* Posts by Jim O'Reilly

230 posts • joined 16 Apr 2011

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Flash is fallible. But you'd rather have an AFA than spinning rust

Jim O'Reilly
Pint

It will soon be over!

With 3D NAND hitting the market and bringing flash and SSD pricing down fast, we can expect capacity parity early next year and price parity by the end of 2016...and that's parity with bulk SSD. In fact, SanDisk projects having 16 TB SSD next year

There are already SSD cheaper than "enterprise" HDD at perhaps 60 percent of the price!

As the spinning drive makers say: "Winter is coming!"

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Virtual reality pr0n on the Rift? 'Why not?' says Oculus founder

Jim O'Reilly

Re: Fitted barf bag?

I'm pretty sure it was motion sickness. I felt disoriented on the rollover (which was the standard game entry video. The image quality emphasized the motion and the headset reacted to head tilt etc. Typically, viewers looked sideways to watch the tunnel walls, which definitely contributed to the problem, since they were caught by surprise at the rollover.

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Jim O'Reilly

Fitted barf bag?

As a bit of releif from all the porn experts:

I led a team developing a high-performance headset like Oculus some years ago. Our test bed was a copy of Descent, with very high-res graphics and really fast GPU processing. We found that 1 user out of 3 couldn't take the "roll-over" at the start of Descent, where the user dives down a mine shaft.

We kept a bucket by the test setup!

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Hybrid storage arrays versus all-flash: will disks hold their own?

Jim O'Reilly
Holmes

Golf cart for your commute, anyone?

When you buy a new car, you balance your budget against features an performance, but if I offered you a BMW for the price of a budget family car, which would you buy? There wouldn't be many people saying it's too fast!

That's where we are going with SSD. Next year, at some point, we'll see SDD get as cheap as the cheapest hard drive. With lifetimes well beyond any realistic wear-out, and better reliability, would you buy another hard drive in 2017? You'd be nuts...or you'd swallowed all that FUD hook, line and sinker.

Reality is that we are already making a dumb comparison. SSD are cheaper today than "enterprise" hard drives., and come in much larger capacities. The enterprise HDD is already dead!

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Flash banishes the spectre of the unrecoverable data error

Jim O'Reilly
Headmaster

Voodoo math

I think the math was a bit off.

There are two sorts of problem with loss of data. One is a random failure, and there the BER is near irrelevant since the random failure mechanism that would cause loss of data has to occur if the SAME block is corrupted on two drives. The probability of this is the UBE rate multiplied by the number of blocks on a drive, which is roughly. This multiplies the UBE rate by another 2.5E+08, which means its really unlikely this would happen.

The other problem is a drive failure. Now the question is will a UBE occur during the rebuild time, if there is no parity left. 1E14 is an awful large number of bits, and no consumer operation gets even close to that per day (1E9 is more likely!). (The probability of a second killer BER is actually lower than this on real-world consumer drives, since only a failure in used space should be counted.)

The rules are different on servers

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Cisco's Chambers: white box is dead and WE KILLED IT

Jim O'Reilly
Linux

More "Famous Last Words" for the history book

It's this glib, arrogant, "We've already won" attitude that sinks empires.

Cisco is already in trouble....AWS, Google and others use those whiteboxes in huge volumes, and their ODM makers do a great job of quality (heck, they make switches for Cisco too!)

We just need a year for the software explosion that's coming, and it will be Linux versus the mainframe again! We know who won that one!

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Samsung takes Google into third dimension of flashy storage

Jim O'Reilly
Holmes

Raising the bar

3D flash significantly raises the bar for replacement technologies. ReRAM looks like the only one, right now, that can easily reach the same data density. ReRAM may be able to mount a challenge on power use and speed, but the Samsung success probably delays introduction even more.

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US Navy robot war-jet refuels in air: But Mav and Iceman are going down fighting

Jim O'Reilly

It takes a real pilot.......!

A few years back a comparison of drone crashes showed a big disparity between the Air Force and the army. Turned out the Air Force used pilots, who flew the drones, while the Army used youngsters fresh from the XBox. The pilots had to land the drones themselves, while the kids used a push-button auto-land feature.

