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Intel goes partly cloudy

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Intel has announced a range of new technologies, investments and industry collaborations aimed at making it easier to deploy scalable clouds so businesses can deliver new services faster and drive revenue growth.

Businesses want flexibility and choice in cloud deployment models to support innovation while maintaining control of their most strategic assets. Despite a willingness to invest in modern software-defined infrastructure (SDI), businesses find the prospect of doing so themselves to be complex and time-consuming.

Intel is easing the path with new processors, solid state drives and a range of industry collaborations to help businesses deliver new services at the scale and speed previously found only in the most advanced public clouds.

“Enterprises want to benefit from the efficiency and agility of cloud architecture and on their own terms – using the public cloud offerings, deploying their own private cloud, or both,” said Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Data Centre Group. “The result is pent-up demand for software-defined infrastructure. Intel is investing to mature SDI solutions and provide a faster path for businesses of all sizes to reap the benefits of the cloud.”

Key Ingredients for the Modern Cloud

SDI is the foundation for the most advanced clouds in the world. It makes the delivery of cloud services faster and more efficient by dynamically allocating the required compute, storage and network resources through intelligent software, carefully orchestrating the delivery of applications and services on-demand and across many users.

The Intel Xeon® processor E5-2600 v4 product family, built on 14nm process technology, provides the key ingredients for SDI including Intel Resource Director Technology, which enables customers to move to fully automated SDI-based clouds with greater visibility and control over critical shared resources like processor caches and main memory. The result is intelligent orchestration and improved utilisation and service levels.

The new product family delivers improved performance for cloud tasks with more than 20 percent more cores and cache than the prior generation, supports faster memory, and includes other integrated technologies for accelerating a wide range of server, network and storage workloads. Security enhancements like workload isolation, security policy enforcement and faster cryptography have been added to help protect data more effectively.

For fast and reliable data access to the cloud, Intel unveiled new solid state drives (SSDs) optimised for the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v4 family, enterprise storage and cloud deployments. The Intel SSD DC P3320 and P3520 Series are the first Intel SSDs to use the industry’s highest density 3D NAND technology to provide users with a highly efficient, dense storage solution. The DC P3320 offers up to a 5-times performance boost compared to SATA-based SSDs.

The new Intel SSD DC D3700 and D3600 Series are Intel’s first dual-port PCI Express SSDs using the Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) protocol. The dual-port design provides critical redundancy and failover, safeguarding against data loss in mission-critical storage deployments. Customer systems using the D3700 can see up to a 6-times increase in performance over today’s dual-port SAS solutions.

Unleashing Tens of Thousands of New Clouds

As part of the Intel Cloud for All initiative, Intel is investing in others in the industry to accelerate SDI-enabled clouds, optimising key technologies, and aligning the industry to drive the development of standards and easy-to-deploy cloud solutions.

·         Intel is collaborating with CoreOS and Mirantis to bring together two of the most popular open source technologies to orchestrate container and virtual machine-based applications. The merging of these two technologies into a single solution will simplify choices for cloud operators to accelerate the adoption of cloud solutions.

·         Intel and VMware announced a network of Centres of Excellence aimed at accelerating cloud deployments. The centres will drive custom optimisations, facilitate proof-of-concept testing and integrate cybersecurity best practices in collaboration with The National Institute of Standards and Technology.

·         Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and Intel announced the world’s largest cloud application testing cluster for applications “born in the cloud.” The cluster will include more than 1,000 Intel Xeon processor-based server nodes designed to provide developers with the opportunity to test applications at larger scales and deliver the efficiency and portability of cloud native applications to businesses.

·         Intel is expanding its Cloud Builders programme to include SDI use cases and accelerate ecosystem optimisation efforts that allow customers to take full advantage of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) orchestration and automation. The new Storage Builders programme also aims to accelerate the industry’s use of cloud-ready, next-generation storage solutions by fostering greater innovation by matchmaking between in the cloud ecosystem. Intel currently has more than 300 member companies across its cloud, storage and network “builders” programmes.

