Friday Jul 12, 2013

Friday Tips #36

This week we're talking about 3D graphics performance with Oracle VM VirtualBox.

Our own Fat Bloke just published a blog that describes how to make sure you get the most out of Ubuntu's GUI using the OpenGL acceleration in VirtualBox. In the picture below, you'll see all the shiny Chromium renderers in use:

Head on over there to have a read.

We'll see you next week!

-Chris 

Friday Jun 14, 2013

Friday Tips #32

Happy Friday! Our tip this week is about Oracle Secure Global Desktop and directory services.

Question:
What versions of Active Directory and LDAP does Oracle Secure Global Desktop support? 

Answer from the Deployment Considerations for Oracle Secure Global Desktop white paper:
Active Directory authentication and LDAP authentication are supported on the following versions of Active Directory:

  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows Server 2003 R2
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Supported LDAP Directories

Oracle Secure Global Desktop supports version 3 of the standard LDAP protocol. You can use LDAP authentication with any LDAP version 3-compliant directory server. However, Oracle Secure Global Desktop only supports the following directory servers:

  • Oracle Directory Server Enterprise Edition version 11gR1
  • Microsoft Active Directory on Windows Server 2003, 2003 R2, 2008, and 2008 R2
  • Oracle Internet Directory 11gR1 (all 11.1.1.x.0 releases)

Other directory servers might work, but are not supported.

For more detail, have a read through the User Authentication section of the documentation

See you next week!

-Chris 

Friday Jun 07, 2013

Friday Tips #31

Happy Friday, everyone!

Our tip this week answers a question that comes up often.

Question:
When deploying Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, how many users can a single server support?

Answer from information in the Oracle's Single Server Solution for VDI white paper:
As part of a single server solution (meaning, the hypervisor, storage, and management pieces are all on one machine and no other systems are necessary), Oracle tested two different configurations and came up with a guideline for how many users these systems can support. Please remember, this is just a guideline and not a guarantee or assurance of performance.

Configuration #1 (this is called the "base configuration" in the paper):

  • Sun Server X3-2L based on Intel Xeon E5 2660 processors
  • 128 GB 1600 MHz RAM (expandable to 512 GB)
  • 16 x 600G SAS-2 10K RPM disks 
  • Based on a customized “Large” configuration on the Oracle store 
  • Targeted at 90-95 users per system

Configuration #2 (this is called the "performance configuration" in the paper):

  • Sun Server X3-2L based on Intel Xeon E5 2690 processors 
  • 256 GB 1600 MHz RAM (expandable to 512 GB) 
  • 26 x 600G SAS-2 10K RPM disks 
  • Offered as “Large” configuration on the Oracle store 
  • Targeted at 180-190 users per system

If you'd like to get some more detail on this, head on over to the Oracle's Single Server Solution for VDI white paper for a lot more info.

We'll see you next week!

-Chris 

Friday May 31, 2013

Friday Tips #30

I'm always a fan of round numbers, and today we bring you the 30th edition of our Friday tips series!

This week, it's another video on the Oracle VM Command Line Interface video from Greg King, Principal Best Practices Consultant, Oracle VM Product Management. This one covers the object relationships in the Oracle VM command line interface:

Thanks Greg!

See you all next week with another tip.

-Chris 

Thursday May 23, 2013

Oracle VM Template Now Available for Sun Ray Software 5.4

Oracle VM Templates provide an easy, fast, and cost effective approach to deploying a fully configured software stack by offering pre-installed and pre-configured software images. The Oracle VM Template for the latest release of Sun Ray Software version 5.4 is now available for Oracle Linux 6.3 (64-bit).

The Oracle VM Template for Sun Ray Software is a fully pre-installed, pre-configured virtual machine that can be downloaded onto an installed Oracle VM server. It allows you to quickly create and manage a Sun Ray environment.