The rules haven't changed in 5 years, and highly trained, highly-paid pilots still crash drones. Oh, and they get flight pay while droning! And Army privates earn less than 30 percent of a pilot's base pay.

Does that sound stupid? Never underestimate the pushback old aviators can exert. It needs politicians to apply some serious common-sense.

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RELICS of the Earth's long lost TWIN planet FOUND ON MOON

Jim O'Reilly

Was there even a collision

Once the wandering planet idea went south, why do we need a collision at all? The moon could just be Earth's twin, created by accretion just like earth was, and captured gravitationally

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Opportunity suffers another flash-memory 'amnesia' moment

Jim O'Reilly

Not bad for first generation flash!

The flash technology being used by Opportunity must be at least 9 years old...we've come a long way since then. Was the wear-out issue so overblown?

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Helium-filled drive tech floats to top of HGST heap

Jim O'Reilly

Do spinning drives have any other use than archiving?

It really doesn't matter that shingled drives are only good for archiving. That's the role of all spinning drives in the future, as solid-state gets cheap and very dense.

Intel and others are predicting equal capacities next year, and price parity in 2017. when this happens, the spinners are doomed!

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Wheeee! BT preps for FIVE HUNDRED MEGABIT broadband trial

Jim O'Reilly
Unhappy

We're getting broadband, too

With typical technical vision. the US Federal Communication Commission has just upped US broadband speeds to 24 Mbit/s. The telcos have complained that this is too fast and that no-one really wants such speed!

Oh well! Bring on the lobbyists and open the checkbooks!

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'LOOK into my EYES: You are feeling very worried about the climate ... SO worried'

Jim O'Reilly

Re: Didn't have to look

Yes indeed, but it's been cold in a lot of other places, Try Europe, Siberia, China.... and polar sea ice is expanding rapidly past record levels.

But wait! The Oracle at NOAA says its the warmest year ever, by 1/100th degree (with a margin of error of +/-50/100ths!), and blithely ignored the fact that the WORLD AVERAGE temperature hasn't really changed for 20 years, refuting their models. They also failed to mention that the "WORLD AVERAGE" is actually not real, since they apply computer corrections that appear to systematically increase the number! And a growing number of scientists cite bias in the measurements towards locations that ARE being warmed by human activity, such as concrete parking lots.

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Jim O'Reilly
Holmes

Re: Didn't have to look

PT Barnum said it all..."You can fool some of the people all of the time!" Clearly, this Floridian didn't see the headline "Coldest decade in US recorded history...and it's only half over!" Of course IPCC would do anything to keep that news from us! The people in Massachusetts would tell you it's true, though!

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Boffin finds formula for four-year-five-nines disk arrays

Jim O'Reilly
Holmes

Painting the Titanic!

This would have been an interesting topic 15 years ago, when RAID was our only data integrity option. Today, with erasure codes and replication, the thesis of the article is badly off base (except for the idea that drive replacement is passe) and essentially irrelevant.

We can get the benefit of no-repair storage arrays using erasure codes. This spreads the drives over a set of appliances. Typical configurations protect against a 6-drive loss, which will allow plenty of time for rebuilds, which can be anywhere in the storage pool (with say Ceph or other modern storage software). There is no need for huge numbers of dedicated spares up front, since adding new boxes of drives is the solution for sparing. Replication is not quite as good, typically providing 2-drive failure protection, but again recovery is to spread the data over available space or onto empty drives in a new appliance.

Object storage doesn't require disk-level recovery - objects can be spread over existing free space on many drives.

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Official: Whiteboxer Super Micro is a $2bn server company

Jim O'Reilly

Supermicro works well with OEMs too

As a former OEM customer of Supermicro, I can tell you they were a pleasure to work with. Products were reliable, and support excellent.

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Prez Obama snubs UK PM's tough anti-encryption crusade at White House meet

Jim O'Reilly
Holmes

The horse bolted the stable long ago!

