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Wacom - Taking creativity to another dimension
QNAP - Taking creativity to another dimension
Synology - Versatile Data Hub for Home
WD (Western Digital) - Beyond the desktop with Nasware
Seagate - Built for NAS
3M - Advanced privacy. Enhanced clarity.

As in February, the LTO-8 media still continues to be in shortage.  So what do you do, you have invested in LTO-8 tape drive already, hoping to make use of the high-density 12TB Native LTO-8 media ( or compressed 30 TB which you might achieve if your data is compressible ).  Do you go back to LTO-7?

Well, for now, you have a cheaper media to help you.  Use LTO-7 Type M media with your LTO-8 drive.  (formerly referred to as LTO-8 type M). 

What is an LTO-7 Type M Media

LTO-7 Type M is a brand new LTO-7 media that needs to be formatted in LTO-8 drive.  This is an LTO-7 media, so you pay for LTO-7. But when you format it in LTO-8 drive, as type M, you get 9TB Native Capacity. 

Advantage?

You Pay for LTO-7 6TB native media and get 9Tb native in LTO-8 drive. That's a great value.  At the current price, this works out to be cheaper than LTO-8 media cost per TB.  

Media Native Capacity Cost/TB
LTO-7 6 TB AED 45/TB
LTO-7 Type M  9 TB AED 30/TB
LTO-8 12 TB AED 58/TB


What you need to use LTO-7 as LTO-7 type M  

  • LTO-8 Tape Drive
  • Previously unused LTO-7 Media
  • Format this Media as LTO-7 Type M, and you have 9TB Native Capacity. 
  • LTO-7 Type M Labels ( so your drive knows these are LTO-7 M tapes). These labels have M8 identifier 

Seagate has launched the Ironwolf 110 NAS SSDs, specially designed for the Network Attached Storage. 

Seagate claims this is a drive that's purpose-built for NAS, just like their Ironwolf and Ironwolf Pro series of Hard disk Drives.  Some of the unique features of Ironwolf 110 SSD are 

  • 2 Million Hours MTBF 
    This is similar to any Enterprise grade storage.

  • 5 Years Limited warranty with 2 years Rescue Plan
    This is similar to Ironwolf Pro. You get 5 years limited warranty and the first 2 years, you are covered with the Seagate Data Recovery. 

  • Ironwolf Health Management 
    Across all capacities, you have the IHM that integrates within the Popular NAS OS. 

  • Capacities from 240GB to 3.84TB
Looks like a winner to us all around. Pricing is yet to be announced to channel.

As a part of their new branding Strategy , Printronix are making some changes from April 2019.  There are 3 major changes  for all the  P8000 and 6800 Line Matrix printers Series (other than Open Print)

  1. Dual branding
    Each printer will have both Tally Genicom and Printronix Branding. So a P8000 that used to be a Printronix only branded printer will have both Printronix and Tally Genicom Logo.

  2. Full Suite of Emulation that can be changed anytime. 
    Each Printer will include as standard the full suite of Printronix and TallyGenicom printer emulations and languages. You can choose the emulation at the time of setup and be able to switch the emulation in the future. 

  3. Consumable Intercompatibility:
    Each Printer will be able to use either TallyGenicom or Printronix Ribbon. Starter ribbon in the printer will also be Dual branded 

And all this comes without any price change. This is going to be a huge convenience for the customer and suppliers as the total number of stockable SKUs can be reduced, and the consumer has the flexibility to use any printer emulation and change it later if required. 

Printers sold Prior to April '19 will still continue to use their corresponding ribbons ( TallyGenicom branded for TallyGenicom and Printronix Branded for Printronix). We will continue to stock and offer both Tally Genicom and Printronix Part number to serve our customers. 

Despite the popularity of SSD drives nothing beats the good old hard drives when it comes to costing. According to IDC, 163 ZB will be the amount of Data world will create by 2025. Further, 70 percent of this data would be stored on hard drives.

Seagate claims that their HAMR technology that they have been developing is ready for real-world application and they will have 20TB+ Drives within 2019. In contrast, today the largest capacity drive available to the channel is 14TB.

High Capacity hard drives, with the same footprint, are essential for high-density datacenters. Prices are sure to fall as Seagate introduces bigger drives.

Here is a comparison of Cost per TB for currently available Hard drives, this table is compiled based on the NAS grade drives and shows a similar trend for both the Industry Titans - 4TB is the most cost-effective drive when it comes to Cost/TB.

For simplicity, I have considered the 4TB price as the unit price, and all other prices are shown in relation to 4TB.  This would show the true relation of pricing to each other, irrespective of which tier you buy the drives at.

