Sun Shared Visualization 1.1.1 Software Release

Sun’s Shared Visualization software lets organizations share centralized compute and graphics resources. Applications can run in the machine room on a shared server with graphics acceleration, but are operated by users on a variety of clients over the network. This aids collaboration and security as well as lowering total cost of ownership.
This new release adds support for OpenSolaris 2008.11, x86-based Macs running OS/X 10.5 "Leopard," OpenSUSE, and Ubuntu platforms, improves performance on Solaris systems, and offers additional TurboVNC and Sun Ray image encodings to improve performance. It also includes fixes for application-specific issues.
VirtualGL
VirtualGL is open source middleware which lets any Unix or Linux remote display user run OpenGL applications with full graphics hardware acceleration. OpenGL commands and 3D data are redirected to a graphics accelerator on the application server; only the rendered 3D images are compressed and sent to the client machine, where they appear in the application’s window just as they would when run locally.
In this new release, VirtualGL offers significantly improved performance on Solaris platforms. And a VirtualGL client can now reliably display on a multi-screen client (not just on screen 0). VirtualGL’s Sun Ray plug-in now offers a faster YUV image mode, which disables the default DPCM image compression. This improves frame rate significantly with Sun Ray 1 desktop units, with improved image quality as a bonus; however, this mode consumes about 50% more network bandwidth.
TurboVNC
TurboVNC is open source software that allows for collaboration and high-latency network access with visualization applications. TurboVNC, when used with VirtualGL, is the fastest solution for remotely displaying visualization applications across a wide-area network.
Virtual Network Computing (VNC) servers offer server-side X11 rendering and allow clients to view it remotely, even over a wide area network. VNC requires the user to interact with the entire remote desktop in a single window and thus does not provide the completely seamless experience that VirtualGL does.
TurboVNC is based on TightVNC and now borrows part of TightVNC’s hybrid image encoding scheme, allowing it to use the most efficient image encoding method for each image tile. TurboVNC also provides some built-in collaboration capabilities and a lossless refresh feature. This latest release enhances interoperability between TurboVNC and other VNC versions (though matching a TurboVNC server and client provides optimal performance).
Sun Grid Engineering

A data center can offer a set of graphics servers with various processor architectures, operating systems, and software licenses. Users can submit to Sun Grid Engine the job script for the application they need to run, and SGE will select a lightly-loaded server appropriate for the (Solaris or Linux) job. Users view the application and interact with it naturally from their desktop, notebook, or conference room—or even from home or their cafe over the Internet. They don’t even have to know which server accepted their job. Thus Sun Shared Visualization Software "virtualizes" graphics hardware.
Who wants remote visualization?
Using Shared Visualization, system administrators have fewer graphics systems to maintain (install, update, patch). Powerful graphics servers can be equipped with multiple high-end graphics accelerators and lavish amounts of memory and shared among multiple users. The graphics servers can be run in a “cold room” along with storage and computational resources.
Meanwhile, client systems can be cheaper. They need not have high-performance 3D graphics acceleration. They need only display pixels. In fact, a Sun Ray ultra thin client can be a visualization client for occasional 3D use. And a user can access applications on servers with various architectures and operating systems all from her office or notebook.
Some sites especially concerned with security prefer to provide some users only application access, rather than full data access. Graphics models can be kept safely in the machine room. Only 2D images produced by the applications go to clients.
Supported Platforms
The 1.1.1 release adds server and client platforms. The full list of supported server systems follows:
■ The Linux download is compatible with
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3, 4 and 5 (all x86 or x64)
SUSE Linux 9 (x86 or x64) and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 (x86 or x64)
Ubuntu Linux 6.06 (at least)
■ The Solaris download is compatible with
Solaris 10 OS (x86 or x64)
Solaris 8/9/10, SPARC
OpenSolaris (2008.11 at least)
Clients can be any of the above Unix systems or one of the following:
An x86-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or 10.5 (Leopard)
A PC running Windows Vista or Windows XP Professional SP2
Want Visualization with that?
The software is available for free download to evaluate. Software support may be purchased from Sun. (Of course, Sun also sells systems—both servers and clusters—with attached graphics acceleration to run Sun Shared Visualization software. These systems can be equipped with large memories and multiple graphics processing units (GPUs) to visualize much larger models than can run on your desk, to view models on multiple high-resolution displays, and/or to serve many clients simultaneously.)
Product documentation can be downloaded in the product docs bundle, or separately from docs.sun.com.
For Questions about this Product
E-mail your question with a description of your environment and your contact information to shared-viz-interest@sun.com.
Submitted by by W. Dean Stanton, Senior Software Engineer, Sun’s Advanced Visualization Department

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About Rich
FlexRex began his life as a cartoon character I created a Sun Microsystems. As the world's first "fictional blogger," he appeared in numerous parody films that made fun of the whole work-from-home thing. Somewhere along the line, the Sun IT department adopted FlexRex as their spokesman in a half-dozen security awareness films for employees. So when I left Sun recently, I started FlexRex Communications, a Marketing company in Portland, Oregon.

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