Tag Archives: Devices

StorMagic SvSAN helps Sheetz hyper-converge at the edge

Convenience store chain Sheetz is bringing hyper-convergence to the edge at its 600 stores to consolidate devices and make it easier to manage, with the help of StorMagic SvSAN software.

Sheetz, based in Altoona, Pa., is a chain of convenience and gasoline stores in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina. Each store requires several point-of-sale applications to conduct business.

Gary Sliver, director of infrastructure at Sheetz, and Scott Robertson, universal endpoint unit manager at the chain, said they have installed SvSAN software on about one-quarter of the company’s sites. Sheetz’s IT team began installing StorMagic SvSAN hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) software in its stores in October 2018. The project coincided with Sheetz’s move to a new kitchen management software system.

Sliver and Robertson said they hope to have all the stores running SvSAN by the end of 2020. Their goal is to condense seven individual devices at each site to a two-node Dell server appliance running SvSAN software and VMware hypervisors.

Move motivated by IT support, space restrictions

StorMagic SvSAN replaces the servers running Sheetz’s kitchen management applications, its in-store orchestration, credit card processing and loyalty program systems, and storage at each retail store.

Sliver said Sheetz had two important reasons for the upgrade: His team wanted to make it easier to support IT, while eliminating space restrictions at the edge.

We’re able to take these seven physical devices and condense them into two small form rack-mounted servers.
Gary SliverDirector of infrastructure, Sheetz

“Primarily, we wanted to reduce the number of physical devices and the support and maintenance administration associated with those,” Sliver said. “We also wanted to put a platform in place that would allow us to grow and innovate. Frankly, we’re just running out of space in the rack with new applications and services that require compute and storage. So, we’re able to take these seven physical devices and condense them into two small form rack-mounted servers. That gives us the potential to add additional applications and servers without having to go in there and add physical devices to the store.”

Sheetz’s IT team can manage the HCI appliances remotely from headquarters. Retail employees in the stores don’t have to manage any devices, and the central IT team doesn’t have to travel to the retail sites as frequently for support.

Sliver said he considered going hyper-converged for years, and the systems upgrade in the stores presented the perfect opportunity.

“We’ve been looking at virtualizing the physical devices in the rack,” he said. “We were going out and touching all 600 stores with this upgrade, so we had the opportunity to leverage that initiative and realize economies of scale. It also allows us to quickly virtualize devices and save some money there.”

After deciding to hyper-converge on the edge, Sheetz considered several HCI options. Sliver said he looked at traditional HCI players VMware and Nutanix, as well as a few appliances designed specifically for retail sites.

U.K.-based StorMagic is less known than other HCI vendors, but its technology and support impressed the Sheetz team. StorMagic developed SvSAN as an edge product rather than altering a product designed for data centers.

StorMagic SvSAN requires only 1 GB of RAM, 512 MB of storage for its boot device and a 20 GB journal drive. It can work over a 1 Gb Ethernet network.

“The technology itself was fairly easy compared to other HCI providers,” Sliver said of StorMagic. “We also can run up to 1,000 nodes on the single witness. To me, that’s their secret sauce. The other thing is their organization. They were very responsive during the RFP review, and that has continued throughout our implementation.”

After the installation

Robertson said Sheetz can get SvSAN up and running quickly in its stores.

“What separated StorMagic was, when we did a lab test, they did everything they said their product could do,” Robertson said. “Our time frame from lab to pilot was short.”

Sliver said so far, StorMagic SvSAN “has been extremely stable. It has done everything we’ve expected it to do.”

Robertson said SvSAN HCI makes it much easier to solve problems in the field. The IT team can spin up a new virtual machine in the data center instead of having to dispatch a technician to install a new physical device at the store.

“From a management standpoint, with any kind of break/fix situation, we no longer have to send out a technician to the site to swap out physical hardware,” Robertson said. “If we notice there’s any sort of abnormality in a system, we can spin up [a new virtual machine] in a half hour. So, it’s just returned to service much quicker.”

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Lenovo’s smarter devices stoke professional passions – Stories

Juan Dimida in front of a brick wall, holding a Lenovo ThinkPad in front of a Lenovo logo he drew graffiti-style

In Philadelphia, Juan Dimida, 40, creates graphic art and electronic music on touchscreen devices, working them into beats with other songs or multimedia pieces.

He recently created an album of electronic music on his Motorola G3 over the summer and has been performing it on his Lenovo Yoga PC, connected to drum machines and synthesizers. He’s playing this music live in November.