Mr. Cameron obviously felt there was value in showing his electorate how tough on terror he is ( I understand an election is coming soon!). Sadly, he is clueless as to the encryption game. One solution that has defied interception is the one-time cipher pad, favored in the Cold War by three generations of Russian spies. This still works today, and no amount of legislating or Cameronian bag-piping will fix that.

One might argue that just seeing a string of unrelated numbers in a message is a red flag to intelligence agencies, but the art of steganography makes hiding these very easy, and the explosion of online books makes the selction of source-texts easy too. Cameron should acknowledge that the only people he'd catch would be common citizens not professional terrorists!

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LA schools math quiz: $500 Chromebooks or $700 iPads for students?

Jim O'Reilly

They aren't getting much of a deal on the software

The software looks to be around $300 per student. That seems excessive given the huge number of students involved.

Maybe LAUSD should get some of their teachers to write courseware...it would be cheaper by far and also more useful. Of course, they could partner with other school districts that are doing this and save even more! And they could sell on the courses and create a good revenue stream to offset the cost!

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Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers

Jim O'Reilly

And thorium cycle nuclear power is even better!

Using an alternative thorium-based nuclear cycle, radioactive waste can be reduced to a fraction of the waste from the current uranium cycle. The thorium approach also prevents Fukushima type accidents.

We have enough thorium for 3500 years ready to be mined, and could probably increase that 10-fold with less rich sources.

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Samsung turns off lights on LEDs worldwide – except in South Korea

Jim O'Reilly

Lightbulbs are perceived to have a short life

LED bulbs suffer from the decades of having light bulbs last around a year. No-one is willing to spend 15x the price on the promise of a very long life.

The idea is very powerful,since LEDs are less than 50 percent the power of CF bulbs for twice the light output, but the economics and perception will be a killer until price drops near to the CF range, and legislation/price of electricity pushes the LED...that's going to be a while!

Look for Europe, with their incredibly pricey "green" power, to lead the growth of LEDs.

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Tech starfleet: Will EMC Federation survive a Tucci departure?

Jim O'Reilly
Holmes

The Emperor's VMware clothes

EMC's logistics and cost structure make competing in the cloud impossible. With big-iron under pressure from flash products and the move to low cost mid range arrays, the hardware business is on the downward slope. This leaves VMware as the core of a potential software empire in a few years time.

If VMware is divested, what is left behind is not too attractive, especially with the ODMs, WD and Seagate moving into the midrange array/appliance space.

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FCC boss Wheeler: Lack of broadband choice is screwing Americans

Jim O'Reilly

Wheeler is right!

Gigabit fibre costs $35 a month in Seoul and is readily available - because there is a fierce competition among several providers.

It's clear that lack of competition means least cost service and high prices.

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Sony backs AllSeen Alliance in Internet of Stuff standards slap-fight

Jim O'Reilly

VHS versus Betamax...Round 2?

Well, they can fight over the number of angels that can dance on a sensors head, but the VHS/Betamax fight set the stage for the DVD to wipe them both out!

Will they never learn?

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Forrester says it's time to give up on physical storage arrays

Jim O'Reilly
Holmes

All-flash arrays need Plan B

This is clearly a major trend, and unstoppable. It doesn't work for all-flash arrays, since the flash modules are proprietary to save cost and space, and to increase performance.

Note that most servers have just a few drive slots. This doesn't work well for today's HDDs, since the idea is to have a lot (60 drives???) of bulk SATA as the secondary storage behind a flash primary tier.

More detail is needed or this whole idea will rebound!

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Death by 1,000 cuts: Mainstream storage array suppliers are bleeding

Jim O'Reilly
Holmes

ODMs will enter the fray, too!

Commoditization is already moving at a fast pace, but it will accelerate as the ODMs who service the big CSPs start selling branded product and whiteboxes in the US. The barrier to entry on storage is reaching the Linux level, and we all know what happened to mainframes!

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A beheading in EMC's ViPR lair? Software's big cheese to advise CEO

Jim O'Reilly
Holmes

How cheap is that whitebox?

I can imagine the debates at EMC. On the one hand you have guys feeling the hot breath of the ODMs on their necks and worrying the price of hardware will drop like a rock, and on the other you have guys trying to embrace the inevitable, and build software to control it.

