Friday Mar 28, 2014

Oracle Secure Global Desktop and Oracle VDI

What is the relationship between these two products?  One view is that Secure Global Desktop (despite its name!) provides access to remote applications and VDI does the same for remote, virtual desktops (VMs).  A clean distinction, but slightly artificial: to Secure Global Desktop, a remote desktop, virtual or not, is really just a remote application.  There is little to differentiate the products when it comes to connectivity to remote desktops -  Secure Global Desktop has its native and HTML 5 clients, VDI has Sun Ray and OVDC, but both products connect to remote servers in the same way, typically using RDP.

Where the products differ is in their scope.  Oracle VDI is a comprehensive solution that enables an administrator to create, store, manage and destroy VMs, as well as allowing users to connect to them.  Secure Global Desktop is simpler and restricts itself to connectivity to the VMs.

So, do the products work together?  A most definite 'yes': use Secure Global Desktop for user connectivity and VDI for management of VMs.  In fact, Secure Global Desktop ships with a component specifically for communicating with VDI.  You can find full details at http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E41492_01/E41495/html/dynamic-launch.html#broker-vdi-3-3 but we can do a short overview here.

Firstly, a slight digression.  There are two main entry points to Secure Global Desktop.  The common approach is for users to log in through their browser and go to their Workspace (formerly known as their 'Webtop').  The Workspace presents all the applications that an administrator has published to the user as links and an application can be launched by clicking its link.  The second entry point is 'My Desktop'.  Here, a user logs in through the browser but, rather than going to the Workspace, a desktop is launched automatically.  Quite a good fit for delivering virtual desktops and the approach we will use in our example.

Let us assume it is a clean installation of Secure Global Desktop.  The first task is for the Secure Global Desktop administrator to configure 'My Desktop' to talk to VDI.  The steps are:

1. 'My Desktop' is a dynamic application object, meaning that it can map to one or more real application objects.  Since all the VM providers accessed through VDI emit RDP, we are interested in 'Windows Desktop' and not 'Unix Desktop'.  We delete the mapping to 'Unix Desktop', leaving a single mapping to 'Windows Desktop'.

Next, we configure the 'Windows Desktop' application.  Traditionally, this would be done by assigning it an application server object that points to a real Windows server.  Here, we are going to use a dynamic application server.  It is 'dynamic' because it uses code (in this case, the VDI Broker) to define the server or servers, rather than a static setting for DNS name or IP-address.  So, next:

2. We create the dynamic application server, set its 'Broker Class' to 'VDI Broker' and configure it with the particulars of our installation.  Configuration involves providing the URL for the VDI web services and, if they are secured with a certificate from an untrusted certificate authority, installing the certificate (or chain) into Secure Global Desktop.
3. We assign this dynamic application server to 'Windows Desktop'

That is the administrator's job done.  The user scenario is:

- User clicks the 'My Desktop' link in the browser and authenticates.
- The VDI broker code runs and gets a list of VMs available to the user.  If there is only one candidate VM, Secure Global Desktop connects the user directly to the virtual desktop.  If there are several, the user is given the option to select one before a connection is made.

By using the VDI broker included in Secure Global Desktop, you can deliver virtual desktops to users through Secure Global Desktop and manage the desktops with VDI.  For users familiar with Secure Global Desktop, the desktop is just another application and they face no learning curve.  And administrators can continue to manage desktops through VDI, or even add desktops from other providers without changing the user experience.

There are references to 'dynamic application server objects' and 'dynamic application objects' in this discussion.  These types of objects, along with some open interfaces, form the 'dynamic launch' feature in Secure Global Desktop. This feature is used to extend the product and the VDI Broker is an example of this extensibility - by simply implementing a public interface (see http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E41492_01/E41499/html/com/tarantella/tta/webservices/vsbim/IVirtualServerBroker.html), the VDI Broker plugs into the Secure Global Desktop infrastructure and provides additional functionality. 

