Fast Reboot & Power Aware Dispatcher – Sherry Moore
> 11:30am Resource Mgmt & Virtualization Update – Steve Lawrence
> 12:30pm Lunch
> 1:00pm Installation Updates – David Miner
> 2:00pm Solaris 10 5/09 Highlights & Directions – Isaac Rozenfeld
> 2:50pm Technology Case Studies – Peter Galvin
> 3:50pm Reliability for the Cloud – Hal Stern
> 4:45pm Q&A/Raffle


Special hats off to Peter Galvin of Corporate Technologies for presenting and helping sponsor the event!


Please do stay tuned for more announcements, as we intend to continue holding these types of events for customers and community.  Additionally, if you are interested in keeping an eye on what's going on in the NY area with OpenSolaris and Solaris technologies, take a stroll to the monthly-held meetings at the NYC OpenSolaris User Group


'till next time!



Wednesday Jun 10, 2009

Nova Era on your desktop

 


This week I am attending an annual insurance industry event, IASA 2009, in Orlando, Florida. On behalf of Sun Microsystems, I had teamed up with Paul Dolbec, along with our colleagues from CSC, to represent the joint partnership between Sun and CSC at this important business conference. The event ran from Sunday through Wednesday, and like many other events of this type had a few components: educational sessions, CIO/CFO  roundtable and an exhibit hall.  While the exhibit hall was bustling with vendors, various interesting sessions added to the true flavor of the event. Keynotes included great speakers such as Michael Eisner, Joe Theismann and Steve Gilliland. The conference was interesting in that, for me, it offered an opportunity to further understand the insurance industry, the challenges of regulations that touch various aspects of accounting and taxation, as well as the ever-growing impact of IT.  At the CSC booth that we put together, we were showcasing Sun's ultra-thin client technologies, demonstrating mobility with security through the use of smart-card technologies across the Sun Ray devices that we had installed at the booth. The setup, for the event's purposes, involved utilising a laptop pre-loaded with VMware ESX, running 2 virtual machines - one running Microsoft Windows XP and the other VM running Solaris 10. We had a number of simple demos setup that demonstrated the ability to rotate through individual desktop experiences serving either a Windows or a Solaris desktop.  (I am obliged to acknowledge Keith Cantrel for his assistance (during, what I imagine would've been  a quiet Sunday afternoon for him otherwise)  remotely hacking through a directory corruption issue that helped get us back up online). Thank you, Keith!! :)


The impact of having to reduce costs on the desktop as desktop refresh cycles come about can be tremendous, particularly when paying attention to the fact that these devices draw only about ~7 watts of power, do not have an OS that has to be managed on them and in the process appeal to use-cases such as being used in call-centers, for disaster recovery purposes, pandemic planning and remote/on-boarding process.  


As an example, CSC had been deploying Sun Ray's through their Desktop Anywhere program for quite some time now. For details, take a look here


So how does this relate to the concept of new era in computing? (Ah, the plot begins to emerge!) Just as technology continues on its path of evolution, the ultra-thin computing continues to be identified as a viable and mature opportunity for cost savings on the desktop.  If this is music to your ears, as it is to many of our existing customers, then I'd like to invite you to take a listen to Nova Era - a group of professional musicians I had met last evening after the conference, while strolling along at Downtown Disney.  Turns out they've been performing with Disney since the late 90's.  I was amazed at the sound quality and their live performance - had an opportunity to meet and talk with them in-person during a break in their performance, and was just pleased to realize that classical music lives on!  Very, very cool!


 

Sunday May 10, 2009

ACORD/LOMA Insurance Systems Forum 2009

ACORD LOMA Insurance Systems Forum event is taking place May 17-19 in Orlando, FL this year.  For those of you who may not be familiar with ACORD, the acronym stands for Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development - and is the name of a global, nonprofit standards development organization that is serving the Insurance (and related financial services) industries.


ACORD LOMA is one of the leading Insurance events in the North American insurance market, with typical attendance including representatives from many other countries.

