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Dell ups the ante for Data Centre

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At Dell Technologies World in Las Vegas this week, the focus fell heavily on advances in data storage and digital transformation.

Dell Technologies this week launched several new Dell EMC storage and server products designed to power up the Modern Data Centre, addressing a wide range of traditional and emerging data centre workloads to help customers drive better business outcomes.

The products were launched at Dell Technologies World in Las Vegas, at a time when organisations race to capitalise on the benefits of emerging technologies ahead of their competitors. According to a recent ESG global survey commissioned by Dell EMC and Intel of 4,000 IT decision-makers, 81% agree if they do not embrace IT Transformation, their organisations no longer will be competitive in their markets.

“The Modern Data Centre is the proving ground for our customers to gain a digital advantage over their competition and achieve better business outcomes,” said Jeff Clarke, Dell vice chairman for products and operations. “Dell EMC is delivering the Modern Data Centre innovations that our customers require, with new solutions that are engineered using future-proof technology to take on the data centre challenges of today and to support the next big thing that our customers are imagining for tomorrow.”

Dell provided the following information on new products and services:

Dell EMC PowerMax

Dell EMC’s PowerMax, the future of enterprise-class storage, is architected with end-to- end NVMe and a built-in, real-time machine learning engine. Building on the legendary architecture and capabilities of Dell EMC’s flagship storage system, PowerMax is the world’s fastest storage array, delivering up to 10M IOPS and 50% better response times – 2x faster than the nearest competitor.

Architected with end-to-end NVMe to support NVMe-over-Fabrics and high-speed, low- latency Storage Class Memory (SCM), PowerMax is not only fast, smart and efficient, but also engineered to handle the world’s most demanding application workloads.

In addition, the PowerMax OS includes a machine learning engine, which makes autonomous storage a reality, leveraging predictive analytics and pattern recognition to maximize performance with no management overhead. Built-in machine learning is the only cost-effective way to leverage SCM. Dell EMC is also the only company that can provide this level of storage software intelligence – currently analyzing 425 billion data sets in real time across its high-end All-Flash customer base.

PowerMax also includes inline deduplication and enhanced compression providing up to 5:1 data reduction, while delivering industry-leading security, protection and resiliency. It achieves greater than “six nines” availability to help ensure zero downtime of business-critical applications.

Storage solutions are increasingly being consumed within converged infrastructure, namely the Dell EMC VxBlock System 1000. As the industry’s leading provider of converged infrastructure systems, Dell EMC offers expanded options for VxBlock 1000 customers who can benefit from fast, smart and efficient storage with new support for PowerMax with end-to-end NVMe and XtremIO X2 All-Flash arrays. This means that the VxBlock system breaks the physical boundaries of traditional CI and offers enterprises even greater simplicity and flexibility to help accelerate their IT and digital transformation efforts.

To speed implementation of PowerMax or VxBlock in their environment, customers can take advantage of Dell EMC ProDeploy Plus services for up to 66% faster deployment and up to 49% fewer technical support calls. Customers can also choose ProSupport Plus for consistent best-in-class support delivered across their environment and up to 75% faster service request response time.

Dell EMC XtremIO Replication

XtremIO X2 All-Flash arrays gain major updates with the new XIOS 6.1 operating system, including delivering the industry’s most efficient replication across a wide area network (WAN). X2 metadata-aware native replication is highly efficient and provides an added level of data protection for application workloads. XtremIO replication sends only unique data to the remote site to minimize bandwidth requirements by 75% or more, enabling potential network cost savings. XtremIO replication requires up to 38% less storage space15 at disaster recovery sites and operates with predictable performance to achieve recovery point objectives of 30 seconds.

Dell Technologies also introduced a new Dell EMC X2 entry model for customers, at up to 55% lower cost than the previous generation. Designed with XtremIO’s unique metadata-centric architecture with full data services including inline data reduction (in-memory space-efficient copies, deduplication and compression), XtremIO can also achieve over “five nines” availability, offering customers enterprise-grade capabilities that start at midrange prices.

