storage en Kingston Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Business Users, Announces 960GB Enterprise SSD <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/kingston_kc310.jpg" alt="Kingston KC310" title="Kingston KC310" width="228" height="159" style="float: right;" />Getting down to business</h3> <p><strong>Kingston this week announced its largest business-class solid state drive to date, the 960GB KC310</strong>. Billed as a true hard drive replacement, the capacious KC310 is powered by a Phison S10 quad-core, eight-channel controller and features a SATA 6Gbps interface. It also comes with firmware-based power loss protection to help maintain data integrity, one of several traits that make it suitable for entry-level servers and datacenter deployments.</p> <p>The drive offers end-to-end data protection via flash error correction and Advanced SmartECC, the latter of which reconstructs defective pages when they're found to be faulty and flash ECC protection fails to recover the uncorrectable errors.</p> <p>As to performance, the KC310 is no slouch -- <a href="" target="_blank">Kingston rates</a> its sequential read and write transfers at up to 550MB/s and 520MB/s, respectively, along with up to 99,000/96,000 maximum/random 4K read IOPS and up to 89,000/88,000 maximum/random 4K read IOPS. The takeaway from those figures is that Kingston isn't trading performance for enterprise-grade reliability, and claims to offer the best of both worlds.</p> <p>No word yet on when the KC310 will be available or for how much.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Build a PC Hardware KC310 Kingston solid state drive ssd ssdnow storage News Wed, 15 Apr 2015 17:22:55 +0000 Paul Lilly 29740 at Asus TUF Sabertooth X99 is First Consumer Board to Support NVM Express Storage <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/asus_tuf_sabertooth_x99.jpg" alt="Asus TUF Sabertooth X99" title="Asus TUF Sabertooth X99" width="228" height="134" style="float: right;" />For tomorrow's storage</h3> <p><strong>Asus this week unveiled its TUF Sabertooth X99 motherboard</strong>. According to Asus, it's the world's first consumer desktop mobo to support all NVM Express storage devices, including the latest mini-SAS HD (SF-8639) 2.5-inch solid state drives, PCI Express, and M.2 PCI Express drives. The timing of the this board's release comes just days after Intel announced its <a href="" target="_blank">750 Series SSDs</a>, which are available in both half-height half-length (HHHL) and 2.5-inch NVMe form factors.</p> <p>The board also boasts built-in USB 3.1 ports (two on the rear panel) courtesy of an ASMedia chip, though they're not the Type-C variety, plus eight USB 3.0 ports (four at back panel, four at mid-board) and eight USB 2.0 ports.</p> <p>This is also the first board to include TUF Detective, a free companion app that provides detailed system information. You can install the app on a smartphone or tablet and use it to monitor key vitals, as well as detect and diagnose and errors and control the PC's power status. You can even use the app when the PC is turned off.</p> <p>You'll find lots of amenities here, like Dust Defender guards for exposed ports, high-end components for "server-grade reliability," a reinforced backplate with a thermal pad to strengthen the mobo and pull heat away from the back of the 8+2 phase Digi+ voltage regulator module (VRM), and more.</p> <p>The new board will be available soon for $350 MSRP. In the meantime, you can check out its <a href="" target="_blank">product page here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> asus Build a PC Hardware motherboard NVM Express storage TUF Sabertooth X99 News Thu, 09 Apr 2015 18:27:09 +0000 Paul Lilly 29717 at Intel Announces Insanely Fast 750 Series Solid State Drive Line <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/intel_750_series.jpg" alt="Intel 750 Series" title="Intel 750 Series" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />How does 2,400MB/s read performance suit your fancy?</h3> <p>Intel's new 750 Series solid state drives should come with a label that reads, 'Warning, may cause whiplash and <em>will</em> result in uncontrollable giddiness'. After all, <strong>Intel's 750 Series takes center stage as the company's highest performing client SSD to date</strong>, with performance that's more than four times better than that of most SATA-based SSDs. The trick lies in utilizing four lanes of PCIe 3.0 and the NVM Express (NVMe) standard.