Sun Microsystems will be located at booth #317 at this event. The themes we are focusing on at this year's event are:


Modernization (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Virtualization);


SOA/JCAPS;


Cloud Computing for Insurance; and


Business Solutions across the Insurance Value Chain


We will have various collateral/artifacts/demos supporting these themes, and we will be happy to interact with those of you in the insurance market who are going to be attending.  You will be able to download and view the collateral here


As an example, I have been working on an integrated Sun Ray + VirtualBox demo that will highlight some of the recently released capabilities in the secure/mobile desktop computing area.  This is something that offers opportunities to decrease desktop management costs, offers data/application security and mobility and is prompting a growing number of carriers to actively look at and deploy.


Looking forward to seeing you there!



Monday Apr 20, 2009

Oracle sees Sun's vision

Today's date is 4/20/2009  ...and if you're into numerology you'll quickly recognize that the sum of all integers is 17;  follow the yellow brick road here


The exciting news is out!  See Sun's announcement and Oracle's announcement  


While there are a number of processes to go through as part of this deal, there are lots of technologies that are merging together to deliver a more integrated platform stack to deliver the value that customers are looking for today.


Perhaps a surprise to many - the reality is that between the two companies we have a very large shared installed base across many industries. 


For the longest time, Sun and Oracle have jointly worked on integrating each other's technologies through SOATC (Sun Oracle Application Technology Center).  I, for one, have worked on a number of projects integrating Oracle's Parallel Server services (pre-RAC) and Sun Cluster technologies on top of Solaris.  Long history between the companies - lots of synergy and it'll be very interesting to see how it all begins to pan out following today's announcement.  


 

Thursday Feb 05, 2009

Developer Days XII Coming Soon

Earlier in January we held a Low Latency-focused Developer Day event at our New York city offices (which had been a part of a trio of similar events held in London and Toronto just prior). Slides from that event are available here


Additionally, do keep an eye out for sometime in late May, early June timeframe - when our next Developer Day [Part XII] event will likely be taking place. (We'll be planning and announcing that shortly).


As always, if there are specific technical topics you would like to hear from Sun (or our customers) at that event, please drop me a note to isaac-AT-sun-DOT-com



Saturday Jan 31, 2009

Lose your laptop and not worry about data on it !



Rangers lost to Boston Bruins on Saturday night.  I just can't stop wishing for '94 all over again...


As I travel around the world I am constantly asked by customers about our strategy for VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure). While the VDI market itself is relatively young (albeit growing very rapidly as various technologies are establishing an edge for themselves in different aspects of VDI), a key element of the entire picture is not just data locality (which is largely a function of ever-expanding bandwidth) but the means to service access itself.  That is to say that the user of the desktop is now being more and more challenged to essentially be decoupled from the actual personal computing device and, instead, be associated with the application execution environment - ala "The Desktop".  Assumptions of data security/integrity and device access being postulates, the ever-growing need for workers to be mobile - mixed with the notion that "thin is in" to reduce cost by driving lower power consumption and reduce software operation/licensing costs - has many financial institutions investigating various alternatives. This trend is more noticeable now, as many of these companies are struggling to deal with the global economic downturn that has left many of the weaker financial players either on the sidelines or, in a better case, - acquired by stronger financial entities. This is happening now, at a time when security, operational and compliance demands are at extremely high levels. Mergers and acquisitions are a natural outcome in times like these and as financial services firms merge - newly acquired employees will need to access back-office applications from current office locations in order to maintain employee productivity across all parts of the organisation. The need to onboard newly acquired employees securely and efficiently, to provide them access to back-office applications reliably and productively, without having to undergo a costly cross organizational network integration, has never been a higher priority for the financial services market segment. 


Now, if you've been around the industry for a few years, you've probably heard a thing or two about Sun's contributions to this space - how Sun's motto that "The Network Is The Computer" actually gets translated to something meaningful for "The Desktop". Sun's innovations in this space go way back at least 10 years ago - when the research and development work of Sun Lab's engineers had culminated in a first product release of the Sun Ray unit (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Ray for a quick history tidbit).  One of the crucial elements of this products design is the Appliance Link Protocol (ALP) - that is responsible for the best in-class user experience - particularly demonstrateable across wide area networks (where the user's physical location is quite a distance away from where the user's desktop might be) - and the levels of patience are directly proportional to network latencies of the day.


