Flash Memory Summit 2014 - Since Computex 2014 last June the SSD market has been buzzing about Plextor's upcoming M6 Pro SSD. The drive is Plextor's long awaited SATA III flagship product, replacing the M5 Pro Xtreme, a product that launched in January 2013.
Plextor has always billed the brand as a premium product with deep ties to Japan, where the company was founded. Some of that foundation made it's way into the M6 Pro. The drive design uses champagne tinted aluminum. This particular color is a big hit in Japan and has been for more than a decade. The color is so popular in fact that several home audio receiver and component makers use the finish for products sold only in Japan. Being Japanese only products, they demand big money in the US from collectors and those of us that like rare pieces.
The Plextor M6 Pro also carries another rare feature. Plextor developed a special cache software that duplicates the SSDs hot data in the systems DRAM. The data is kept on both the SSD and system DRAM so users don't have to worry about data loss. The software can also cache data writes but the data is quickly flushed to the SSD. At FMS 2014 we shot a quick video of PlexTurbo in action.
A new spear phishing attempt posing as a message from the Clearview Federal Credit Union has led to an investigation from the FBI, with messages asking both members and non-members about their accounts. The attacks include phone calls, emails and text messages, warning of debit card suspensions because of "an error of (Clearview's) internal processors."
Spear phishing attacks targeted selected groups with custom attacks, as cybercriminals try to compromise users as quickly and efficiently as possible. The stolen data is quickly sold or traded online, with criminals moving on to other targets.
"It's important to be cognizant of ways to protect your individual identity," said Christianne Gribben, Clearview spokeswoman, in a public statement. "If anyone has submitted their personal information through these avenues, member or not, they should contact their financial institutions immediately."
Organized cybercriminals are targeting Eastern Bloc politicians and embassies, and it's still unknown who is behind the attacks, according to security firm Symantec. The attack began with a former Soviet Union country infected, which led to 60 other computers being compromised - and the infections spread throughout the rest of the year and into 2013.
"Because of the targets chosen and the advanced nature of the malware used, Symantec believes that a state-sponsored group was behind these attacks," according to Symantec. "The current campaign is the work of a well-resourced and technically competent attack group that is capable of penetrating many network defenses. It is focused on targets that would be of interest to a nation state, with spying and theft of sensitive data among its objectives."
There is growing concern of state-sponsored attacks against political rivals, with China and Russia typically blamed - but groups stemming from Iran and other foreign governments have stepped up their cyber initiatives to conduct cyberespionage.
Flash Memory Summit 2014 - LiteOn isn't accustomed to the SSD limelight even though they have been in the OEM SSD business since 2008. In many ways they should receive more recognition in the SSD market. LiteOn is known for their ODD (Optical Disk Drive) offerings, such as CD and DVD players. However, they are also the brains behind the Plextor SSD brand, which gives them quite a bit of experience in the retail space with Plextor, and on the OEM side as LiteOn.
LiteOn is expanding into the datacenter with a new line of enterprise SSDs that are tailored for enterprise applications. They are developing both 2.5" and M.2 form factor SSDs with enterprise-centric features. LiteOn is currently working on a 1TB M.2 SSD with power loss protection that was being demo'd in their booth at the show. The SSD features a PCIe 2.0 x2 interface and blistering sequential speeds of 600 MB/s read and 520MB/s write. Jeffrey Chang, the Technical Product Manager at LiteOn, stopped by the booth to talk about the latest enterprise SSDs from LiteOn.
The N9S will serve the 2.5" market with capacities up to 2TB, and are also available in the small 1.8" form factor. LiteOn is initially using AHCI for their new M.2 SSDs, with NVMe solutions coming next year.
Tech giant Apple is promoting its HealthKit personal health-tracking application for iPhones, speaking with several companies specializing as health organizations and electronic record companies. Apple already works with Allscripts, Nike and Mayo Clinic, while speaking with Johns Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic and Mount Sinai about its service.
HealthKit will be released on the iPhone 6 next month, and will provide instant access to blood pressure and other critical medical data available - which can be monitored by patients and easily shared with doctors.
"Apple is going into this space with a data play," noted Skip Snow, Forrester Research health care unit analyst, in a statement. "They want to be a hub of health data."
