Sun Rays the Ideal Desktop Hardware? NX vs SRSS.

One of my goals with NX and Xen is to achieve Thin Guy‘s level of desktop support. Zero!

Sun Ray = Office Supplies. You can’t “Fix” a Sun Ray. Out of the 33,000 Sun Ray desktops inside of Sun, how many “desktop” techs do you think are required to manage that install base? How does the number zero grab you? On the ultra rare occasion that something happens to your Sun Ray (let’s say a power supply failure), you replace it and send it back for a warranty replacement (5 years on the SR1g). In the meantime you walk to the closet, grab a spare and plug it in and pick up exactly where you left off. Anyone who can replace staples in a stapler or replenish their supply of post-it notes can replace a Sun Ray

Some people would this say I should just consider using SunRays, but that would force a vendor lock. I’d have to spend a whole pile of cash now, replacing all my current desktop hardware. Instead using NX and PXES I can save this whole of cash, spending it later. Furthermore, it is probably possible to consider a staged migration to a complete SunRay solution, by mixing NX and SRSS. Run SRSS on one Xen domU and NX on another. NFS home-dir and things are going to work reasonably well.

SunRay/SRSS vendor lock is a big issue even for those with lots of cash to spend. Deciding to change and being forced to replace all your very workable SunRays with, say, new HP thin clients is defeating the thin client purpose. Kinda like paying for a new Windows client license. Five years is not an unreasonable amount of time for thin client hardware to last, as Suns states with their warranty. However, many software and server system choices will be made over this period to meet changing an organisations needs, goals and environments. Using SRSS is going to cut down the choices.

That’s the nice thing about NX, its vendor neutral and pretty much runs everywhere. Even on Solarias.


  1. Naaman Campbell Said,

    November 15, 2005 @ 2:48 am

    A definite alternative to NX could lie with running Ubuntu 5.10 (Breezy Badger) on the SunRay thin-clients as outlined in

    I am fortunate enough to work in an IT department that almost solely provides SunRays for desktop users and I can completely relate to your infatuation with the ‘throw-away’ nature of the SunRays. SunRay coupled with a modern, stable and well-featured linux distro in the form of Ubuntu are a well-made match.

  2. Nicholas Lee Said,

    November 15, 2005 @ 7:11 am

    Very nice howto, wish I had an actual SunRay to try out. I guess my main issue is that the SunRay protocol only seems to work with SunRay hardware. I can’t use it on my IBM Thinkpad R52, I can’t use it on my Pocket PC, and I can’t use it from my Mini Mac. NX provide’s that flexibility, SunRay requires you to buy a SunRay.

    Of course, not having a SunRay to compare with an NX system I’m not sure if this disadvantage out weights the advantages of SRSS, especially plug and play nature of the user token. Plus given it’s very usable with Linux, it might be possible to create a mixed NX and SRSS enviroment. So fixed thin clients can run on SRSS, and mobile units can access the same system via NX. Afterall gnome-session is gnome-session.

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