Oracle Rolls Out Secure Global Desktop Release 5.2

Oracle has introduced Oracle Secure Global Desktop (SGD) Release 5.2, the latest version of the company’s secure remote access solution for cloud-hosted enterprise applications and hosted desktops running on not only Microsoft Windows, but also Linux, Solaris and mainframe servers. 

SGD allows users to work securely from any device and from any location, while providing administrators controlled access to applications and desktop environments resident in the data center, providing a key benefit to large companies in a BYOD world.

SGD works with popular client devices, including Windows PCs, Macs, Linux PCs, and tablets such as the Apple iPad and Android-based devices. 

Still very well known by its original name “Tarantella,” the name was changed after the acquisition by Sun Microsystems in 2005 to Sun Secure Global Desktop, and changed again to Oracle Secure Global Desktop after Oracle acquired Sun.

Oracle has long been one of the biggest users even prior to the acquisition, Wim Coekaerts, senior vice president of Linux and Virtualization Engineering.  Within Oracle the product has been used since the early days when it was Tarantella. “We use it in our development environment to allow remote developers to hosted environments, and remote applications users use it to connect to a central environment,” he said.

In addition, Oracle has hundreds, if not thousands, of applications that are, for the most part, web-based, observed Coekaerts. SGD provides a particular benefit when browser requirements differ for different versions of an application.  

“The client can be anything because it is browser based. It is HTML 5 so you can be on an iPad or an Android device, or on your Mac - it doesn’t really matter,” said Coekaerts. The application will look and feel exactly the same as if it was running locally, and it works well over any network, he said.  And, from a security point of view, since there is no data stored locally, it is a very secure way of accessing corporate data.

Moreover, in terms of the functionality that it provides, said Coekaerts, a user might have a certain version of an application that requires Internet Explorer 6 and a new version of that application that requires IE7 but on the desktop they can only have one version of IE running. However, multiple versions of the browser can be installed on the hosted environment. “That is an example of how this is very useful in a real-world customer environment.” 

SGD Release 5.2 provides a number of key enhancements, noted Coekaerts.

Single sign-on integration with Oracle Access Manager enables instant access to applications, with a user entering credentials only once. “We actually integrated single sign-on all the way from the front door, so to speak,” said Coekaerts. The integration of Oracle Secure Global Desktop with Oracle Access Manager enables the single sign-on feature of Oracle Access Manager to authenticate users to an SGD server and to remote applications started from the SGD workspace.  Single Sign-On enables SGD users to access multiple applications with a single login and simplifies password management.

Monitoring with Oracle Enterprise Manager in the 5.2 release is enabled through plug-ins, facilitating centralized monitoring of multi-server SGD deployments in Oracle Enterprise Manager. “Oracle Enterprise Manager is Oracle’s full stack management suite. It manages the database, middleware, applications, storage, Linux. All the products that we have at Oracle have a plug in for this central management tool so that means that you have one product that you plug into to see and manage all the different components,” said Coekaerts. “With 5.2 we now support SGD as a component or a plug-in to Enterprise Manager.”

The plug-ins monitor and analyze the health and performance of SGD servers and gateway servers.  For SGD servers, the plug-in captures various performance and configuration metrics such as array status, users and applications, data store objects, SGD system process, versions and patches.  For gateway servers, various performance and configuration metrics are captured, including connections being serviced, registered SGD servers, versions and patches.  Plug-in metrics data can be processed by reporting tools such as Oracle Business Intelligence Publisher.

A third component in the new release is enhanced role-based administration, said Coekaerts, who noted that this is increasingly important with the growth in cloud computing and hosted environments. “Typically, there is one admin for the product and then the admin manages all the different users.” However, he said, Oracle has split up different levels and privileges for administrators. New commands introduced in this release also simplify the process of installing software updates (patches) for an SGD deployment.  The Administration Console can now be used, in addition to the command line, to join an SGD server to an array that uses secure intra-array communication. “In the cloud world, and in the host provider world, this is going to make a nice addition.”

PulseAudio integration in the new release allows audio redirection from applications that use PulseAudio, increasing the range of audio applications supported by SGD. Also, added support for audio input functionality on UNIX brings the UNIX audio feature set in line with that of Windows and allows applications compatible with OSS, SADA or PulseAudio to use audio input.

In addition to new features and expanded server, client and browser support, this release also delivers enhanced security and performance, and provides a richer user experience over a range of network conditions.

Oracle Secure Global Desktop 5.2 also maintains its “slot-in” simplicity while integrating more closely with Oracle products, technologies, and solutions such as Oracle Managed Cloud Services, Oracle Enterprise Manager, and Oracle Access Manager.