</p> <p>The 750 Series is available both in add-in card form for systems with an accessible PCIe 3.0 x4 slot and in a 2.5-inch NVMe form factor, though the latter isn't like the majority of 2.5-inch SSDs currently on the market. Instead, it uses the new SFF-8639 connector that's more commonly found in the enterprise. However, you can still use the the drive with an M.2 slot -- Intel provides an SFF-8639 to SFF-8643 (mini SAS) cable and M.2/SATA power connector.</p> <p>In half-height half-length (HHHL) add-in card form, here's the kind of performance you're looking at:</p> <ul> <li>400GB: 2,200MB/s read, 900MB/s write, 430,000 IOPS (read), 230,000 IOPS (write)</li> <li>1.2TB: 2,400MB/s read, 1,200MB/s write, 440,000 IOPS (read), 290,000 IOPS (write)</li> </ul> <p>Note that the first set of read and write metrics are sequential 128KB, and the second set are random 4KB. The same performance metrics (as supplied by Intel) also apply to the 2.5-inch versions.</p> <p>Pricing for the 750 Series is $389 for the 400GB models and $1,029 for the 1.2TB models (either form factor).</p> <p>In addition to the 750 Series, Intel also announced the availability of its 535 Series, available in both M.2 and 2.5-inch form factors. The M.2 models come in 120GB, 180GB, 240GB, and 360GB capacities, while the 2.5-inch versions add a 480GB capacity. The 535 Series uses 16nm NAND flash MLC memory and offer up to 540MB/s read and 490MB/s write performance.</p> <p>Street pricing for the 535 Series runs about $116 for 120GB, $138 for 180GB, $168 for 240GB, $236 for 360GB, and $301 for 480GB.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> 750 Series Build a PC Hardware intel solid state drive ssd storage News Fri, 03 Apr 2015 15:36:29 +0000 Paul Lilly 29686 at Micron and Intel Pimp 3D NAND Flash Memory with Promise of 10TB Solid State Drives <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/intel_micron_3d_nand.jpg" alt="Intel and Micron 3D NAND" title="Intel and Micron 3D NAND" width="228" height="135" style="float: right;" />Holy high capacity, Batman!</h3> <p>When it comes to storage, you typically have to choose between raw performance or oodles of storage space. If you value the former, a solid state drive is hands down the way to go. And if you need the latter, well, traditional hard drives with spinning platters are still the best option. But what if you could have both? <strong>Micron and Intel have made available 3D NAND flash memory that they say will enable SSDs to scale beyond 10 terabytes</strong> in 2.5-inch form.</p> <p>It will also enable gum stick-sized SSDs with more than 3.5TB of storage. Both are made possible by stacking layers of data storage cells vertically "with extraordinary precision," resulting in storage devices that offer three times more capacity than competing NAND technologies.</p> <p>This isn't a new concept, by any means. Samsung is already using vertically stacked cells in some of its newer SSDs, and Toshiba and SanDisk just recently jointly announced 3D NAND cell technology of their own. Indeed, stacking cells is the way of the future for SSDs, as planar NAND is reaching its practical scaling limits. By transitioning to 3D NAND flash memory, flash storage solutions can stay aligned with Moore's Law.</p> <p>So, what's different about the way Micron and Intel are going about it? They're the first to use a floating gate cell in 3D NAND, which they describe as a key design choice enabling greater performance, quality, and reliability.</p> <p>Their new 3D NAND technology stacks flash cells vertically in 32 layers. By doing so, they're able to achieve 256Gb (gigabit) multi-level cell (MLC) and 384Gb triple-level cell (TLC) die that fit in a standard package. Since they're now stacking cells, they can use individual cells that are significantly larger, which allows them to achieve up to 48GB (gigabyte) of NAND per die.</p> <p>Intel and Micron have begun sampling 256Gb MLC versions of 3D NAND to select partners and will sample 384Gb TLC later in the spring. Both companies are also working on their own brand SSD solutions based on 3D NAND technology slated for release by 2016.