Apple's been pimping its Xserver enterprise equipment for more than 9 years, and for the past 2 years, the platform's been running on Intel hardware. Not anymore. As of Tuesday, Apple officially retired its server line, a decision that has been met with mixed reactions.
"I understand the decision. The truth is, I don't think Apple ever sold a lot of Xservers," said John Welch of The Zimmerman Agency. "I don't have to like it. I don't have to agree with it. I understand it. I just think it sucks."
His reaction isn't necessarily indicative of the majority. Citing a survey of 1,200 Xserve IT professionals, The Register says Apple's move has been met with a resounding 'meh' by mainstream users. "People are going to keep their Xserves for a long time," Reid Lewis, president of the Enterprise Desktop Alliance told The Register.
Hitachi didn't win the race to 3TB, but it did blaze a new trail by introducing its new 3TB Ultrastar 7K3000 hard drive. What makes this drive unique is that it's the first enterprise-class, 3.5-inch HDD to offer this much capacity. In addition, it's the only 7,200 RPM drive this side of the Milky Way to come rated at 2 million MTBF.
"From early-stage research to design and development to component selection and manufacturing, we have multi-layer processes in place to ensure that our customers receive the highest quality products throughout the entire life of the hard drive program," said Brendan Collins, vice president of product marketing at Hitachi GST. "Raising our MTBF to 2 million hours on our Ultrastar 7K3000 family reinforces this quality commitment. Our new Ultrastar drives will continue to play an important and growing role in data centers that require 24x7 availability for cloud storage, massive scale out (MSO) data farms, data warehousing, disk-to-disk backup, RAID arrays, and more."
For those who plan to build a data farm around these drives, Hitachi says it kept TCO to a minimum. The 7K3000 purportedly offers a 32 percent reduction in watts-per-gigabyte compared to previous generation Ultrastar A7K2000 drives.
The Ultrastar 7K3000 family (3TB and 2TB capacities) is now shipping with a 6Gb/s SATA interface. Hitachi will roll out a 6Gb/s SAS variant in mid-2011.
Enterprise big wigs have a new solid state drive (SSD) series to choose from, Toshiba's new MKx001GRZB family. Toshiba's latest SSDs come built on a 32nm manufacturing process and sport enterprise grade single-level cell (eSLC) NAND flash memory, whereas most desktop SSDs use multi-level cell (MLC) chips.
The new drives also boast a 6Gb/s Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) interface, up to 510MB/s sustained reads, up to 230MB/s writes, and random sustained read and write IOPS of 90,000 and 17,000, respectively.
Toshiba's shipping its new SSD family in 100GB, 200GB, and 400GB capacities, each of which the company says is designed for ease of integration into new or existing tier-0 enterprise storage systems and designs, including servers, direct-attached storage, and network-attached storage.
Hey, they can't all be GeForce GTX 580 caliber cards and dual-GPU Cayman killers (which we're still waiting on), and sometimes you have to cater to the professional crowd as well. That's what Nvidia is doing with the launch of its NVS 300 graphics card, a GPU specifically designed for the enterprise with 25 percent more efficient power utilization when compared to the NVS 295, Nvidia claims.
"The NVS is built for demanding enterprises that require high reliability, improved manageability, and tremendous value," said Jeff Brown, general manager, Professional Solutions Group, Nvidia. "The ability to support legacy and current display types provides an upgrade path without disrupting existing, complex installations."
Nvidia is touting versatile connectivity with the NVS 300. The low-profile card supports single and multi-display setups via the nView Desktop Management software and the built-in Mosaic technology, which allows for taskbar spanning and transparent scaling of any app across up to eight displays.
ARM Holdings’ server ambitions have become more pronounced lately. The company recently announced the server-friendly Cortex A15 processor, which it claims is the “highest-performance licensable processor the industry has ever seen.” Now there are murmurs of the company getting ready to hurl 64-bit processor cores at the server market. According to a report, the British chip designer could announce its first 64-bit processor in the next few weeks, and possibly as early as next week. But the company isn’t willing to comment on its future plans.
ARM CEO Warren East recently told the New York Times that the British chip designer will never be a “$100 billion outfit” like Intel. That humility is no pretense when one takes into account the vast gulf between the two. Moreover, ARM’s business model of licensing chip designs to others is unlikely to help it bridge that gap. The few cents it earns as royalty on every chip based on its design gives it an air of largesse of the kind associated with nonprofits. That said, the threat to Intel rises each time an ARM-based chip makes it into a new device or market.