Dell EMC PowerEdge MX

Dell EMC will preview PowerEdge MX, a new modular infrastructure solution for the modern data centre. Designed with Dell EMC’s kinetic infrastructure, PowerEdge MX will enable customers to flexibly configure and optimise their IT infrastructure for new and emerging workloads.

Available in the second half of 2018, PowerEdge MX will bring new levels of flexibility to IT, ideal for dense virtualisation, software-defined storage and networking, network functions virtualisation (NFV) and big data analytic environments.

Availability

Dell EMC’s Modern Data Centre solutions PowerMax and XtremIO X2 with native replication, as well as VxBlock System 1000 with XtremIO X2, are available now. VxBlock System 1000 with PowerMax support will launch mid-year. Dell EMC PowerEdge MX has planned global availability for the second half of 2018.

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AppDate: Prepare for space

In this week’s AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Space Nation Navigator, Hitman Sniper, Snake Mask, Memrise, WhatsApp Web, and Carrot Weather.

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Space Nation Navigator

Space Nation Navigator is a bit of a strange app. It is part game, part exercise and part educational. On the game side, users have to navigate the Mars Rover, put the International Space Station back into orbit or move their Martians to safety before a sand storm hits Mars. When it comes to exercise, Space Nation Navigator provides users with a range of exercises and Yoga videos to prepare them for space travel and working in an anti-gravity environment. The education aspect teaches users about the planets, and star constellations, and then offers quizzes on what has been taught.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Memrise

Memrise takes a new approach to help people learn new languages. Instead of providing a user with random phrases and words to memorise, the app connects you with a person already fluent in the language you want to learn. In turn, the person you are speaking to wants to learn the language in which you are fluent. Once your profile is filled out and languages selected, it connects you with people around the world who are interested in your language, and then allows you to chat with them in real-time. Memrise also lets one learn new languages through games, chatbots and grammarbots that help with spelling, tenses and pronunciations.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Hitman Sniper

Hitman Sniper is loosely based on the Agent 47 movie released a few years ago. The game offers players the ability to hone their shooting skills through a range of training courses and, once they think they are ready, they can start taking out the bad guys. Things start off easy enough, but they get more and more difficult as one progresses through the 150 missions on offer. One will also have to upgrade various gun components, like scopes, magazine capacities and silencers, to make the missions a little easier. Hitman Sniper lets users buy 16 to tackle each of the missions – either with real money or via the points accumulated by completing missions. Money and points can also be used to upgrade firearms.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: R7 – with a range of in-app purchases.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Snake Mask

The iconic Snake game that was preinstalled on most older Nokia phones has had a complete make-over. It now uses Facebook’s AR technology, meaning that you have to navigate the snake around obstacles in your home or office, all the while collecting coins and stars that change the snake’s speed and length. Unfortunately, Snake Mask is only available on Nokia’s new range of smartphones. However, it should not take long before it slithers onto other devices.

 

Platform: New Nokia smartphones running Android.

Cost: Free to use through the Facebook app installed on the device.

Stockists: Available through the Facebook app.

 

WhatsApp Web

Although this is by no means a new app, it is an extremely useful one, and one that not many people know about. Tapping out WhatsApps on your phone is easy enough, but thanks to WhatsApp Web it can be even easier. Open the WhatApp Web page under WhatsApp and you will see a QR code. Scan this code through WhatsApp on your mobile and you will be shown a replica of what you would normally see on your phone. You can then type and reply to messages using your computer instead of having to stop everything and unlock your phone every time a message comes through. WhatsApp Web is great if you share your computer with other people as it automatically disconnects when the browser is closed. However WhatsApp also offers an app that when installed will stay connected to your phone unless you manually remove it.

