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!