Seagate uses tiny lasers to create world’s first 16TB hard drive

Storage hardware giant Seagate has successfully used tiny lasers to increase the capacity of a traditional 3.5-inch hard drive to 16TB.

The technology, known as Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR), employs a radically new read/write head design and a specific magnetic alloy to reduce the width of data tracks – helping store more information in the same amount of physical space.

Seagate has built and tested the first generation of HAMR drives, and said it will sell them as part of its Exos product family – aimed primarily at enterprise customers – however the exact date of the commercial launch has not been made public.

The highest capacity HDD on the market today is Western Digital’s Ultrastar DC HC620, weighing in at 15TB – but it uses Shingle Magnetic Recording (SMR), a method of storing information that boosts capacity at the expense of write speed and requires customers to modify their applications and/or operating system.

Seagate Exos HAMR 16TB - artists's impression

The upcoming Seagate Exos HAMR 16TB– Seagate

It’s HAMR Time!

HAMR relies on a very small laser diode mounted on the drive’s read/write head that heats up the storage medium – a spinning disk made of “a new kind of media magnetic technology” – before any information is written.

This allows the use of smaller magnetic grains and narrower data tracks, and results in higher areal density – which enables more data capacity.

Unlike SMR drives, HAMR drives can be used as a drop-in replacement for existing Parallel Magnetic Recording (PMR) drives – the traditional HDDs that have been serving the industry since around 1957.

The HAMR technology was proposed by Fujitsu way back in 2006, and demonstrated by Seagate in 2012, but bringing it to the market has proved complicated: Seagate originally planned to launch working drives by 2015-2016, but even after the latest set of tests, it refuses to commit to a specific launch date. The company does say, however, that HAMR technology will enable it to build 20TB+ hard drives by 2020.

“Our testing has demonstrated the drives’ compatibility for enterprise systems that are being used today. No system level changes are needed to run the HAMR drives in these evaluations, or to deploy them in customer environments,” said Jason Feist, Seagate’s senior director of enterprise product line management.

“These are the same tests that customers use to qualify every new drive, including power efficiency tests, sg3_utils utilities that test SCSI commands to devices, standard smartmontools utility programs that will enable customers to characterize and compare HAMR drives in their environment right next to PMR drives, and several four-corners tests of reads, writes, random, sequential and mixed workloads.”

U.S. FDA Eyes Blockchain to Enhance Food Safety in the Wake of E. coli Outbreak

Following an outbreak of E. coli in the United States that was linked to romaine lettuce, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering better track-and-trace methods and this includes the use of blockchain technology.

Speaking to business news channel CNBC, FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb announced that the federal agency had hired the vice president of food safety at Walmart, Frank Yiannas, as its foods and veterinary medicine deputy commissioner. Yiannas is expected to introduce new track-and-trace tools to the agency.

“We have a guy starting… the former head of food safety at Walmart who is going to be coming to the FDA to help us put in place among other things better track and trace using tools like blockchain maybe to even do track-and-trace on the food supply chain,” Gottlieb said.

Pinpointing the Problem

According to Gottlieb, whenever there is a food-related outbreak, technologies such as blockchain will assist in tracing the cause to a specific distributor, farm or grower in the supply chain. This will prevent blanket warnings which affect everyone even when the cause is limited to a particular origin.

Prior to joining the FDA, Yiannas was instrumental in deploying blockchain technology at Walmart with a view of tracking leafy greens as CCN reported in September. This included the food traceability initiative which required producers of fresh, leafy greens to use blockchain technology in tracking and tracing such products. Walmart gave the suppliers one year to ensure that systems were in place for the program to take off.


While announcing the initiative at the time, Walmart noted that multiple states in the U.S. had suffered E. coli outbreaks linked to romaine lettuce and this had resulted in 96 hospitalizations and five deaths. With blockchain technology, the big box retailer added, product information such as origin would become available throughout the supply chain in real time.

“In the future, using the technology we’re requiring, a customer could potentially scan a bag of salad and know with certainty where it came from,” Yiannas said at the time.

Food Safety

Outside the United States, French retail giant Carrefour has taken similar steps to Walmart by integrating IBM’s tailored blockchain data system known as Food Trust with a view of improving food safety.

And about four months ago, the Food Standards Agency, the food safety watchdog of the United Kingdom, announced that a blockchain technology trial to track beef from the slaughterhouse to the end consumer had concluded successfully.