It looks like the typical reaction of the status quo. Every salesman in EMC is motivated NOT to sell ViPR, since it's cheaper overall and it loses them most of their account control. Result is dismal sales for the product. ViPR will quietly be buried, and everyone will heave a sigh of relief.

Of course, the ODM issue won't go away, and the ViPR folks will be vindicated, but much good it will do them! Better for EMC that ViPR be transferred to VMWare. Now EMC is without a unified storage approach or a good Software-Defined Storage story....Oh wait!, ViPR isn't dead yet!!!!

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Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp

Jim O'Reilly
Holmes

Is NetApp talking price not cost?

This seems a bit FUDDY. Internet retail prices of MLC flash drives have already fallen below SAS HDD OEM pricing.I don't know why anyone would use enterprise HDDs.

As to the supply issue. Pricing tells the story. If there were a supply problem, pricing would be going up not down. I agree that flash won't replace bulk disk drives with 5TB capacities any time soon, but enterprise "fast" drives are dinosaurs. There's plenty of flash production capacity for that segment to be satisfied. Note that the replacement rate of flash for enterprise HDD is significantly lower than 1:1 for both drives and total capacity. The SSD are much faster, and don't need short-stroking.

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Comcast, Time Warner boost net speeds in Google Fiber city – COINCIDENCE?

Jim O'Reilly

It's nothing to do with rural!

US cities are not much different to say South Korean cities. The rural excuse for lousy broadband doesn't cut it. It's true for Kansas, but not for New York. With most subscribers in cities, the point is even more obvious.

The real driver for the Telcos is getting as much return on their investment...that means no upgrades to the physical plant. Competition is the only force that can drive the issue.

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EXPOSED: Massive mobile malware network used by cops globally

Jim O'Reilly

Warrantless search for $500?

In many countries, usage of this tool requires a warrant. If it is being used illegally, will that invalidate convictions?

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How practical is an electric car in London?

Jim O'Reilly

Britain (and the US ) need smaller cars

There is a partial solution to congestion sitting at hand, and it isn't this crazy electric car thing. Most commuting is done solo, so why not require 1 or 2 person sized vehicles. These would be super-compact, gas efficient, but most importantly, you can park at least 50 percent more cars in the same spaces, and they will effectively reduce traffic by around 30 percent, just by taking up less space on the road. They'd be cheap to manufacture, too.

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We present to you: 840 fine, upstanding young disks stuffed into a rack cabinet – DDN

Jim O'Reilly

What is the use case for this?

Apart from giving field engineers a hernia, you have to wonder what this box is for. It can't hold much SSD because there aren't enough interfaces. This means it is a secondary bulk storage system, which begs the question of why SAS redundant interfaces were provided for the drives. SATA would have been the right choice. Front to back depth is going to cause problems, as is the floor load.

This looks a bit like a solution looking for a rapidly vanishing problem. The trend to compact storage boxes with fewer drives, such as FaceBook's 1U 12-drive module, makes much more sense, both use-wise and economically.

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PCIe hard drives? You read that right, says WD

Jim O'Reilly

Pedalling a bike on the Nurburgring??

You have to

1 Ask why you would need such a fast connection on a snail-paced spinning drive

2 Wonder why SATA isn't enough

3 Ponder the presence of any spinning rust in the primary storage tier

4 Suspect this is yet another ploy to have high-priced (and unnecessary) "enterprise" hard drives

5 Predict that Ethernet drives will replace SATA anyway

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Beijing to Washington: Ratted-out routers not welcome here

Jim O'Reilly
Holmes

Cyber Cold War

There's clearly a cyber battle between the US and China, and it extends to commercial espionage. Why everyone is excited about just network gear escapes me. All of the large US companies, and all the Chinese brands, make their servers, PCs, tablets and phones in China.

They all have firmware and are easier to compromise. The solution is to treat firmware as software, and load it at the final user from a trusted source.

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Cloudy plague will KILL storage vendors, say Gartner mages

Jim O'Reilly
Holmes

They missed a wave!

