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:
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.
We're currently at BriForum London 2012, and we're demoing the Oracle desktop virtualization portfolio. Oftentimes at trade shows, all of the Oracle Applications you're seeing are hosted by Oracle desktop virtualization. This lets us do things like show how you can instantly switch a Siebel session from a desktop PC to an iPad for working on the go, or using applications from literally "any old PC" just by logging in with a web browser.
This show is exclusively focused on desktop virtualization, so we were able to create a demo that highlights some of the cooler features of the portfolio. Here are some things we're showing:
- Impeccable full screen, high definition video from a virtual desktop on a large plasma display. Standing directly in front of the display, it's difficult to tell the video is originating on a virtualized operating system on a server, and the view of that entire desktop is flowing over the wire to a very inexpensive thin client that has no local operating system and requires no management. It's pretty much indistinguishable from video you'd see by hooking a high powered PC to a plasma display.
- A new feature in our latest releases is location awareness. This allows applications on the virtualized desktop to (optionally) access information about which particular client or device a user is logging in from. This is essential in industries like healthcare, where whenever something is logged about a patient, not only is the identity of the person doing the logging crucial, but where the person physically was when they did the logging is also required. Developers can use this information in other really cool ways, for example, making it so when a user prints from a particular place, the print job is sent to the printer physically closest to the user. In the demo here, we're showing location awareness by changing the desktop image to indicate the user's location with a dot on a map on the desktop wallpaper. So, login to one Sun Ray Client and you get a red desktop with the dot in room x, login to a different one and you get a blue desktop with the dot in room y. Very cool stuff.
- Multiple desktop environments across two monitors. This is something that people are getting used to with client side hypervisors (such as Oracle VM VirtualBox), but it's very innovative with server based desktop virtualization. The idea here is that, from a single client device, you can login to two different server side environments and access both simultaneously. This is ideal for developers and other users who might need to balance their time in multiple operating systems.
- Speaking of multiple operating systems, since Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure uses Oracle VM VirtualBox as the virtualization engine, users can run not only Windows desktops like other solutions, but can also run Ubuntu, Oracle Linux, and Oracle Solaris virtual desktops. Those are the operating systems that are tested, but in actuality, lots and lots of operating systems can work, too (at your own risk, of course). So, as an experimental demo, we're showing virtual desktops on operating systems going all the way back to Windows 3.1. Yes, Windows 3.1 from 1992 in a modern virtual desktop infrastructure. Not for the feint of heart, but fun to show, just the same.
- Accessory devices that use USB have historically been difficult for desktop virtualization, thin clients, etc. But today, our solution provides excellent support for USB devices. At the booth here, we're showing a couple of devices connected through the USB ports on a Sun Ray 3 Client, and communicating with a server side Windows XP environment. The first is a digital camera with a remote capture application on the Windows virtual desktop...press a button in the Windows virtual desktop and it sends a commands over the wire to the Sun Ray Client, Sun Ray Client sends to the camera via USB, camera takes the picture, and then uploads the picture by reversing the path back to the server. And, even more interesting is a remote sensor device used in education. This device samples information from the environment (sound levels, temperature, etc.), and sends it as a stream over USB to a Windows application, again, installed on the virtual desktop at the server.
If you happen to be at BriForum in London, please take a moment to stop by the booth and let us show you around the portfolio. You might be surprised what we can do!
Happy new year! Heading into 2012, many healthcare industry experts are saying this is the year where healthcare and mobility finally converge. It's a worthy goal–healthcare services are performed at many different locations (physician's office, specialist's office, hospitals, clinics, and so on), it's only natural to expect every provider to have access to patient data from nearly anywhere.
Tools like the Oracle Virtual Desktop Client allow caregivers to access patient data on the go with iPad, and in their offices, hospitals and other clinical locations on PCs and thin clients. Security and mobility are key IT challenges for healthcare, and Oracle's desktop virtualization portfolio was designed specifically with these tenets in mind.
As a great example, have a look at how Medical University of South Carolina is using Oracle desktop virtualization to improve efficiency in clinical documentation.
