Subject: General Tech | September 9, 2015 - 01:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, enterprise
In the very near future sysadmins pondering a Windows 10 roll-out will have a few new features to test. Enterprise Data Protection offers protection against unintentional data leaks by encrypting files so that they can easily be encrypted for all but licensed programs, ensuring installed social media applications and the like can't get into places they really shouldn't be. It also allows you to wipe those files remotely, leaving the rest of the machine intact which will be handy in shops that allow users to attach their own machines to the domain. Microsoft Passport will be another identity manager tool, integrated directly into the OS and they will also be launching a separate Windows Store for Business catering to the needs of companies. Check out more details by following the links at The Register.
"Microsoft says features of Windows 10 for enterprises that weren't available when the OS launched in July will begin rolling out this month."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The TR Podcast 186: Talking Skylake architecture with David Kanter
- Verizon: we're going to start bringing you 5G NEXT YEAR (sort of) @ The Register
- Windows XP-using UK government mulls a Microsoft withdrawal and an ODF coupling @ The Inquirer
- iPhone 7 release: Live updates from the Apple event @ The Inquirer
Subject: Storage | March 23, 2015 - 03:47 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: toshiba, MG04ACA400A, datacenter, enterprise
Toshiba's new MG04ACA series are Enterprise class HDDs available in increments of 1TB, from 2TB to 6TB and ship with either 4K or 512B emulation depending on your preference. Mad Shrimps just wrapped up a review of the 4TB model which certainly cannot match a SSD for speed but it is rated for 1400000 hours and workloads of 550TB a year, constant usage. You do pay a premium for enterprise level drives but spinning rust is still far more economical in high densities that flash based drives are. If you are looking for reliable HDDs for your servers, check this review out.
"The new MG04ACA series from Toshiba is composed from drives which are meant for enterprise, mission-critical applications, while sporting higher transfer rates and capacities. The tested sample comes with 128MB of cache and comes in two versions, depending on the applications it is needed for: with 512 sector emulation or strictly with 4K sector. Make sure to choose wisely which drive is for you and your setups in order to bypass any incompatibilities which may arise."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- ASUSTOR AS5104T 4-bay NAS Review @ Madshrimps
- Asustor AS7004T @ techPowerUp
- Patriot Ignite 480GB SSD @ Kitguru
- Kingston SM2280S3 120GB M.2 SATA SSD @ Bjorn3d
Subject: Storage | July 22, 2014 - 04:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, ssd, Pro 2500, enterprise, encryption, mcafee
Intel has not offered many products which take advantage of their takeover of McAfee, now known as Intel Security but today's release of the Intel SSD Pro 2500 Series changes that. This family of SSDs will work with McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator to allow the automatic implementation of hardware-based 256-bit encryption on these drives in a similar manner to what Endpoint Encryption has done in the past. Since it sits on the hardware Intel claims no impact to the speed is caused by the on the fly encryption. If you use Intel Setup and Configuration Software with vPro you can even monitor the health of deployed drives. Check out Intel's page here and the PR below.
SANTA CLARA, Calif., July 22, 2014 – Intel Corporation today announced an addition to the Intel® Solid-State Drive (SSD) Professional Family: the Intel® SSD Pro 2500 Series. This new business-class SSD delivers lower total cost of ownership, security and manageability features, and blazing-fast SSD performance demanded by today’s business users.
Intel SSD Pro 2500 Series offers IT departments peace of mind with advanced security features and capabilities designed for businesses ranging from small companies through large IT-managed enterprises. Security and remote manageability features, combined with lower annual failure rates than hard disk drives (HDDs), help to reduce the need for resource-intensive deskside visits.
