by January 1, 2000 0 comments

The Sun Ray 1 is an interesting product, right from the way it looks to what it does and how it goes about doing it. Almost similar in size to a notebook, it’s placed at a rakish angle to your desk.
So, what is Sun Ray? Sun calls it an Enterprise Appliance, and adds that it’s a thin client that lets you use applications residing on a Solaris or NT server. So what operating system does the Sun Ray 1 run? None. It doesn’t have an operating system.

The Sun Ray 1 connects to a Solaris server running Sun Ray enterprise server over a 10/100-switched network. You can access applications on an NT server, running Citrix Metaframe. 

You log in to the system, preferably using a smart card. Insert your smart card into the smart card reader on the appliance, and you’re on! At any point of time, you can pull out your smart card, and your session will be saved on the server. You can resume from where you left, from any Sun Ray on the same workgroup.

The Ray has microphone and headphone jacks on its front, and power, audio, and USB jacks at the back. Cut the power and your session will be saved as if you had pulled your smart card out. When power comes back, you resume from where you were. Of the four USB connectors, two are used by the mouse and the keyboard. If you need to transfer files locally, then you have to use a local USB device, like the Imation USB SuperDisk. Speakers are extra.

The Sun Ray comes with a 17” or higher Sun monitor. But you can opt for a standard
15” monitor, thereby reducing your costs. It supports 24-bit graphics, with up to 1,280 x1,024 resolution. 

The Ray that we got to see did deliver good performance. More than the performance, it was the ease of use that impressed those of us who saw it in action. Though Sun promises low TCO, the initial cost of acquisition of a Sun Ray set up, including switch, appliances, Solaris server and Metaframe (if you want to connect to NT) is pretty steep, and compares unfavorably with that of a similar number of PCs. But still, all said and done, the Sun Ray 1 does look like an idea that could work, if only the pricing was better. It comes with a warranty of five years. 

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