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> 3d nand flash memory Hardware intel micron Solid State Drives ssd storage News Fri, 27 Mar 2015 15:54:43 +0000 Paul Lilly 29649 at Amazon Takes Storage Wars to the Cloud, Now Offers Unlimited Plans <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/amazon_cloud_0.jpg" alt="Amazon Cloud" title="Amazon Cloud" width="228" height="228" style="float: right;" />Never run out of cloud storage again</h3> <p>The future of cloud storage is likely to come down to price and supplementary features rather than allotted storage space. Looking to push the issue, <strong>Amazon today announced a pair of unlimited storage options with Amazon Cloud Drive </strong>that are available to anyone and everyone, not just Amazon Prime members. Amazon isn't the only cloud provider that offers unlimited space, but it might be the first to pitch it to home consumers on a standalone basis.</p> <p>Microsoft also offers unlimited online storage through OneDrive, though you have to subscribe to Office 365. So does Dropbox, though it's aimed at Business users and is significantly more expensive at $15/month than Amazon's. And then there's Google, which offers unlimited storage through its Google Apps Unlimited and Google Apps for Education services.</p> <p>As for Amazon, it's new Unlimited Photos Plan is free for three months and then runs $11.99 per year, so about a buck a month. You can store as many photos as you like in Amazon's Cloud Drive, plus 5GB of additional storage for videos and other documents and files.</p> <p>The second option is Amazon's Unlimited Everything Plan. It too is free for the first three months, and then $59.99 per year ($5 per month). You can store whatever you want with this plan -- photos, videos, files, documents, movies, music, etc.</p> <p>"Most people have a lifetime of birthdays, vacations, holidays, and everyday moments stored across numerous devices. And, they don’t know how many gigabytes of storage they need to back all of them up," said Josh Petersen, Director of Amazon Cloud Drive. "With the two new plans we are introducing today, customers don’t need to worry about storage space—they now have an affordable, secure solution to store unlimited amounts of photos, videos, movies, music, and files in one convenient place."</p> <p>If you're interested in trying out either plan, <a href=";*Version*=1&amp;*entries*=0" target="_blank">go here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> amazon cloud Cloud Drive storage News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 16:06:48 +0000 Paul Lilly 29644 at OCZ Vector 180 Solid State Drive Marches Out on a Barefoot 3 Controller <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/ocz_vector_180_ssd.jpg" alt="OCZ Vector 180 SSD" title="OCZ Vector 180 SSD" width="228" height="150" style="float: right;" />Did somebody say "flagship?"</h3> <p>Don't look know, but <strong>Toshiba's OCZ Storage Solutions division just rolled out a new flagship SATA 6Gbps solid state drive, the Vector 180</strong>. It's an "enthusaist-class" SSD that's supposed to deliver rock-solid stability and performance to high-end consumer systems. Armed with an OCZ Barefoot 3 controller and in-house Toshiba A19nm MLC NAND flash memory, the Vector 180 series is rated to read and write files sequentially at up to 550MB/s and 530MB/s, respectively.</p> <p>It also offers up to 100,000 IOPS of 4KB random read and up to 95,000 IOPS of 4K random write performance. These aren't the fastest ratings we've seen in SATA 6Gbps territory, but they're right up there. Just as importantly, OCZ says its SSD Guru storage management software tool helps users to do routine monitoring and maintenance, thereby unlocking the drive's full potential.</p> <p>"With the new Vector 180 Series, OCZ is once again raising the bar for high performance client solid state drives," said Ralph Schmitt, CEO of OCZ Storage Solutions. "Vector 180 leverages our award-winning proprietary controller technology and features normally found in our enterprise-class drives, like Power Failure Management Plus, to deliver high-density SSDs with exceptional performance, endurance, and reliability for gamers, enthusiasts and workstation users."</p> <p>The drive is available in 120GB, 240GB, 480GB and 960GB capacities. Each is backed by OCZ's 5-year "ShieldPlus" warranty, and should something go wrong, OCZ will replace the drive with little-to-no hassle -- just provide your serial number and you'll receive a brand new (not refurbished) advanced product replacement along with a pre-paid return shipping label for your faulty drive. You don't even need your purchase receipt. Pretty snazzy.