Friday, November 04, 2011

Desktop, Portal & NX 4

I haven't blogged in a while, but things here have been busy. The new GNOME desktop has passed all tests and with the 3.0 kernel on has been performing like a champ. We had a meeting and decided to begin deployment and will be going live starting next week. I modified our thin client builds to no longer allow users to connect to the older GNOME server and that will be the official cutoff once it's pushed with FOG. A few of our departments are already basically live on the new desktop, and next week we'll make it official. Over the next few months, we'll push over more and more people until the old server is no longer used. It's nice to see this project moving to completion. When we get heavier user loads running, I'll post information about performance.

The back burner project of the support portal software continues. Now that we have our heads around the functionality we desire, I have been cleaning up the UI and making it more consistent with other software. The [Reports] tab (shot below) has been developed and is already saving us time. I have been trying to create reports that would take a LONG time to do manually. For instance, in the shot below the portal compares devices in the FOG server vs those devices configured to boot via DHCP. Through the years there have been device failures and sometimes the old entry is not removed. To manually check this on 500+ devices would take hours. It now happens in about a second. I have other reports in mind, and will continue advancing them a bit each week. UI needs work, but data is accurate.

I started revamping the UI and the results have been pleasing. The beauty of Glade is that these changes are cosmetic and very few coding changes were needed. Move widgets around, give them the same name and they just start working. In the [Users] tab (below), I moved all of the filters to the right side and cleaned up the results area. I started writing a new feature to alert us when users login or logoff the network. I also added the ability to see the last 3 people that you viewed in detail. You can now save users as a bookmark for later use. When going in and out of 800+ users, these features are wonderful. Lots of room for improvements, but making progress.

We received a new alpha build of NX 4 and I spent a few afternoons testing it fully and considering ways to get it deployed. The thin clients are all running the same universal build, so settings need to be configured to work in all types of logins and with rotating users and differing monitor resolutions. Making progress slowly and submitted to them a list of all issues that hinder deployment.

NX 4 still does not have a technique to deploy on iPads in the current build. It's coming, but not yet available. So we had an idea to get them up and running until we can deploy 100% NX. My coworker Brian set up a virtual Windows session to allow RDP connections from our tablets. The user profiles are then configured to automatically start NX and then connect to the GNOME server. This simulates how a native NX client would work, and at least will allow us to get some beta testers out there. In the shot below it's Ipad-->RDP-->Windows-->NX-->GNOME Desktop. Performance is good, and should get even better when the middle hop is removed.

Good days ahead for us as we move in lots of new technology, all of it as cost efficient and stable as possible. Happy Friday.


Dave Richards said...

@all: Yup I know that a few user names were displayed. Our names are already widely available on the Internet and on City Directories.

JW said...

Great stuff Dave!

crookedalley said...

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