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Volume 28, Issue 3

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Jon Seals

(TNS) — Can public health experts tell that an infectious disease outbreak is imminent simply by looking at what people are searching for on Wikipedia? Yes, at least in some cases.

Researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory were able to make extremely accurate forecasts about the spread of dengue fever in Brazil and flu in the U.S., Japan, Poland and Thailand by examining three years’ worth of Wikipedia search data. They also came up with moderately successful predictions of tuberculosis outbreaks in Thailand and China, and of dengue fever’s spread in Thailand.

However, their efforts to anticipate cases of cholera, Ebola, HIV and plague by extrapolating from search data left much to be desired, according to a report published Thursday in the journal PLOS Computational Biology. But the researchers believe their general approach could still work if they use more sophisticated statistics and a more inclusive data set.



In the long history of IT, many innovations that originally began life as supercomputer projects over time wound up being more broadly applied. A new class of supercomputers that IBM is building in collaboration with NVIDIA and Mellanox for the U.S. Department of Energy is likely to be just such an innovation.

Under the terms of a $325 million contract with the U.S. Department of Energy, IBM is building supercomputers using a new “data centric” architecture capable of processing 100 petaflops using five petabytes of dynamic and flash memory. Based on IBM OpenPOWER processors, each system will be capable of moving data to the processor, when necessary, at more than 17 petabytes per second.

Dave Turek, vice president of technical computing for OpenPOWER at IBM, says what makes these systems unique is that IBM is designing them in a way that processes and visualizes data in parallel, but also allows processing of data to be distributed across storage and networking elements.



SACRAMENTO, Calif.  – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) inspectors have completed more than 2,000 inspections of homes damaged or destroyed by the South Napa Earthquake. Homeowners and renters in Napa and Solano counties became eligible to apply for federal disaster assistance on Oct. 27 following the presidential declaration for Individual Assistance. FEMA must verify damages for every application.

Those affected by the South Napa Earthquake have until Dec. 29 to apply for disaster assistance. Disaster assistance may include grants to help pay for rent, essential home repairs, personal property replacement or other serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or other sources.

Damage inspections are free and generally take 30 to 45 minutes. They are conducted by FEMA contract inspectors who have construction and/or appraisal expertise and have received disaster-specific training. Each inspector displays official photo identification.

Inspectors document the damage but do not determine the resident's eligibility for disaster assistance. They check for damage to the building structure and its systems, major appliances and any damaged septic systems and wells. Residents should tell the inspector about other important losses such as clothing, personal property, medical equipment, tools needed for a trade, and educational materials.

Inspectors then relay this information to FEMA on their handheld tablet, which they call their inspector pad. They use their pads to download work assignments and communicate throughout the day.

Applicants are reminded to keep the contact information on their applications current so an inspector can reach them. To update their information, applicants should call FEMA's Helpline at 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Contact information can also be updated online at www.disasterassistance.gov.

FEMA procedures for home inspections follow:
• An inspector calls the applicant to set up an appointment at a mutually convenient time and advises the applicant of documentation needed to complete the inspection, such as insurance policies and photo identification. 

• The inspector tries a minimum of three times to contact the applicant. The inspector will call at different times on different days in the hope of finding someone at home.

• If attempts to reach the applicant are unsuccessful, the inspector posts a letter on the applicant's door with a phone number to call for an appointment.

• If applicants have relocated to another area and cannot return for the mandatory damage inspection, they can authorize an agent or proxy to be present on their behalf.

• As part of the inspection process, homeowners will be asked to show proof of ownership, such as a tax bill, deed, mortgage payment receipt or insurance policy showing the property's address. Renters must show proof of occupancy, such as a lease, rent payment receipt, utility bill or other document confirming the home was their primary residence at the time of the disaster. Both homeowners and renters must also be prepared to show a valid driver's license or other photo identification.

To speed the inspection process, applicants should:
• Make sure their home address number can be easily seen from the road.
• Keep their appointment or notify the inspector if a postponement is necessary.
• Stay in touch with FEMA, which may include telling neighbors where they can be contacted.
• Let FEMA know during the registration process if they need a reasonable accommodation, such as an American Sign Language interpreter, during the inspection.

If applicants discover additional damage to their property, they can request another inspection by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585.

Besides the above personnel, residents and businesses may be visited by loss verifiers from the U.S. Small Business Administration, insurance adjustors, and local building officials, as well as others involved in the recovery process. Building officials typically charge fees for permits, though these are sometimes waived after disasters.