Dynamic launch will be the topic of a later entry.

Friday Mar 21, 2014

Friday Spotlight: Oracle Secure Global Desktop 5.1

Happy Friday, everyone! Our Friday Spotlight this week is a blog entry from the Oracle Secure Global Desktop engineering team, with some info on what they've been up to: 


Hadn't noticed that this blog has been quiet for a while.  Time to catch-up!

So, what's been happening with Oracle Secure Global Desktop recently?  The biggest event was the release Oracle Secure Global Desktop version 5.1 in November 2013.  This version builds on the tablet support for iPads introduced in version 5.0 and extends it to Android devices.  It also supports the use of the tablet client, using HTML 5 technology, in Chrome browsers.  The traditional Oracle Secure Global Desktop clients are not being neglected and a Patch Set Update was delivered in February 2014 to support their use in Internet Explorer 11.

Talking of "Patch Set Updates", that's the other big, recent development.  In early 2014, we released 'tarantella patch' commands that can be retro-fitted to Long Term Support (LTS) maintenance releases of Oracle Secure Global Desktop and Oracle Secure Global Desktop Gateway to patch existing installations.  Using these commands, you can keep current with third-party components, like the JVM, and apply bug fixes to Oracle Secure Global Desktop.  It's not an alternative to upgrading to the latest version to get the latest features, but helps alleviate immediate problems until an upgrade can be scheduled.

Finally, the other big change is the relationship between Oracle Secure Global Desktop and Oracle VDI, but that's a big topic that needs an entry to itself...


We'll see you next week with another Friday Spotlight!

Friday Dec 20, 2013

Important Patch Set Updates (PSU) for Oracle Secure Global Desktop

Oracle has released some important Patch Set Updates (PSUs) for Oracle Secure Global Desktop which customers should be aware of.

These critical patch clusters are available for immediate download and installation, as described in the following version-specific announcements:


Patch Set Updates are available for all active Long Term Support (LTS) maintenance releases, as enumerated within the Secure Global Desktop Release Announcement Reference (1597467.1).   No other versions of SGD are designated to receive a formal PSU.   Administrators of earlier releases—(i.e. 4.5, 4.60, 4.61, 4.62, or 4.70)—must move to a designated maintenance release in order to apply these comprehensive solutions.

ACTION REQUIRED:  The Oracle Support team would like to stress the importance of the immediate consideration and installation of the December 2013 PSUs, as planned updates to the Java plug-in will adversely impact the user experience of all unpatched versions of Secure Global Desktop prior to Secure Global Desktop 5.10.

These changes will require proactive action on behalf of SGD Administrators to prevent service interruption when the forthcoming updates planned for Java do arrive.


Additional information regarding this particular scenario is described within a dedicated knowledge article:

  • Users Connecting to Secure Global Desktop are Presented with Dialog, "This application will be blocked in a future Java security update because the JAR file manifest does not contain the Permissions attribute."  (Doc ID 1594506.1)

Friday Jul 05, 2013

ANNOUNCEMENT: Oracle Secure Global Desktop 4.71 now available!

We are pleased to announce the general availability of Oracle Secure Global Desktop version 4.71. This version includes several bug fixes and also updates to components of the Oracle Secure Global Desktop web server. Specifically, the Oracle Secure Global Desktop web server now supports Apache HTTP Server 2.2.24, OpenSSL 1.0.0.k, mod_jk 1.2.37, Tomcat 7.0.37 and JDK 1.6.0_43.

For information on downloading Oracle Secure Global Desktop version 4.71, please visit here

Wednesday Jun 12, 2013

Oracle Secure Global Desktop Survey

To help us design Oracle Secure Global Desktop better, we would like to collect feedback from our customers about their deployments with Oracle Secure Global Desktop via a short, simple 11 question survey. This survey is for those customers and partners who have deployed Oracle Secure Global Desktop in production environments and can be specific about the product features and/or product dependencies they find important and useful.