The requirements are as follows:

  • The Oracle VM template for Sun Ray Software 5.4 is intended to be installed on Oracle VM 3.0 server or later
  • The OS for the Sun Ray Software 5.4 template is Oracle Linux 6.3 (64-bit)
  • 15GB free space on Oracle VM Server storage repository and 2GB free memory size on an Oracle VM server will be required

For more information on Sun Ray Software, please visit OTN.

Purchase support at the Oracle Store

Oracle Software Delivery Cloud Instructions:

  1. Visit http://edelivery.oracle.com/oraclevm.
  2. Complete your registration information (Name, Company Name, Email Address and Country) and click on the download agreement.
  3. Select "Oracle VM Templates" from the "Select a Product Pack" pull-down menu.
  4. Select "x86 64-bit" from the "Platform" pull-down menu.
  5. Click "Go" and then select from the list of Oracle VM Templates.
  6. Download and unzip the files and read the readme for installation instructions.

For large downloads, or for functionality such as download resuming, the use of a download manager is highly recommended.

Monday Mar 18, 2013

Brand new VDI and Sun Ray Software releases!

We announced big updates to Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Sun Ray Software this morning! The marquis feature in these releases is integration with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, which provides a complete monitoring view for your servers, storage, apps, and now, desktop virtualization. In addition, there are features for high availability for smaller deployments, updates to "Personal Hard Drives", a new "Application Hard Drive" type, and much more. Read more here:

Press release: Oracle Introduces Comprehensive Management for Desktop Virtualization

And over at the Fat Bloke blog, there is a great post going into a lot of detail about what's new in Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure 3.5.

Download Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure 3.5 or Sun Ray Software 5.4.

-Chris

Wednesday Mar 06, 2013

Final Day of HIMSS13

We're just getting ready to wrap up the booth at HIMSS13. Like a lot of Oracle shows, every single demo of Oracle Applications was done using Oracle desktop virtualization. I sat down with Adam Workman, Principal Consultant with Oracle, to talk about the booth deployment. Adam and team were responsible for designing and implementing the demo infrastucture for the booth.

Why is Oracle using desktop virtualization instead of laptops at the demo pods?
One of the philosophies we have at Oracle is we have the entire stack to run the infrastructure. So we like to show our customers that we can do that, and that's why we bring the infrastructure to the show.

The other reason why we do it, quite frankly, is because it makes our lives a lot easier. It allows us to bring in an infrastructure that can support dozens of applications without needing to configure individual laptops. We don't have to worry about all the infrastructure and administration to bring in dedicated PCs, which makes things much easier.

What is the server backend required to support the show?
Interestingly enough, we can actually run the show on a single Oracle Sun Server X3-2. But we want to provide an enterprise solution, so we bring a second server to make sure everything will  stay up if we had a hardware fault, etc., This year, since we want to give people a real world visualization of what it would take to bring this into their organizations, we brought a real rack and hardware that would be similar to a customer deployment, and it lets you run over 500 desktops. That's more capacity than we need for this show, but it's more typical of a real deployment.

This is your 3rd year doing this show, were there any different challenges this year versus previous years?
The move to a "real world deployment" actually made the show even easier. In years past, we would ship the hardware, set it up onsite, get it all ready for the demo people to use. By moving to a larger real world infrastructure, it changed our setup a little and allowed us to rack and stack all the servers prior to the show and made our setup a lot easier.

Do the customers even know they are seeing a "virtual" desktop when they are looking at Oracle Healthcare applications on the booth?
From a performance standpoint, they have no idea that they're not looking at a notebook or a hidden PC. The reason the customer knows is that the demo staff point out the Oracle Sun Ray Clients on the desks and show the customers the servers that are running in the booth.

Is the end user experience is the same as it would be if you were using laptops?
It's the same or better, and from a demo staff perspective, they actually prefer when we do this. They used to have to bring laptops or preconfigure a laptop before the show, keep track of it, maintain it, and so on. With desktop virtualization, they can just show up and know that things are going to work.

Were there any Oracle Applications that weren't compatible or didn't work with the booth setup?
There are no applications that we we're demonstrating here that were incompatible or didn't work. Oracle's browser based applications are certified to work with Oracle desktop virtualization and everything we've had here has worked great.