Managing data security is critical for businesses and a challenge for IT leaders. Data breaches, often a result of lost or stolen PCs, can cost a business nearly $50,000 in lost productivity, replacement, data recovery and legal costs.1 To help businesses mitigate the threat of such costly breaches, the Intel Pro 2500 Series SSDs are self-encrypting drives (SED) utilizing hardware-based 256-bit encryption to protect data without a loss of performance. Additionally, the new Intel drives feature the Trusted Computing Group’s OPAL 2.0* standard and are Microsoft eDrive* capable. These policy-based controls help to prevent data breaches and support crypto erase to repurpose the drive for reuse.
“The need to protect assets, keep an eye on the bottom line and ensure employees have the best tools is a challenge for IT departments,” said Rob Crooke, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of the Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group. “The Intel SSD Pro 2500 Series is a well-rounded solution to help balance those often competing needs. Adding the Pro 2500 Series to the Intel SSD Professional Family delivers a powerful storage solution to help businesses of all sizes meet their critical IT needs.”
“The Intel SSD Pro 2500 Series is the second-generation OPAL-based client storage solution that helps IT departments protect their users’ data and also provides valuable features to reduce operational costs,” stated Candace Worley, senior vice president and general manager, Endpoint Security, McAfee*, part of Intel Security. “The Pro 2500 Series is a perfect companion to our data protection solutions, managed by McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator*, all working in concert to provide IT departments with data security, management and control, wherever their endpoints may be.”
In an environment with Intel® vPro™ Technology, with Intel® Setup and Configuration Software and leading security software, the Pro 2500 Series drives can be managed remotely allowing IT to monitor and report drive health as well as track assets and remedy faults. This remote manageability enforces IT policies to help prevent mishaps and simultaneously provides a great user experience. Embedded and Internet of Things applications can also take advantage of the remote manageability features to help limit the number of IT professionals needed to oversee devices. To assist in protecting user data and lower the total cost of ownership, applications such as ATMs and remote digital signage can be updated, monitored and managed remotely.
“Corporations of every size are facing the growing challenge of protecting sensitive data and ensuring compliance with a litany of data protection laws and regulations,” said Bill Solms, president and CEO of Wave Systems*. “The Intel SSD Pro 2500 Series offers a sound foundation for any data security program, incorporating hardware-level encryption without impacting drive performance. Wave’s on-premise and cloud-based management software complements the Intel SSD Pro 2500 by offering remote drive provisioning, automated password recovery and secure audit logs to document that encryption was in place should a laptop become lost or stolen.”
The Intel SSD Professional Family is part of the Intel® Stable Image Platform Program, including a 15-month availability of the components and drivers for compatibility and stability across a qualified IT image. This helps minimize IT qualification and deployment times. The Intel SSD Pro 2500 Series also features five advance power modes helping to balance performance and power to enable a longer battery life and provide a better mobile experience.
The Intel SSD Pro 2500 Series will be available in both 2.5-inch and M.2 form factors and in capacities ranging from 120GB to 480GB. The Intel SSD Pro 2500 Series is backed by a 5-year limited warranty and features a world-class annualized failure rate (AFR) well below 1 percent. The AFRs of other SSDs and HDDs can reach as high as 5 percent or more in mobile environments.
Subject: Storage | July 15, 2014 - 06:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hdd, Seagate, enterprise, 6tb, sata
For many users the purchase of a 6TB SSD is out of their price range and for many businesses who need long term storage the return on investment simply doesn't justify an SSD. In some cases tape backup is sufficient but not always which is where products like Seagate's 6TB Enterprise drive excel, a 7200 RPM with an impressive 216MB/s stated sustained transfer rate. It comes with a 5 year warranty and is rated at 550TB per year which means that even if it is heavily used you should not expect failure rates to be high. It does cost a bit at $480 which makes the SAS 4TB model a bit more attractive but when your data needs its space it is hard to find a larger drive. Check out the benchmarks at Overclockers Club.
"Compared to your standard consumer level 3TB drive this thing is double the capacity and brings home the money with the performance. To have capacity and performance at the same time is the golden ticket. Although this drive has the added cost of being an enterprise drive, having dealt with some enterprise drives I can say it is well worth it if longevity and long up time is what you are looking for.”
