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Dell EMC updates the data centre

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New, enhanced products promise to enable flexibility, lower IT costs, and speed return on investment with Dell EMC PowerEdge 14th generation servers.

At Dell EMC World in Las Vegas this week – the first to combine the annual Dell World and EMC World events – the merged company unveiled new and enhanced software-defined storage (SDS) products that help customers modernise their data centres.

The company said it would allow organisations to lower IT costs, get quicker returns on their investments, and deliver new digital capabilities. The comprehensive software-defined storage portfolio will be further enhanced through support for Dell EMC PowerEdge 14th generation servers, “providing increased levels of performance and scalability across a wide spectrum of applications and workloads”.

The announcement featured updates to ScaleIO, ECS and IsilonSD Edge, along with the introduction of Project Nautilus and expansion of the Ready Node portfolio, to “allow customers to harness the power of Dell EMC as they move from traditional to modern data centers”.

These new software-defined storage capabilities provide a choice of deployment models. Software-defined storage makes the enterprise infrastructure programmable and, therefore, more automated and easier to scale and manage than traditional infrastructure.

Dell EMC provided the following information on portfolio enhancements :

Dell EMC ScaleIO.Next – The leading enterprise-grade software-defined block storage solution, ScaleIO will introduce new .Next features and enhancements.

  • Improved efficiencies by delivering inline compression, enhanced snapshots capabilities, granular thin provisioning and seamless volume migration.
  • Greater performance and reduced latency using the latest Dell EMC PowerEdge 14th generation servers with NVMe flash drives.
  • Simplified management for VMware with support for VMware Virtual Volumes.

Dell EMC ECS Updates – Multiple announcements related to Dell EMC’s scale-out object storage platform, which is designed to provide cloud-scale, global data access to traditional and next-gen apps.

  • ECS.Next, features enhanced enterprise data protection and management capabilities, as well as advanced analytics support. Additionally, ECS software is certified to run on Dell EMC PowerEdge 14th generation servers.
  • The ECS Dedicated Cloud Service enables customers to use ECS through a hybrid cloud model. As a dedicated, single tenant offering hosted in Virtustream datacenters, the ECS Dedicated Cloud Service combines private cloud control with the hands-off operations and agility of the public cloud.

Preview of Project Nautilus: Dell EMC previews a new software-defined solution for storing and analyzing high volumes of streaming IoT data. Project Nautilus enables businesses to make real-time decisions based on streaming device data from across the globe.  Designed to work seamlessly with ECS or Isilon as its resilient storage tier, Project Nautilus brings real-time data processing capabilities to Dell EMC’s unstructured storage platforms.

Dell EMC Ready Nodes portfolio enhancements

  • Dell EMC VMware vSAN Ready Nodes – Now validated for PowerEdge 14th generation servers, these vSAN building blocks are quick and easy to scale and are pre-configured with the required amount of CPU, memory, network, input/output (I/O) controllers and storage to help customers reduce deployment risks and lower costs of their vSAN environments.
  • Dell EMC ScaleIO Ready Nodes – Combines all the power of Dell EMC ScaleIO software with pre-configured Dell EMC PowerEdge servers to deliver performance, scale and flexibility. These easy-to-deploy building blocks will utilize the latest Dell EMC PowerEdge 14th generation servers, including NVMe Drives and NVDIMM options. Software feature updates include simplified management with auto-discovery, streamlined provisioning and storage node-only deployment mode.
  • New Dell EMC Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct Ready Nodes – Pre-configured Dell EMC PowerEdge servers provide the storage density and compute power to maximize the benefits of Storage Spaces Direct and the advanced feature sets in Windows Server 2016. Windows Server Software Defined (WSSD) solutions use Microsoft-validated designs and follow engineering best practices for seamless deployment and a steady-state operational experience. Dell EMC gets customers up and running without lengthy design and build time and offers a single point of contact for implementation and support services.

Dell EMC IsilonSD Edge enhancements – IsilonSD Edge can now be deployed on a single Dell EMC PowerEdge 14th generation server, bringing increased efficiency and a lower-cost entry point for smaller remote offices. The updates to the IsilonSD Edge platform also include support for VMware vSphere version 6.5, as well as deployment using virtual storage platforms like Dell EMC ScaleIO and VMware vSAN.

Jeff Boudreau, President, Storage, Dell EMC, said: “While software-defined everything is a critical piece of IT transformation, the reality is that we’re still early with regard to the ability of enterprises to consume software-only offerings. Offering software-defined storage offerings for on-premises and the cloud, in a variety of deployment models including ready nodes, allows us to meet customers where they are today and take them where they need to be as they transform their IT and their businesses.”

Availability:

  • ECS.Next and ScaleIO.Next have planned global availability in the second half of 2017.
  • ECS Dedicated Cloud Service and IsilonSD Edge have planned global available in the second quarter of 2017.
  • Dell EMC ScaleIO Ready Nodes and Dell EMC VMware vSAN Ready Nodes are available globally today and have planned availability on new Dell EMC PowerEdge 14th generation servers in mid-2017.
  • Dell EMC Microsoft Storage Spaces Direct Ready Nodes have planned global availability in June 2017 and planned global availability on new Dell EMC PowerEdge 14th generation servers in mid-2017.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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