</p> <p>As for price:</p> <ul> <li>OCZ Vector 180 120GB: $90</li> <li>OCZ Vector 180 240GB: $150</li> <li>OCZ Vector 180 480GB: $275</li> <li>OCZ Vector 180 960GB: $500</li> </ul> <p>The higher the capacity, the better than the price-per-gigabyte.</p> <p>You can find the product page <a href="" target="_blank">here</a> and the SSD Guru download page <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> barefoot 3 Build a PC Hardware ocz solid state drive ssd SSD Guru storage toshiba Vector 180 News Tue, 24 Mar 2015 19:30:16 +0000 Paul Lilly 29634 at Mushkin Striker Solid State Drives are Now Available <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/mushkin_striker_0.jpg" alt="Mushkin Striker" title="Mushkin Striker" width="228" height="223" style="float: right;" />Fast and capacious storage</h3> <p>It's been a couple of months since Mushkin first trotted out its Striker line of solid state drives. <a href="">First announced</a> at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this year, the Striker line drew interest for its rated speeds, which can reach up to 565MB/s for read and up to 550MB/s for write transfers. Not quite recording breaking, but certainly one of the faster spec'd SATA 6Gbps SSD lines. If you've been waiting for them to be available, your wait is over -- <strong>Mushkin's Striker line is now available to purchase online</strong>.</p> <p>Pricing looks pretty fair for the level of performance promised. On Newegg, the drives are currently selling for:</p> <ul> <li>Mushkin Enhanced Striker 240GB: <a href="" target="_blank">$105 + $1 shipping</a></li> <li>Mushkin Enhanced Striker 480GB: <a href="" target="_blank">$190 + $1 shipping</a></li> <li>Mushkin Enhanced Striker 960GB: <a href="" target="_blank">$400 + $1 shipping</a></li> </ul> <p>"Striker is aptly named for its purpose: to mark its place as the premier high-performance solid-state drive series," said Brian Flood, Director of Product Development at Mushkin. " The Striker will allow its users to experience highly-accelerated application load times, boot performance, multimedia editing, and general usage."</p> <p>As a refresher, Mushkin outfits its Striker SSDs with a Phison PS3110-S10 quad-core controller. In addition to the aforementioned performance metrics, the drives also deliver 4K random read and write transactions of up to 90,000 IOPS.</p> <p>Other features include end-to-end data path protection to thwart errors, SmartECC for an added layer of error correction, SmartRefresh (scans flash during idle and runtime to look for and replace weak blocks), and SmartFlush (proprietary algorithm to minimize DRAM utilization for user data and help reduce write amplification).</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Build a PC Hardware mushkin solid state drive ssd storage Striker News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:11:24 +0000 Paul Lilly 29525 at SanDisk Crams 200GB of Storage into Latest microSD Card <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/sandisk_200gb_microsdxc_0.jpg" alt="SanDisk 200GB microSDXC" title="SanDisk 200GB microSDXC" width="228" height="165" style="float: right;" />Big storage in a little card</h3> <p>There are several new phones and tablets being introduced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but on the storage side of things, <strong>SanDisk on Sunday introduced its 200GB Ultra microSDXC UHS-I card, Premium Edition</strong>. That's not just a massive amount of storage for a device that's about the size of your fingernail, it's the highest capacity microSD card in the world, according to SanDisk.</p> <p>The 200GB card offers 56 percent more storage space than the record-breaking 128GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC card the company <a href="">introduced a year ago</a>. Both were made possible by leveraging a proprietary technology the company designed last year that allows for a new design and production process with more bits per die.</p> <p>"We continue to push technology boundaries to deliver record-breaking solutions that transform the way consumers use their mobile devices," <a href="" target="_blank">said Dinesh Bahal</a>, vice president, product marketing, SanDisk. "By focusing on achieving new capacity and speed milestones, we are able to deliver trusted mobile memory solutions that give consumers the freedom to never stop capturing, saving, or sharing – with the benefit of fast speeds to transfer it all quickly."