What is Sun Virtual Desktop Infrastructure 3.0?

Now that 2009 is here, the VDI team is anticipating the release of version 3.0, and we hope you are too! Engineering has just reached their features complete milestone in perfect time for the Early Access release at the end of January. See the tour of Sun VDI with Chris Kawalek!

Desktop virtualization is not a new concept, but it is becoming more popular as enterprise system management becomes more complex. Sun released the Sun Virtual Desktop Access Kit for VMware in early 2007, and will soon be releasing Sun VDI 3.0, which offers a complete Sun stack in addition to the following features:

  • Same great VDI product as Sun VDI Software 2.0, including support for Sun Ray devices, traditional PCs, and the VMware back-end
  • Integration with Active Directory to allow easy mapping of AD users and groups to pools and virtual machines
  • Support for Sun xVM virtualization (based on Sun xVM VirtualBox technology) as an option to VMware VI3
  • Improved scalability with support for multiple VMware VirtualCenter servers
  • Simplified integration with Sun Secure Global Desktop Software
  • Additional access to virtual desktops using RDP clients (for example Windows Terminal Client)
  • Enhanced storage mechanism for virtual machines using ZFS file system (in combination with Sun xVM VirtualBox)
  • New administration UI and command line interface (CLI)
  • Usage of MySQL as configuration database


A virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is a layered software solution with three fundamental components: a virtualization platform, a broker, and client devices. The end user accesses a full desktop environment via a thin client device or an internet connection, as though they are using a conventional desktop computer.

Sun VDI 3.0 is made up of three functional layers - the virtualization layer, the session management layer, and the desktop access layer.



Virtualization Layer
The basis for the architecture is the virtualization layer (or hypervisor layer). In addition to creating and storing virtual machines the virtualization platform provides the base functionality needed for virtual machine management (starting, stopping, snapshotting, etc.). Sun VDI 3.0 supports Sun xVM VirtualBox and VMware Infrastructure 3.

Session Management Layer
The central component of the Sun VDI is the Sun VDI Core, located in the session management layer. The VDI Core provides all the functionality needed to build and manage large scale virtual machine deployments. In addition to its management capabilities, the VDI Core is also responsible for the brokering of virtual desktops on behalf of clients connecting from the desktop access layer
.

By integrating with Active Directory, the VDI Core is able to provide support for assignment of virtual desktops to existing users and groups within an organization. The VDI Core configuration data and runtime information is stored in a MySQL database, which may be shared across multiple VDI Core instances on the network. This ensures access to the session management layer in failover scenarios.

Desktop Access Layer
Virtual desktops can be accessed via three different methods:

Sun Ray Software (SRS) via Thin Clients - A custom Sun Ray Software Kiosk Session is initiated when a user inserts a token card into a Sun Ray thin client. This session uses the Sun VDI Core to request access to a virtual desktop on behalf of the user. Once a virtual desktop has been assigned to the user, the session establishes a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) connection to the desktop using the Sun Ray Windows Connector.

Sun Secure Global Desktop Software (SGD) via a Web Browser – A web browser is used to initiate a SGD session. SGD, in turn, uses the VDI Core's RDP redirection capability to establish a connection to an assigned virtual desktop.

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) Connection – A virtual desktop can be accessed by any device capable of initiating an RDP session (RDP redirection must be supported on the client side to use this method). As with the previous case, the VDI Core's redirection capability is used to establish a connection to an assigned virtual desktop.




If you have technical questions about VDI or are interested in participating in our Early Access Program, please contact: sun-vdi-feedback@sun.com.

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This blog provides news and insights about Sun's xVM products, including Sun xVM Ops Center and Sun xVM Server.

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