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Thecus NAS 5550 Server Review @ TechwareLabs
- Thecus N4800Eco 4-Bay NAS @ eTeknix
- QNAP TurboNAS TS-121 NAS Server Review @ NikKTech
- Teratrend TS432U 4-bay RAID Enclosure Review @ Techgage
- Thecus N5550 Network Attached Storage Review @ Modders-Inc
- Synology DS415Play 4-Bay NAS @ eTeknix
- KingFast Encrypted USB Flash Drive Review @ Madshrimps
- Corsair Flash Voyager GTX 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ Legit Reviews
- Corsair Flash Voyager GTX 128GB @ Kitguru
- Plextor M6e Review: Solid State Drive for PCI Express @ X-bit Labs
- Intel SSD DC P3700 Enthusiast Report (800GB) @ SSD Review
- Silicon Power Slim S55 240GB SSD Review @ NikKTech
- SanDisk Extreme PRO Series SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
Subject: Storage | April 8, 2014 - 11:22 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Seagate, sata 6Gbs, SAS, Hard Drive, enterprise, 6tb
Seagate's latest enterprise class hard drive offers up to 6TB of space in a 3.5" form factor. The Enterprise Capacity series drive comes in both SATA III 6Gbps and 12Gbps SAS interfaces. Seagate was able to achieve an impressive 1,000 Gb/inch or about 1.25 TB per platter with the drive's five total platters adding up to the 6TB capacity. Perhaps even more impressively, Seagate was able to offer up a 6TB, five platter, 7,200 RPM drive without using helium.
The 6TB Enterprise Capacity hard drive comes with a 128MB DRAM cache. It is rated at 216 MB/s for sequential transfer speeds and an average latency of 4.16 milliseconds. The drive also supports 256-bit AES encryption and an instant secure erase function which overwrites data multiple times. Seagate further claims the drive is rated for 24/7 workloads at 550TB/year with a MTBF of 1.4 million hours. The drive comes with a five year warranty.
The drive will come in several variants depending on the storage interface. LaCie has already committed to using the new drives in its dual bay external storage products. Seagate has not released pricing on the new 6TB drive, but stated that it would price the drive at the same $/GB as last year's 4TB model. Expect the price to be around $650 MSRP before contract and bulk order deals.
It is a neat drive for sure, and I hope that the technology trickles down to the consumer space quickly, as 4TB has been the maximum single drive capacity for far too long!
For now, the drive will be used in the datacenter, production house, and security/surveillance markets (particularly in the datacenter market where rack space is at a premium).
Subject: General Tech | October 9, 2013 - 01:59 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: verizon, sm15000, seamicro, enterprise, cloud, amd
Verizon is launching its new public cloud later this year and offering both compute and storage to enterprise customers. The Verizon Cloud Compute and Cloud Storage products will be hosted on AMD SM15000 servers in a multi-rack cluster built by Verizon-owned Terremark.
The new cloud service is powered by AMD SM15000 servers with are 10U units with multiple microservers interconnected by SeaMicro's Freedom Fabric technology. Verizon is aiming the new cloud service at business users, from SMBs to fortune 500 companies. Specifically, Verizon is hoping to entice IT departments to offload internal company applications and services to the Verizon Cloud Compute and Cloud Storage offerings. Using the SeaMicro-built (now owned by AMD) servers, Verizon has a high density, efficient infrastructure that can allegedly provision and deploy virtual machines with fine tuned specifications and performance and reliability backed by enterprise-level SLAs while being compliant with PCI and DoD standards for data security.
Verizon will be launching Cloud Compute and Cloud Storage as a public beta in Q4 of this year. Further, the company will be taking on beta customers later this month.
