Real thin clients with Sunray
Yesterday AJ and me have been attending a seminar from Sun Microsystems about the Sunray. The Sunray is the next step in moving more processes into the backend and less hardware at the frontend.
After a little introduction of the Sunray, Sible Schöne of the Climate bureau was given the word. He told a long, but very interesting story about the climate changes on earth. In the end he basicly told us that in order to bring down power consumption the Sunray would be a great first step to do so. The Sunray in itself only uses 4W and there are options to have the Sunray draw its power from power-over-ethernet.
After this Arjan Taal of Sun started his presentation. He told us more over the Sunray itself. The Sunray is a little piece of hardware wich does nothing more than bringing a remote dekstop to the workspace you are working at that very moment. There is no operating system or any rotating parts in the box. What the Sunray needs to achieve this, is a server that runs a service made by Sun, wich acts like a broker and is called “Sun Virtual Desktop Infrastructure software”. The Sunray will make a connection to this service wich in his turn will redirect the Sunray to a remote desktop. With this concept, wich they call Hot-desking, it is able to make users get their dekstop sessions opened at any workspace where there is a Sunray available. This hot-desking works like a charm. The switch itself happens in a mere second. Also the possibility to connect to a Citrix, Microsoft Terminal Server, Sun system etc was very impressing. Now we only need one client to connect to a heterogenous environment.
With the first few presentations behind us and a little break I went to a presentation from Card ICT solutions given by Harm-Jan Wijngaarden. The focus of his presentation was on the addons that Card developed for the Sunray. Some of those addons you can find below:
- Branding of the Sunray
- VDCGO (this is a Sunray in the shape of a laptop)
- Sunray USB device server
- Sunray Hotdesk Printing
During the break we had a little talk with the guys from Cards. We wanted to know if it was possible to use more sessions on one Sunray. The simple answer was: Yes. You can use Sunrays that power two displays, or you can connect Sunrays to eachother so that one acts as a master and controls the other ones. This way you can build a vidiwall with sixteen different sessions controlled by one mouse/keyboard/keycard, all working in unison.
Another nice feature we discussed was the combination of the Sunray with a VOIP system. If you put your card in a Sunray you instantly logon to the system and connect your VOIP phone to the location you are sitting at. Ideal for call centers, shared service centers, flex workspaces and even for people who work from home. There were you logon you have your (internal) phone number and your session. VOIP providers that were mentioned are Mitel and Cisco.
Although the whole setup can work with xVM somebody (can’t remember the name) said that at this time the virtualization backend is still VMware.
Finally we had a Case given by SAP. A little while back they had a big movement between buildings and with it came issues with the classrooms that needed to be fixed. The solutions to their problems could all be found with the introduction of Sunray:
- More space on the workspace.
- Less heat from the devices as they only use 4W and dont have to process information. This also contributed in lower airco cooling needed.
- With the use of the keycards they could give any course in any classroom as the desktops where all running virtual on a ESX enviroment.
- Time saving and more evenings hours home for the system administrators. They would not have to re-image their computers several times a week for a new course. They would simply make a VM and hand out the keycards that would connect the user to the right desktop.
- No upgrade or replacements on the frontend every now and then. The only thing that might needs an upgrade or replacement is the backend.
The end conclusion AJ and me made was that the Sunray is a very decent product and we already had ideas of where we could implement the Sunray as a solution.
Several versions of the Sunray clients can be found here. The Sun Virtual Desktop Infrastructure software can be found here. If you want to know more about the Virtual training rooms at SAP you can view this PDF
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