Friday Feb 06, 2009

Sun Virtual Desktop Connector, Patch 4 for Solaris Sparc available

We've just released the fix for the patch regression on the Sparc platform: 127559-04. If you have installed version 3 of the patch, please install version 4 on top. If you are still using an earlier version, skip version 3 on Sparc and install directly version 4.

Sorry for the inconvenience we have caused.


Partner Event around VDI 3 in Munich this week

We had a partner event in Munich Monday to Wednesday. It was about exploring the new capabilities of the upcoming Sun VDI 3 release. In summary, this was a great hands-on event starting like this:


After HW preparation the real work started driven and entertained by Carsten, Thomas and Thomas and Rolf-Per:


And then followed with an outlook on what's coming next (audience had loads of questions for me;-)).


Take-away, there is nothing better than a hands-on for VDI to experience how it works and how the different technologies are combined to a real solution.

That was fun.    

- Dirk

PS. Next partner event in Munich is planned for April 21st - 24th. Please contact Thomas Spandoeck for further details.

Thursday Feb 05, 2009

A Sun VDI success story


A quick interruption in my run through of Sun VDI 3. The US Army has already a lot of experience in deploying VDI in connection with Sun Ray. Read more about their 4-digit VDI deployment here.


Sun VDI 3 - What is it about - Highlights

Well, talking about the highlights, can be a short story or quite a long story. But this of course depends on the level of detail. My plan is to stay high-level for now and then dive into the architecture later and explain the Sun VDI 3 step by step.

So what is new with the upcoming release:


In comparison to the last release SUN VDI 3 is now a single product built out of Sun Ray Server software, the Sun Ray Windows Connector and the VDI Broker. The whole installation and configuration process is streamlined and drastically simplified.

A new hypervisor: xVM VirtualBox

The new release introduces xVM VirtualBox as an alternative hypervisor for VDI. VirtualBox allows to run Windows desktop as well as Linux or Solaris desktops, all under a VDI type deployment accessed through RDP and ALP remote protocols.

Linked Cloning: Sun VDI 3 plus Unified Storage.

Sun VDI 3 utilizes directly the capabilities of the ZFS file system. This includes linked clones and the related storage saving. Specifically the direct support of the recently released Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems makes this a very interesting combination.

Extended client support

Besides Sun Ray clients it is also possible to access virtual desktops directly through Windows RDP clients. This increases the deployment options dramatically and also simplifies deployment scenarios including Secure Global Desktop.

And of course there is the Active Directory integration, Sun Ray token management, increased scalability for the VMware Virtual Infrastructure, multiple desktops per user, an embedded MySQL cluster and many other things. I will detail this in subsequent postings.


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Wednesday Feb 04, 2009

Sun VDI 3 - What is it about - Objectives

Hi again,

Sun VDI 3 has been driven by a few release objectives and this is not only about the feature set. It is also about integration. The top 3 objectives have been:

This actually covers a few topics. On the one hand we focussed on better integration with directory service in general and also with the integration or related topics such as token administration, which is important if you intend to use the Sun Ray as your client device. But integration covers also the aspect of making the whole installation and configuration experience much more straightforward in comparison to VDI 2.

This covers a couple, such as how many desktops can be hosted by one group of VDI hosts. It also includes improvements around how quickly a desktop can be cloned, started and accessed by the user.

The VMware VI is broadly adopted these days and gets also more footprint in the VDI space. However, if customers want better storage utilization, access to desktops other than Windows or simply a VDI platform that is self-contained and simple to deploy, there is a need for an alternative. This need has been addressed with Sun VDI 3.

The next article will summarize the highlights of the upcoming VDI 3 release.


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Sun VDI 3 - What is it about


As you probably already know, we have released Sun VDI 3 EA2 last week. You can find the download on the VDI download page, please scroll to the bottom. The related documentation can be found on our Sun VDI wiki. And then there is our newly created forum, the Sun VDI forum. Please use this as another technical resource and feedback channel.

In the next couple of days I plan to circulate a series of blog entries that intend to give an technical overview on SUN VDI 3. These entries should complement the documentation on the Sun VDI wiki.

More to come soon ...

- Dirk

Monday Feb 02, 2009

Attention - Don't touch VDC Patch 3 for Sparc


We have a problem with our VDC patch release 3. The sparc binaries - 127559-03 - do not work, these are the wrong binaries. Please hold off with the patch installation on Sparc until further notice. We will deliver an update within the next days.

