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Oracle expands to all-flash

Oracle has expanded its flash storage portfolio with the announcement of an all-flash model of its Oracle FS1 Flash Storage System.

The new system delivers capacity scaling and flash provisioning and is designed to handle concurrent mixed workloads, such as OLTP and high-speed data backup, in enterprise SAN environments as well as in private or public clouds.

It delivers up to 64 all-flash domains for highly-secure data isolation in multitenant cloud environments, I/O prioritization based on business value, scales to nearly 1 PB of raw flash capacity, and goes from pallet to power-on in less than 30 minutes.

All Flash FS1 demonstrates better I/O performance and low latency with minimal falloff. Tests performed for customers show sub-one millisecond latency when running simultaneous workloads across small to large block sizes with up to 8x faster IOPS and 9.7x faster write throughput than EMC XtremIO. As a result, All Flash FS1 can reduce Oracle Database I/O wait times and effectively give customers back time for projects that can help drive a company’s top-line growth and bottom-line savings.

Oracle All Flash FS1 is the only all-flash storage system co-engineered with Oracle Database and Applications and delivers business benefits to customers when deployed with Oracle software, from data compression to one-click application provisioning. All Flash FS1 is able to take advantage of Oracle Hybrid Columnar Compression, available only to Oracle Storage. Hybrid Columnar Compression typically delivers a 10:1 compression ratio, nearly twice the data reduction usually obtained with deduplication techniques, reducing storage capacity requirements and accelerating Oracle Database queries. While encrypted Oracle Database data can’t be deduplicated, it can be compressed with Hybrid Columnar Compression, providing significantly higher levels of security to customers and maintaining Oracle Database best practices.

All Flash FS1 also features Flash Profiles, which provide pre-tuned and optimized provisioning profiles for Oracle Database and enterprise applications to simplify and accelerate flash storage provisioning and application deployment.

“High latency has impacted customers on shared storage platforms for years, slowing down OLTP response times and preventing mixed workloads from running at full speed. Customers are looking to flash to address these issues,” said Mike Workman, senior vice president, Flash Storage Systems, Oracle. “Oracle All Flash FS1 dramatically reduces I/O wait times typically seen in today’s highly virtualized, transaction-driven enterprises where low latency is critical to response time. This superior performance combined with unique features, such as Flash Domains and Flash Profiles, make the All Flash FS1 the platform for customers who want to significantly accelerate their applications in SAN and secure cloud environments.”

“Oracle practitioners in our community expect the highest levels of data integrity and security coupled with predictable performance,” said David Vellante, chief research officer, Wikibon. “Products such as the All Flash FS1 are riding the flash price/performance curve and promise to deliver dramatically lower latency and consistent response times at an affordable price. This can significantly reduce the effort required to deliver what are often among the most stringent service level requirements in IT.”

“With their introduction of the Oracle All Flash FS1, which was engineered from the ground up to maximize Oracle Database performance and scale, Oracle enters the ranks of what IDC defines as the ‘true All Flash Array (AFA) vendors’,” said Eric Burgener, research director, Storage, IDC.  “AFAs feature unique designs that are specifically optimized for flash media, delivering more consistent performance across their entire throughput range than Hybrid Flash Arrays, and making them the storage platform of choice for application environments that demand the highest levels of performance.”

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Mobile is the new branch

Standard Bank has launched an account for mobile devices that gives back 500MB of data a month

Standard Bank has introducd a R4.95p/m bank account called MyMo that customers can open on their mobile devices, loaded with data and airtime offerings and other benefits such as virtual and Gold physical card.

MyMo account holders will also enjoy the convenience of a cheque account through a Visa and Mastercard gold card. Once the account is open, users can choose to either receive R50 in airtime or 500MB of data a month, if their card is swiped more than four times a month. A further megabyte of data is loaded on the account for every R20 spent.

“MyMo is an account for everyone, whether you just landed your first job or have been around the block. With no documentation required it only takes a few minutes to open the account,” says Funeka Montjane, Chief Executive for Personal and Business Banking, South Africa, at Standard Bank Group. “For just R4.95 a month customer will be able to enjoy free swipes and ATM withdrawals at only R6.50 for amounts under R 1 000.

“Mobile is the new branch. This account is about bringing the mobile branch into customers hands, it is about convenience and security while banking.”