It's interesting Gartner is breaking ranks with the march of the Big Battalions. That's very rare for them to do. Still, they didn't go far enough!

We will see a major move towards white-box storage, driven by both low price points and volume shipped to CSPs. Liken this to the evolution into Linux for systems and I think you get the picture.

The result will be a race to the bottom on prices, which generally is good for the consumer, but not so for the larger traditional providers. Software-Defined Storage reflects that fear, as the realization that value will be in the software not the hardware.

But there are only so many software stacks needed and the open-source community is working on that too. The traditional big vendors are going to need good futurists to guide through this!

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You know all those resources we're about to run out of? No, we aren't

Jim O'Reilly
Pint

Common sense at last!

Now that there's a big chill on Anthropogenic Global Warming, it looks like the professional doomsayers are out finding the "Next Big Thing" (NBT). As with all fortune-tellers, predicting a disaster is better than predicting good news. If the disaster happens, the fortuneteller was right, and if it doesn't, everyone is so relieved they forgive the lie.

The NBT is going to be resources. We are raping the Earth and using them up without recycling - right! Soon we'll have calls for recycling every gram of metal into component elements, and plastics recycling will require us sorting every plastic type into unique bags. I can't wait!

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Urinating teen polluted 57 Olympic-sized swimming pools - cops

Jim O'Reilly

Worse than Fukushima radioactivity in Califonia seawater?

What's worse - 6 pisticles per gallon or 5 nanocuries per liter?

This is environmentalism gone overboard. Doesn't Portland know that California is considering recycled sewage water?

It's this sort of crap that gets real environmental science a bad name!

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ARRAY WITH YOU! Storage is growing... but you'll have to make way for new tech

Jim O'Reilly
Holmes

Re: Synchronous replication over distance !

This is a serious and possibly fatal weakness in VSAN strategies. Vendors seem to extoll the virtues of storage mashups without getting into the detail of achieving no single point of failure. That makes VSANs a retrograde step.

This is consistent with the new instance storage mentality, whereby a local SSD is used to boost performance n an instance. That approach abandons virtualization, since loss of a node can cause actual data loss, given the no repair mentality of CSPs. The result is that jobs are in essence running in a hosted services model rather than a true virtualization model.

VSAN advocates blithely assume that "flexibility" is good, but the concept ignores too many real world constraints. Power efficiency and cooling, efficient networking, and ease of management are all understood in traditional storage, while it's still hard to see any thought of this behind all the VSAN and SDN hype.

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Indian climate boffins: Himalayan glaciers are NOT MELTING

Jim O'Reilly
Pint

AGW isn't doing well

Despite the US President saying it's so, AGW's science is falling apart. Even the much vaunted ice retreat in Antarctica looks to be from natural causes.

It's time to move on to the next scare!

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Scientists warn of FOUR-FOOT sea level rise from GLACIER melt

Jim O'Reilly
Pint

Wait, Wait! AGW is COLLING the Antarctic!

So this morning El Reg has an article on how boffins in Australia think AGW is cooling Antarctica. I guess Aussies see the world upside down, or else the Californians have been on a different planet for a while. You can't have it both ways!

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HP-Foxconn wave cloud kit under the nose of Google, Facebook et al

Jim O'Reilly

Tough competition

Having delivered servers to the big CSPs, I can tell you this is a very tough market. The CSPs are technically very savvy, and buy in huge volumes, so their cost leverage is strong.

The question here is what HP brings to the table. It isn't support, since the CSPs use limited repai philosophies, and can handle technical issues themselves. It isn't volume buying power, since the CSPs are doing just fine going direct to the ODMs. It isn't technology savvy, since the Googles of the world are so far ahead of "mainstream" design philosophies that they would be teaching HP the business.

This play doesn't make great sense as stated...going after the 20 titans. It makes much more sense for enterprise private clouds and boutique second-tier CSPs or SaaS providers who don't have the skills or leverage to go to the ODMs direct.

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Report: Climate change has already hit USA - and time is RUNNING OUT

Jim O'Reilly
Holmes

I hate to be a bit cynical but I wouldn't expect a committee that has worked so long and hard, with such a strong political leaning toward Warming among the staffers who controlled it, to come up with anything short of a Jeremiad.