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Crushing it: Stellar, Litecoin, Monero, & Zcash Post Major Gains as Crypto Market Rallies

A few of the top 15 cryptocurrencies saw notable increases over the past twenty-four hours. Stellar saw a gain of 15% against the US dollar, with 22% of its volume being against USD or USD-pegged cryptocurrencies themselves – meaning these gains are realistic, not just figurative. Litecoin gained over 13% against the dollar while Monero jumped nearly 16%, and Zcash was hot on its heels.

Stellar Price up 15%

Stellar (XLM) price is up 15% against the dollar, with a 3% gain in Bitcoin valuation, over the last 24 hours. The cryptocurrency saw a 24-hour volume of almost $100 million in trading, with a gain in overall market capitalization roughly equal to that.

According to CoinMarketCap, trading against USDT accounted for roughly almost 22% across twelve markets. Notably, the most trading in a single pair happened at an exchange outside of Binance — namely, Exrates, — although overall trading did have a plurality at Binance with 18% between XLM/BTC and XLM/USDT.

Litecoin Price up 13%

Litecoin price seems to have begun to pick up around 22:00 CST last night, with an initial sell-off worth about 20,000 Satoshis per token happening for the next couple of hours. A simultaneous price-rise in Bitcoin actually meant the market capitalization of the cryptocurrency rose during this same period. Then, around 1:45 AM CST, demand seems to have to picked up and the price was on the rise yet again with 13% increase on the LTC/USD pair.

Litecoin only recovered about half its BTC value in the rebound trading, but in terms of USD it saw a significant increase. Overall volume was about $500 million over the entire 24 hour period, with more than $150 million of that having been done against USDT. Trading against PAX and USDC combined was less than $100,000.

Monero Price up $8

Privacy coin Monero, which has a small infinite inflation and a current supply of about 16.6 million, gained roughly $8 in US dollars over the 24-hour period, with $20 million traded across all exchanges and pairs.

The vast majority of Monero trading – 94% – took place on Korea’s Bithumb against the Korean Won. XMR/KRW was the was the second most active market on the exchange over 24 hours, during which period it traded nearly $2 billion overall.

Zcash Price up 16%

The Zcash (ZEC) chart is perhaps the most interesting of the bunch, with a 24-hour simultaneous rise in both market capitalization and USD price, but a drop in actual BTC-per-token valuation.

zcash price
ZEC/USD | Binance

The price wound up around $11 higher than it was 24 hours previous to 8:00 AM CST, gaining around $64 million in overall market capitalization, with more than 30% of its trading happening in the Ether market at an exchange called Lbank, and another 8% of the total volume happening at the same exchange against BTC. Another 22% of the volume happened at the same exchange as the most Monero trading, Bithumb, also against KRW. Thus a total of 60% of the ZEC volume happened in three currencies on two markets.

USDT trading of ZEC accounted for just over $20 million of the total $198 million volume, with the majority of that also happening at Lbank – that single pair making up nearly 5% of the overall volume. Collectively, Lbank accounted for $118 million of the 24-hour volume on ZEC.

Cisco Announces First Hybrid Solution for Kubernetes on Amazon Web Services

Applications are the lifeblood of business. Build them easily and get them up and running quickly and you have a huge competitive advantage. But get bogged down worrying about where those applications run, and you miss opportunities. Cisco is now solving that problem with a new solution built for Amazon Web Services (AWS) that makes running new containerized applications simple.

Organizations want the ability to develop and deploy applications anywhere they want. Across public and private clouds, without constraints. The Cisco Hybrid Solution for Kubernetes on AWS makes it easy for customers to run production-grade Kubernetes on-premises.  This is achieved by configuring on-premises Kubernetes environments to be consistent with Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (Amazon EKS) and by combining Cisco’s networking, security, management and monitoring software with AWS’ world-class cloud services. This enables customers to focus on building and using applications, instead of being constrained by where they run.

This new solution:

  • Helps developers accelerate innovation and reduce time-to-market. Containerized applications can now be deployed and managed more easily across on-premises and the AWS cloud.
  • Reduces complexity and costs for IT operations teams. The management of on-premises Kubernetes infrastructure is simplified with a common set of tools on-premises and on AWS.
  • Meets the needs of both developers and IT operations teams.  It allows containerized applications to work with existing resources and production environments.
  • Provides world-class support. Cisco’s enterprise support covers all parts of the solution.

“Today, most customers are forced to choose between developing applications on-premises or in the cloud. This can create a complex mix of environments, technologies, teams and vendors. But they shouldn’t have to make a choice,” said Kip Compton, senior vice president, Cloud Platform and Solutions at Cisco. “Now, developers can use existing investments to build new cloud-scale applications that fuel business innovation. This makes it easier to deploy and manage hybrid applications, no matter where they run. This allows customers to get the best out of both cloud and their on-premises environments with a single solution.”