The Sun Ray device is ultra-thin (it doesn't have an operating system and is completely stateless) - its operating as a display engine for all of the data processing that happens in the data centre. The actual bits that get sent from the data centre to the device are compressable and yield a very amenable and competitive user experience especially in  high network latency environments.  Having a Sun Ray device on your office desktop or at home does not solve today's mobility dilemma. While it is true that Sun - as well as a growing list of other companies are - is offering some of their employees a "Sun Ray at Home" program, the moment you have to travel on a train, on a plain, on a bus - is when you wish you had your "desktop" with you.  And while iPhone can deliver email and let you look at you calendar, .pdf's and spreadsheets, its just not your "desktop". So - what do you do? 


Most of us have a laptop - and while we are asked not to keep company sensitive data on our laptops - how many of us outthere really heed such advice ? How, then, do we access our applications and associated data that is managed centrally for us? We run a local OS and access that data remotely. Now what would happen if the laptop got lost or stolen? Simple - the data that we had on the laptop's hard disk is now in the hands of someone who will likely go prowling through it. Is that what we want? Ummm, no.


So, what do we do? "Elementary my dear Watson" - we move to offer an access layer on the laptop that connects you to the backend.  Then, with a broadband card available for $0 with a 2-year contract from Cingular (for example),  you access your data.  This isn't news - Citrix have done this sort of thing already.  There's a price tag associated with that, of course - and depending on where you're coming from and what you're happy to settle for this may be exactly what you're after.  But if you have a Sun Ray environment deployed what would really be interesting is to run a piece of software that gives you EXACTLY the same look and feel as if you were connecting from a Sun Ray device.  To give you that enhanced level of crossover, mobility and device indepdendence. The ability to maximize the ROI of the existing PC laptop/desktop gear that you'd invested in and have plenty of - and as you look to evaluate where Sun Ray can be deployed in your organisation, your users realise that all of a sudden they can connect and RESUME  their  session at a point EXACTLY where they'd left it the day prior - when they'd left the office for that important client meeting just hours prior.


Oh, and when they're back at the office - just have them insert the personalized secure smart card into the Sun Ray, authenticate, and resume the session EXACTLY where it'd been left off while accessing it on the laptop with a 3G modem in the airport! The increased productivity and cost savings presented by an opportunity to decrease desktop management challenges (and associated licensing costs) is only the beginning.


Sound cool? You bet it FEELS cool, too!


(Oh, maaan, I didn't even mention ZFS and solid-state disks in this context!)



Tuesday Nov 25, 2008

November 2008 Solaris/Developer Days Part XI - slides


Hello everyone,

Well, last week we had yet another action-packed day of events held on 2 consecutive days in NYC and in lovely Edison, NJ. Despite the cold weather and whatever it was that had been ailing me, I seem to have managed it - and apologise to any of you who may have felt that whatever has been ailing you for the past few days had been my doing. I got better, and I hope you will, too ;)

Below are the snapshots of the agenda, along with presentations that were given by our speakers. Please note that the agenda in New Jersey had a different order flow only due to speaker availability; the content presented on both days had been identical.


AGENDA

9:30am Welcome Back, Quick Sun Update – Isaac Rozenfeld
10:00am Storage Product Update – Neal Weiss
10:45am Software Performance and Solaris Observability - Jarod Jenson of Forsythe - For a copy of this presentation please contact Forsythe directly - Marc Kreppel (mkreppel-AT-forsythe-DOT-com)
11:45am Solaris 10 10/08 [Update 6] Highlights – Isaac Rozenfeld
12:15pm xVM Server/OpsCenter Update + demo – Michael Barrett
1:15pm Lunch
1:45pm x64 Product Update – Mike Marotta/Paul Kirtland
2:15pm xVM Desktop Virtualization – Michael Barrett
3:00pm Zones & OpenSolaris Update – Jerry Jelinek
3:45pm Cloud Computing Initiative – Hal Stern
4:45pm Q&A/Raffle


...and of course, no event would be complete without Solaris 10 media give-aways. Do join us next time (probably circa the next Solaris 10 Update release - expected sometime in 2009) for yet another amazing session.  Let us know what topics you would like to hear about, too - as these events are done FOR you.  Until then, if you are interested in keeping up with what is happening in the world of Solaris and OpenSolaris (and why the two are actually ONE), check out the New York's OpenSolaris user's group.