We appreciate a few minutes of your time filling this survey out. Here is the link to the survey.

Friday May 10, 2013

Friday Tips #27

Happy Friday! If you're been following this blog, you saw last week's tip on accessing applications and desktops with Oracle Secure Global Desktop over a cellular connection using just HTML5 on an iPad. This week's question concerns HTML5 in desktop browsers:

Question:
Does Oracle have plans to support HTML5 when using desktop browsers for Oracle Secure Global Desktop?

Answer by Mohan Prabhala, Product Management Director, Oracle:
We can't discuss possible future directions. But if you want to get a feel for what it would be like to use Oracle Secure Global Desktop with HTML5 on a desktop browser (specifically the Chrome browser on a Mac, a Windows 7 PC, or a Linux based PC), you can try the following workaround.

Please note: that the workaround below is provided AS-IS, is NOT a supported configuration, and, at Oracle's sole discretion, may not be supported within Oracle Secure Global Desktop. Accordingly, this workaround must NOT be used for production deployments.

1) On the SGD server:

vi /opt/tarantella/webserver/tomcat/7.0.37_axis1.4/webapps/sgd/WEB-INF/web.xml

2) Inside the web.xml file you should see a parameter

<context-param>
      <param-name>clienttype</param-name>
      <param-value>AUTO</param-value>
</context-param>

Change the param-value to “H5C”

<context-param>
      <param-name>clienttype</param-name>
      <param-value>H5C</param-value>
</context-param>

3) Restart the SGD server:

/opt/tarantella/bin/tarantella restart

That’s really it. Let us know what you think, either via your Oracle sales rep or via this blog or our Twitter and Facebook social media channels.


Thank Mohan!

We'll see you next time with another tip. Have a great week!

-Chris 

Friday May 03, 2013

Friday Tips #26

Happy Friday! With the exciting release of Oracle Secure Global Desktop 5.0 this week, we though we'd do something a little different with our Friday tip.

Since access via iPad with HTML5 is a big part of this release, a question that has come up a few times is what performance is like over cellular connections. So, we recorded some video of an iPad using an iPhone 5 on LTE as a mobile hotspot, connecting back to an Oracle Secure Global Desktop server. You can see the real world cellular performance in the video below:

See you next week!

-Chris 

Thursday May 02, 2013

Oracle Secure Global Desktop 5.0 Certified with E-Business Suite 12!

We are please to announce that Oracle Secure Global Desktop 5.0 is now certified for use with Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and 2008 virtual environments acting as desktop clients connecting to Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 environments.  32-bit and 64-bit versions of Microsoft Windows Server are certified. These combinations may also be used in conjunction with Oracle VM, if required.

Oracle E-Business Suite customers and partners may now use Oracle Secure Global Desktop as an access layer for Oracle Applications, knowing that Oracle certifies this particular scenario.  For more details, please refer to this Oracle E-Business Suite technology blog or My Oracle Support (Note 1491211.1)

Tuesday Apr 30, 2013

ANNOUNCEMENT: Oracle Secure Global Desktop 5.0 Supports iPad Using HTML5!

Today, we are pleased to announce support for what has been one of Oracle Secure Global Desktop's most widely anticipated features - support for iPad via Oracle Secure Global Desktop version 5.0! Oracle Secure Global Desktop 5.0 provides anywhere access to cloud-hosted and on-premise enterprise applications and desktops (workspaces) from Apple iPad and iPad mini tablets, without the need for a VPN client. In addition, since we leverage HTML5 to provide browser-based access inside Apple iPad and iPad mini tablets, users need not download, maintain, configure and update specific client applications from the App Store.

This new release delivers significant enhancements which provide simple mobile access, enhanced security, full user productivity, security enhancements, session mobility, improved performance and expanded server, client and browser support.

