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How backups will evolve in 2019

Backup strategy will enter a new era in the coming year, writes SERVAAS VENTER of Dell EMC.

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If you asked clients a few years ago what concerned them most about data backups, the answer would probably have been about volumes. The amount of data they had to manage seemed insurmountable. I could see that for myself: in 1999 some of my enterprise customers were managing a terabyte of data. Today that is comfortably more than 20 petabytes – 20,000 terabytes. Yes, you read right – a thousand times more data for every year in the past two decades. How have companies not crumbled under this pressure?

For one, we live in a much more data-savvy world. I’ll give an example: when companies do backups today, at least through our systems, they use a process called deduplication. This ensures that only data that has changed is replaced instead of rewriting everything. Other examples include the improvements towards enterprise workload, virtual machine backups and recovery. There is also more distinction between types of data and, as such, backup strategies. Some data requires faster drives, other require lots of bandwidth. Understanding the difference has made company backups more efficient.

This is where we leave 2018: enterprises are more successful at backing up their data, solutions are easier to access thanks to virtualisation and the cloud, and the data tsunami is being tamed with intelligent backup services. These are all signs of a more digital-savvy world. We are finally reaping the rewards of digital transformation.

2019 is when we will start seeing backup strategies enter a new stage of maturity. Even though expanding data volumes are met with modern technology, those teams behind data management have not been growing. Today the pressure on backup teams is greater than ever. In one way we avoided the data tsunami washing us all away, but in other areas companies have been standing still. The promise of shifting operational pressure away from backups hasn’t yet materialised.

There are two major trends that I believe will become standard in 2019. The first is automation: companies are looking for more opportunities to increase backup efficiency while moving valuable operation resources to other technology projects. The second trend is addressing data where it resides. In the multi-cloud world, data lives in many different places and moves dynamically as needed. Businesses are embracing self-service features around workloads, applications and virtual machines. Backups are following suit.

Securing data archives in more automated and agile ways will help companies become more dynamic. Devops teams need to be able to grab data sets for their own work without disrupting the backup operations or violating the sanctity of data management. The data also needs to be kept safe from attacks – malware is increasingly targeting backup environments – and there is more demand for backup systems to have their own protection outside of other security measures in enterprises.

Today’s data backup and management market is significantly more mature, supported by proven new technologies. Even though companies are dealing with 20,000 times more data than at the start of this century, that is under control. It’s the smarter and better use of data that defines today’s digitally mature organisation. They want their data to be dynamic, flexible and with more native control – all while giving operational teams their time back. We’ll see backup control consolidate over multiple sources and become very automated. Very soon it won’t matter where your data is – it will be backed up as required and available to who needs it.

*Servaas Venter is Sales Director for Data Protection Solutions at Dell EMC SA.

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CES: Most useless gadgets

The worst gadgets of CES also deserve their moment of infamy, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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It’s fairly easy to choose the best new gadgets launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. Most lists – and there are many – highlight the LG roll-up TV, the Samsung modular TV, the Royole foldable phone, the impossible burger, and the walking car.

But what about the voice assisted bed, the smart baby dining table, the self-driving suitcase and the robot that does nothing? In their current renditions, they sum up what is not only bad about technology, but how technology for its own sake quickly leads us down the rabbit hole of waste and futility.

The following pick of the worst of CES may well be a thinly veneered attempt at mockery, but it is also intended as a caution against getting caught up in hype and justification of pointless technology.

1. DUX voice-assisted bed

The single most useless product launched at CES this year must surely be a bed with Alexa voice control built in. No, not to control the bed itself, but to manage the smart home features with which Alexa and other smart speakers are associated. Or that any smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant could handle. Swedish luxury bedmaker DUX thinks it’s a good idea to manage smart lights, TV, security and air conditioning through the bed itself. Just don’t say Alexa’s “wake word” in your sleep.

2. Smart Baby Dining Table 

Ironically, the runner-up comes from a brand that also makes smart beds: China’s 37 Degree Smart Home. Self-described as “the world’s first smart furniture brand that is transforming technology into furniture”, it outdid itself with a Smart Baby Dining Table. This isa baby feeding table with a removable dining chair that contains a weight detector and adjustable camera, to make children’s weight and temperature visible to parents via the brand’s app. Score one for hands-off parenting.

Click here to read about smart diapers, self-driving suitcases, laundry folders, and bad robot companions.

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CES: Language tech means no more “lost in translation”

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Talking to strangers in foreign countries just got a lot easier with recent advancements in translation technology. Last week, major companies and small startups alike showed the CES technology expo in Las Vegas how well their translation worked at live translation.

Most existing translation apps, like Bixby and Siri Translate, are still in their infancy with live speech translation, which brings about the need for dedicated solutions like these technologies:

Babel’s AIcorrect pocket translator

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The AIcorrect Translator, developed by Beijing-based Babel Technology, attracted attention as the linguistic king of the show. As an advanced application of AI technology in consumer technology, the pocket translator deals with problems in cross-linguistic communication. 

It supports real-time mutual translation in multiple situations between Chinese/English and 30 other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Russian and Spanish. A significant differentiator is that major languages like English being further divided into accents. The translation quality reaches as high as 96%.

It has a touch screen, where transcription and audio translation are shown at the same time. Lei Guan, CEO of Babel Technology, said: “As a Chinese pathfinder in the field of AI, we designed the device in hoping that hundreds of millions of people can have access to it and carry out cross-linguistic communication all barrier-free.” 

Click here to read about the Pilot, Travis, Pocketalk, Google and Zoi translators.

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