FEMA inspectors do not tag dwellings. FEMA inspectors must follow written guidelines to perform inspections on dwellings previously tagged as unsafe to enter or unsafe to occupy by local officials.

For unmet disaster-related needs, the United Way operates 2-1-1 that covers Napa and Solano Counties. Available 24/7 in 150 languages, the Bay Area 211 helpline connects callers with hundreds of programs to help people find food, housing, healthcare, senior services, childcare, legal aid and more.

For more information on California disaster recovery, go www.fema.gov/disaster/4193.

Monday, 17 November 2014 17:24

BCM & DR: Do We Hide Behind Technology?

If you’re like me, you gets lots of emails concerning Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery and Emergency Response advertisements. I even see lots of adverts in the industry journals and magazine’s; all of which say that the product they’re selling will help you with this problem or that problem. Many even say that with their product you’ll be able to communicate better. I’m not so sure about that last part.

Yes, online applications and software can certainly help put messages’ together and disseminate the messages to a plethora of audiences. Yet, just because you’re using an online tool or application it does not mean you’ll automatically become a great communicator or even be able to communicate effectively. These applications are just tools to leverage to make some aspects easier and ensure timely communications. They aren’t to be considered saviours or that answer to all your prayers.

Applications do not have the one thing that it needs to be 100% effective; there is no human element or aspect to it. Many organizations will pay large sums of money of software that promised to build them a BCM/DR program yet it only spits out specific information based on algorithms and formula’s built in to it based on responses to questions. So far, applications have not been able to analyse or take into account human elements when spitting out findings and reports – and as many do, what you need to do when a disaster occurs.



Traveling business executives have been falling prey to cybercriminals acting through hotel Internet networks since at least 2009. In an ongoing, sophisticated “espionage campaign” nicknamed “Darkhotel,” thousands of people traveling through Asia have been targeted and hacked through infected hotel WiFi, cybersecurity company Kapersky Lab reported Monday. About two-thirds of the attacks took place in Japan, while others occurred in Taiwan, China and other Asian countries.

“For the past few years, a strong actor named Darkhotel has performed a number of successful attacks against high-profile individuals, employing methods and techniques that go well beyond typical cybercriminal behavior,” said Kurt Baumgartner, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab. “This threat actor has operational competence, mathematical and crypto-analytical offensive capabilities, and other resources that are sufficient to abuse trusted commercial networks and target specific victim categories with strategic precision.”

So strategic, in fact, that the hackers appear to know the names, arrival and departure times, and room numbers of the targets. While maintaining an intrusion on hotel networks, the hackers used this information, waiting until the victim checked in and logged on to the hotel Wi-Fi, then submitting their room number and surname to log in. When the hackers saw the victim on the network, they would trick the executive into downloading and installing a “backdoor” with the Darkhorse spying software disguised as an update for legitimate software like Google Toolbar, Adobe Flash or Windows messenger. Once installed, the backdoor can be used to download other spying tools, such as an advanced keylogger and an information-stealing module.



New Services enable Enterprise-Class SLAs on Next-Generation Copy Data Virtualisation Platform

LONDON – Union Solutions, a leading service provider delivering optimisation and transformation services, infrastructure managed services and secure cloud-services introduced a new portfolio of Actifio-powered services. The new suite of cloud-based data management services helps Union's customers ensure application availability and instant data access. This new portfolio of CopyPoint services uses Actifio's copy data virtualisation platform to increase the efficiency and security of Union Solution's backup service offering and to improve disaster recovery capabilities including:

  • Application Development & Testing - Develop Better Applications Faster
  • Backup as a Service (Vaulting) - Protect Your Vital Business Application Data
  • Recovery / Business Continuity - Rapidly Recover Your Entire Business In the Cloud

Union Solutions provides managed infrastructure and secure cloud-services. It gives its customers the power to deliver IT services to their businesses in a more cost-effective, efficient and accountable way. Union Solutions has a strong heritage in data storage and has followed Actifio's growth with interest. Following a trial period, the business decided Actifio's data virtualisation would bring its customers unprecedented levels of risk management, cost savings, mobility and productivity.  With Actifio, Union optimised their internal technology portfolio by replacing legacy products.