</p> <p>SanDisk says the card supports data transfers at up to 90MB per second, enough to push 1,200 photos every second. That combination of speed and capacity is certainly enticing. And expensive -- it will carry an MSRP of $400 when it becomes available in the second quarter.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> 200GB microsd Sandisk storage News Mon, 02 Mar 2015 15:33:33 +0000 Paul Lilly 29512 at Microsoft Gifts Dropbox Users 100GB of OneDrive Storage for One Year <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/onedrive_4.jpg" alt="OneDrive" title="OneDrive" width="228" height="132" style="float: right;" />More free storage</h3> <p>Like an overzealous patron at a gentlemen's club who just inherited a fortune, Microsoft can't help but to make it rain. Free storage, that is. It was only a <a href="">week ago</a> that Microsoft offered up <a href="">100GB of free OneDrive cloud storage</a> for a year for signing up for Bing Rewards, and <strong>now Microsoft is taking aim at Dropbox users with a similar deal -- 100GB of free OneDrive cloud storage for a year</strong> simply for verifying their account.</p> <p>Unlike previous offers, however, this latest giveaway isn't limited to Dropbox users living in the U.S. -- this one's good for all Dropbox users regardless of where they call home. To qualify, Dropbox users will have to register with OneDrive and save a "Get Started" PDF file to their Dropbox account. Once that's done, the 100GB of free OneDrive space will appear.</p> <p>These offers aren't of any real benefit to paid Office 365 subscribers who receive unlimited storage as part of their subscription. At the same time, it doesn't hurt to take advantage of thse offers anyway, which can serve as insurance in the event that they stop subscribing.</p> <p>I applied both the Bing Rewards and Dropbox offers to my account and it currently shows 10.2TB. Even though I have unlimited storage through my Office 365 subscription, the storage space is doled out in 10TB increments on an as-needed basis.</p> <p>With this latest promotion, it would seem that Microsoft is trying to poach Dropbox users over to OneDrive, though that isn't necessarily the case. The two companies recently teamed up to improve integration between Office and Dropbox.</p> <p>If you're a Dropbox user want to claim your 100GB of OneDrive storage, <a href="" target="_blank">go here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> cloud dropbox microsoft onedrive storage News Fri, 20 Feb 2015 21:09:24 +0000 Paul Lilly 29452 at Signs Point to NSA Embedding Spy Software in Consumer Hard Drives <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/hdd_6.jpg" alt="HDD" title="HDD" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />Look who's watching</h3> <p>Security outfit <strong>Kaspersky Lab has found evidence that the National Security Agency (NSA) may be implanting highly sophisticated malware into the firmware of consumer hard drives</strong> where it's not easily detected or removed. Kaspersky's report found custom payloads residing in HDDs from several major brands such as Western Digital, HGST, Seagate, Maxtor, Hitachi, and Toshiba.</p> <p>The report, which was first discovered by <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Reuters</em></a>, also mentioned companies like OCZ, Micron, Corsair, Mushkin, OWC, and Samsung, which may suggest that custom payloads are also present in solid state drives. That would make sense, considering the rise in popularity of SSDs, especially as agencies that might be targets for spying upgrade to newer systems.</p> <p>Kaspersky isn't pointing the finger at the NSA and instead ties the exploit to a group it refers to as Equation, "a highly sophisticated threat actor that has been engaged in multiple CNE (computer network exploitation) operations dating back to 2001, and perhaps as early as 1996."</p> <p>According to Kaspersky, the Equation group is one of the most sophisticated cyber attack groups on the planet. It has a penchant for encryption algorithms and obfuscation strategies and routinely uses sophisticated methods throughout its various operations.</p> <p>Some of the exploits used by Equation are the same or similar to that of the Stuxnet developers. Due to this, Kaspersky says it's likely they're either the same actors or are working closely together, hence the widespread speculation that this is the NSA's doing.