// $ more soon

Monday Nov 03, 2008

Sun Ray in FS

In my new role at Sun, I've started to shift my focus toward the desktop end of the datacenter spectrum. Very often I get asked the question of who is using Sun's thin client/desktop appliance technology, Sun Ray, in Financial Services. So how do Sun Ray and Sun's VDI offerings apply to Banking, Trader's desktop, Branch modernization aspects of the financial services industry?

Here are a few public successes stories particularly around FSI.

1)Bank Improves Customer Service using Sun Ray Technology. Sparkasse Haslach-Zell is a savings bank headquartered in Zell,
Germany. The bank has 11 branch offices, employs 230 people and manages EUR 900 million. Details: http://www.sun.com/customers/software/sparkasse.xml
2) Netsol/Chelsea Financial Services: Sun Ray Desktop Solution Success Story. Details: http://www.sun.com/sunray/docs/TeamNetsol082703ss.pdf
3) Savings and Credit Bank Kuwait. Kuwaiti Bank Gains a Scalable Architecture with High Availability and Efficient, Centralized Desktop Management. Details: http://www.sun.com/customers/storage/scb.xml
4) World's oldest financial services institution, in Italy, chooses Sun Ray. Details: http://www.sun.com/customers/software/banca_mps.xml
5) Reuters use of Sun Ray and Secure Global Desktop in China. Details: http://www.sun.com/smi/Press/sunflash/2006-10/sunflash.20061026.4.xml and http://sun.systemnews.com/articles/105/1/ClientSystems/17123

Additionally of interest should be the following:
Toronto's Center of Excellence, joint work with Sun's partner - Scalar Decisions - highlighting Sun Ray/SGD technology for next-generation trading systems. Details: http://sun.systemnews.com/articles/102/3/ClientSystems/16759

Sun Ray is not a new technology. It has been evolving over the last 10 years and arguably first appeared way ahead of its time in the early mid-90's. It has been featured in the financial services/trader press specifically:

http://www.wallstreetandtech.com/it-infrastructure/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=208402360
http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/1889496/
http://www.cio.in/news/viewArticle/ARTICLEID=5098

And of course we have a number of financial institutions that are not comfortable being public about what they're doing. If the latest mergers and acquisitions activities in the financial services industry are of any indication into activities that happen as crucial business and IT components (datacenters, desktops, employee integration and onboarding, mobility) are undertaken, rest assured that the big names in the industry are doing quite a bit. That should read: "Quite A Bit" actually. And all for a number of good reasons:

1) Network performance vs. the competition, particularly around WAN deployments (think: Singapore to London to New York). A number of banks have done (some are doing) their own testing to see for themselves. Yes, the kind that involves serious WAN latency simulators (Shunra comes to mind). We would love to help you with yours.

2) Cost [not just acquisition but ongoing large user base management]: the per user cost for a desktop client is much less then a PC. It has a very very very very small firmware footprint, essentially NO OS running, meaning that it doesn't have to be managed for updates against viruses/malware/anything. And yes, it operates very well with your favorite Operating system and delivers awesome access to applications (Windows, Solaris, Linux, etc.). "Zero-administration" is what my next Sun t-shirt ought to say.

3) Multimedia enhancements - in cases of VDI integration, quite a bit of work has already been done using VMware's and Sun's brokering technologies to deliver access to RDP sessions - and more is in the works! There are of course a number of non-financial use cases (Verizon, Time Warner) that, although aren't part of the financial services umbrella, do resonate with the types of business units that banks have been eyeing dekstop appliances for (customer-facing counters [read: branch tellers], call centers [read: customer service agents]). Been to swap or upgrade your cable/modem service recently? At Sun, of course, we've been doing it for years, saving millions in infrastructure & maintenance (power, cooling) costs.

And, if you're ever in Singapore, please do stop by Sun's office at 1 Magazine Road for a peek at a local "Bank on Sun" showcase, featuring Sun Ray's integration with many branch-focused input devices.

Don't turn a blind eye and don't judge Sun by where we were 6-7 years ago. Instead, judge us by what we've got up our sleeve now ;-)

More soon!

About

Isaac Rozenfeld is a Product Manager for Oracle Solaris; current responsibilities include the portfolio of networking and installation technologies in Solaris, with a focus on easing the overall application deployment experience


You can follow Isaac on Twitter @izfromsun

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