"We've seen Actifio's success in the EMEA market for the past 3 years, and are excited about how we can now offer the transformational impact they've had on enterprises - from the Union Cloud." Said Alex McLoughlin, Chief Technology Officer and Partner at Union Solutions. "Actifio differs to its competitors because it shapes the conversation around data virtualisation and copy data management. As a managed service provider, we need to be confident that our partners will be able to give us long-term support no matter how the market changes in the future. Actifio offers more than just a platform, it offers a vision for the future which is why we knew it was the partner for us."

Union Solutions has chosen Actifio's platform to help it provide its customers with cost savings and accelerated data access. This can achieved while saving businesses up to 90% in operational expenses and reduces network bandwidth requirements by up to 70%. Actifio helps Union Solutions to increase the efficiency and security of its services while improving disaster recovery capabilities.

Actifio's Copy Data Virtualisation platform benefits include:

  • Resiliency - Better data protection and availability
  • Agility - Access data when and where customers need it
  • Cloud - Enable transition to distributed IT infrastructure model
  • Reduced Complexity - Consolidate backup, DR and off-site storage tools and processes
  • Virtualisation - Unlimited virtual copies for instance access and protection

Actifio virtualises data as other technologies have virtualised compute and networking, decoupling the management of increasingly strategic enterprise data from enterprise infrastructure. IDC estimates the worldwide market for products and services in this space, which it refers to as copy data management, at $46 Billion in 2014.

Greg Scorziello, General Manager of EMEA at Actifio added, "The cost and complexity associated with managing data across traditional business infrastructures can stop organisations from recognising additional efficiencies and cost savings when delivering new services to their customers. Through our partnership with Union Solutions, these organisations can leverage new Actifio-powered platforms to improve their business's resiliency and agility. This will help them minimise the amount of data they store, streamlining their data storage process and resulting in significantly lower data costs."

About Actifio
Actifio delivers copy data virtualisation to hundreds of global enterprise customers and service provider partners in more than 30 countries around the world. Our Virtual Data Pipeline™ technology decouples data from infrastructure, enabling dramatic improvements in business resiliency, agility, and access to the cloud. Actifio replaces siloed data management applications with a radically simple, application-centric, SLA-driven approach that lets customers capture data from production applications, manage it more economically, and use it when and where they need to. Actifio is headquartered just outside Boston, Massachusetts, and can be reached via the web (actifio.com) Twitter (@actifio) or email at info@actifio.com.

About Union Solutions
Union Solutions is a UK based managed service provider and cloud enabler. It works with customers worldwide and its employees travel the globe to deploy its technology. It is focused on delivering a wide range of IT services in a cost-effective, efficient and accountable way through smarter methods of unification and management of a company's infrastructure. It's experienced in integration and an expert when it comes to storage, backup and virtualisation. Union can be reached via the web (www.unionsolutions.co.uk) Twitter (@unionsolutions) or email (operations@unionsolutions.co.uk)

Integration of Proven Technology Components From Industry Leaders in the File Serving, Networking and Storage Sectors Delivers Requisite Bandwidth, Performance and Scalability


NEW ORLEANS – Dot Hill Systems Corp.(Nasdaq:HILL), a trusted supplier of innovative enterprise-class storage systems, unveiled a new scale-out high performance Lustre file serving solution in collaboration with Intel for software and management and Mellanox for networking, here today in booth 3153 at the 2014 International Conference on High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis - otherwise known as SC14.

The Dot Hill parallel distributed file system solution provides a massively scalable and high performance infrastructure for use in a broad range of high performance computing (HPC) industries such as meteorology, simulation, oil & gas, life science, rich media and finance. The Lustre file system is scalable to hundreds of petabytes (PB) of storage across multiple storage arrays and servers. More than a terabyte per second (TB/s) of aggregate I/O throughput is possible with a properly sized configuration.

Aside from scaling to support hundreds of terabytes to petabytes of storage, the solution is unique in that it is built specifically to address the distinctive signature HPC workloads that consist of many nodes or threads performing sequential access of very large files; while the workload of the individual node or thread is sequential in nature, the composite workload of many nodes or threads causes the underlying access pattern to become highly randomized.

"Extreme data analysis and data modeling is being employed by scientists and technologists who are tasked with solving the world's toughest issues. Dot Hill storage has been engineered to maintain high performance for randomized sequential workloads. Data storage systems must adapt to this dynamic landscape by offering solutions that provide density, scalability and performance, and yet are simple to manage and affordable," said Bill Wuertz, senior vice president of products and solutions, Dot Hill.