</p> <p>As laid out in the report, the process by which targets are spied on is complex and interesting. In many cases, it begins with an implant Kaspersky calls DoubleFantasy. The implant confirms if a victim is interesting, and if so, the malware is upgraded to the EquationDrug, one of the group's most complex espionage platforms, or GrayFish, which is a later version.</p> <p>"GrayFish is the most modern and sophisticated malware implant from the&nbsp;Equation group. It is designed to provide an effective (almost 'invisible') persistence mechanism, hidden storage and malicious command execution inside the Windows operating system," Kaspersky explains.</p> <p>If Kaspersky's information is accurate, it brings the NSA's spying program to a whole new level, as it would have access to the majority of the world's PCs.</p> <p>You can read the <a href="" target="_blank">full report here (PDF)</a>,</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> equation hard drives HDD kaspersky malware nsa Privacy Spying storage News Tue, 17 Feb 2015 13:54:59 +0000 Paul Lilly 29432 at Micron and Seagate Just Became Best Friends in the SSD Space <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/seagate_0.jpg" alt="Seagate" title="Seagate" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />Strength in numbers</h3> <p><strong>Memory and storage heavyweights Micron and Seagate have signed a multi-year agreement in which the two will form a "framework for combining the innovation and expertise of both companies."</strong> Or in plain English, they're going to help each other in the storage space with an initial focus on SAS solid state drives and NAND supply, and then later in the enterprise SSD space.</p> <p>This really boils down to the supply of NAND flash memory. It's a volatile market, and it's one of the reasons why OCZ Technology ended up being <a href="">acquired by Toshiba</a>. The fluctuating prices and unpredictability of NAND flash memory supply made it difficult for OCZ to run a business that had become primarily focused on SSDs. Selling to Toshiba made sense in that regard.</p> <p>Storage companies see the writing on the wall, which is that SSDs are the storage format of the immediate future. To ensure they remain competitive, they've been investing in flash memory companies -- Seagate acquired LSI's flash memory controller business and Western Digital acquired flash memory maker Virident and later Skyera, a maker of enterprise SSD systems.</p> <p>There's no acquisition taking place between Micron and Seagate, but the strategic partnership should ensure that both remain competitive -- it's a 'scratch my back and I'll scratch your back' type of deal. In theory, Seagate shouldn't have to worry about NAND flash memory chips and wild fluctuations, and Micron lines itself up a major buyer.</p> <p>"The collaboration will assure both Seagate and Micron target the growing enterprise flash market with industry-leading offerings across both of our product portfolios," <a href="" target="_blank">said Darren Thomas (PDF)</a>, Vice President of Storage, Micron. "The relationship provides Micron access to enterprise drive technology and platforms, expanding our portfolio and accelerating our push into the enterprise market segment."</p> <p>There's no mention of this partnership extending beyond the enterprise space, though depending on what develops, this could be something that trickles into the enthusiast market too, especially as PCIe SSDs become more common.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Build a PC Hardware micron nand seagate solid state drive ssd storage News Fri, 13 Feb 2015 16:21:47 +0000 Paul Lilly 29421 at Box EKM Gives Customers Their Own Set of Encryption Keys <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/keys.jpg" alt="Keys" title="Keys" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Chasing bigger customers and thwarting government requests for data</h3> <p><strong>Cloud storage provider Box is experimenting with a new security solution called Enterprise Key Management (EKM)</strong>. Currently available in beta, EKM adds another layer of security that it hopes will attract big businesses in regulated industries like banking and finance, healthcare, and so forth. There's also a benefit for customers who to make it more difficult for the government to get their hands on data.