To ensure security of patient data, medical organizations require caregivers to login and out of their sessions as they move from location to location. However, this log in/out process when done natively with Microsoft Windows can be extremely time consuming. Especially since clinical PCs need to be thoroughly protected from computer viruses and other nefarious activities. This usually requires running fairly heavyweight scanning/protection software, which naturally do the bulk of their work on login.
Enter the virtual desktop metaphor and things change quite a bit. With desktop virtualization, the caregiver's desktop runs continually on a server in the data center. As the physician or nurse move between locations, they simply login to their already running desktop and resume working right where they left off. This can be done with username and password, and depending on the level of protection required, can be extended to include smart card based access or other higher security authentication systems. Security scans can even be set to run when it's likely the desktop won't be actively used (off shift) to further increase performance and productivity when a caregiver is online.
It's truly a revolutionary way to access patient data and we're pleased to see customers like Medical University of South Carolina utilizing Oracle to meet their healthcare IT challenges.
Also, stay tuned for more information on an upcoming webcast we'll be having on this topic in February.
In November, Oracle's Rolf-Per Thulin of our Germany office attended DOAG 2011. He filed this trip report we wanted to share with you:
Oracle VDI on the European Developer Conference DOAG 2011
In November we demonstrated Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure at the biggest European Oracle user group conference and exhibition. It is DOAG, a German independent Oracle User Group. They have over 5000 members and more than 2000 people were at DOAG in Nuernberg, Germany. The visitors came from Switzerland and Austria.
1. Exhibition 'Oracle Virtual Desktop in the Cloud'
Sun Ray 3 Client with VPN securely connected to the Oracle Solution Center in England, displaying virtual machines running Windows, Linux and Solaris desktops from the central data center. You need only smart cards to share the Sun Ray Client and choose your desktop. Very easy to use. So you have highly secure access from everywhere 'out of the box'. The operating system for the desktop broker is Solaris, but you can also choose Oracle Linux. We showed the same desktop on iPad with the free Oracle Virtual Desktop Client for iPad application.
2. Cinema session life demos
'Matrix: The Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure in Practice' we showed the complete Oracle VDI stack on a laptop running in virtual machines. The ZFS storage component was also in a virtual machine. You should not do this in production, but for demos it works very well. Look for the slides on the DOAG site if you are a member of the DOAG organization.
3. Presentation 'Oracle VDI Best Practice and Unit Selling Points'
We explained when to use each of the supported hypervisors and covered three VDI reference stories for call center, healthcare and public sector. If you area a DOAG member you can download the presentation from the DOAG site.
Oracle participated as a gold sponsor and exhibitor last week at the 2011 EDUCAUSE Conference in Philadelphia, Pa. What is EDUCAUSE? It is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher
education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology. The annual conference is a gathering to discuss and share the state of technology in higher education.
This year there was a particular emphasis on online courses, cloud hosted learning management systems, and digital publishing. A Forbes blog post by James Marshall Crotty entitled "Future Of Education Is Mobile, Social, and in the Cloud: Lessons from EduCause" discusses this emphasis, but interesting to me is by including the words "Mobile" and Cloud" in its title creates a correlation to what Oracle showcased. The title I would use to describe what Oracle showed at EduCause is "The Future Of The Educational Desktop Is Mobile, Virtual, and in the Cloud."
So, what made the Oracle booth so interesting at EduCause? This year's booth showcased Oracle Applications for education, hardware, and virtualization technology engineered to deliver a cloud hosted educational desktop experience certified to work with Oracle web based applications. Oh yeah, and mobile, too.
There is significant value for the emphasis of online courses, cloud hosted LMS, and digital publishing, but what about bringing more value to the traditional desktop and applications still heavily leveraged in higher education? How do we change for the better the educational desktop experience, improve the workflow and productivity for students, faculty and staff? This is the focus of Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Sun Ray Clients combined with Oracle Applications for education.
Sounds great I know, but give me some examples.
Consider the ability for educational IT to provide a standardized desktop and application service to faculty, staff and students that is secure, works the same wherever you access it, and can be backed up and managed centrally.