The AMD SM15000 is a high performance, high density server, and is an interesting product for cloud services thanks to the networking interconnects and power efficient compute cards. Verizon and AMD have been working together for the better part of two years on the cloud platform using the servers which were first launched to the public a little more than a year ago.
The SM15000 is a 10U server that is actually made up of multiple compute cards. AMD and SeaMicro also pack the server with a low latency and high bandwidth networking fabric to connect the servers to each other, multiple power supplies, and the ability to connect to a shared pool of storage that each compute card can access. Each compute card uses a small, cut down motherboard, processor, ram, and networking IO. The processors can be AMD Opteron, Intel Xeon, or Intel Atom with the future possibility of an AMD APU-based server (which is the configuration option that I am most interested in). In this case, Verizon appears to be using AMD Opteron chips, which means each compute card has a single eight core AMD Opteron CPU clocked at up to 2.8GHz, 64GB of system memory, and a 10Gbps networking link.
In total, each SM15000 server is powered by 512 CPU cores, up to 4TB of RAM, ten 1,100W PSUs, and support for more than 5PB of shared storage. Considering Verizon is using multiple racks filled with SM15000 servers, there is a lot of hardware on offer to support a multitude of mission critical applications backed by SLAs (service level agreements, which are basically guarantees of uptime and/or performance).
I'm looking forward to seeing what sorts of things customers end up doing with the Verizon Cloud and how the SeaMicro-built servers hold up once the service is fully ramped up and utilized.
You can find more information on the SM15000 servers in my article on their initial debut. Also, the full press release on the Verizon Cloud is below.
Subject: General Tech | October 2, 2013 - 01:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: IBM, fusion-io, PCIe SSD, enterprise
IBM's F825, F1650, and F3200 Enterprise Value PCIe SSD cards will use Fusion-IO's architecture to provide their servers with a storage speed boost. Available for order as of the 22nd of this month you will be able to order these cards in sizes up to 3.2TB. One caveat mentioned at The Register is the terms of the warranty, it is only good for 1 year or the rated number of program/erase cycles, whichever comes first. High speed storage will be attractive to enterprise purchasers but having to replace the cards every year may cool their enthusiasm quite a bit.
"IBM's announcement is here, and says the Fusion-io cards are available for System x and BladeCenter servers. Users get from 825GB to 3.2TB of MLC flash per PCIe slot to accelerate apps in these servers, which no longer have to wait at the data access bus-stop for disk drive latency to send the heads to the right tracks."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Big data: You've got to spend a dollar ... to make fifty-two cents – report @ The Register
- Powerchip 30nm DRAM production hit by low yield rates @ DigiTimes
- Steam Controller: Open and Hackable? @ Hack a Day
Subject: General Tech | September 3, 2013 - 12:17 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows xp, windows, security, microsoft, legacy, enterprise, custom support
Windows XP seems to be the OS that simply will not die, and it seems that Microsoft has given in slightly on its plans to no longer support the aging operating system. For those customers willing to pay, Microsoft will continue patching Windows XP through its Custom Support program.
Custom Support is mainly aimed at large enterprise and industrial customers who, for legacy or other reasons, have yet to move on to newer OS versions from XP. The program will pick up from where Microsoft ends its public extended support for Windows XP (Service Pack 3) on April 8, 2014.
Businesses that elect to go the Custom Support route and stick with XP will pay approximately $200 per PC for the first year alone. The systems in the program will continue to receive patches for vulnerabilities rated as “Critical” with optional patches for “Important” security issues available for additional fees, according to Gregg Keizer writing for PCWorld. Security issues classed by Microsoft as being of low or moderate importance will not be patched at all.
Microsoft will reportedly be delivering these patches through a secure channel other than the standard Windows Update in an attempt to keep non-paying Windows XP users from getting their hands on the patches.
For now, it seems that Windows XP is still here to stay in a big way, at least in the enterprise space where it is likely cheaper to keep XP in circulation than to upgrade PCs, retrain employees, and re-code legacy applications. It will cost a pretty penny to keep the old OS up to date and (mostly) secure, however.
