BIVBlog #34: Playing Around with SunRay 1 Thin Clients

During an IPv6 training I held last year I was given two Sun Microsystems SunRay 1 thin clients. I give them a closer look, explain why they caused so much excitement when they hit the market, and tell about the problems I ran into trying while trying to get the server side to work.


Table of Contents

00:00:30 How I got hold of the SunRays—and heaps of thanks to the folks at Spirit/21.
00:01:30 History of the SunRay “Ultra Thin Clients”.
00:02:30 A look at the hardware.
00:09:40 SunRays, security, microsegmentation, and IPv6.
00:12:35 Starting up the SunRay clients.
00:16:50 Using smart cards in the SunRays.
00:18:30 The magic smart card feature.
00:20:10 Why didn’t they get more popular? Part I.
00:21:05 SunRay server woes.
00:30:00 Why didn’t they get more popular? Part II.

UPDATE: What I don’t mention in the video: You don’t want to use the latest version of the server software, because it no longer includes the firmware for the clients (which is available as a separate package for customers with a service contract only); instead, use the oldest one you find on the server.

Follow-up video on the strengths and weaknesses, and the eventual obsolescence, of thin clients in general in BIVBlog #35 (http://www.stepladder-it.com/bivblog/35).

About

Long term IPv6 evangelist/book author/trainer/consultant and generic Unix guy (*BSD, Linux, Solaris, and about a dozen more).

2 Comments

  1. Arturo de la Riestra

    Hey Benedikt, i am part of a three-teenagers group of work studing at the Instituto Industrial Luis A. Huergo in Argentina. We stumbled upon your video while looking for information on how to run a server in order to use our Sunray 1. We have actually found 4 laying around between some boxes but we got only one of them working. Unfortunatly, we discovered this task to be far too complicated for our actual level of knowleadge, so we could use some help of yours on how to start and what O.S. to run the server on. Thank you very much in advance!

    • Benedikt Stockebrand

      Hi Arturo,

      it’s been a while that I set up that server, so I don’t even remember all the little pitfalls I’ve run into. But if I remember correctly, the easiest way to do this is to grab a copy of Solaris 10 (which used to be freely available for a time) and the documentation to set up the server from somewhere on Oracle’s web server. It’s still rather tricky, and I’ve run into a number of problems that made me shelf the project for weeks several times, so don’t worry if you don’t get it done. And as I said in both episode #34 and #35, these devices mostly of interest for historic reasons, and setting up a server for them was really just for the fun of it.

      If it’s for the learning experience and/or getting a cheap desktop system up and running I guess you’re way better off with a Raspberry Pi.

      Cheers,

      Benedikt

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