Have you had any downtime?
We've had no downtime whatsoever, the system just hums along and runs.

How long did it take you to do the set up before the show?
It takes approximately one work week - 40 hours - to build the infrastructure. There were three of us, so it happened very rapidly, over the span of a couple of days. We had one person who physically racked and stacked the servers. We then made sure all the servers and the storage array had the latest firmware on them, and from there, things go really fast. We just install the operating system, install Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, which takes maybe 15 minutes, and from there, we just load the official Oracle golden template that comes from our global IT operations.

And how will teardown go?
The teardown is actually ridiculously fast. We just have to walk around and power off the Sun Ray Clients, we give the servers the shutdown command, and unplug them, and that's it. So, literally, 15 minutes and we'll be done. And the convenience going to the whole setup is that it literally rolls back into a crate and goes back to Oracle.


How easy is it to reuse this setup for anther show?
We designed the the servers, storage, and rack as a reusable component, so it's just a refresh between the shows if an update comes out. You always have to update the Windows golden image before it goes out for security reasons, but it's very easy to get it ready for the next show.

Was there anything healthcare specific you had to do for the booth deployment?
There's aren't settings in the software that I would say are specifically for healthcare, but there any many features we take advantage of with healthcare. One of the features we talk about a lot is caregiver mobility. And one of our newer features related to that is location awareness. So, as a doctor or nurse moves inside a facility, the applications need to know where the person updating the record physically is and we've added a flexible software feature so that the EMR and applications know that they've changed locations. So we're showing that today.

-Chris 

Thursday Jan 31, 2013

Oracle Virtual Desktop Client updated!

You might have seen that Oracle announced updates to the Oracle Virtual Desktop Client for mobile platforms and desktop PCs today. The Oracle Virtual Desktop Client is an important piece of the Oracle desktop virtualization portfolio because it allows on the go access to your virtual desktop from many different devices, over WiFi and wired connections, 3G/4G/LTE for your mobile devices, pretty much anything that a modern client device would use. You can seamlessly and instantly move your desktop between any supported device–start on your laptop at home, pick up on a tablet on the train to work, continue on a Sun Ray Client at work, for example. And starting today, there are two new platforms that can enjoy this instant desktop access!

- This is first release to include support for Android. This opens up remote access to Oracle desktop virtualization deployments to a whole new group of users.

- The Windows Oracle Virtual Desktop Client now supports Windows 8. Just to be clear, the support in this release is *not* for gesture based Windows 8 tablets, but for Windows 8 desktops PCs.

- New gestures are available on the mobile client, and these are consistent across iPad and Android, which makes moving between devices easier.

- Expanded USB support in the desktop client, allowing you to use more of your USB devices.

This is a very exciting release, especially for Android and Windows 8 users! You can read the news release here, or download from here.

-Chris

Friday Jan 25, 2013

Friday Tips #12

Our tip this week is about the newly released Oracle VM 3.2. For some background, you might also want to check out this related tip on updating Oracle VM Manager.

Question:
How do I get started with the command line interface for Oracle VM Manager?

Answer by Gregory King, Principal Best Practices Consultant, Oracle VM Product Management:
Oracle VM 3 ships with an automation tool that system administrators are going to love! Beginning with the latest version of 3.2, our Oracle VM 3 product comes with a built-in command line interface (CLI) that allows system administrators to create automated solutions using their favorite shell or scripting language. For example, you can create a bash or ksh script using calls to the CLI to gather information about objects and attributes managed by the Oracle VM Manager. You can also include CLI calls to change objects and attributes as well as initiate tasks such as putting a server into maintenance mode and then starting a software update using our built-in Server Update Manager.

Check Your Access to the CLI
The CLI is started automatically when the Oracle VM Manager is started during boot or whenever you execute “service ovmm start” on the server where Oracle VM Manager is installed. Test the ability to connect to the CLI first by logging in using ssh. You can execute the ssh session from any server with an ssh client – you should really test the login from the server where the automation scripts will reside. Perhaps you want to write the scripts and keep them on the same server where Oracle VM Manager is installed or perhaps you want to keep the scripts on a management/administration server where you keep all your other management scripts – the choice is really up to you.