Sorry for the inconvenience,

Monday Jan 19, 2009

Sun Virtual Desktop Connector, patch 3 available


A new patch release for the VDC has been published. A couple of problems have been addressed. In addition it has been verified that VDC 1 with the patch 3 is able to run against VirtualCenter 2.5 U3. And it is now also supported to use ESX 3i as the virtualization host. Below the details:

Solaris-SPARC: 127559-03
Solaris-x86: 127560-03
Linux: 127561-03
Windows: 138482-03

You can access the patches from here.

6758284 vms leave factory too soon
6758696 VMs with reuse policy gets recycled even when user logged in, in a scenario mentioned in description
6762429 ESC: Windows application launch script vda-wcpwts.exp is not compatible with SGD 4.41 or later
6763389 ESC - VDA Client fails to retrieve network address of (VMs) with space character(s) in name.
6768489 Users are being logged into another users VM
6770583 Intervals of 0 result in many open ( TIME_WAIT ) ports on VC and connection exceptions
6771149 Sun Ray 4.1 num lock key does not work with VMware via kiosk mode with XKB enabled
6777673 VDA Service fails to reconnect to SGD IF SGD is restarted.
6778423 Further tests required to check VM suitability for use

- Dirk

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Wednesday Oct 15, 2008

SVDC Patch2 is out


The next patch is out. It comprises the following components:

Solaris-SPARC: 127559-02
Solaris-x86: 127560-02
Linux: 127561-02
Windows: 138482-02

A couple of problems have been addressed:

6709313 ESC: Securing SOAP Connection in SGD stops VDA service.
6714371 Searching a VM located in a pool fails if you don't specify the pool
6731373 vc agent runs out of memory
6731375 VMs not removed from AD domain on deletion
6731386 revert to snapshot always results in a vm which is not running
6736783 ESC: can not configure VDC when there are more than 1 server in an SGD array
6745813 listing vms appears to hang

- Dirk

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Thursday Sep 25, 2008

Running VDC 1 on VMware VC 2.5U2


Quite a few people stumbled over the fact that VDC stops working when an upgrade from VC 2.5U1 to VC2.5 U2 is performed. They see something like this on the VDC agent logs after the upgrade:

Exception in thread "main" java.lang.UnsatisfiedLinkError: C:\\Program
Files\\VMware\\Infrastructure\\VirtualCenter Server\\jre\\bin\\nio.dll: The
specified procedure could not be found
at java.lang.ClassLoader$NativeLibrary.load(Native Method)
at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadLibrary0(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadLibrary(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.Runtime.loadLibrary0(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.System.loadLibrary(Unknown Source)
at Source)
at Method)
at Source)
at<clinit>(Unknown Source)
at Source)
at java.util.logging.FileHandler.openFiles(Unknown Source)
at java.util.logging.FileHandler.<init>(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.vda.LogManager.init(
at com.sun.vda.LogManager.getLogger(
at com.sun.vda.agent.Agent.<init>(
at com.sun.vda.agent.Agent.main(

Problem is that the upgrade process changes the JRE on the VC host, but this is not fully correctly done. The "VMware Infrastructure Web Access" uses the JRE and is not stopped during the upgrade process. This prevents the upgrade process to be performed fully. So a workaround is to stop the "VMware Infrastructure Web Access" service manually before starting the upgrade process.

Than you should be fine.

- Dirk

Saturday Sep 13, 2008

VMworld 08

Wow, first time in Las Vegas. And it is different than anything else I have seen. Interesting. 

Like the last couple of years I will be there and we will be showing some new hot stuff. Hot of the press as to speak. Pop by and you will see a bunch of very interesting demos.

CU at the show. Will be fun.


xVm launch

We had a launch of the new products of xVM, including Sun VDI. Steve Wilson and Rich Green did a real good job in showing how VDI works and the benefits of it in the xVM webcast.  Remember the demo was driven in California, but it was running on my small demo server in Hamburg Germany.

And you can get this stuff now. Sold under the Sun VDI 2.0 license.