As evident from the table
  • 4TB and 8TB have the lowest Cost per TB. 8TB is almost approaching the 4TB cost/tb.
  • 2TB has the highest cost/tb. Its 27% higher than a 4TB drive
  • 10TB is just 5% higher than 4TB. This could be the ideal drive for high-density datacenters

Capacity Cost/tb (Compared to 4TB)
2TB 1.27
3TB 1.08
4 TB 1.00
6 TB 1.04
8 TB 1.01
10 TB 1.05



Qnap Introduced many new applications and appliance in the CES 2019. Notable ones among applications are

  • QuMagie : AI enabled Photostation.

    Think of QuMagie as your photostation that can recognize people, things, and places by running through the photos. Then you can either search for people in your photos for instance or browse the smart AI albums, organized based on the recognized attributes.  If you are thinking of Synology Moments, yes this is a very similar concept.

  • CacheMount: Mounting cloud services as local folders with caching

    With Qnap you could always connect to many Public cloud services and upload/download and Sync. CacheMount takes it one step further by letting you mount your Cloud as a local folder. Add to this the local caching and you have a low latency always available access to your cloud files. 

  • OpenVINO™ Workflow Consolidation Tool: Convert your Intel based Qnap into an inference system

    Qnap already has QuAi package through which you can train and deploy your own AI model. With OWCT, you can convert the trained models into inference service accelerated by the Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ Toolkit. Apart from converting your own trained models, you can also use the sample library of the models provided.

All the above 3 packages are still not available for download, but will soon be available for Public release. Under hardware, they are showcasing QGD-1600P - A 2 bay NAS with HDMI port and 16 managed network ports. That's a NAS+ Managed PoE Switch.

Printronix has introduced a new packaging size for the Standard Life 17K pages cartridges,  a box with 4 ribbon Cartridge.  It applies to the Printronix P7000/P8000 Series and to the TallyGenicom 6600/6800 Series of line printers in the same way.

The previous packing of Single Cartridge per box also continues, this packing is in addition to the single box packing. There is no price advantage on the 4 box, the price is exactly four times the price of a single box cartridge.


  • P7000/8000 Standard Life Cartridge Ribbon (17K pages) - Pack of 4: 255049-401
  • TG6600/6800 Standard Life Cartridge Ribbon (17K pages) - Pack of 4: 255661-401
We at Datacare will continue to stock and sell the single packs since there is no price advantage in a 4 box.

Western Digital (WD) Gold Enterprise drives have been marked as End of Life and will be replaced by HGST Ultrastar.

This easy matrix shows the new part numbers 


Gold Model Number

Transition to Ultrastar Model Number

Part Number

Name

Capacity

Format

WD1005FBYZ

HUS722T1TALA604

1W10001

Ultrastar DC HA210

1TB

512n

WD2005FBYZ

HUS722T2TALA604

1W10002

Ultrastar DC HA210

2TB

512n

WD4002FYYZ

HUS726T4TALA6L4

0B35950

Ultrastar DC HC310

4TB

512n

WD6002FRYZ

HUS726T6TALE6L4

0B36039

Ultrastar DC HC310

6TB

512e

WD8003FRYZ

HUS728T8TALE6L4

0B36404

Ultrastar DC HC320

8TB

512e

WD101KRYZ

HUH721010ALE604

0F27606

Ultrastar DC HC510

10TB

512e

WD121KRYZ

HUH721212ALE604

0F30146

Ultrastar DC HC520

12TB

512e



Despite what many say, tapes are far from dead. In fact past few years we have seen the tapes converge to 2 Major Formats -  LTO and 3592 media.  Vendors ( LTO consortium for LTO and IBM/Fuji for 3592) have been investing in both the formats and they remain the choice of media for the last tier of storage.

The Latest Generation of LTO tape media - LTO-8 offers Native capacity of 12TB ( 30TB on typical data compression).  Further, you can format a previously unused LTO-7 tape media as LTO-8 Type M and get 9TB Native Capacity.  This makes the new LTO-8 extremely compelling for an upgrade - it offers cheapest Cost per TB.  Even though the cost of the LTO-8 media is fairly high ( and will probably fall as with most of the new techs),  the LTO-7 media itself has a stable pricing. When you upgrade, you can make use of LTO-7 pricing and have a media that gives you 9 native Terabytes for the lowest cost per TB.

Here is a comparison of Cost per TB for currently running LTO media.  We have not included LTO-1,2 and 3 in the comparison as they have completely phased out and the supplies have become scarce too.  