His artistic background began with graffiti art as a teen, but then he joined a city-run art program in his 20s that channeled his creative energy into colorful murals that covered up graffiti through community-based commissions. These collaborative projects usually involved four to five people and would include elaborate scenery, characters and animation. While each had a theme, the artists also improvised.

Dimida used Photoshop to get designs together and make alterations. While he was working on these murals, an event planner stopped by with a Lenovo ThinkPad tablet, and gave it to him to draw on. He hired Dimida to create art for a 2012 event, where Dimida connected different devices, such as a Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO, to projectors. Dimida drew mosaics on that screen that projected onto 80-foot walls.

After that event, he gained traction to host his own events, showing his original projections at art shows and parties.

Sound visualizations are something he particularly enjoys. Dimida uses a Lenovo ThinkPad X220t to record different sounds, so he’s able to set up different scenes, music effects and visuals, using multiple projectors. He has a separate Lenovo Yoga feed into that, where he draws on its screen. The ThinkPad X220t adds sounds and projects that out.

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Author: Steve Clarke

Adobe Sign introduces updates targeting mobile device users

Adobe Sign updates this week brought new features supporting mobile devices and new integrations with Microsoft cloud products including SharePoint, Dynamics, PowerApps and Flow, Teams and Azure.

According to Mike Prizament, senior product marketing manager at Adobe, the company emphasized improving user experience on mobile because nearly half of its users start the signing process on their phones. “If 50% of people check their email, and then they try to start signing a document on their phone, we want it to be as easy as possible,” he said.

The Adobe Sign updates include the following:

Improved mobile signing experience: Adobe Sign enables users to zoom in on areas they need to sign and provides mobile-friendly navigation buttons that guide the signer through required fields. The company said these functionalities are available on mobile web and don’t require users to download an app.

New home screen interface: The Adobe Sign home screen has a new design intended to make the main e-signature tools more visible and accessible. The tools let users send out a document for signatures, track document status and manage the signing process. Users can send documents from the Adobe Sign home screen for people to sign instead of emailing the document or sending paper copies, according to the company.

 The new Adobe Sign home screen.
The new Adobe Sign home screen.

New manage page: The new page lets managers responsible for sending documents for signatures track or modify the process. The user can check to whom the documents were sent, determine whether a recipient opened the document yet, change or cancel recipients and archive the documents.

Adobe Sign allows two different levels of account sharing on the manage page: view only and full access. The view-only sharing mode allows the main manager to share the account to team members so they are given access to only view the status of the task. The full-access sharing mode gives complete control to team members to take over the manager’s account in case the person is taking a vacation or leaving the company, according to Adobe.

The new Adobe Sign manage page.
The new Adobe Sign manage page.

Users can swap back and forth between accounts in a drop-down menu on the manage page.

Integrations with Microsoft cloud productivity products

Adobe Sign has updated integrations with the following Microsoft products:

  • Microsoft SharePoint: Users can create and embed digital forms that can be filled, signed and reused. The update is intended to help customers collect information from a large number of people inside and outside the company. Data from the forms is automatically saved and mapped back to a SharePoint list.
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365: E-signatures works with Dynamics 365 Sales in more languages, including German, French and Japanese.
  • Microsoft PowerApps and Power Automate in the Government Community Cloud: Users can add signing workflows when a new document is uploaded in SharePoint, then route final documents and create an audit trail to OneDrive/SharePoint.
  • Microsoft Teams: Team members can send documents for signatures and manage, track and get notifications for the status of important documents. The Adobe Sign integration in Teams is certified as part of the Microsoft 365 Certification program, ensuring that enterprise data privacy and security are protected from third-party developed applications in Microsoft 365.
  • Microsoft Azure: Adobe Sign is now available in Microsoft Azure in Europe and stores all data, content and information within the EU.
  • Microsoft Azure Active Directory: Microsoft Azure Active Directory enterprise customers can use single sign-on to send Adobe Sign to their employees via the Adobe admin console within 30 minutes.

“Signature is a key component to identity, and identity is a key component to trusted commerce. Adobe has a huge potential to leverage over 1 billion PDF users in the future of legal signing authority,” said R “Ray” Wang, principal analyst and founder at Constellation Research.

He said the latest integrations with Microsoft products will enable tools such as Dynamics 365 Sales, Microsoft SharePoint, Teams and other apps to take advantage of signature from Adobe.

Wang said Adobe ultimately competes with DocuSign, a cloud service providing e-signature technology.

