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The unknown microwave networks
Posted by Oksana Zybinskaya on November 17, 2016
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Recently, it became known that there is a private, mysterious network stretching between London and Frankfurt that is twice as fast as the normal Internet. The connection, provided by a series of microwave dishes on masts, was completely secret to anyone but one company. Only when a competitor completed its own microwave link between the two cities, the first company revealed that it too had a link between the cities in order to get a share in this potential market.

Similar stories can be found all over the world, but because these networks are privately owned, and because they are often used by financial groups trying to find an edge on the stock market and eke out a few extra billions, you have to investigate hard to find them.

The BridgeWave FP80-3000, capable of up to 3Gbps over 80GHz.

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Back to basics – RAID types
Posted by Askar Kopbayev on November 8, 2016
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If you ever worked in IT, you have heard the acronym RAID.  RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent (some call it Inexpensive) Disks. So, it basically refers to a group of disk logically presented as one or more volumes to the external system – a server, for instance.

The main two reasons to have RAID are Performance and Redundancy.  With RAID, you can minimize the access time and increase the throughput of data. RAID also allows one or more disks in the array to fail without losing any data.

hot spare disk

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Microsoft, the Open Source Cloud Hardware and Why is it Important to You
Posted by Augusto Alvarez on November 7, 2016
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There was a time when “open source” and “Microsoft” were two words that did not get along, at all. Bill Gates when he was leading the Redmond Company said, even though the free software should be part of the ecosystem, the General Public License (GPL, licenses that used to rule most of the open source projects) has a “Pac-Man-like nature” that was destroying the “healthy ecosystem” for companies. Or even later when he said that the open source software is a “New Communism” (in a despicable way, of course).

Well, for a while now seems those type of statements from Microsoft are just part of an old tale. Microsoft recently announced that the release of the Project Olympus, their new hyperscale cloud hardware design and a new model for open source hardware development with the Open Compute Project (OCP) community.

The building blocks that Project Olympus will contribute consist of a new universal motherboard, high-availability power supply with included batteries, 1U/2U server chassis, high-density storage expansion, a new universal rack power distribution unit (PDU) for global datacenter interoperability, and a standards compliant rack management card.

rack management card

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Software Defined Networking (SDN) Stack in the Windows Server 2016
Posted by Oksana Zybinskaya on November 3, 2016
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Windows Server 2016 enables building a Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) with new layers of security and Azure-related approach for hosting business applications and infrastructure. The new Software Defined Network (SDN) Stack  provides dynamic security and hybrid flexibility by enforcing network policy in the Hyper-V Virtual Switch using the Azure Virtual Filtering Platform (VFP) Switch Extension. Instead of programming network configurations into a physical switch,  the new Microsoft Network Controller delivers the network policy to the Hyper-V Hosts using the OVSDB protocol and is programmed into the VFP extension of the vSwitch by a Host Agent which enforces the policy.

VXLAN Encapsulation
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WD exposes new SanDisk drives: Blue and Green
Posted by Oksana Zybinskaya on October 19, 2016
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WD issued Blue and Green branded SATA SSDs, which are based on SanDisk technology for the first time.

The Green brand is for secondary storage, being reliable, cool and eco-friendly, whereas Blue ones are built for PC primary storage use. Other WD brand colours include Black for enthusiast products and Red for NAS and SOHO (small office, home office) use.

The Blue and Green SATA SSDs are designed to be used mainly in notebooks, PCs and workstations. The Blue product is optimized for multi-tasking and resource-heavy applications. Still, WD states that the Green SSDs deliver essential-class performance, and are a great option for every-day use.

Blue WD and Green WD

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Samsung reveals new super-fast 960 Pro and 960 Evo M.2 NVMe SSDs
Posted by Oksana Zybinskaya on September 23, 2016
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Samsung announced its 960 PRO and 960 Evo, the next generation M.2 PCIe SSDs. Like the 950 Pro, the 960 Pro and 960 Evo are PCIe 3.0 x4 drives using the latest NVMe protocol for data transfer. The 960 Pro offers a peak read speed of 3.5GB/s and a peak write speed of 2.1GB/s, while the Evo offers 3.2GB/s and 1.9GB/s respectively. The 950 topped out at a mere 2.5GB/s and 1.5GB/s.

The 960 Pro and the 960 Evo are planned for release in October. The Pro starts at $329 for 512GB of storage, rising up to a cool $1,299 for a 2TB version. The Evo price goes from $129 for a 250GB version to $479 for a 1TB version.

Samsung 960 Pro M.2 NVMe SSDs
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Is NVMe Really Revolutionary?
Posted by Jon Toigo on August 19, 2016
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To hear advocates talk about NVMe – a de facto standard created by a group of vendors led by Intel to connect flash memory storage directly to a PCIe bus (that is, without using a SAS/SATA disk controller) – it is the most revolutionary thing that has ever happened in business computing.  While the technology provides a more efficient means to access flash memory, without passing I/O through the buffers, queues and locks associated with a SAS/SATA controller, it can be seen as the latest of a long line of bus extension technologies – and perhaps one that is currently in search of a problem to solve.

I am not against faster I/O processing, of course.  It would be great if the world finally acknowledged that storage has always been the red-headed stepchild of the Von Neumann machine.  Bus speeds and CPU processing speeds have always been capable of driving I/O faster than mechanical storage devices could handle.  That is why engineers used lots of memory – as caches ahead of disk storage or as buffers on disk electronics directly – to help mask or spoof the mismatch of speed.

latency comparison

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Seagate introduces 60TB SSD drive
Posted by Oksana Zybinskaya on August 16, 2016
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Seagate shows off two new SSD products: an 8TB NVMe drive and a spacious 60TB SSD prototype in a 3.5-inch form factor.

This 60TB consists of more than a 1,000 Micron 3D NAND dice fitted into a full-size, 3.5-inch disk form factor package. Apparently, it has dual port 12Gbit/s SAS interface and 150,000 random read IOPS, with undisclosed write IOPS. The sequential read/write numbers should be 1.5 and 1.0GB/sec.

Nytro XP7200

       Nytro XP7200  with heat sink on top

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Choosing ideal mini server for a home lab
Posted by Askar Kopbayev on August 11, 2016
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Yesterday I saw a blog post in Homelab subreddit discussing what Intel NUC to choose. I have spent quite some time recently to choose the right server for my homelab expansion and I have considered a lot of options.

I was also looking at Intel  NUC as many other fellow IT professionals, but luckily last month I read on Tinkertry.com that Supermicro had just released new Mini-1U SuperServers – SYS-E300-8D and SYS-E200-8D.  I had some discussions with my colleagues and other people on Reddit and TinkerTry and I came to the conclusion that if you are aimed to run home lab for virtualization Intel NUC shouldn’t be considered. I believe SuperMicro is a new king on the market of mini servers for home lab.

SYS-E200-8D
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The world’s first 1,000 core CPU has been built
Posted by Oksana Zybinskaya on July 8, 2016
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The Kilocore chip represents a step change in CPU power and efficiency.

The significant increase in computing power over the past decades gave way to the most of todays advances in science and technology, such as artificial intelligence, secure global communications, or large-scale pharmaceutical analyses.

kilocore processor

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