 

Platform: Any up-to-date Internet browser

Cost: Free to use and install

Stockists: Visit www.WhatsApp.com

 

Carrot Weather

There are thousands of weather apps on the Internet these days and all of them do the same thing – inform you of the weather in your area. However, Carrot Weather has taken what is just another app and turned it into something fun. By fun, I mean sarcastic, rude and completely politically incorrect. A user starts off by selecting religious and political views. It then asks about personality, ranging from friendly to homicidal to overkill – which includes profanity. So, for instance, instead of waking up to to the standard partly cloudy forecast, Carrot Weather will display something like: “It’s only partly sunny, the sun is a total effing failure.” It also has a range of insults that it throws at you whenever you open the app – some of them downright insulting, so it is definitely not for those who are easily offended. The app’s user interface is very simple, displaying a week’s daily forecast and hourly forecasts for the day selected.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: Free to download but with adverts. The premium, advert free version costs R12 per month.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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SA Start-up reinvents PABX

For any South African business, the idea of setting up or changing a telephonic switchboard system is the stuff of nightmares. Dealing with expensive hardware and hearing things like QSIG and VOIP is not what you’d call exciting.But now there is an app.

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Enter BuzzBox (www.buzzboxcloud.co.za), a web-based telephone switchboard that is aimed at small and medium sized businesses wanting to take the hassle and cost out of the company switchboard. Whether you are a small one-man operation or a larger organisation with staff working remotely, BuzzBox is the best switchboard solution.

What sets BuzzBox apart from anything else on the market is its easy-to-use dashboard. It puts you in control of everything from picking your phone number to setting up voice prompts and managing your business-hours schedule.

BuzzBox was developed when the startup behind it, Jini-Guru, needed such a service for its own use across multiple continents. “When we started Jini-Guru we could not find a seamless online process that would allow us to set up a full web-based switchboard, so we decided to build one for ourselves,” says Mike Smits, Director at Jini-Guru.

He says a lot of startups today are tech savvy and know how to use apps and the services that go with it. “It’s the uberisation of services and its driving demand for instant service activation.”

BuzzBox works as an app on both iOS and Android but users wanting a desk phone option can choose from a variety of devices on offer or use their existing VOIP phones.

Setting up a BuzzBox account takes 5 minutes. During registration your FICA documents are uploaded [ID and proof or residence] and you get to pick your phone number before the account is created. Companies that want to keep an existing number can do so too.

The real magic happens when you log on to the BuzzBox Dashboard. The main screen displays a summary of statistics for your account while the left-hand menu provides you quick access to various configuration settings and reports.

Setting up new extensions or external numbers is done with a few clicks and you can even set up various departments which is a great way to route a call to various people in a department, like sales or support.

The intuitive user interface also makes it easy to set up hold-music and voice prompts. You can add voice prompts by recording them straight to your phone, just make sure you use a clear voice with quiet surroundings for the best customer experience.

One of the main features of BuzzBox is its call recording feature that allows an organisation to record calls for legislative purposes, such as a lawyer, or for customer service purposes such as support. Recordings are stored securely online, and you have the ability to download recordings for playback. Companies can opt-in for this service and it’s free to use. Recordings are stored online and are fully encrypted so only you can listen to, or download them. Storage costs R1 for every 1000 minutes of stored recordings.

Other features include call forwarding and scheduling. The latter allows you to set office hours for your organisation which will divert calls to an after-hours messaging service. You also have the option to enable routing to an employee who is on call after hours.

BuzzBox also has a reseller program for companies wanting to offer this as a switchboard solution to their existing customers.

The costs for this service is R89 p/m for the first phone number which includes your first extension for free. Thereafter you’ll pay R89p/m per extension. Calls between extensions are free but you pay per second for all outgoing phone calls. More info on pricing can be found here: https://buzzboxcloud.co.za/pricing/

BuzzBox is offering a Launch promotion where they are offering the first line and extension free for 12 months. Only pay for calls. Use promo code “feoifyaa” during sign-up to apply your discount.

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