Flash Memory Summit 2014 - The SSD market has been consolidating at a dizzying pace over the last year. Large storage vendors have completed a flurry of acquisitions to acquire high-value IP, such as controller technology and software solutions. One of the hottest stories this year was the sale of Fusion-io to SanDisk for $1.1 billion. Fusion-io was one of the first flash innovators, and were the catalyst that sparked the move to PCIe SSDs in the datacenter. The fusion of the two companies (pun intended) brings several advantages for both companies. Fusion-io brings established hardware and software expertise, and SanDisk brings direct access to flash.
Lee Caswell, the former VP of all-flash appliances at Fusion-io, has assumed the position of VP of Marketing in the IO Memory Solutions division at SanDisk. John Scaramuzzo is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Enterprise Storage Solutions division at SanDisk. In their first joint interview they share insight on the future path of SanDisk and their vision of the all-flash datacenter.
Flash Memory Summit 2014 - It's always fun to catch up with DriveSavers, simply because of the interesting stories from the latest data recovery projects they are working on. We were lucky enough to take a tour of the DriveSavers labs in April, and we recently crossed paths with Chris Bross again at the Flash Memory Summit.
Chris detailed the recovery of some of Gene Roddenberry's (the creator of Star Trek) lost files, which were stored on 200 x 5.25" floppy disks. These very old disks held a number of files, which are not yet released, and there will be a public disclosure of the content in the future. This highlights some of the varied storage technologies that DriveSavers encounters every day. While staying up to date with helium and SMR HDDs, they also have to continue to extract data from old devices as well.
Chris also discusses the need for data recovery services for the datacenter, and a word of caution for those using cloud data storage. For instance, when Hurricane Sandy struck five datacenters were literally underwater, so users are cautioned to always keep multiple copies of their data. Of course, if you should lose data DriveSavers will be there to help recover it.
Flash Memory Summit 2014 - NVDIMM was a hot topic at the Flash Memory Summit, and Viking Technology is leading the way in the NVDIMM space with their ArxCis-NV solution. NVDIMM allows the use of DRAM memory as a persistent memory. In the event of a power loss the NVDIMM flushes data from the DRAM down to NAND that is embedded on the device. This allows users to leverage the ultra-fast speed of DDR3 (and DDR4 in future versions) as a block storage device, yet still recover from any power loss event with the data intact.
Users can also leverage the ArxCis-NV as a memory space with their software applications. One of the advantages of using an NVDIMM from Viking is that it can be integrated into industry standard x86 servers via the DDR sockets. The ArxCis-NV is a DDR3 240-pin JEDEX pin compatible ECC registered DIMM with an integrated SSD for data backup. The speed of the device far outstrips any 12Gb/s or 6GB/s products, even when they are aggregated behind a RAID controller or HBA.
The ArxCix-NV can be used for the most bleeding-edge applications, such as a write cache or buffer, and also boosting metadata performance.
Flash Memory Summit 2014 - Avago Technologies recently acquired LSI and their SandForce division, and then scooped up PLX Technology as well. The merger with Avago isn't complete yet, so we couldn't discuss the details of the acquisition with Larry Chisvin, the VP of Strategic Initiatives at PLX Technology. PLX Technology is a right in the middle of the datacenter evolution with the advent of NVMe, and also the need for a new interface for converged server architectures. NVMe is currently a new interface that is still developing to offer multipath and fail-over features which will lean heavily on PCIe switches.
We visited PLX's office and took a tour through the ExpressFabric architecture, which can replace or augment networking infrastructure in the datacenter. The advent of hyperscale and cloud computing has spurred a re-imagination of datacenter architecture. Disruptive technologies and Open Compute initiatives are challenging the old way of thinking and delivering designs purpose-built for optimum efficiency. The emergence of software-defined datacenters (SDDC) and software-designed storage (SDS) requires new designs that allow total control of resource allocation. Using ExpressFabric's PCIe connections as a rack-level interconnect allows for new exciting datacenter designs that will pool server resources in separate chassis for optimum performance.
Motorola launched its slick smartphone called the Moto G a while back and a rumor claims that the successor to that smartphone is coming soon. According to a source who claims to have been given launch details straight from a Motorola rep, the next device will be the Moto G2 and it will launch on September 10.
The devices are tipped to hit dealers by August, but sales won't kick off until September 10. The smartphone is said to sell for around €250, not exactly an inexpensive handset. We have heard spec rumors for the device in the past.
The smartphone is tipped to have a 5-inch 720p screen, Snapdragon 400 chipset, 1GB of RAM, and an 8MP rear camera. The front camera is a 2MP unit and the smartphone will run Android 4.4.4 KitKat out of the box. Internal storage is tipped at a paltry 8GB; presumably, the smartphone will have storage expansion.