  • Simple Mobile Access: Users can login to the Oracle Secure Global Desktop 5.0 sessions and access all of their applications and data using the built-in mobile Safari web browser on iPad and iPad mini, without the need to establish a cumbersome VPN connection. Support for HTML5 enables a rich, browser-based user interface that provides simple, intuitive gestures and navigation, as well as extended keyboard capabilities, without the need for downloading or maintaining separate client applications. 
  • Full user productivity: For maximum productivity, copy and paste to and from applications, printing, and automatic session resizing (of the specific application or desktop running in the cloud), when rotating the iPad is supported. 
  • Security enhancements: Oracle Secure Global Desktop Gateway uses multi-factor authentication methods to access applications, increasing security when accessing cloud-hosted applications, regardless of location. With the included Oracle Secure Global Desktop Gateway, users can securely access their workspaces from PCs, laptops, or tablets both inside and outside the corporate firewall. 
  • Extended session mobility: Extends the session pause and resume feature to the iPad, allowing users to pick up their workspace right where they left off, even when moving from one client device to another. 
  • Improved performance: Delivers reliable performance and responsiveness for cloud-based applications and desktop sessions, even at cellular network speeds. 
  • Expanded server, client, and browser support: Oracle Secure Global Desktop 5.0 adds support for servers running Oracle Solaris 11.1 and Oracle Linux 6.4, and clients running Windows 8 (desktop mode) and Mac OS X Mountain Lion. Browsers supported now include Internet Explorer 10, Chrome, and Firefox ESR.  

Oracle's press announcement regarding this release can be found here.

For more information, you can also view the videos below (click to go to the video page and play):


Friday Apr 26, 2013

Friday Tips #25

Happy Friday, everyone! Our tip this week is on a basic task that is done frequently with Oracle Secure Global Desktop. In the video below, watch Mohan Prabhala, Product Management Director, Desktop Virtualization, as he describes the steps to publish an application:

Thanks Mohan!

We'll see you all next week with another tip.

-Chris 

Sunday Apr 07, 2013

ANNOUNCEMENT: Oracle Secure Global Desktop 4.63 now available!

We are pleased to announce the general availability of Oracle Secure Global Desktop version 4.63. This version includes several bug fixes and also updates to components of the Oracle Secure Global Desktop web server. Specifically, the Oracle Secure Global Desktop web server now supports Apache HTTP Server 2.2.24, OpenSSL 1.0.0.k, mod_jk 1.2.37, Tomcat 6.0.36 and JDK 1.6.0_43.

For information on downloading Oracle Secure Global Desktop version 4.63, please visit here

Tuesday Feb 19, 2013

Oracle Solaris Remote Lab Uses Oracle Secure Global Desktop!

Oracle Solaris Remote Lab (part of Oracle's Exastack Remote Labs) provides independent software vendors access to Oracle Solaris 11 11/11  environments (SPARC and x86) for validating their applications. The lab provides a simple and straight forward cloud interface for configuring an application test environment. It extensively leverages Oracle technologies, meets Oracle's stringent security requirements and is available to Oracle Partner Network members at the gold level and above. The Oracle Solaris Remote Lab leverages Oracle Secure Global Desktop to address many requirements. 
  • Oracle Secure Global Desktop (coupled with Oracle Secure Global Desktop's Secure Gateway) provides access to Solaris desktops and terminal sessions from a variety of client devices and from anywhere in the world, allowing excellent performance even over high-latency WAN links.
  • Oracle Secure Global Desktop (using the Client Drive Mapping or CDM feature) provides the ability to transfer files from user's local computers to the secure storage assigned to them within the Oracle Solaris Remote Lab
  • Oracle Secure Global Desktop is used to secure each independent software vendor's data and desktop access. The lab implements a separate Oracle Secure Global Desktop server per partner which is isolated on a separate VLAN, allowing for a multi-tenant setup.
  • Oracle Secure Global Desktop's web services API allows for seamless integration of functionality within Oracle Solaris Remote Labs' portal, resulting in a coherent user experience for independent software vendors.
  • Oracle Secure Global Desktop's Secure Gateway allows independent software vendors access to their resources using only a single point of entry into the network.The role of this gateway is to direct each user's network traffic to the correct VLAN and, thus, to the correct VMs.

