Cloud // Cloud Storage
08:11 PM
Connect Directly

Sun Brings Storage Management To Desktop Virtualization

With the release of VDI 3, Sun is adding the option of a Sun-only virtual desktop software set.

Sun Microsystems has struck out on its own in issuing an upgraded offering for virtualizing desktops with its recent release of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Software 3.

In the past, Sun has partnered with VMware in virtualization on the desktop and it still is; Sun is the supplier of a protocol that speeds up VMware's own delivery of virtual desktops over RDP, Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol. RDP by itself is too slow to deliver smooth full motion video or data intense multimedia. With this release of VDI 3, Sun is adding the option of a Sun-only virtual desktop software set, said Chris Kawalek, product line manager.

"Many will use VMware for the majority of their desktops and Sun for a subset of users," he said.

Sun has built the RDP protocol into its VirtualBox hypervisor so that desktop virtual machines may be generated on a central server and desktop presentations sent to users without requiring RDP being added to the client itself, Kawalek said. When the guest operating system is Windows XP or Vista, RDP is available through them. But for users of Windows 2000 and Ubuntu Linux, RDP must be added to the virtual guest, and can be through Sun's hypervisor services, he said.

Sun VDI 3.0 will support a wider range of desktop operating systems, including those named above, than some virtual desktop infrastructure product sets. In addition, it supports OpenSolaris for x86.

One reason that desktop virtualization has been slow to take off is the need to rationalize how virtual desktops will be stored. If each user's copy of Windows, Office and other PC applications is stored on the data center's network attached storage or SANs, the potential virtualization savings are offset by increased storage costs. Sun's previous VDI 2 envisioned copying complete virtual desktops to centralized storage as its only persistence mechanism.

In VDI 3.0, Sun offers a solution to the dilemma. Implementers will rely on master or "golden" images of Windows and Office, and only save a few specifications and applications that are individual to each end user's desktop.

"Storage consumption is the number one thing stopping desktop virtualization. We're being much smarter this time, not copying a bunch of stuff we don't need to copy," Kawalek said.

VDI 3 has been integrated with the Solaris ZFS file system, which can be used to manage a Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage System or other Sun Open Storage architecture. ZFS allows a simplified storage management for the virtualized desktops. The VirtualBox hypervisor will invoke ZFS rather than needing a virtual machine administrator to establish a storage file system, said Kawalek.

VDI 3 also has expanded support for deploying large numbers of virtual desktops under VMware's Virtual Infrastructure 3. It includes support for Microsoft's Active Directory, so end user identities may be managed through it. VDI 3 also works with energy saving Sun Ray thin clients, or other vendors' thin client devices.

InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis of the challenges around enterprise storage. Download the report here (registration required).

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Google in the Enterprise Survey
Google in the Enterprise Survey
There's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity ­products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent ­mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers ­distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of October 9, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll