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Tech & Tools Watch, September 18: IBM, Unitrends, CloudLink

IBM's New M5 Servers Include Editions for Hyper-V and SQL Server
In what could be its last major rollout of new x86 systems if the company's January deal to sell its commodity server business to Lenovo for $2.3 billion goes through, IBM launched the new System x M5 line. The new lineup of servers includes systems designed to operate the latest versions of Microsoft's Hyper-V and SQL Server.

IBM said the new M5 line offers improved performance and security. With a number of models for a variety of solution types, the new M5 includes various tower, rack, blade and integrated systems that target everything from small workloads to infrastructure for private clouds, big data and analytic applications. The two systems targeting Microsoft workloads include the new IBM System x Solution for Microsoft Fast Track DW for SQL Server 2014 and an upgraded IBM Flex System Solution for Microsoft Hyper-V.

The IBM System x Solution for Microsoft SQL Data Warehouse on X6 is designed for data warehouse workloads running the new SQL Server 2014, which shipped in April. IBM said it offers rapid response to data queries and enables scalability as workloads increase. Specifically, the new systems are powered by Intel Xeon E7-4800/88 v2 processors. IBM said the new systems offer 100 percent faster database performance than the prior release, with three times the memory capacity and a third of the latency of PCIe-based flash. The systems can pull up to 12TB of flash memory-channel storage near the processor as well.

As a Microsoft Fast Track Partner, IBM also added its IBM System x3850 X6 Solution for Microsoft Hyper-V. Targeting business-critical systems, the two-node configuration uses Microsoft Failover Clustering, aimed at eliminating any single point of failure, according to IBM's reference architecture. The Hyper-V role installed on each clustered server, which hosts virtual machines.

Unitrends Adds Reporting Tools To Monitor Capacity and Storage Inventory
Backup and recovery appliance supplier Unitrends has added new tools track storage inventory and capacity, designed to help administrators more accurately gauge their system requirements in order to lower costs.

The set of free tools provide views of storage, file capacity and utilization. Unitrends said they let administrators calculate the amount of storage they need to make available for backups and prioritize files that need to be backed up. The tools provide single point-in-time snapshots of storage and files distributed throughout organizations' datacenters to help determine how much capacity they need and prioritize which files get backed up based on how much storage is available.  

There are two separate tools. The Unitrends Backup Capacity Tool provides the snapshot of all files distributed throughout an organization on both storage systems as well as servers, providing file-level views of data to plan backups. It provides reports for planning, while outlining file usage. The other, the Unitrends Storage Inventory Tool, provides a view of an organization's entire storage infrastructure, which the company says offers detailed inventories of storage assets in use and where there are risks of exceeding available capacity.

These new tools follow July's release of BC/DR Link, an online free tool that helps organizations create global disaster recovery plans. It includes 1GB of centralized storage in the Unitrends cloud, where customers can store critical document.

CloudLink Adds Microsoft BitLocker To Secure Workloads Running in Amazon
Security vendor CloudLink's SecureVM, which provides Microsoft BitLocker encryption, has added Amazon Web Services to its list of supported cloud platforms. The tool lets customers implement the native Windows encryption to their virtual machines -- both desktop and servers -- in the Amazon cloud. In addition to Amazon, it works in Microsoft Azure and VMware vCloud Air, among other public clouds.

Because virtual and cloud environments naturally can't utilize the BitLocker encryption keys typically stored on TPM and USB hardware, SecureVM emulates that functionality by providing centralized management of the keys. It also lets customers encrypt their VMs outside of AWS.

Customers can start their VMs only in the intended environment. It's policy based to ensure the VMs only launch when authorized. It also provides an audit trail tracking then VMs are launched, with other information such as IP addresses, hosts and operating systems, among other factors.

Data volumes designated to an instance are encrypted, allowing customers to encrypt other data volumes, according to the company. Enterprises maintain control of encryption key management including the option to store keys in-house.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 09/18/2014 at 12:09 PM


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