As is common in these cases, the baseline is chosen to give a decent increase, but the fact theat Earth has failed to follow the model for the last 21 years seems to have eluded the committee members.

Until there is a real explanation available for the last 22 years of stagnation on the warming front, and not just vague comments about ocean stirring, I won't jump on the AGW bandwagon. I find the model-based science rather dubious, especially as the cheerleaders for AGW regularly tout a symptom such as melting ice as absolute proof AGW is here, only to reverse themselves when the ice rushes back a couple of years late.

We do need to stop using oil, because there's a limited amount of it, and I don't want my grandchildren fighting a war to get the last drops. But dubious science is not the way to do this. We need some serious backbone in the debate, some common-sense and an acceptance that we can build safe nuclear reactors - we have thorium fuel for 5 millennia for those and pollution is much much better than uranium power!

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Cash slump a Seagate problem, or a hard disk industry problem?

Jim O'Reilly
Holmes

Not much boost from Win8

It doesn't look like there's a wave of desktop replacement due to the demise of Windows XP, so either new desktops are going to SSD, or Microsoft has a dud on their hands again.

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Fusion-io takes DIMM view of flash cards ... Diablo goes for broke

Jim O'Reilly

NVDIMMs can be much faster

There are two types of NVDIMM. One is a flash block-IO device using the DIMM memory bus, and the other is a DRAM memory with a flash backup on power failure.

The latter runs at DRAM speed, and can be directly addressed by register-memory instructions. That leaves FusionIO, and PCIe generally, in the dust, but using the capability needs some software changes.

So the speed argument only applies to the other type of NVDIMM, which is still tied to the storage software stack in the OS and the moving of 4KB blocks of data.

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NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS

Jim O'Reilly

Did the NSA write this bug?

The hole is so elegant and so widespread that you would wonder if NSA wrote it.

If indeed they failed to act, that implies they didn't see this as a threat to any national data, which suggest they knew it wasn't originated overseas or by black hat types. That means they are likely perps!

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CDOT relatively crap for flash, hyperscalers crap for constant storage

Jim O'Reilly

Those pesky Excel spreadsheets.

Jay's spreadsheet needs some work on it. S3 is indeed 2.5 cents per gigabyte per month, but that is for 3 replicas of the data, so it's really only 0.8 cents per drive gigabyte. At 3 months that nets 2.4 cents per drive gigabyte, not the 90 cents Jay talks up. This is $32/terabyte/year

At $32 per year, I suspect that AWS is way lower than the purchase price of a terabyte from NetApp, amortized over 4 years, NetApp has to include the drive, caddy, and a piece of the filer hardware and software to get a fair comparison, and also factor the cost of money.

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CERN team uses GPUs to discover if antimatter falls up, not down

Jim O'Reilly

What happens if a God Particle meets anti-matter?

Is the Higgs particle its own anti-particle. If not, the interaction of an anti-proton with one could be spectacular!

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Schoolkids given WORLD'S CHEAPEST TABLETS: Is it really that hard to swallow?

Jim O'Reilly

Great analysis

Assuming the tablet has a standard browser, server-based education and services are possible. This would easily overcome many of the deficiencies in the tablets. India is already developing education content.

We Westerners are spoiled from running our own copy of Word on our PCs. The server-based model is cheaper, especially at the discount level the Indian government could command.

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Google's Drive SLASH, secret 'big upgrade': Coincidence? HARDLY

Jim O'Reilly
Pint

Compress, deduplicate - What price per Terabyte??

At $35 per terabyte, which is Google's price for a 2TB drive, amortized over 4 years, that works out at a drive cost of $0.75 per month.

But it's much better than that! Compression and deduplication reduce stored data size by 85 percent in a business environment, so we are down to around 10 cents cost of the drive per month.

In the consumer space, compression isn't as good, due to the large number of images stored. Deduplication across users, however, is fantastic, if implemented. Reductions of 99 percent are possible.

There are more costs than drives of course, but bottom line, these prices could still go down further!

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