Sizing Sun Ray™ Servers Running Windows Applications with SunPCi™ IIpro Coprocessor Cards
Finding the lowest possible cost of ownership to support enterprise applications has continued to spawn new solutions for the thin client market. To reduce administration costs and consolidate the hardware requirements, an application server can be used to simplify application administration. Application servers run the application for end users using the resources of the server. End users, attached over the network, perform all I/O (input and output) on thin clients or appliances that have the minimal hardware complexity, and little or no administration overhead.
Sun's Sun Ray appliances were developed specifically to address this need to lower the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Sun Ray appliances are stateless, zero administration clients that process only keyboard, and mouse input, as well as screen and sound output, leaving all of the application processing and storage to the server. The Hot Desking Technology of the Sun Ray appliance allows user sessions to be completely mobile, allowing users to move from one Sun Ray appliance to another without bringing down their logged in sessions.
Supporting Applications on Thin Clients
The Sun Ray appliance is ideal for supporting Solaris Operating Environment (Solaris OE) (SPARC Platform Edition) based applications with minimal end user system administration. In the past, to support wintel (Windows running on Intel compatible processors) applications, it was required that a separate Windows NT, or Windows 2000, server be used to execute any Windows based applications that end users required. The Citrix MetaFrame product allows windows applications to run on a wintel server and by using the ICA (Independent Computing Architecture) protocol, send the display, mouse, and keyboard I/O over the network to a remote client. With the Citrix MetaFrame client software running on the Sun Ray server, the Sun Ray support server could in turn take this information and channel the I/O to the Sun Ray appliance. Many customers have found the Citrix MetaFrame solution to a be excellent solution for controlling the environment in which windows based applications run.
While this solution does work well, it does require that two separate servers be maintained separately. Until now there was no way for a Sun server to support the execution of wintel applications from within the same Sun Enterprise server allowing for a full consolidation of the solution.
This article focuses on an integrated solution that combines several hardware and software products into one total solution. Specifically, we will narrow our discussion to developing a methodology for sizing a server that supports end users running both Solaris OE based applications and wintel applications. Individual details for configuring and administering each of the software components, that make up the solution, will not be dealt with in this article. There are many documents (see the References section) that cover these topics in detail. Instead we will focus on the details of integrating these components on one server.