In the interest of bringing some redundancy to our Ubuntu Sun Ray Desktops, we purchased an hp Proliant 385. The current production server is still on Breezy, and since we're in the summer semester, it gives us the opportunity to play with Dapper on the new server, so we can provide a sweet Ubuntu experience to the users come the Fall rush.
Since the Sun Ray Server software allows you to load-balance and whatnot, we can easily throw up the new server and add it to the pool, test it, and then remove it from the pool when we're done.
Sporting dual 2.2ghz Opterons (each dual core) and 16gb of RAM, I can tell you that the GNOME desktop experience is … uh … impressive. Initial reports indicate that Intel's “woodcrest” will be an even better performer. Competition rocks doesn't it?
Though the hardware is (marginally) more powerful than our existing server, it's immediately obvious that Dapper blows the doors off of Breezy on performance. Login time is impressive, so much so that we ditched the login splash. Memory usage for GNOME sessions and Firefox are down across the board, printing Just Works(tm), and the recent inclusion of Sun Java in multiverse has allowed us to quickly get a full blown Java/Eclipse development environment up in no time.
Management of GNOME desktops has also improved, with the inclusion of pessulus in Dapper. It's still a pretty new tool, so you'll still need to set some gconf keys manually to get exactly what you want, but it's a good sneak peak of what is possible in the future with regard to GNOME desktop management.
Work has tentatively approved me to attend Ubucon, so if you're deploying Ubuntu desktops and want to swap notes and tips, stop on by, I look forward to sharing our mistakes with others, heh. 🙂 [Planet Ubuntu]