- Dirk 

Tuesday Jul 22, 2008

Non card VDI for Sun Ray - Updated


We've experienced some problems with the latest Sun Ray beta and the VDI session that does not require smartcards. Sarah has fixed them:

Have fun,

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SVDC Patch 1


A first SVDC patch has been released. It involves all the components:

- Dirk

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Wednesday May 28, 2008

Understanding the Virtual Desktop Lifecycle - Part 3

It has been a while since I've been talking about the desktop lifecycle. Shame on me, no excuses. So in todays entry I want to dive a bit deeper into some of the specifics of Sun Virtual Desktop Connector. I want to cover the fine-tuning of desktop lifecycle. Or in other words I want to talk about parameters and choices available to control the semantics of the automatic provisioning and de-comissioning of desktops. Let's get started:

Fine-tuning the desktop creation

So initially we should talk about the options controlling the creation process. There are some very obvious setting for each pool, like the selection of a template or how many VMs should be minimally available for users. The later value drives the creation of new VMs. An available VM is not used and ready for the next user. If the pool is under the limit of minimum available VMs, new VMs will be created. In opposite the maximum value defines how many VMs should be in total created per pool. This helps you to control the utilization of storage.

It is also possible to define the naming prefix for each newly created VM. The naming of the VM has actually a broader reach than you might expect. It defines the name of the VM and if specified in the customization settings, it can also be used as the computer name for the Windows guest. This might be a handy choice in a lot of situations. But you have to take into account, that names of deleted VMs will be reused, which might cause trouble in the Windows domain. Using a self-defined naming scheme for the computer name is an alternative to consider. This can be defined in the customization spec as well.

Besides this there are 2 global settings in the advanced section of the administration tool. One defines the interval in which new clones should be created. The default is 30 minutes, very conservative, for demos definitely not suitable. The other option is to restrict the list of storage units, that will be considered for the cloning process. This is definitely a useful setting, although a more fine granular control per pool would be desirable.

Fine-tuning the desktop usage

It is all about making a couple of decisions on how the desktops should be operated:

Staying alive?
This is really the first question you should find an answer to. Do you want your desktops always alive so that you can reach them for upgrades and patches or is it not important. Or is it more important to safe memory consumption by suspending unused desktops. It depends on how you are intending to operate your desktops.

The actual parameter that defines whether machines are always running or just running when assigned to a user is kind of hidden in the VM configuration. You find the setting under Options/Powermanagement that defines how a VM should behave, when the guest is placed into standby. The Virtual Desktop Connector uses this setting to make the general decision, whether VM should always be powered on and running or be suspended when not used. And this applies from the creation throughout the recycling process until the VM is deleted.

Snapshot or Reuse?
This is a very straightforward decision. If the snapshot policy is selected, all VMs will be 'snapshotted' before leaving the factory. At the moment when VMs are recycled, a 'revert' to the previous snapshot will be performed. This implies, that the VMs have always a clean state before they get into the next user's hands. But there is also tradeoff that more storage is required for the snapshot.

On the other hand if you select the reuse policy, the desktop will always be treaded 'as is'. That means for recycling, that a the desktop will simply be taken away for the current user and is made available to others. If there is still a user logged into the desktop, then this will create of course, problems.

Disposable desktops
Here is the idea that the desktop created in the factory can be used once and is afterwards deleted. So users always get a fresh desktop and once they are done or the desktop is marked for recycling, then the desktop is deleted and the user will get a new one next time.

Recycling is initiated when?
The VDC talks about an 'Idle Timeout'. This setting defines the duration that a desktop can stay with a user although the desktop is definitely not used. Beyond that duration, the recycling process kicks in and the desktop is taken away from the user. And a machine is definitely not used either when the user isn't logged into the Windows guest or the Windows guest is in standby mode or the VM is in suspended mode. In all these situations the desktop is marked idle.

Note: On Windows Vista there is a restriction, that only the logout situation is recognized by the VDC.

Desktops can expire
The administrator has the option to define the maximum age of desktops. Once the maximum age is reached, the desktops older than the maximum age are deleted. Again, very straight forward. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that desktops, that are currently assigned to a user, are not deleted. Only available desktops are immediately deleted once they have expired. Intention is here to not impact running sessions so that users do not loose part of their work.

That's roughly it. There are of course more screws you can use to fine-tune the lifecycle, like e.g. using group policies (GPOs) to force a logout of users after a certain amount of time and my other things. But there is one thing you really have to keep in mind, time and time synchronization is key. Otherwise a lot of unexpected behavior could happen.

In my next article about the desktop lifecycle I will discuss a few use cases that apply the lifecycle in different ways.

- Dirk

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This one is about VDI, Sun Ray, SGD and sports, in particular basketball, and any combination of it. And of course other interesting stuff.


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