Let’s assume for our example you are going to keep the scripts on a Linux server named “myserver”. Simply execute the ssh command shown below to test your login.  The CLI will prompt you for a password – this is the same password you use for the admin user when you log into the Oracle VM Manager.

You can see a list of available commands by typing either help or “?” at the command prompt as shown below.

You will most likely want to add ssh keys on the Oracle VM Management server to allow your script to execute without prompting for a password.  If your scripts are going to be executed as root from myserver, then add the public keys from myserver:/root/.ssh/*.pub into a single file named ovmcli_authorized_keys and copy the file to the oracle home directory on mymanager:/home/oracle/.ssh/ovmcli_authorized_keys. Make sure the ovmcli_authorized_keys file is owned by oracle and the group is dba – I always change the permissions to 644, but I’m not sure that is actually needed. The CLI will prompt for a password the first time after copying the file to that directory, but will not prompt again afterwards.

Thanks Greg. For more information on Oracle VM 3.2, have a read through Honglin's excellent blog entry on this very blog.

We'll see you next week!

-Chris 

Tuesday Jan 08, 2013

Hear us talk about BYOD!

Recently, I had the pleasure of spending some time on the phone with John Renko, consulting developer in the desktop virtualization group here at Oracle. You might know him from his fantastic answers to many of our Friday Tips questions.

While BYOD has become a pretty common idea over the last couple of years, John has been conducting his job using BYOD principles for many years. And given his job developing desktop virtualization technologies, he's an expert in the space. You can hear John and I talk about how BYOD works, what sorts of things are ideal for it, some things that aren't a perfect fit, and more in this podcast:

John Renko and Chris Kawalek Discuss Bringing Your Own Device for Enterprise Application Access

My thanks for John for taking the time to speak with me!

-Chris

Wednesday Dec 05, 2012

Linux Journal Best Virtualization Solution Readers' Choice 2012

I'm proud to report that in the latest issue of Linux Journal their readers named Oracle VM VirtualBox the "Best Virtualization Solution" for 2012. We're excited to receive this honor and want to thank Linux Journal and their readers for recognizing us! 

This is the latest award won by Oracle VM VirtualBox, following a 2011 Bossie Award (best open source software) from InfoWorld, a 2012 Readers' Choice award from Virtualization Review, and several others. These awards help us know that people are using Oracle VM VirtualBox in their day to day work and that it's really useful to them. We truly appreciate their (your!) support.

If you already use Oracle VM VirtualBox, you will know all this. But, just in case you haven't tried it yet, here's a few reasons you should download it:
  • Free for personal use and open source.
  • You can download it in minutes and start running multiple operating systems on your Windows PC, Mac, Oracle Solaris system, or Linux PC.
  • It's fast and powerful, and easy to install and use.
  • It has in-depth support for client technologies like USB, virtual CD/DVD, virtual display adapters with various flavors of 2D and 3D acceleration, and much more.
If you've ever found yourself in a situation where you were concerned about installing a piece of software because it might be too buggy, or wanted to have a dedicated system to test things on, or wanted to run Windows on a Mac or Oracle Solaris on a PC (or hundreds of other combinations!), or didn't want to install your company's VPN software directly on your home system, then you should definitely give Oracle VM VirtualBox a try. Once you install it, you'll find a myriad of other uses, too.

Thanks again to the readers of Linux Journal for selecting Oracle VM VirtualBox as the Best Virtualization Solution for 2012. If you'd like to read the whole article, you can purchase this month's issue over at the Linux Journal website.

-Chris

Friday Nov 30, 2012

Friday Tips #4

It's time once again for our Friday tip. Our question today is about how to determine how much video RAM to allocate for your virtual machines in a VDI deployment:


Question:
How much video RAM do I really need on my VirtualBox VMs?