Subject: Storage | July 26, 2013 - 12:35 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: turbo sshd, sshd, Seagate, nand, enterprise
Earlier this week Seagate took the wraps off of its latest Solid State Hybrid Drive (SSHD). Dubbed the Enterprise Turbo SSHD, this latest model is aimed at the enterprise server market. The drives combine a traditional 10K SAS mechanical hard drive in capacities up to 600GB with up to 32GB of NAND flash.
The 2.5" Enterprise Turbo SSHDs are aimed at servers with big data analytics, virtual desktops, and transaction processing workloads. The NAND flash acts as a cache for the mechanical hard drive, and caching is done by the controller at an I/O level.
According to Seagate, the company has been working with IBM over the past year to put the new SSHD through its paces. As such, the hybrid drives will first be available in the IBM X and BladeCentral servers. The IBM versions will have 16GB of NAND flash and one year warranties according to the documentation available online.
Seagate further claims up to three times random performance increase versus 15K SAS mechanical hard drives. The 600GB 10K SSHD is rated to have up to two times better IOPS than a traditional 10K SAS hard drive without a NAND cache.
The Enterprise Turbo also comes with enterprise-friendly drive self encryption options. The Seagate product page notes that the Enterprise Turbo SSHD will have a five year warranty. Pricing and detailed benchmarks are not yet available though some preliminary performance results can be found here.
The full press release can be found here.
Subject: General Tech | July 3, 2013 - 01:18 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows server, technet, microsoft, IT, evaluation software, enterprise
In a surprising announcement, Microsoft stated that it will be retiring the TechNet software evaluation subscription service. The TechNet service gave IT professionals and enthusiasts the ability to evaluate its software products before committing to buying licenses and doing a full roll out on production machines. It also provided support and information labs to subscribers.
Fortunately, it is not being shut down immediately. Microsoft will cease offering new subscriptions on August 31, 2013.
Therefore, if you are interested in renewing an existing subscription or buying a new TechNet subscription, you have a little under two months to purchase one. Microsoft will stop selling subscriptions on August 31, 2013. If you are purchasing the subscription as a renewal to an existing one, you must buy the subscription before August 31, 2013 but do not need to activate it immediately. You will need to activate your purchased TechNet sub by September 30, 2013.
Further, TechNet subscribers will retain access to all of their traditional benefits until either the end of the subscription or September 30, 2014 (whichever comes first, depending on when you activate your subscription). After that point, users will lose access to the subscriber's portal which gives out downloads and keys.
It should be noted that the TechNet website itself is not going away, at least not for awhile. The paid benefits are being discontinued, however.
According to Microsoft, the company is discontinuing its services as a result of a combination of factors that includes a transition towards free evaluation software as opposed to putting evaluation copies behind a pay-wall. Microsoft also mentioned piracy and concerns with those subscribers abusing the system and selling keys (ie. on eBay), but that it was not the primary motivator in favor of shutting down TechNet.
Retiring TechNet is a bit surprising, but Microsoft has been moving in the direction of offering more free trials and evaluations in the past few years. Windows 7 and 8 enjoyed quite a few free testing software releases at various development stages. The company also offers up trials its Azure cloud computing platform and electronic/sample labs of its server software. TechNet did have the benefit of licenses that did not expire after 90 days (or thereabouts), as well as providing access to multiple copies of software, downloadable ISOs, and a catalog of all its software SKUs in a centralized place.
Considering MSDN and its various spark subscriptions are still alive and well, canceling TechNet seems like an odd choice, but at least Microsoft is giving IT departments and enthusiasts advanced warning and up to a year to prepare to transition to one of the other (unfortunately more expensive) subscription services or see if the company's free offerings are "good enough" by next year.
More information can be found on the official TechNet website.
What do you think about Microsoft's decision to axe paid TechNet subscriptions?