A Smarter Way to Manage Desktops










Use SunVirtualBox and Sun VDI to deliver a new level of productivity andsecurity ? just like Sun did for 21,000 virtual desktops at JavaOnethis year.
IT management is constantly askedto do more with less. Traditionally, the focus has been on hardware:wringing more productivity out of servers, consolidating systems to cutcosts, and so on. But there are also opportunities to save money andimprove efficiency by enabling people to do more with less ?particularly when it comes to managing desktop environments.

Despite the massive influx of mobile devices, netbooks, and otherhand-held gizmos, the desktop computer is still the predominantproductivity tool in most organizations. Yet all too often thedesktop?s functionality is still limited to one operating system andone CPU used by one individual; the company?s desktops are stillmanaged by a small army of administrators (whose salaries continue toclimb while hardware costs shrink); and security is still a majorproblem.

Visualize a Virtualized Environment

In the same way server and storage systems can be virtualized topool resources and improve utilization rates, desktop environments canbe virtualized to improve end-user productivity, manageability, andsecurity.

Through virtualization products such as Sun VirtualBoxsoftware, a single desktop can host multiple operating systems andperform many different types of jobs. So a Windows-based PC is nolonger just a PC ? can also run the Macintosh OS in one window, Linuxin another, and OpenSolaris in yet another.

Moreover, with Sun VirtualBox the desktop device is no longerlimited to the number of physical CPUs it was built with. It can beconfigured with virtual CPUs (up to 32 virtual CPUs in a single system)or it can tap into the processing power of larger servers or even cloudcomputing environments.

And with Sun VirtualBox the desktop device is no longer subject tothe same security threats as a PC because the virtual environments areisolated from the native environment and can be discarded at any time.So users can feel free to try out new software or download programsinto a virtual environment without the risk of contaminating the hostmachine.

You can even test-drive a new OS, such as Windows 7 or the latestversion of OpenSolaris, or launch an instance of a legacy OS, such asOS/2, without disrupting anything or putting any resources at risk.

Think of the desktop device as a house with different rooms fordifferent purposes: an ?office? where work is kept separate from homestuff; ?family rooms? where each member of the family has their ownspace and can make/break things at will (ideal for teenagers); ?safezones? where you can do financial transactions with complete security;even a ?cleaning cabinet? that cleans up the other spaces in thebackground.

Equally important, through the management capabilities of products such as Sun Virtual Desktop Infrastructure(VDI), the administration of virtual desktop environments can becentralized and streamlined, saving administrative time and expense.Since desktops are centrally hosted, only the display is sent to theclient device; critical data never leaves the corporate network and canbe managed and backed up by IT.

Showcase Example: Sun VirtualBox and Sun VDI at JavaOne

To better understand the real-world potential of Sun VirtualBox andSun VDI, take a closer look at how Sun provisioned and managed 21,000virtual desktops for the attendees of this year?s JavaOne conference inSan Francisco.

Sun installed hundreds of Sun Ray ?thin-client? desktops throughoutthe lobby areas of the Moscone Center, where the conference took place.Every JavaOne attendee was given a smartcard as part of theirregistration welcome kit. To access their home or work desktops fromthe Sun Rays, all they had to do was insert the smartcard into thenearest available Sun Ray and choose the type of virtual desktop theywanted: Windows 7, Ubuntu Linux, or OpenSolaris.

The first time the user made the choice, the chosen virtual desktopvirtual machine (VM) was created based on a template in Sun VDI. The VMconfiguration was stored in a MySQL database, and the virtual diskimage was quickly cloned from the template. Then Sun VDI chose aVirtualBox server, launched the new VM on that server, andauthenticated the new virtual disk. When the user removed his or hersmartcard, the VM suspended after a short period, freeing up resourcesfor other users. Re-insertion of the smartcard re-launched thepreviously created virtual desktop, and the VM was restored from disk.

How many administrators were required to manage these 21,000 virtual desktops? A grand total of two.

And how much high-powered hardware was required to run everything? Asingle rack, populated by four VDI servers (Sun Fire X4450 servers,each with four CPUs and 64 GB memory), five VirtualBox servers (SunFire X4450 servers, each with four CPUs, six cores per CPU and 64 GB ofmemory), and three 7210 Unified Storage servers. This configuration,incidentally, proved to be excessive for the requirements!

Open Source Alternative, Open to Any OS

Sun VirtualBox has quickly and quietly become the most popular opensource virtualization solution in the world. The installed base exceeds16 million, and there were more than one million downloads in the monthof July alone, according to senior product manager Andy Hall.

?I believe Sun VirtualBox has gained traction quickly because it?san enterprise-class solution that runs on all major operating systems,and it?s the first virtualization product that handles workloads of upto 32 virtual CPUs,? said Hall. ?And since it?s backed by a large andgrowing community, it simply delivers more innovation, faster.?

Sun VirtualBox software is free of charge for personal use. Forwider deployments within an organization, enterprise subscriptions arealso available, starting at $30 (USD) per user per year, which includes24/7 premium support from Sun's technical team. Discounts are availablebased on volume.

For more information about Sun VirtualBox or to download the product, visit http://virtualbox.org.

For additional details about Sun VDI, visit http://www.sun.com/software/vdi/index.jsp.




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