A service that increases the productivity of all users by allowing the desktop and application state to be resumed anywhere you are without the risk of losing data or productivity. A service that is tailored to the individual roles and needs of faculty, students, and staff.
Provide educational IT a way to deal with the challenges imposed by the consumerization of IT and BYOD (Bring Your Own
Device) model and still address manageability, security, and quality of service.
Allow students and faculty on the go to securely access more than just online courses and published content, but a full educational desktop experience on tablet devices, laptops, PC's and browsers.
To achieve these goals Oracle combines Oracle Applications for education, Oracle Identity Management and Enterprise Single Sign-on for authenticated and role based application access. Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Sun Ray Clients extend this to include authenticated desktop access, desktop and application mobility, and security.
Security is increasingly an emphasis in higher education as the complexities increase for protecting identities,
content, and rights of students, faculty, and staff in a mobile cloud hosted model. The
proliferation of devices (tablets, laptops, smartphones) along with social and digital content with cloud based applications
create even greater stress on meeting security needs. Oracle is changing the focus from supporting devices and applications on devices to a virtual desktop and applications accessed from a variety of devices model, giving educational IT greater power to address security.
Enough writing, lets see some examples in action from the Oracle EduCause booth.
Tanya Adams shows the Oracle PeopleSoft self-service application for education being accessed from a virtual desktop and displayed on a Sun Ray Client. Tanya then shows how she can move the desktop and application to a iPad tablet without losing any work and have full access to her applications (Yes, even Flash on an iPad):
Michael Rogers shows the Oracle Campus Solutions being accessed from a virtual desktop and, like Tanya, is using a Sun Ray Client with desktop mobility:
It's an exciting week for Oracle desktop virtualization! First, we won the two awards I mentioned in yesterday's post, which we couldn't be more proud of. And today, we have two brand new releases to tell you about!
First up, we're answering probably the number one question we've been getting for the last year or so: when can I access my virtual desktop on an iPad? The answer is, right now!
What does this mean exactly? Well, it means any virtual desktop managed by Sun Ray Software or Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure can be accessed directly from your iPad. Not only that, you can freely move that virtual desktop between any of our supported devices (this includes all Sun Ray Clients and the growing list of platforms for the Oracle Virtual Desktop Client). It includes some great features for security with VPN support, and gestures to make navigating a full desktop easier on a touch-based device.
Here's an example: say you work in a healthcare environment and have a Sun Ray Client at the nurse's station. You can login to your Windows (or Solaris or Linux) virtual desktop from that Sun Ray Client and access whatever applications you have access to. You can then grab your iPad, go to a different office, and pick up your desktop right where you left off. Or if you forget your iPad, you can login to your virtual desktop from pretty much any PC in the office. It's really amazing stuff.
Another great example is for contact centers. Each year, many contact centers have to increase their capacity by a large amount to deal with the holiday buying season, but the setup time for adding new workstations for each agent is very costly. This year, those folks can be given iPads and then immediately access applications like Oracle's Siebel CRM without even needing a PC or monitor.
For the last example, I was at an Oracle function in the UK a couple of weeks ago where one of our sales consultants gave a presentation running on his Windows virtual desktop in his office in Australia. That's about 10,000 miles away, over a WiFi connection in a hotel. And it worked great.
Now that good quality access is available almost everywhere via WiFi or 3G, having a centrally managed desktop that you access from wherever your are is a reality. And with the performance and security of the Oracle Virtual Desktop Client for iPad, I know we'll see more and more people adopt this truly mobile way of working.
The second thing that's being announced today is the latest version of our Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure product. This software contains everything you need to setup a VDI environment, including management tools, a high performance hypervisor to run the virtual machines, and access via Oracle Virtual Desktop Client compatible systems and Sun Ray Clients. The latest release includes role based administration, a streamlined installer, better performance, support for more platforms and virtual desktop environments and more. Have a read through the press release.
And as always, for the latest updates on the Oracle desktop virtualization portfolio (and Oracle virtualization in general), be sure to follow us on Twitter: