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A new breed of storage

You’ve probably heard the one about 90% of the world’s data having been generated in the last two years alone. But the detail behind this data explosion is bordering on unbelievable, writes JIM HOLLAND, Country Head at Lenovo Data Centre Group (DCG) South Africa.

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It’s midday in South Africa at the time of writing and 3 billion Google Searches have already been completed worldwide, at a rate of 69,949 searches per second. And in the time it took me to write the previous sentence, 2 million more searches had already been amassed.

Furthermore, every minute sees 16 million text messages sent, 176,220 Skype calls occurring and, more worryingly, 103.4 million spam emails hitting inboxes. While the rise of always-on entertainment and social media is seeing 2.1 million Snaps, 4.3 million YouTube video views, 473,400 tweets, 750,000 Spotify song streams and 1,111 Amazon packages shipped every minute.

This growth in data is intriguing and the numbers are fascinating, but it’s also creating major problems for businesses. They require innovative ways to manage the explosion and transformation of data as traditional storage no longer meets their needs.

However, this data explosion is taking place while their IT budgets tighten and IT teams are stretched covering new responsibilities. They somehow have to perform the Herculean task of storing, managing and gaining value from their data, while also guaranteeing uptime and scalability, keeping costs down and meeting demand for innovation.

These factors, combined with a wider business drive to achieve digital transformation goals, demand a modern approach to data storage. One that moves businesses away from the burdens of legacy technology yet can easily be integrated into existing systems, embrace emerging technologies and reduce costs.

Superior storage solutions

To overcome their data storage challenges, organisations will need technology that simplifies the deployment and management of data, future-proofs their infrastructure, and provides agility and speed around enterprise applications.

The key is flexibility, particularly having the choice to unify data management across on-premise or in the cloud, add capacity seamlessly across environments as they grow, and merge all-flash and hybrid flash storage nodes into a larger storage cluster and connect them to the cloud.

Not only does this ensure core IT requirements are met, at the same time organisations can keep pace with evolving models and applications that employees demand access to. For example, businesses can now have Oracle, SAP, Microsoft SQL Server, virtual desktop infrastructure and VMware workloads up and running in less than 10 minutes, transforming previously complex, laborious jobs into simple tasks.

An opportunity for the channel

The data deluge offers a real opportunity to channel vendors. They can help businesses meet the storage demands of the data-intensive digital age by stocking highly flexible and efficient storage solutions.

There’s now a broad range of industry-leading storage products available to businesses, ranging from the most basic block disc through to high-level software-defined offerings. Savvy channel players will see this as an additional revenue stream, a chance to leverage skills they already have and an opportunity to move into a new space.

The challenge is now for channel firms to hold best-in-class inventory and push the product into the classic SMB market where speed and velocity are just as vital as quality.

Our recently announced partnership with NetApp, for example, aims to address the major changes taking place across the storage market and solve businesses’ biggest data centre challenges. The partnership brings ONTAP enterprise data management software on top of Lenovo’s storage platform, hardware and disks through our ThinkSystem DM series.

This provides an exciting new opportunity for channel vendors to have an end-to-end Lenovo solution, from networking to computing to storage. They’ll now be able to play a central role in not only selling products but also the design and support of rapidly taking products to market.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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SAFTA awards get first streaming video nominees

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The 2019 nominations for The South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) were announced late last week, and for the first time in the 13-year history of the awards, a TV series produced for a video-on-demand service was in contention. The result was a surprise boost to streaming service Showmax.

The comedy series Tali’s Wedding Diary, which premiered in December 2017, represented a major step for the then two-year old streaming service. It was the debut Showmax Original, the first time Showmax ventured into producing its own content. The gamble paid off, with the show becoming the most watched of any series on its first day on Showmax, and now Tali’s Wedding Diary has been further recognised with seven SAFTA nominations, making it this year’s most nominated comedy.

“When we first floated the idea of Tali’s Wedding Diary, we joked about winning awards,” says Candice Fangueiro, Showmax’s head of content. “At that point, just getting our first Showmax Original off the ground was already a major challenge and it was more than we could hope for to actually hit it out of the park. I was stunned when I heard the news about the nominations – it’s amazing to be considered in the same company as these other shows and thanks to this we’re already seeing a fresh spike in Tali views.”

Tali’s Wedding Diary was also a first for co-creator and star Julia Anastasopoulos, who until then was best known as YouTube star SuzelleDIY. “I am so thrilled about the SAFTA nominations for Tali’s Wedding Diary,” says Julia, who is up for Best Actress – TV Comedy and Best Achievement in Scriptwriting – TV Comedy, along with her husband Ari Kruger and Daniel Zimbler. 

“It was such a big and daunting step to create a full TV comedy series and intro a brand-new character. I really didn’t know how it would be received and am so happy to have received such positive feedback for the show and the Tali Babes character, along with the nominations. It feels so good to be recognised for something we poured our hearts into. None of it would have been possible, of course, without the incredible hard work and vision of my husband Ari and the incredible team, cast and crew that were part of the show. And a huge thank you to Showmax of course for making it all possible. Congratulations and best of luck to the entire team and to all the other nominees.”

Tali’s Wedding Diary is a mockumentary that follows Tali, a self-obsessed Joburg princess who’s moved to Cape Town and is planning her wedding to property-agent fiancé Darren (Anton Taylor). The series was inspired by Julia’s own wedding to Ari, her SuzelleDIY and Tali’s Wedding Diary co-creator, who is also up for Best Achievement In Directing – TV Comedy.  

In addition to Julia and Ari’s nominations, Tali’s Wedding Diary is up for Best TV Comedy, Art Direction (Keren Setton),  Cinematography (James Adey), and Editing (Richard Starkey). Winners will be announced on 2 March 2019 at Sun City Superbowl.

Following the success of Tali’s Wedding Diary, the second Showmax Original, The Girl From St Agnes, was released earlier this month. A third Showmax Original, Trippin With Skhumba, is slated for release at the end of February.

“With three Showmax Originals now under our belt and more on the way, we’d like to think this is the start of many more SAFTA nominations for shows from a streaming service,” concludes Candice.

South African content currently on Showmax has 110 nominations and includes the most nominated movie (Five Fingers With Marseilles), telenovela (The River), drama (Lockdown) and soap (Isibaya), with more SAFTA nominees scheduled for the coming months.

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