First there was suspense over the status of HP’s Slate 500 Windows 7 tablet, with many fearing that the device might never see the light of day owing to the PC vendor’s acquisition of Palm, now that it is actually available for order from HP’s website there is confusion on when the company will begin shipping the device. While there are reports of pre-orderers being notified about a delay of 10-15 business days in shipment of their orders, the order status page seems to indicate a much smaller delay. The slate was originally expected to arrive on November 12.
“Due to high demand on the portable system you have selected we will not be able to fulfill the order from on hand stock, therefore we have routed your order to manufacturing for your product to be built. The average lead time to get these portables ready to ship may vary from 10 to 15 business days,” reads an email the company sent to one of the pre-orderers.
This has fueled a lot of speculation, with different blogs positing different theories to explain the delay. GottaBeMobile is blaming the delay on an unexpected bug that requires a full reboot, whereas SlashGear feels HP “may have hedged their bets with Slate 500 stock and planned to manufacture on-demand rather than face a mountain of unsold units.”
A week after it introduced a 96GB model of its enterprise-oriented V+ 100 SSD, Kingston has announced another addition to the SSDNow V Series. Available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB capacities, the SSDNow v100 is targeted at both consumers and small businesses looking for an affordable “upgrade path for desktops and notebooks, short of a total system replacement.”
As you'd expect, the new SSDNow v100 drives feature Windows 7 TRIM support. A major difference between the enterprise-centric V+100 drives and the V100 series is the former's support for “always on” garbage collection across both TRIM and non-TRIM supported operating systems. But as Kingston clearly places a premium on that OS-independent garbage collection feature, the V100 is much more affordable. In fact, at $489.99 (stand-alone unit), the 256GB V100 is by far Kingston's most affordable 256GB SSD till date. The drive is capable of sequential read and write speeds of up to 250MB/sec and 230MB/sec, respectively.
“The SSDNow V100 drives ship as either a stand-alone unit or as an upgrade bundle kit. The desktop bundle kit includes the SSD, cloning software, cables (SATA data and power), and 3.5″ hard-drive mounting brackets and hardware. The notebook bundle includes the SSD, cloning software and a 2.5″ external enclosure allowing the replaced hard drive to be used as extra storage” Kingston said in a release.
Kingston today introduced the SSDNow V+100 solid-state drive, which features an “always on” garbage collection function, allowing it to be “optimized in both TRIM and Non-TRIM supported operating systems.” With the new SSDNow V+100 series, which is 25 percent faster than the previous generation, Kingston is trying to lure those enterprises that are still on older legacy OS' such as Windows Vista and XP that do not support TRIM.
The company has even added a 96GB option to its SSD range for the first time owing to consumer demand for “an SSD solution that ideally sits both price- and capacity-wise between the 64GB and 128GB drives.” Also available in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities, the drive boasts up to 230MB/s sequential read and 180MB/s sequential write speeds.
The prices are $ 220.00, $ 274.00, $ 390.00, $ 885.00, and $ 1,885.00 for the 64GB, 96GB, 128GB, 256GB and 512GB stand-alone drives, respectively.
In the long run, Microsoft didn't do itself any favors by releasing Internet Explorer 6 as a non-standard browser. Now all those companies who were forced to develop apps specific to the nine-year-old browser are struggling to migrate to Windows 7, according to market research firm Gartner.
Even worse for these companies is that Microsoft doesn't seem all that interested in fixing a problem it created, instead hoping to sweep IE6 under the rug.
"Microsoft would rather put the non-standard browser technology behind it," said Michael Silver, an analyst with Gartner. "Microsoft needs to explore all avenues that could ease the transitions away from IE6."
Here's the problem. Businesses still clinging to IE6 told Gartner that 40 percent of their browser-depending apps don't work with IE8, which comes baked into Windows 7. Fixing these apps to run in IE8 takes a sizable investment, both in time and money, and temporary workarounds all carry downsides. Probably the most promising is to use application virtualization tools, but as far as Microsoft is concerned, that's a violation of licensing agreements.
"It's ironic that Microsoft would oppose methods that would help organizations accelerate the move to Windows 7," Silver said. "Microsoft must do more to help organizations with their IE6 problems that Microsoft helped create."
When Hewlett-Packard bought Palm earlier this year, it looked like the final nail in the coffin of the Windows 7 tablet it had trotted out in January. The company was now on the horns of a dilemma, torn between WebOS and Windows 7. The world’s leading PC maker eventually chose to accommodate the Windows 7-based Slate 500 in its WebOS-dominated tablet plans, albeit only as a business-oriented product.
The back-from-the-dead Slate 500 is now available for preorder. The 8.9-inch device features a 1.86GHz Intel Atom Z540 processor, a 64GB SSD, 2GB of RAM, a 3MP camera on the back, one front-facing VGA camera, and a Broadcom graphics accelerator. The Slate 500 sports a $799 price tag.