Oracle has updated its desktop virtualisation tools with enhancements across the board to the Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (Oracle VDI), Sun Ray terminals and server software and Oracle Virtual Desktop Client components, including a broadened range of storage options on which to deploy virtual machine images.
Available immediately, the enhancements come in Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure 3.4, Sun Ray Software 5.3 and Oracle Virtual Desktop Client 3.1, and make it the biggest ever update of the Oracle desktop virtualisation platform in terms of the number of enhancements, according to Robert Gianni, senior director of Software Development at Oracle.
One key improvement is support for a broader range of storage options on which to deploy Oracle VDI, from high-end virtualised storage arrays right down to local disk storage inside the server, to address the thorny issue of the growing storage costs associated with supporting VDI.
"This allows customers to deploy a much smaller virtual desktop implementation for 50 to 100 users in a department or a branch office using a single server, all the way up to a full datacentre deployment managing tens of thousands of desktops," said Gianni.
In addition, Oracle VDI 3.4 now integrates better with Oracle's Sun ZFS Storage appliances and can make full use of their performance and analytical capabilities, according to Oracle.
The end-user experience has also been addressed. Support has been added for high definition video playback on Sun Ray endpoint devices and the Oracle Virtual Desktop Client software 3.1, which provides remote desktop access from Windows devices, Mac OS X and the iPad. Location awareness features also enable capabilities such as automatic routing of print jobs to a nearby printer.
Security capabilities have been enhanced with support for the IEEE 802.1x network authentication protocol on the Sun Ray 3 Series endpoint devices, while both Oracle VDI and the Sun Ray server software now support the extended Application Protocol Data Unit (APDU) standard for applications using smartcards.
"Europe in particular is one of the leading markets for use of smart card technology for a variety of purposes including authentication onto the network and particular applications, and for signing and encrypting data," Gianni said.
Oracle sees VDI as one way that its corporate customers can manage the so-called bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, where workers may be using a broader range of endpoint hardware, including kit that is not owned by the company.
"One of the great advantages of VDI, especially Oracle VDI, is that our Sun Ray devices and software clients are zero client," said Gianni. This means that no data or application is held on the endpoint itself.
"It just provides a view into the application which is running safely in the datacentre," he added.
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