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EMC unveils Unity family, on mission to modernise

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At the EMC World conference in las Vegas this week, the global storage leader announced a new storage family designed to simplify and modernise the data centre.

At EMC World in Las Vegas this week, global storage leader EMC Corporation announced EMC Unity, a new family of storage systems that helps simplify and modernise the data center. Unity is the latest member of EMC’s all flash portfolio, delivering highly affordable file and block storage for small and medium-sized IT departments. Unity joins EMC’s portfolio of all-flash storage arrays – XtremIO, VMAX All Flash and DSSD D5. This, says the company, ensures that “no matter what a customer needs, EMC has a purpose-built solution to fit virtually any data center use case”.

EMC provided the following information:

EMC Unity offers cloud-like proactive management and monitoring through a modern HTML5 task-oriented interface that leads the user through daily operations and integrates with VMware and Microsoft ecosystems for easy third-party management. It features new Proactive Assist capabilities designed to give IT control, visibility and automated management of Unity storage systems. Unity service data can also be viewed within EMC MyService360, a new online service providing customers with real-time visibility into the health and wellness of their EMC environment. MyService360 provides IT with analysis of EMC product code levels, connectivity status, capacity alerts, service activity by site, and more.

Modern

With 3X the performance of EMC’s previous generation VNX arrays, EMC Unity can deliver up to 300K IOPS. EMC Unity is purpose-built to deliver value to customers with predictable all-flash performance and enterprise-class features including:

• True dual-active controller architecture

• Support for file, block and VVols

• Snapshots and remote sync/async replication

• Native, controller-based encryption

• New scalable file-system for transactional and traditional file use cases

• VMware VASA 2.0, VAAI, VVols, VMware-Aware Integration

• Complete REST-API for automation and DevOps use cases

• Integrated Copy Data Management with EMC iCDM

• Zero-impact garbage collection

Flexible

Since every business has its own unique storage challenges, Unity has been designed to offer greater flexibility and deployment options than competing data storage offerings.  With the ability to scale up to 3 Petabytes (PB) and up to 300K IOPS, EMC Unity is the industry’s first data storage solution for midsized IT to be available in all of the following unified configurations:

• Purpose-built: Unity is available as a purpose-built all-flash array, designed from the ground up for the flash data center. Additionally, Unity can be deployed in a hybrid configuration to meet individual business requirements

• Software-Defined: UnityVSA offers the advanced file and block storage and data management features of Unity to be easily deployed as a virtual appliance

• Converged: VCE Vblock and VxBlock System 350 configurations are orderable immediately

Affordable

Designed for all flash, Unity provides some of the best flash economics in the industry, starting under $18,000. Additional inline data services will be added in the future to further lower effective $/GB cost. Unity also introduces a new level of affordability for customers deploying hybrid arrays, with prices starting under $10,000. Unity provides incredible unified storage density, with up to 80TB of all-flash storage in a dense, 2U array.

Protected

EMC believes that data protection should be an integral part of the design and deployment of every data storage environment. Unity offers tight integration with EMC Data Domain® and EMC Data Protection Suite to ensure that workloads are seamlessly protected.

All-flash Unity options also qualify for EMC’s Xpect More program, offering lifetime maintenance price protection, flash endurance protection and three-year money-back warranty.

Availability

EMC Unity is available for purchase immediately. All-flash configurations start at under $18,000. Hybrid array configurations start at under $10,000.

“EMC Unity offers modern data center simplicity and all-flash performance in an affordable package,” says Jeff Boudreau, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Mid-Range Solutions, Core Technologies Division at EMC. “Designed specifically to get the most out of all-flash media, EMC is making it simpler and more affordable for both SMEs and enterprises to modernize their data centers. With the launch of Unity, 2016 is truly the year of all-flash for EMC.”

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Money talks and electronic gaming evolves

Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.

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The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.

The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games. 

It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.

MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.

“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”

New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.

“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”

Read on to see how esports is starting to make an impact in gaming.

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Blockchain unpacked

Blockchain is generally associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but these are just the tip of the iceberg, says ESET Southern Africa.

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This technology was originally conceived in 1991, when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta described their first work on a chain of cryptographically secured blocks, but only gained notoriety in 2008, when it became popular with the arrival of Bitcoin. It is currently gaining demand in other commercial applications and its annual growth is expected to reach 51% by 2022 in numerous markets, such as those of financial institutions and the Internet of Things (IoT), according to MarketWatch.

What is blockchain?

A blockchain is a unique, consensual record that is distributed over multiple network nodes. In the case of cryptocurrencies, think of it as the accounting ledger where each transaction is recorded.

A blockchain transaction is complex and can be difficult to understand if you delve into the inner details of how it works, but the basic idea is simple to follow.

Each block stores:

–           A number of valid records or transactions.
–           Information referring to that block.
–           A link to the previous block and next block through the hash of each block—a unique code that can be thought of as the block’s fingerprint.

Accordingly, each block has a specific and immovable place within the chain, since each block contains information from the hash of the previous block. The entire chain is stored in each network node that makes up the blockchain, so an exact copy of the chain is stored in all network participants.

As new records are created, they are first verified and validated by the network nodes and then added to a new block that is linked to the chain.

How is blockchain so secure?

Being a distributed technology in which each network node stores an exact copy of the chain, the availability of the information is guaranteed at all times. So if an attacker wanted to cause a denial-of-service attack, they would have to annul all network nodes since it only takes one node to be operative for the information to be available.

Besides that, since each record is consensual, and all nodes contain the same information, it is almost impossible to alter it, ensuring its integrity. If an attacker wanted to modify the information in a blockchain, they would have to modify the entire chain in at least 51% of the nodes.

In blockchain, data is distributed across all network nodes. With no central node, all participate equally, storing, and validating all information. It is a very powerful tool for transmitting and storing information in a reliable way; a decentralised model in which the information belongs to us, since we do not need a company to provide the service.

What else can blockchain be used for?

Essentially, blockchain can be used to store any type of information that must be kept intact and remain available in a secure, decentralised and cheaper way than through intermediaries. Moreover, since the information stored is encrypted, its confidentiality can be guaranteed, as only those who have the encryption key can access it.

Use of blockchain in healthcare

Health records could be consolidated and stored in blockchain, for instance. This would mean that the medical history of each patient would be safe and, at the same time, available to each doctor authorised, regardless of the health centre where the patient was treated. Even the pharmaceutical industry could use this technology to verify medicines and prevent counterfeiting.

Use of blockchain for documents

Blockchain would also be very useful for managing digital assets and documentation. Up to now, the problem with digital is that everything is easy to copy, but Blockchain allows you to record purchases, deeds, documents, or any other type of online asset without them being falsified.

Other blockchain uses

This technology could also revolutionise the Internet of Things  (IoT) market where the challenge lies in the millions of devices connected to the internet that must be managed by the supplier companies. In a few years’ time, the centralised model won’t be able to support so many devices, not to mention the fact that many of these are not secure enough. With blockchain, devices can communicate through the network directly, safely, and reliably with no need for intermediaries.

Blockchain allows you to verify, validate, track, and store all types of information, from digital certificates, democratic voting systems, logistics and messaging services, to intelligent contracts and, of course, money and financial transactions.

Without doubt, blockchain has turned the immutable and decentralized layer the internet has always dreamed about into a reality. This technology takes reliance out of the equation and replaces it with mathematical fact.

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