Are you smarter than this 4th grader? With the new VNX, you don’t need to be. [EMC]

When EMC announced it had developed and launched the easiest-to-use unified storage solution in the world, it – tongue-in-cheek, at least – put its money where its mouth was with this spot showing a Bill-Gates-meets-Harry-Potter 4th-grader easily configuring a VMWare storage group in under a minute.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iL0w6VHOmQ

Jokes and clever marketing ploys aside, EMC is onto something. The new VNX family of unified storage solutions is arguably the world’s simplest, providing application-optimized management and single-click help and support. For instance, its VNXe (entry) series – affordably designed for small and medium-sized businesses, department level storage solutions for enterprise and remote or branch offices – is ideal for the IT Manager that doesn’t specialize in storage.

In fact, the highly scalable VNX series is so simple it delivers 3X simpler management, efficiency and performance than current EMC midrange storage systems:

  • It’s indeed unified: One platform easily handles all applications, from file and block to object data services, helping users gain up to 50% capacity savings. You can even take a step-by-step approach, starting with file or block and upgrading to unified storage when the time or budget is right.
  • It’s optimized for virtual applications with VMWare, Hyper-V integration, offering triple the speed of virtualized SQL, Oracle workloads and booting up to 500 virtual desktops in 8 minutes. Um, fast. [Read more…]

UCS Express: Converging computing, virtualization and network platform for the branch office [Cisco]

Data center consolidation and server virtualization have gone a long way in reducing costs and complexity in organizations’ IT systems, not to mention displacing a lot of traditional branch-office infrastructure. But these dual and interrelated trends haven’t completely led to full application centralization, in large part because of inherent speed and reliability limitations of the WAN that affect the quality of user experience, as well as concerns over privacy and access with data being stored outside the branch office.

 In short, a variety of performance, availability and compliance concerns have meant that some applications – including core Windows services, mission-critical business applications and client management services – can’t leave the branch office.

 But while branch office infrastructure isn’t going away, that doesn’t mean it can’t evolve or that new solutions aren’t being introduced to reduce complexity and costs and address a whole host of IT challenges in the brand office.

 What kinds of branch-office-specific challenges?

  1. The high costs associated with unused or inefficiently used physical servers, for starters, as well as performance, application availability and increased complexity. This is still a problem at the branch office, just like in the data center. Converting a branch office’s physical servers to virtual ones and running them on a virtualized platform – with each application assigned to a dedicated virtual server and all virtual servers hosted on one or two physical servers – can still substantially minimize costs. [Read more…]

World first: Man vs. Machine on Jeopardy! [IBM]

IBM and Jeopardy! have announced that an IBM computing system named “Watson” will compete on Jeopardy! against the show’s two most successful and celebrated contestants — Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.   The first-ever man vs. machine Jeopardy! competition will air on February 14, 15 and 16, 2011, with two matches being played over three consecutive days.

Softchoice is getting in on the action too – keep reading to learn how you can win one of five $100 gift cards!

Combining advanced natural language processing and DeepQA automatic question answering technology, Watson, named after IBM company founder Thomas J. Watson, is the IBM supercomputer that represents the future of data management, analytics, and systems design. [Read more…]