</p> <p>"Industries like finance, government, legal and healthcare are facing a new set of challenges when it comes to establishing control over their content – and who can access it – without hindering collaboration and productivity," <a href="" target="_blank">said Aaron Levie</a>, co-founder and CEO, Box. "With Box EKM, we’ve removed the final barrier to cloud adoption for industries that require the highest levels of protection over their information."</p> <p>The effort is a joint collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Germalto. For customers who sign up for the service, Box will work with them to provision hardware security modules (HSMs) made by SafeNet and provided by Germalto in both AWS and their own data center. The customers manage these HSMs, while Box is connected to them via a secure and dedicated connection.</p> <p>From there, files that are uploaded get encrypted with a unique encryption key for each version of the file, just as Box currently does for all customers. What's different for EKM customers is that Box sends the key to their HSM, which is then encrypted with the customer's own key.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/box_ekm.jpg" alt="Box EKM" title="Box EKM" width="620" height="427" /></p> <p>EKM customers effectively gain complete control over who can and can't access their data. Even Box can't get to it, so if the government comes knocking with a data request, Box's hands are tied.</p> <p>To be clear, this is a play for big business, not home consumers. But if it works as advertised, this could eventually trickle into the consumer space.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Amazon Web Services aws box cloud ekm encryption gemalto Security storage News Thu, 12 Feb 2015 14:15:20 +0000 Paul Lilly 29417 at Let Google Check Your Account Security and Receive 2GB of Drive Storage <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/stethoscope.jpg" alt="Stethoscope" title="Stethoscope" width="228" height="276" style="float: right;" />Easier than a trip to the doctor</h3> <p>Free storage is out there for the taking. Earlier today we told you about Microsoft's desire to reward you with <a href="" target="_blank">100GB of free OneDrive storage</a> simply for signing up for Bing Rewards. Well, it turns out Google is in a giving mood as well, just to a lesser extent -- <strong>in recognition of today being Safer Internet Day, Google will inflate your Drive storage by 2GB just for taking a quick security checkup</strong>.</p> <p>It's a quick and painless procedure that Google says will take you 2 minutes to complete, though when I ran it, I was finished in about 30 seconds -- I needed to verify the phone number associated with my main account. The checkup also gives you a chance to view your recent activity for anything suspicious, as well as disable access for less secure apps and double-check your account permissions.</p> <p>"While everything stored in Drive is always encrypted in transit and at rest in Google’s custom-built data centers, this checkup ensures you’re making the most of the 24/7 protection you already get from Google. As our way of saying thanks for completing the checkup by 17 February 2015, we’ll give you a permanent 2 gigabyte bump in your Google Drive storage plan," <a href="" target="_blank">Google says</a>.</p> <p>You can run the checkup tool at any time, something Google advises doing every so often just to make sure there's no funny business going on.</p> <p>Ready to give it a go? Just <a href="" target="_blank">click here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> cloud drive Google Security storage News Tue, 10 Feb 2015 19:42:58 +0000 Paul Lilly 29409 at Bing Your Way to 100GB of Free OneDrive Cloud Storage <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/onedrive_3.jpg" alt="Microsoft OneDrive" title="Microsoft OneDrive" width="228" height="162" style="float: right;" />No credits required for this Bing Reward</h3> <p><strong>Microsoft is giving away (or lending, if you prefer to view it that way) 100GB of OneDrive cloud storage for two years when you sign up for for Bing Rewards</strong>, a free program that rewards you for using Bing (imagine that!). And if you're already a Bing Rewards member, you're eligible as well. There are no points required to cash in on this deal, you just have to stake your claim by February 28, 2015.</p> <p>"No credits required! Get 100GB of OneDrive storage for two years," Microsoft says. "Keep your photos, videos, and documents in one place. Access an share them from all your devices."