The backbone of the solution is the Dot Hill Ultra48™ AssuredSAN® 4004 and newly launched Ultra56™ AssuredSAN 4004 storage arrays, which are designed to support both high performance and reliability; two separate arrays function to preserve and manage access to both meta and primary data. The Ultra48 AssuredSAN 4004 provides high performance small form factor SSD and disk drives, which are ideal for metadata operations; and the Ultra56 AssuredSAN 4004 supports up to 1.3PB with both flash and high capacity large form factor drives, which are ideal for Lustre's OST data. Adaptive caching technologies are employed to accommodate dozens and even hundreds of independent streams of data without degrading overall throughput - critical for reliable, high performance data streaming. In addition, the proven 99.999 percent availability of AssuredSAN products virtually eliminates downtime.

The Intel® Enterprise Edition for Lustre* software provides the high performance distributed file system and namespace component of the solution, which supports bandwidth, performance and scaling above and beyond traditional storage technology. The Intel® Enterprise Edition for Lustre* software includes a rich set of management tools and a unified namespace, eliminating the need to micromanage storage pools.

"High performance computing is a powerful competitive advantage for today's enterprises. Today, maximizing investments in HPC is measured in application-level performance, which requires proven scale-out storage solutions to overcome the limited performance and limited productivity common to most storage solutions today. Purpose-built for very high speed at massive scale, Intel Enterprise Edition for Lustre software makes storage simpler to manage and more productive," said Brent Gorda, general manager of Intel's High Performance Data Division. 

Mellanox InfiniBand high-speed networking components and infrastructure support enhanced data rates up to 100Gbps, which is the highest throughput and lowest latency interconnect available on the market today. In addition, Mellanox network solutions utilize remote direct memory access (RDMA) protocols to make ultra-efficient use of computing resources. Using RDMA over InfiniBand, data transfer latencies can be reduced by more than 90 percent and CPU efficiencies can by elevated up to 96 percent.


Key Benefits of the Dot Hill Scale-Out, High Performance Lustre File Serving Solution

The solution provides exceptional scalability, linear performance, high availability and data protection. Read more about the solution.

  • Scalability is simplified through the addition of storage modules as needed to expand to petabytes of usable capacity. Each individual storage module can be configured with as much as 576TB of raw capacity
  • Performance of up to 6GB/s throughput is achieved with each individual storage module, and scaled linearly with added modules. InfiniBand network paths deliver up to 56Gbps throughput to each compute node.
  • High availability is supported through redundant fail-over components as well as the ability to distribute the file system across multiple servers.
  • Protection of valuable data sets is achieved through the use of enterprise-class components and drives, along with RAID technology.


About Dot Hill

Leveraging its proprietary Assured family of storage solutions, Dot Hill solves many of today's most challenging storage problems - helping IT to improve performance, increase availability, simplify operations, and reduce costs. Dot Hill's solutions combine breakthrough software with the industry's most flexible and extensive hardware platform and automated management to deliver best-in-class solutions. Headquartered in Longmont, Colo., Dot Hill has offices and/or representatives in China, Germany, India, Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

For more information, visit us at www.dothill.com.

Dot Hill, Ultra48, Ultra56 and AssuredSAN are trademarks of Dot Hill Systems Corp. Intel, Lustre*, Mellanox and other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. *Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

New Solution, Designed for Carrier and Other Rugged Environments, Delivers High Density Storage With Hybrid Flash Array Functionality and RealStor 2.0 Application Workload-Aware Intelligence

NEW ORLEANS – Dot Hill Systems Corp. (Nasdaq:HILL), a trusted supplier of innovative carrier and enterprise-class storage systems, today unveiled the Dot Hill Ultra56™ AssuredSAN®, a new hybrid flash storage array based on an ultra-density chassis that supports both NEBS Level 3 carrier and MIL-STD government requirements and up to 1.34 petabytes (PB) of raw capacity. The Ultra56 AssuredSAN includes the same dual active, redundant 4004 controllers as other Dot Hillstorage arrays, affording up to 6400MB/s of sustained read performance and complete meta-data compatibility within the Dot Hillfamily of storage solutions. It is the only high density storage product on the market today that meets the extremely demanding requirements of telecommunications carriers, service providers and tactically deployed government installations.

The Ultra56 is well suited for environments requiring extreme reliability and density as well as applications ranging from big data, cloud, high performance computing to wireless and cellular infrastructure. Built to carrier grade specifications, the Ultra56 is tested and compliant with the stringent NEBS Level 3 shock and vibration requirements and is available with both AC and -48V DC power options.

