Samsung has announced they have a new SSD that includes some extra sauce. The SmartSSD CSD flash drive includes an FPGA from manufacturer Xilinx on board. Designed for use in enterprise data centers, the package includes FPGAs and ARM Coprocessors to accelerate storage performance by offloading those tasks from the system CPU.
Apple’s week wasn’t all good. In the ongoing litigation with VirnetX a jury ruled that Apple owes the patent holding company $502 million dollars for the infringement of their VPN-on-Demanc patent. This is on top of the $400 million Apple had already paid them to settle a communications security patent dispute that affected FaceTime. Tom, is Apple going to feel any sting?
Just before the pandemic, the Storage Field Day delegates visited Western Digital and learned about zoned storage. At that time, we learned that dividing a storage device into performance zones isn’t just for hard disk drives, but that SSDs would benefit too. Now we have the first fruit of this technology, as Western Digital shows their first zoned SSDs
The Google parent Alphabet has unveiled an enlightening bit of technology. Project Taara, which means “of the tower” uses light beams between towers to exchange data at 20Gbps. The technology is similar to the way fiber optics works today, only without the cables. The idea is to be able to bring high-speed network connectivity to rural and developing areas without the need for massive infrastructure. General Manager Mahesh Krishnaswamy says that the Kenyan pilot tests were successful and the tech should be rolling out to other areas very soon.
One of the first companies to deliver storage that didn’t use spinning disks was Violin Memory. Their DRAM arrays astonished the industry a decade ago, and the company was quick to add NAND flash arrays too. They went bankrupt in 2016 before being re-launched with private equity money and acquiring the storage assets of the former Xiotech. Now we hear that the company, Violin Systems, has been acquired by StorCentric.
Apple is taking a bite out of Intel. As announced at their One More Thing event yesterday, Apple is making their own chips for their new Mac line. The M1 is a SoC specifically designed to work in the next generation of Macs. The chip is based heavily on the existing A14 chips being offered in the current iPad generation. The M1 has 16 billion transistors and a mix of high-performance and low-performance cores to provide better power savings. The performance numbers that have been seen so far indicate this chip is a match for existing laptop CPUs and should gain as developers learn to build applications around the new technology. Apple is currently shipping the M1 in a new MacBook Air, 13″ MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini. Stephen, this is a move you’ve been talking about ever since the launch of the iPad Pro.
Intel seems to be squarely in the sights of Agent P. Security researchers announced this week that they have discovered a new side-channel exploit capable of deducing encryption keys in the chipmakers new SGX secure enclave. The attack, now called PLATYPUS, uses the Running Average Power Limit interface to infer data being stored in the chip, including the SGX enclave. Intel has published patches that require more privilege to access the RAPL interface as well as limiting the reported energy consumption to foil potential attackers.
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