</p> <p>This is a neat deal even if you don't use Bing. While the intent is to bring more users into its rewards program and ultimately increase Bing's market share, you can claim your 100GB of OneDrive storage immediately after becoming a member and continue using your search engine of choice.</p> <p>If you do decide to keep using Bing, you can earn other rewards, which are typically redeemed by trading in points you've earned simply by searching the web.</p> <p>There are a few caveats with regards to the OneDrive promo. The first is that the free storage is good for two years, though by then, who knows what additional offers will be available. Secondly, there's really no benefit to Office 365 subscribers, who already have access to unlimited OneDrive storage (on an as-needed basis). And finally, the promotion is only available to U.S. residents.</p> <p>You can sign up for <a href="" target="_blank">Bing Rewards here</a>. If you're already a member, <a href="" target="_blank">go here</a> to claim your 100GB.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Bing Bing Rewards cloud microsoft onedrive search storage News Tue, 10 Feb 2015 14:02:08 +0000 Paul Lilly 29406 at Backblaze Opens Its Books, Shares Massive Raw Data Set on HDD Stats <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/backblaze_data_center_0.jpg" alt="BackBlaze Data Center" title="BackBlaze Data Center" width="228" height="181" style="float: right;" />A number nerd's wet storage dream</h3> <p>If you're a regular reader of <em>Maximum PC</em>, then a name you're likely to remember is <a href="">Backblaze</a>, a cloud-based backup firm that <a href="">routinely shares</a> its data about hard drive failures and various operations. The level of openness is pretty rare, as not too many companies offer the same level of transparency -- <a href="">Puget Systems</a> comes to mind -- and even fewer would splash the Internet with raw data. Well, that's what <strong>Backblaze just did, offering up raw data collected from more than 41,000 disk drives in its data center</strong>.</p> <p>Backblaze reckons this is the largest data set on disk drive performance ever to made public, and if there is a larger collection, it's news to us as well. What you'll find inside the two files (one containing 2013 data and one containing 2014 data) are daily snapshots of the state of every HDD in Backblaze's data center, including the drive's serial number, model number, and all of its S.M.A.R.T. data, which will tell you how many hours the drives have been running, temps, if sectors have gone bad, and more.</p> <p>Here's what you'll find in the snapshots:</p> <ul> <li>Date – The date of the file in yyyy-mm-dd format.</li> <li>Serial Number – The manufacturer-assigned serial number of the drive.</li> <li>Model – The manufacturer-assigned model number of the drive.</li> <li>Capacity – The drive capacity in bytes.</li> <li>Failure – Contains a "0" if the drive is OK. Contains a "1" if this is the last day the drive was operational before failing.</li> <li>SMART Stats – 80 columns of data, that are the Raw and Normalized values for 40 different SMART stats as reported by the given drive. Each value is the number reported by the drive.</li> </ul> <p>"There are lots of smart people out there who like working with data, and you may be one of them. Now it’s your turn to pore over the data and find hidden treasures of insight. All we ask is that if you find something interesting, that you post it publicly for the benefit of the computing community as a whole," Backblaze stated in a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a>.</p> <p>Backblaze isn't being lazy by turning this data over to the public. After all, this is a company that sells its backup service, and while it routinely performs analysis (which it often shares), diving even deeper into the data is a time consuming task, and one with diminishing returns, as it relates to its primary business.</p> <p>That said, if anyone on the Internet wants to comb through the data and post any conclusions, they're certainly welcome to do that.</p> <p>You can find the files <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>, along with information on how to decipher the data.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Backblaze data center Hard Drive Hardware HDD storage News Wed, 04 Feb 2015 17:59:08 +0000 Paul Lilly 29366 at