On display in booth #3153 at SC14, the Ultra56 is available with Dot Hill'sRealStor™ version 2.0 application workload-aware intelligence software, which maximizes performance and simplifies management of hybrid storage arrays. Incorporating Dot Hill's high performance AssuredSAN 4004 storage controllers, the Ultra56 delivers proven 99.999 percent data availability and features platinum-rated power supplies. Ultra56 hybrid flash arrays support any combination of SSDs and hard disk drives to best suit application needs. With hard drives of 6TB in capacity, up to 336TB raw capacity per chassis can be achieved. Three Ultra56 expansion enclosures can be added for a total of 1.34PB of storage within a single array. Performance is exceptional with sustained reads of up to 6400 MB/s, large block writes of up to 5300 MB/s writes, and small block random reads of up to 100,000 IOPS from HDDs or SSDs. All devices are hot-swappable and the system is designed with two front removable device drawers for easy service and maintenance.

"Enhancing our portfolio of 'Ultra' solutions and leveraging our Ultra48 design for small form factor drives, we've designed a unique chassis for large form factor devices with the Ultra56," said Bill Wuertz, senior vice president of products and solutions, Dot Hill. "With all the requisite features, as well as outstanding performance and high capacity, the Ultra56 is well-suited for our growing base of vertical market and service provider customers. This solution, which includes RealStor 2.0 application workload-aware intelligence, provides Dot Hill partners with a significantly differentiated offering for high performance computing and ruggedized applications."

"The extreme density, reliability, and simply elegant serviceability of the Ultra56 make it a great solution for telcos, service providers, and government organizations with massive storage requirements and throughput-hungry application workloads," said Brian Garrett, vice president ESG Lab, Enterprise Strategy Group. "The super-sized capacity of the Ultra56 hardware platform, combined with the simply smart intelligence of RealStor 2.0 software, is ideally suited to ride the next wave of data-intensive workloads including cloud, big data, and the internet of things."


Ultra56 Architecture and Solutions

Ultra56 systems provide up to 1.34PB of total capacity when expanded with up to three Ultra56 JBODs. The Ultra56 leverages the highly reliable AssuredSAN architecture which features hot swappable drives, power supplies, fans and controllers. Unique to the Ultra56 are two front-facing drawers for easy access to and replacement of devices. The drawers themselves are warm swappable components of the systems. The Ultra56 is also backed by a best-in-class 37 month "bumper to bumper" warranty that covers all hardware components including interface transceivers.      

A hybrid configuration leveraging RealStor 2.0 with the Ultra48 for SSDs or small form factor drives for metadata, and the Ultra56 for high-capacity storage fits many customer scenarios, delivering both inexpensive performance and affordable capacity.


Pricing and Availability

Dot Hill Ultra56 Fibre Channel/iSCSI and SAS arrays are shipping through select OEMs and will be generally available through authorized Dot Hill partners in January, 2015, with street prices starting around $70,000 for a 336 terabyte capacity solution in 4U rack space. The RealStor 2.0 base license is included standard with all Ultra56 models. The premium RealTier autonomic real-time tiering feature is available via a licensing key and upgrade charge. For details, go to http://www.dothill.com/storage-software/.


About Dot Hill

Leveraging its proprietary Assured family of storage solutions, Dot Hill solves many of today's most challenging storage problems - helping IT to improve performance, increase availability, simplify operations, and reduce costs. Dot Hill's solutions combine breakthrough software with the industry's most flexible and extensive hardware platform and automated management to deliver best-in-class solutions. Headquartered in Longmont, Colo., Dot Hill has offices and/or representatives in China, Germany, India, Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

For more information, visit us at www.dothill.com.

Ken Smith, the 911 coordinator for Williamson County in Herrin, Ill., remembers the state officials’ response when he and his southern Illinois colleagues wanted to explore a next-generation 911 system that would accept text messages, automatic crash notification data, pictures and streaming video.

“They looked at us like we were crazy,” he said.

The state had no plans to put in an Emergency Services IP network (ESInet), and the phone companies said they had no such plans either. That’s when Smith and his colleagues realized they’d have to figure out how to do it themselves. It was no easy task.



Many people use the terms “redundancy” and “duplication” synonymously. They are not synonymous, especially when it comes to how we should use them to describe actions that increase our disaster resilience.

The real problem we face is that modern business practices have sought to save money by wringing every dime out of the cost of doing business by eliminating what’s seen as duplicative processes and capabilities.

These changes have been manifested in a number of ways.