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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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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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