Answer by John Renko, Consulting Developer, Oracle:
The answer is in the VirtualBox admin guide but it's seldom followed correctly, usually resulting in excess unused RAM to be allocated. The formula for determining how much RAM to allocate is shown below for a 32 bit fullscreen 22" monitor supporting 1680x1050:

bit depth / 8 x horizontal res x vertical res / 1024 / 1024 = MB RAM

Which translates to:

32 bits / 8 x 1680 x 1050 / 1024 / 1024 = 6.7 MB

If you wanted to support dual 22" monitors, you would need twice that, so 13.4 MB.

Anything in excess of what is needed is readily allocated but not used and would be better suited for running more VMs!


Thanks John, that tip should help folks squeeze a little more out of their VDI servers. And remember, if you have a question for us, use hash tag #AskOracleVirtualization on Twitter.

We'll see you next week with another tip!

-Chris 

Tuesday Nov 27, 2012

IDC Client Virtualization MarketScape 2012

IDC recently published their annual "MarketScape: Worldwide Client Virtualization Vendor Analysis" report. Customers use this document to compare desktop virtualization vendor offerings. In the 2012 report, Oracle is categorized as a "Major Player".

For details about the Oracle evaluation, click here to read the report!

Tuesday Nov 13, 2012

DOAG 2012 and Educause 2012

Oracle understands the value of desktop virtualization and how customers have really embraced it as a top tier method to deliver access to applications and data. Just as supporting operating systems other than Windows in the enterprise desktop space started to become necessary perhaps 5-7 years ago, supporting desktop virtualization with VDI, application virtualization, thin clients, and tablet access is becoming necessary today in 2012. Any application strategy needs to have a secure mobile component, and a solution that gives you a holistic strategy across both mobile and fixed-asset (i.e., desktop PCs) devices is crucial to success.

This means it's probably useful to learn about desktop virtualization, even if it's not in your typical area of responsibility. A good way to do that is at one of the many trade shows where we exhibit. Here are two examples: 

DOAG 2012 Conference + Exhibition

The DOAG Conference is fast approaching, starting November 20th in Nuernberg, Germany. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might remember that we attended last year as well.

This conference is fantastic for us because we get to speak directly to users of Oracle products. In many cases, those DBAs, IT managers, and other infrastructure folks are looking for ways to deal with the burgeoning BYOD model, as well as ways of streamlining their standard desktop and access technologies. We have a couple of sessions where you can learn a great deal about how Oracle can help with these points.

Session Schedule (look under "Infrastruktur & Hardware")

The two sessions focused on desktop virtualization are:
  • Oracle VDI Best Practice unter Linux (Oracle VDI Best Practice Under Linux)
  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Implementierungen und Praxiserfahrungen (Virtual Desktop Infrastructures Implementations and Best Practices)
We will also have experts on hand at the booth to answer your questions on using desktop virtualization. If you're at the show, please stop by and say hello to our team there!

Educause 2012 

Another good example is Educause. We've gone the last few years to show off a slough of education oriented applications and capabilities in the Oracle product portfolio. And every year, we display those applications through Oracle desktop virtualization. This means the demonstration can easily be setup ahead of time and replicated out to however many "demo pods" that we have available. There's no need for our product teams to setup individual laptops for demos -- we can display a standardized Windows desktop virtual machine with their apps all ready to go on a whole bunch of devices like your standard trade show laptop, our Sun Ray Clients, and iPad.

Educause 2012 just wrapped, so we're sorry we missed you this year. But there is always next year! Until then, here are a few pictures from this year's show:

You can also watch this video to see how Catholic Education Australia uses Oracle Secure Global Desktop to help cope with the ever changing ways that people access their applications. 

-Chris 

Saturday Nov 03, 2012

virtualbox.org

We are aware that http://virtualbox.org is unavailable. For people that urgently need the binaries or source code for Oracle VM VirtualBox, you can always get to http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/server-storage/virtualbox/downloads/index.html.
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