TechNews: July 2014

Posted on Friday, July 04, 2014
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In a new feature for Softcat News, Softcat’s presales team and all-round tech gurus, report on some of the significant news to cross their desks in the last month.

HP Discovers what all that cash has been spent on!

  • Discover is HP’s Blue Riband event, where the vendor unwraps all the cool stuff it’s been working on and gives an insight into what is coming further down the line.
  • In servers, the new hotness is ‘Apollo’ a low energy HPC system, available in an air cooled 6000 system, which will be useful for big data, HPC and more, plus the water cooled 8000 system, which is very much a supercomputer, though no LinPack benches are available at time of writing. Software is available in the form of Helion self-service HPC, a custom build of the Helion OpenStack private cloud software.
  • But what next from HP? This is where the guys at HP labs come into play. HP labs is a group of people who are given some $4Bn per annum to do interesting science projects and then think about how it might be made into a product after. Their current project is THE MACHINE (it’s not actually in all caps but it looks better on the page that way). The name alone is evidence that they have a lot of techies and no marketing guys at HP labs. THE MACHINE merges emerging technologies from HP including Custom SoCs with specialised cores and memristor technology to give up to 160PB (not a typo, yes, Petabytes) of byte-addressable NV memory, computable within 250 nanoseconds. This volume is why they have to use silicon photonics to communicate by light rather than traditional copper. Operating system will be a custom MACHINE OS and/or a Linux variant. HP claim they can ship the first units by 2018.
  • In storage, HP have brought DeDuplication to the 3PAR 7450 all flash array, and have made big claims around flash at a cost per GB similar to that of Disk. The tech is the same as in the StoreOnce backup products, so should be very good indeed.

We’ve switched parcel firms from UPS to UDP. They try their best but we’re never sure if they deliver?

  • Cisco has arrived at the party, promising tight integration between its UC and collaboration portfolios and Microsoft Lync. Cisco has also acquired Tail-f, a Swedish orchestration vendor, looking to integrate it into their existing cloud portfolio.
  • This week we noticed that HP has got a new Blade interconnect, called the ‘HP Virtual Connect FlexFabric-20/40 F8 module for c-Class BladeSystem’ offering 1.2Tbps of non-blocking full duplex goodness per module. It sends 16x 10/20 Gb links down through the midplane and breaks out with 4x QSFP+ 40Gb links plus 8x SFP+ unified ports configured as 10GbE or 8/4/2Gb FC. You will need 20Gb FLB/Mezz cards for full throughput on the downlinks to the servers but it will work with existing FlexFabric NICs at 10Gb.
  • VMware has added its SDN technology ‘NSX’ to their price lists. It looks to be priced either as per VM per year or perpetual per CPU. Network virtualisation is pretty complex, so we would expect this to be a slow burner until reference sites are available.

Breaking News: Men with rapidly approaching deadline struggle to think of storage pun

  • NetApp has completed the revamping of their portfolio, with FAS2500s at the bottom end and the new FAS8080 EX model at the top of the shop. With up to 5.7PB of storage and 36TB of flash, this is a hell of a machine. Add in clustered ONTAP and you can scale up to 69PB and 600+ IO connections. Credit to NetApp, who have refreshed their entire line-up in a few short months.
  • Both Nutanix and Nimble are taking aim at EMC with VNX and XtremIO the targets, with claims of superior performance and economics. All three are Softcat partners, so we can of course set up side by side demos/webex etc.
  • VMware is rumoured to be getting into hardware with MARVIN (Brain the size of a planet, etc), an appliance based converged solution from VMware. Softcat will be attending VMworld in Barcelona later this year from where we’ll hopefully be able to report more on this.

All other news

  • Symantec has announced the launch of Backup Exec 2014, the product formerly developed as BUE 2012 R2. We are reliably informed from the Storage Technical Practice team at Softcat that it is a vastly improved product and addresses many if not all of the gripes and issues users experienced with 2012. Softcat’s dedicated Symantec team can provide more info (Symantecbusiness@softcat.com)
  • BlackBerry has launched BBM protected, a super secure enterprise version of the popular Instant messenger/collaboration tool. Full end-to-end encryption plus BlackBerry’s security credentials make it an interesting proposition for protected industries.

Softcat holds top tier accreditations with most if not all of the vendors mentioned above. For more information about any of the technologies mentioned please don’t hesitate to contact your Softcat account manager or email sales@softcat.com

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