Tuesday Feb 05, 2013

Airbus Deploys Oracle Secure Global Desktop

Airbus, a world leader in the civil air transport market, employs approximately 52,000 people at sixteen sites in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Spain. The company relies on partnerships with major companies around the world and has a network of 1,500 suppliers in 30 countries.

Airbus uses Oracle Secure Global Desktop to provide a dispersed workforce of aircraft designers, structural engineers, and other essential, ground-based staff with secure, real-time access to test results during flight trials. Technical teams no longer need to travel to the company’s center in Toulouse, and experts have the ability to start to evaluate results immediately. Using Oracle Secure Global Desktop has helped Airbus accelerate compliance with global aviation regulations, complete tests required by potential customers more quickly, and reduce time to market for new aircraft.

"Oracle Secure Global Desktop enables us to deliver real-time flight test data direct from the cockpit to any number of designers, engineers, component manufacturers, and other authorized users, regardless of location or client device." – Ghislain Banville, IT Architect, Flight Test Data Equipment, Airbus 

Read more details.

Wednesday Dec 19, 2012

Oracle Secure Global Desktop - Business Continuity During Snowstorm!

Capgemini, one of the world's largest management consulting, outsourcing and professional services companies, is an Oracle Secure Global Desktop customer and uses it to provide secure, remote access to 1) corporate applications centralized in the datacenter and 2) desktops hosted on Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.

Earlier this month, one of Capgemini's government customers in Holland were advised to avoid traveling to work, due to a heavy snowstorm. This resulted in a lot of employees working from home. Thankfully due to their deployment of the Oracle Secure Global Desktop gateway, employees were able to easily access their corporate applications and desktops from home and anywhere outside of their office. Capgemini reports that during the days of the snowstorm, a record number of users leveraged Oracle Secure Global Desktop (servers and gateway). Despite this record usage, Oracle Secure Global Desktop remained perfectly stable and allowed users to seamlessly access their applications and desktops.

This is a great example of how Oracle Secure Global Desktop allows employee productivity and business continuity even during severe weather conditions such as snowstorms. We are delighted to have enabled business continuity for Capgemini's customers, and look forward to our continued relationship with Capgemini.

This blog has been approved for posting by Capgemini.

Friday Nov 02, 2012

Lots of great stuff going on with Oracle Secure Global Desktop!

You're probably familiar with Oracle Secure Global Desktop, our solution for providing secure, browser-based access to Oracle Applications and other enterprise software. It's a fantastic product and one I've been personally involved with for nearly a decade! I wanted to give you a quick update on all the fantastic things that are going on with it:

First, we have done a few videos with Oracle's Mohan Prabhala at trade shows recently. You can get a quick product refresher and an update on the latest new features by watching these:




Next, we talked at length with Brian Madden and Gabe Knuth on Brian and Gabe LIVE about Oracle Secure Global Desktop. Click here or on the screenshot below to go to the brianmadden.com video. Part 1 focuses on Oracle Secure Global Desktop.

Listen toward the end for Brian to say, “I kinda want this actually at TechTarget right now.”

The analysts are talking about us, too. When we released Oracle Secure Global Desktop 4.7, Chris Wolf over at Gartner had this to say on Twitter.

Last, just a quick reminder for existing Oracle Applications customers that Oracle Secure Global Desktop is easy for you to leverage for secure application access. Oracle Secure Global desktop is certified for use with Oracle browser-based applications such as Primavera, E-Business Suite and with Exalogic. Steven Chan over at the E-Business Suite Technology blog gives a great explanation of how Oracle Secure Global Desktop works with E-Business Suite, as an example.

As the title says, lots of great stuff going on!

-Chris

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