“More customers run containers on AWS and Kubernetes on AWS than anywhere else,” said Terry Wise, Global Vice President of Channels & Alliances, Amazon Web Services, Inc. “Our customers want solutions that are designed for the cloud and Cisco’s integration with Amazon EKS will make it easier for them to rapidly deploy and run containerized applications across both Cisco-based on-premises environments and the AWS cloud.”

Availability, Pricing, and Support

The Cisco Hybrid Solution for Kubernetes on AWS will be available to customers in December 2018. It will be provided as both a software-only solution requiring only the Cisco Container Platform, or a hardware/software solution with the Cisco Container Platform running on Cisco HyperFlex™. The software is licensed in one-, three- and five-year subscriptions. Pricing for software-only subscriptions will start at approximately $65,000 per year for a typical entry-level configuration.  On AWS, customers pay $0.20 per hour for each Amazon EKS cluster that they create in addition to the AWS resources (e.g. Amazon EC2 instances or Amazon Elastic Block Store volumes) they create to run Kubernetes worker nodes.

The new solution will be sold by Cisco and its global partner network. The platform will be supported by Cisco’s world-class technical support. Cisco DevNet will also provide an online resource for developers to trial and benchmark hybrid cloud applications using the solution.

Good News for Colocation Revenue Growth

First, let’s talk about how these devices will drive collocation service revenues, which IHS Markit forecasts to grow from $23 million in 2017 to $32 million in 2021; a 40% increase over the same four-year period. Data center growth is correlated with general data growth. The more data transmitted via connected devices; the more data centers are needed to store, transfer, and analyze this data. In the specific case of the Internet of Things, there’s a need for geographically distributed data centers that can provide low-latency connections to certain connected devices. There are applications, like autonomous vehicles or virtual reality, which are going to require local data centers to manage much of the data processing required to operate. Most enterprises will not have the means or the business case to build new data centers in every nook and cranny of the globe, so they will need to turn to colocation data centers to provide quickly scale-able, low capital-intensive options for geographically distributed data centers.

IHS Markit forecast Internet connectable devices to grow from 27.5 billion in 2017 to 45.4 billion in 2021; a 65% increase in just four years. What does this mean for the colocation market? Well, it’s certainly a positive driver for colocation revenue growth; however, it’s not the 1:1 ratio many industry enthusiasts once thought. Second, it’s giving colocation service providers a new opportunity to assist with the aggregation and connectivity of new end-points and data sources.

The future of colocation hosting and cloud hosting services has an ever expanding demand with more devices we will need more hosting.

Frankfurt School relies on Blockchain: Counterfeit-proof certificates for students

The verification and authentication of a certificate takes time, is expensive, and annoying. Applicants and examiners suffer from this as well as the issuers of the certificates, such as citizen centers or universities. They must regularly fight against forged certificates and the associated reputation damage. Moreover, the recipients do not have full control over the diplomas and certificates obtained.

That is why the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management is the first university in Germany to offer blockchain-based certificates. With this new technology, it is possible to create fraud-resistant certificates and statements. One can also make them permanently available without restriction – and in compliance with data regulations. For this pilot project, the business school cooperates with Consensys, one of the leading software companies in the field of blockchain. Consensys developed a decentralized app (dApp) for so-called “Self- Sovereign Identities“: An identity created by the user that is stored on the blockchain and thus tamper-proof. Data and degrees can be administered by the user. Therefore, the loss and re-certification of credentials and certificates are a thing of the past.

Veronika Kütt, a research associate at the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center and lead of the project states: “Blockchain-based certificates are fascinating. In the future, we will be able to display and verify credentials digitally. We are doing pioneering work here. Our students find it a privilege to be involved in a new technology so early on. It must have been similar to programming the first public internet sites in the mid-‘90s.“

Professor Philipp Sandner, head of the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center, adds: “Thanks to blockchain technology, it is possible to securely save personal data such as a CV or an identity card digitally. With our project, we show how easy and comfortable that can be for the user.”

The first students to receive a blockchain-based certificate from Frankfurt School also dealt with this technology in their degree course. The eleven students have completed the business school’s “Certified Blockchain Expert” program which is part of the professional education offerings. The specialists and executives from the finance, IT or consulting industry developed basic knowledge and IT skills for different applications of the blockchain technology. Now, they can use what they have learned to harness the potential of the new technology for their companies


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