Samsung prepping 4GB flash drive for Windows Vista
Samsung Electronics has developed a flash memory-based drive that will help users take advantage of features in Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Vista OS to increase the performance of their computers. The drive is packed with 4GB of flash memory — data storage chips that work faster than current hard-disk drives and can hold information with the power turned off. Coupled with Vista’s ReadyBoost feature, which allows flash memory to be used for storage of information that would otherwise be written to the hard-disk, it means that programs should be much more responsive than is currently the case with Windows XP, Samsung said.
Availability: Not disclosed URL: www.samsung.com
Intel launches Core 2 Duo processors
Intel Corp. has unveiled its new Core 2 Duo processor lineup with 10 new dual-core chips promising markedly better performance and greater energy efficiency than Intel’s existing products. The Core 2 Duo launch has been billed as Intel’s most significant since the introduction of the original Pentium processor in 1993. Among the chips announced by Intel are five processors designed for laptops and five desktop chips, including the high-end Core 2 Extreme processor for gamers. Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme are based on Intel’s Core microarchitecture, which replaces the NetBurst architecture used in the Pentium 4. The same microarchitecture is used in Woodcrest, the latest version of the Xeon server processor announced last month.
Available: Shipping now to OEMs URL: www.intel.com
SAP to update app maintenance software
SAP AG is updating its software maintenance application designed to help administrators manage upgrades, patches and other changes to the company’s software. Along with the changes to the application, called SAP Solution Manager, SAP said it would become the sole method for receiving maintenance updates to its mySAP Business Suite 2005 applications starting in April of next year. Release 4.0 will automatically keep administrators aware of changes and provide tools, services and best practices as part of a preconfigured maintenance management process.
Availability: January 2007 Pricing: Free to SAP customers URL: www.sap.com
EqualLogic dives into pooled SANs
EqualLogic has announced a new drive array and version 3.0 of its PS (Peer Storage) array firmware, which enables multiple pools of storage in a single iSCSI SAN. The new PS400E array can have 10TB of storage with 750GB Seagate serial ATA (SATA) drives. These drives use perpendicular recording to achieve their capacity level, accessed over Ethernet using the iSCSI protocol. The different EqualLogic arrays can be combined — mixed and matched — in a rack unit with their capacity combined into a single virtual pool of IP SAN storage. With the firmware release, a pool can be configured with capacity/performance characteristics to serve particular business and/or application needs.
Availability: Available now URL: www.equallogic.com
Lexmark makes a mark
Lexmark Canada has introduced a new workgroup colour laser printer series, the Lexmark C770 family, designed for the business market. The budget-model C770n offers basic features for cost-conscious customers that do not require additional paper handling options and print modest volumes of monochrome and colour documents. For more demanding users, the C772n offers a 15,000-page toner cartridge to give customers a lower cost per page. Both models are designed to handle a variety of different media to allow for industry-specific uses, such as retail stores printing outdoor signs on special weather-resistant paper or hospitals printing colour ID bracelets with a patient’s photo.
Availability: Available now Pricing: C770n is $1,199, C772n is $1,899 URL: www.lexmark.com
Low-cost Gigabit Ethernet gear
SMC Networks has launched its 24-port EZ Switch SMCGS24-Smart Ethernet switch, with 10/100/1000Mbps, or triple-speed Ethernet supported on all ports in the box. The device also includes four additional built-in copper and fibre Gigabit Ethernet uplink ports, which can be configured to run as either all-fibre, all-copper, or a mix of the two cabling types. Only four uplinks ports can be active at once. The SMCGS24-Smart is an example of LAN switch features, once found in more expensive products, that are filtering down to commodity-type gear. One feature new to the SMC switch line is cable diagnostics, which allows the switch to detect faulty Category 5/6 or fibre optic cables attached to a switch port that may impede throughput or traffic quality. Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) snooping, a capability for setting up and managing IP multicast networks, is another feature included in the switch.
Availability: Available now Pricing: US$400 URL: www.smc.com
Symphony jazzes up its software with a new GUI
Symphony Services, a telecom expense management software and hosting provider, has announced that its latest software version is now available. Symphony’s Select Expense Management Software (EMS) 11.4 includes an improved interface to its customer service portal, which now provides a dashboard view into all of the software’s functionality. The interface is designed to make it easier for users to get a clear status of their overall telecom spend, inventory and payment processes. The new software also includes an Auditor Toolkit that allows users to more easily capture customer records, call accounting information for VoIP calls, and streamlined processes for invoice approval and reconciliation. Customers can purchase EMS 11 software in a hosted environment where Symphony is selling the software as a service or as part of a fully outsourced engagement.
Availability: Available now URL: www.symphonysv.com
Autodesk launches Maya 8
Autodesk has launched Maya 8, the newest version of its 3D modeling, animation and rendering software for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux. New to this release are improvements that enable the software to handle larger datasets and myriad performance and productivity enhancements. Skinning, draw tessellation and subdivided polygon proxy meshes have been multithreaded, to provide performance improvements on multicore and multi-processor machines. What’s more, Maya 8 features 64-bit support, but only in its Windows and Linux products. The Mac version remains 32-bit for now, and it does not appear that Maya 8 is shipping as a Universal binary that runs natively on Intel Macs. Enhancements have been made to Application Programming Interface extensions and Autodesk FBX file exchange technology. Geometry caching is now interchangeable with Maya and Autodesk’s 3ds Max animation software.
Availability: Available now Pricing: Complete and Unlimited versions for US$1,999 and US$6,999 respectively; upgrades start at US$899 URL: www.autodesk.com
RSS feeds for Dreamweaver sites
Availability: Available now Pricing: Single website edition US$29, five Web site edition US$39, unlimited edition US$59 URL: www.rnsoft.com
Not just micro, it’s tiny
Sony of Canada has expanded its MicroVault line of portable storage media with Tiny, a 4GB model. Measuring roughly 1/2-inch wide and just over one inch in length, the purple MicroVault Tiny 4GB joins a line that already includes an orange 256MB device, a blue 1GB device, and a green 2GB device. The drives come preloaded with Virtual Expander, which Sony said expands the capacity to virtually store up to three times as much data by automatically compressing and decompressing files.
Availability: September 2006 Pricing: $289.99 URL: www.sony.ca
IBM upgrades Unix servers
IBM is upgrading the high end of its System p5 servers with dual-core Power5+ processors, which the company says will deliver a 25 per cent performance gain over existing models, in part through improvements in the processor. The two models are IBM’s p5-595, which can scale up to 32 processors with 64 cores, and the p5-590, which has 32 cores. The fully configured high-end system can support up to 254 virtual servers per physical server, which IBM expects to appeal to businesses consolidating servers. Each processor core can support up to 10 virtual servers. IBM is also making available its Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager on these systems.
Availability: Available now URL: www.ibm.com
PlateSpin upgrades VM conversion utility
PlateSpin has released Power-Convert 6.0 with full support for the recently released VMware Infrastructure 3 (VI3). PlateSpin said the new product’s live conversion feature helps data centres transition from VMware ESX Server 2.5 to VI3 with minimal interruption. PowerConvert automates the process of streaming servers across physical, virtual, blade and image-based infrastructures, without having to stop the VM or make any changes to it, according to the Toronto company.
Availability: Available now Pricing: Starting at US$45 per conversion URL: www.platespin.com