Media Native Capacity (TB) Retail Price- AED Cost Per TB - AED Remarks
LTO-3 0.4 110 275.00  
LTO-4 0.8 85 106.25  
LTO-5 1.5 85 56.67  
LTO-6 2.5 90 36.00 Cheapest Cost Per TB, but Takes more tapes to save same amount of Data. Will be obsolete soon.
LTO-7 6 325 54.17  
LTO-8 Type M 9 325 36.11 Cheapest Cost Per TB
LTO-8 12 700 58.33 Almost Same as LTO-7, will surely fall .
  • LTO-8 Type M offers the lowest cost per TB, 50% lower than LTO-7. ( offcourse you have 50% more capacity but same price)
  • LTO-8 would soon become the lowest Cost per TB as the prices fall. Currently LTO-8 offers same cost per TB as LTO-7.
  • Upgrade now, use LTO-7 media as LTO-8 type M.  Start using LTO-8 whenever the prices of Media match your Cost per TB expectation.

In January,  Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities were discovered that affect several processors from Intel, AMD and even ARM.  Since this vulnerability is in the processor, a wide range of machines are at risk including PCs, servers and smartphones. Cloud is no exception since your Cloud service providers hardware would be vulnerable.  This is a vulnerability that is not tied to a single operating system or badly written program, it rather stems directly from the way the processor executes the information.

There are many models in Qnap and Synology that are powered by these processors, so in theory your data could be vulnerable in your NAS too.

Which Models of NAS are Vulnerable

In Theory, any NAS that is powered by an effected processor is vulnerable. In Practice though, unless you have a rouge application installed on your NAS , there is very little chance that your data could leak.  These vulnerabilities  rely on something called as "Speculative Execution" , and require a local application to exploit it.  Say when a rouge website can steal the information from another Running program on your PC , or from the PC memory.  With Virtual machines running on your NAS and Applications running on containers, the risk increases.

So far, there haven't been any reports of any data breach due to this pair of vulnerabilities in NAS products, but both Qnap and Synology have confirmed that they are working on software patches to fix the vulnerability.

Till the Patches are available

Till the patches are available, you should try and

1. Not install any untrusted application on NAS
2. Don't run any untrusted VM or Container App.
3. Ensure all the users on NAS are secured and have appropriate privileges only.

Severability of the Risk

Meltdown is easier to exploit but is also easier to patch. Spectre is difficult to exploit and the patches will be rolled out slowly too. So far there are no reports of anybody exploiting these, but then maybe they have gone un noticed. What makes it severe is that it lies in the hardware chipset itself, so potentially millions of machines are vulnerable.  A software that was secure in past may turn into an exploit tool with these vulnerabilities.

Goods news is that there is no report of exploit so far , and the patches are in work. Keep an eye on the updates and install as soon as available, even if it makes your PC slow.


This month both Qnap and Synology Announced the availability of new packages built around Machine Learning and AI.

Qnap First .

Qnap is targeting the Ameatures programmers and data scientists with its QuAI Developer's package. A package that can help the data scientists build ,train and deploy their machine Learning Models right on Qnap.
This was highly anticipated ever since Qnap started to ship out machines with GPU Support. Possible applications of a GPU on Qnap could be - Cryptocurrency mining ( yes, you can do that on qnap), Gaming ( with HDMI port connected to your TV) and off course training your ML model.

Its worth Noting that QuAI is just package with all the popular libraries built in - a Container. As such, you don't need to have QuAI to write your ML code. You could easily run a Virtual machine on Qnap and download whichever library you work with. For Example I could have Ubuntu running in a container ( or a Virtual machine) on Qnap and install python, NLTK and Tensorflow on Ubuntu.

What QuAI does facilitate is -

A) it makes creating the environment fast and easy. Within minutes you could have your entire framework and environment setup.
B) It can make use of the GPU.

You have option of installing QuAI with major popular libraries like Tensorflow, Caffe, Caffe2, MS CNTK and MXNET. How much processing power you get for training and deploying your ML model depends on your GPU.

Now about Synology. Synology has Applied Machine learning and released the beta version of Synology Moments. Moments is an app that can group your photos into similar groups based on the faces, places and objects. Technically it is Unsupervised Clustering done by your NAS , that's AI !

So far the options for managing photos on NAS relied heavily on EXIF metadata , and manual tags. For example if you took a photo with your phone with the GeoTag photo settings and saved it to your NAS , you would have a photo which has Exif data of the Location it was clicked on and a Date. With this NAS would give you the option to filter the photos according to date or Location. That's as far as you can go with this approach. If you wanted anything more, you would have to TAG the photo manually.

With Moments it changes for Synology users. Now the machine will scan the photos for know patterns , and for patterns within the images and cluster them together. It will further tag the photos too so you can search based on the tags. On the models with slower processors, only facial recognition is supported , and higher models support both face and subject recognition. You must have node.js installed on Synology for moments to work.

Its interesting to see the NAS vendors offering packages built around machine learning. This is just the beginning and I can foresee a lot many more applications on NAS coming up. Both Qnap and Synology Surveillance apps are going to deploy ML for pattern recognition for sure. Right now the only limiting factor for these vendors is the amount of processing power they have.

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