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Get your passwords in shape

New Year’s resolutions should extend to getting password protection sorted out, writes Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO at ESET Southern Africa.

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Many of us have entered the new year with a boat load of New Year’s resolutions.  Doing more exercise, fixing unhealthy eating habits and saving more money are all highly respectable goals, but could it be that they don’t go far enough in an era with countless apps and sites that scream for letting them help you reach your personal goals.

Now, you may want to add a few weightier and yet effortless habits on top of those well-worn choices. Here are a handful of tips for ‘exercises’ that will go good for your cyber-fitness.

I won’t pass up on stubborn passwords

Passwords have a bad rap, and deservedly so: they suffer from weaknesses, both in terms of security and convenience, that make them a less-than-ideal method of authentication.  However, much of what the internet offers is independent on your singing up for this or that online service, and the available form of authentication almost universally happens to the username/password combination.

As the keys that open online accounts (not to speak of many devices), passwords are often rightly thought of as the first – alas, often only – line of defence that protects your virtual and real assets from intruders. However, passwords don’t offer much in the way of protection unless, in the first place, they’re strong and unique to each device and account.

But what constitutes a strong password?  A passphrase! Done right, typical passphrases are generally both more secure and more user-friendly than typical passwords. The longer the passphrase and the more words it packs the better, with seven words providing for a solid start. With each extra character (not to mention words), the number of possible combinations rises exponentially, which makes simple brute-force password-cracking attacks far less likely to succeed, if not well-nigh impossible (assuming, of course, that the service in question does not impose limitations on password input length – something that is, sadly, far too common).

Click here to read about making secure passwords by not using dictionary words, using two-factor authentication, and how biometrics are coming to web browsers.

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Code Week prepares 2.3m young Africans for future

By SUNIL GENESS, Director Government Relations & CSR, Global Digital Government, at SAP Africa.

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On January 6th, 2019, news broke of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plans to announce a new approach to education in his second State of the Nation address, including:

  • A universal roll-out of tablets for all pupils in the country’s 23 700 primary and secondary schools
  • Computer coding and robotics classes for the foundation-phase pupils from grade 1-3 and the
  • Digitisation of the entire curriculum, , including textbooks, workbooks and all teacher support material.

With this, the President has shown South Africa’s response to a global challenge: equipping our youth with the skills they’ll need to survive and thrive in the 21st century digital economy.

Africa’s working-age population will increase to 600 million in 2030 from a base of 370 million in 2010.

In South Africa, unemployment stands at 26.7 percent, but is much more pronounced among youths: 52.2 percent of the country’s 15-24-year-olds are looking for work.

As an organisation deeply invested in South Africa and its future, SAP has developed and implemented a range of initiatives aimed at fostering digital skills development among the country’s youth, including:

AFRICA CODE WEEK

Since its launch in 2015, Africa Code Week has introduced more than 4 million African youth to basic coding.

In 2018, more than 2.3 million youth across 37 countries took part in Africa Code Week.

The digital skills development initiative’s focus on building local capacity for sustainable learning resulted in close to 23 000 teachers being trained in the run-up to the October 2018 events.

Vital to the success of Africa Code Week is the close support it receives from a broad spectrum of public and private sector institutions, including UNESCO YouthMobile, Google, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Cape Town Science Centre, the Camden Education Trust, 28 African governments, over 130 implementing partners and 120 ambassadors across the continent.

SAP’s efforts to drive digital skills development on the African continent forms part of a broader organisational commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 4 (“Ensure quality and inclusive education for all”)

A core component of Africa Code Week is to encourage female participation in STEM-related skills development activities: in 2018, more than 46% of all Africa Code Week participants were female.

According to Africa Code Week Global Coordinator Sunil Geness, female representation in STEM-related fields among African businesses currently stands at 30%, “requiring powerful public-private partnerships to start turning the tide and creating more equitable opportunities for African youth to contribute to the continent’s economic development and success”.

Click here to read more about the Skills for Africa graduate training programme, and about the LEGO League.

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