1.1. What is Sun Ray Computing?

1.1.1. Stateless
1.1.2. Secure
1.1.3. Available

Sun Ray computing is a thin client implementation that offers both desktop-like user functionality and sufficient speed and reliability for mission-critical applications. Sun Ray Software supports both hardware and software-based clients and runs on both Oracle Linux and Oracle Solaris, including Oracle Solaris Trusted Extensions.

Other client-server models typically use combinations of remote and local operating systems, applications, memory, and storage, but the Sun Ray computing model moves all computing to a server. Instead of running applications, storing data, and doing computation on a desktop device like a PC, the Sun Ray model simply passes input and output data between clients and the Sun Ray server, where the operating system and applications are located.

The following descriptions of the Sun Ray Computing attributes are based on the Sun Ray Clients, although many of the points also apply to Oracle Virtual Desktop Clients.

1.1.1. Stateless

Sun Ray Clients have no local disks, applications, or operating systems and are therefore considered stateless. This setup is what makes them true thin clients. Stateless devices are inexpensive to maintain because they do not require administrators or technicians to install, upgrade, or configure software or to replace mechanical components on the desktop.

A Sun Ray Client contains only a firmware module that performs a small set of tasks: it sends keyboard and mouse events and displays pixel data. If a desktop device contains an operating system that can execute code at the request of a user, it has state and it is not a true thin client. This type of device requires updating and maintenance at the desktop rather than server level and it is susceptible to viruses.

1.1.2. Secure

Sun Ray Clients are also extremely secure. For instance, managing USB mass storage devices, that is, controlling the ability to enable or disable their use, is done at the server or group level. This ability enables sites with particular security or intellectual property concerns to eliminate many of the risks imposed by PCs and other fat clients, which rely on local operating systems, local applications, and local data caches. Critical data can be compromised or lost when the physical device hosting the "fat" client is stolen or damaged.

1.1.3. Available

A Sun Ray session is a group of services controlled by a session manager and associated with a user through an authentication token. The sessions reside on a server rather than on the desktop. Because Sun Ray Clients are stateless, a session can be directed or redirected to any Sun Ray Client on the appropriate network or subnetwork when a user logs in or inserts a smart card.

Although the session continues to reside on a server, the session appears to follow the user to the new client. This functionality, called hotdesking, provides the ability of users to access their sessions from any client on their network. Hotdesking can be implemented with smart cards or without smart cards through the non-smart card session mobility (NSCM) feature.

Most large Sun Ray implementations also include one failover group of Sun Ray servers to ensure uninterrupted service whenever a server is off-line. When a failover group is configured, the Sun Ray Software optimizes performance by spreading the computing load among the servers in the group.