The Sun Ray system is the first thin-client implementation that actually delivers a full, rich, high-performance user environment with unparalleled security and the convenience of session mobility (or hot desking). By centralizing all computing, including rendering, in the server and not the desktop, the Sun Ray computing model fulfills the original promise of client-server computing. Stateless thin-client desktops have the extra advantage of never requiring local system administration.
Sun Ray users now have the power of an individual workstation plus access to legacy and traditional office productivity software as well as advanced UNIX applications and utilities—or Linux freeware, depending on implementation—without the acquisition cost or maintenance requirements of workstations or the intrinsic instability of PCs. In fact, they have access to the Solaris Operating System and Java applications as well as to other flavors of UNIX software, 3270 front ends, and Microsoft Windows, the latter in conjunction with technology from various third-party software vendors.
For convenience, users can access their work, or sessions, from any Sun Ray desktop in their workgroup, or on the corporate LAN or WAN, if the company or organization chooses to enable this feature — because Sun Ray Server Software redirects user sessions to users’ logins (or to tokens on their smart cards).
Similarly, administrators and IT managers are freed from many of the constraints imposed by networked PCs and other fat clients. They manage users centrally, at the server, so the need for system administration and costly software upgrades on the desktop are completely eliminated, and administrators seldom have to deal with individual user complaints. Encryption and authentication make communication between server and client relatively secure, and the absence of local data on the client desktop makes theft of intellectual property, or even ordinary user data, impossible at the hardware level. In addition, smart cards enable extra levels of login security and user authentication as well as the means to write and embed custom security applications on smart cards.
Sun Ray computing combines extensive power and functionality, freedom from the individual desktop, and extra levels of security with low total cost of ownership. That is why it is expected to become the premier platform for enterprise computing as well as a key technology in the next decade.