She says mobile offers low cost transactional banking which integrates people and businesses into the new connected economy, making mobile the new branch ecosystem that will drive and connect Africa’s growth. Physical connections to the economy are rapidly changing to digital where banks have to move from being financial institutions to service organisations.

“In the past people congregated in communities and eventually cities to maximise the advantages of connectivity. Today a simple hand-held device has the potential to open infinite doors, transforming individuals’ access to opportunities, regardless of where they are, and like never before in history. 

“Historically, a bank account represented access to economic citizenship. Today, having a simple device enabling digital access to a modern banking platform is a passport to global connectivity and vast human development potential.”

The bank says it is using technology, and mobile phones in particular, to deliver low-cost transactional channels accessible to all our customers. The evolution in mobile can be seen in transaction options like cash back at the retail checkout till rather than the ATM, free digital banking rather than using a branch, and the ability to transact using digital wallets, even without a bank account.

“Developing comprehensive connected ecosystems requires a mind-set change from Africa’s banks,” says Montjane. “Banks will evolve away from traditional financial service organisations, into service ecosystems enabling broad universal access to almost everything like enhanced purchasing experiences of vehicles and homes, online procurement of goods and services and lifestyle elements like rewards and travel. 

“These connectivity drivers will also act to future-proof evolving connectivity ecosystem by allowing us to offer untold future services while deriving income from as yet unrealised revenue streams,.   

From a customer perspective, the kind of ecosystems of knowledge, access and, ultimately, connectivity that banks will come to provide will radically transform the share of life that almost all individuals will be able to access.”

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Two-thirds of SA staff hide social media from bosses

With 90% of people in employment going online several times a day, it can be hard for most workers to keep their private and work-life separate during the working day (and beyond). The recently published Global Privacy Report from Kaspersky Lab reveals that 64% of South African consumers choose to hide social media activity from their boss. This secretive stance at work also extends to their colleagues, with 60% of South Africans also preferring not to reveal online activities to their co-workers.

Globally, the average employee spends an astonishing 13 years and two months at work during their lifetime. Interestingly though, not all this time is directly related to solving work tasks or earning a promotion: almost two thirds (64%) of consumers admit visiting non-work-related websites every day from their desk.

Not surprisingly, 35% of South African employees are against their employer knowing which websites they visit. However, more interestingly, 60% of South African are even against their colleagues knowing about their online activities. This probably means that colleagues constitute an even greater threat to future perspectives of an office slouch or maybe the relationships with colleagues are more informal and therefore, more valuable.

On the contrary, social media activity appears to be a less private domain for many and therefore, more suitable for sharing with colleagues but not the boss. This is probably because workers fear harming the public image of a company or interest in decreased staff productivity motivates companies to monitor employees’ social networks and make career changing decisions based on that. Such policies have led to 64% of South Africans saying that they don’t want to reveal their social media activities to their boss and 53% even don’t want to disclose this information to their colleagues.

A further 29% are against showing the content of their messages and emails to their employer. In addition, 3% even said that their career was irrevocably damaged as a consequence of their personal information being leaked. Thus, people are worried about how to build a favourable internal reputation and how not to destroy existing workplace relationships.

“As going online is an integral part of our life nowadays, lines continue to blur between our digital existence at work and at home. And that’s neither good nor bad. That’s how we live in the digital age. Just keep remembering that as an employee you need to be increasingly cautious of what exactly you post on social media feeds or what websites you prefer using at work. One misconceived action on the internet could have an irrevocable long-term impact on even the most ambitious worker’s ability to climb the career ladder of their choice in the future,” comments Marina Titova, Head of Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky Lab.

To ensure workers don’t fall prey of the internet threats at a work, there are some core guidelines to adhere to in the digital age:

  • Don’t post anything that could be considered defamatory, obscene, proprietary or libellous. If in doubt, don’t post.
  • Be aware that system administrators may at least, in theory, be informed about your web browsing patterns.
  • Don’t harass, threaten, discriminate or disparage against any colleague, partner, competitor or customer. Neither on social networks or in messages, emails, nor by any other means.
  • Don’t post photographs of other employees, customers, vendors, suppliers or company products without prior written permission.
  • Start using Kaspersky Password Manager to ensure your social media and other personal accounts are not at risk of unauthorised access by someone else in an office. Install a reliable security solution such as Kaspersky Security Cloud to protect your personal devices.

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