Adobe sees a big potential still ahead for the market of e-signatures, citing IDC research sponsored by Adobe that found 80% of enterprise document processes still rely on paper. “There’s still a huge opportunity there, and this is a big area that Adobe Sign looks to solve together with Adobe Document Cloud,” Prizament said.

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For Sale – Surface Go (8GB RAM/128GB SSD) inc. Black Type Keyboard

Purchased this recently on another forum but decided I have too many devices. I tested it fully and used it for a week or so, battery life and everything else working as expected.

Both the Surface Go and Type Keyboard are boxed and in good condition. It has been upgraded to full version of Windows 10 Home.

Screen is spotless, and the unit casing is fine bar a couple of hairline scratches where the keyboard has latched on, and a few minor ones on the back. Pics from previous sale are here, note this does not include the pen.

Looking for £350 including delivery (RMSD which will cost £20), this combo still retails for £610 new.

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For Sale – Surface Go (8GB RAM/128GB SSD) inc. Black Type Keyboard

Purchased this recently on another forum but decided I have too many devices. I tested it fully and used it for a week or so, battery life and everything else working as expected.

Both the Surface Go and Type Keyboard are boxed and in good condition. It has been upgraded to full version of Windows 10 Home.

Screen is spotless, and the unit casing is fine bar a couple of hairline scratches where the keyboard has latched on, and a few minor ones on the back. Pics from previous sale are here, note this does not include the pen.

Looking for £350 including delivery (RMSD which will cost £20), this combo still retails for £610 new.

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Heineken’s Athina Syrrou and Microsoft’s Brad Anderson talk Teams in ‘The Shiproom’ | Transform

In this episode of “The Shiproom,” Athina Syrrou, who leads collaboration and end user devices for Heineken, joins Microsoft’s Brad Anderson, corporate vice president of Microsoft 365, to discuss what got Heineken interested in using Microsoft Teams and what they’ve learned about it since beginning the pilot – including how to introduce and adopt it efficiently.

Syrrou explains how she chooses the tools she provides to her global workforce, and how she uses the cloud to give her users maximum flexibility to choose the apps and devices they need.  She also schools Anderson on how to use common Greek idioms around the office (which explains why he’s recently been mumbling things about roller skates, chair legs and ducks).

Other discussion topics: The superiority of Greek yogurt, the perfect beer to pair with cereal, the benefits of moving to Intune, elephants and how deploying Microsoft 365 gives users the flexibility needed to do their best work and enable BYOD.

Stop by The Shiproom on YouTube to view more episodes. To learn how you can shift to a modern desktop with Microsoft 365, visit Microsoft365.com/Shift.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

New Mirai variant attacks Apache Struts vulnerability

New variants of the Mirai and Gafgyt botnets are targeting unpatched enterprise devices, according to new research.

Palo Alto Networks’ Unit 42 found the variants affect vulnerabilities in Apache Struts and in SonicWall’s Global Management System (GSM). The Mirai variant exploits the same vulnerability in Apache Struts that was behind the 2018 Equifax data breach, while the Gafgyt variant exploits a newly uncovered vulnerability in unsupported, older versions of SonicWall’s GSM.

The Unit 42 research team noted the Mirai variant involves taking advantage of 16 different vulnerabilities. And while that’s not unusual, it is the first known instance of Mirai or any of its variants targeting an Apache Struts vulnerability.

The research also found the domain that hosts the Mirai samples had resolved to a different IP address in August, which also hosted Gafgyt samples at that time. Those samples exploited the SonicWall GSM vulnerability, which is tracked as CVE-2018-9866. Unit 42’s research did not say whether the two botnets were the work of a single threat group or actor, but it did say the activity could spell trouble for enterprises.

“The incorporation of exploits targeting Apache Struts and SonicWall by these IoT/Linux botnets could indicate a larger movement from consumer device targets to enterprise targets,” the Palo Alto researchers wrote.

The Apache Struts vulnerability exploited by the new Mirai variant was patched last year before it was used in the Equifax breach. But systems that have not been updated are still susceptible to these types of exploits.

The Mirai botnet first emerged in the fall of 2016, and it has since affected hundreds of thousands of IoT and connected devices. The botnet’s malware had primarily targeted consumer devices, and it was responsible for massive distributed denial-of-service attacks on the German teleco Deutsche Telekom and on the domain name server provider Dyn, which took down websites such as Airbnb, Twitter, PayPal, GitHub, Reddit, Netflix and others.

The Unit 42 researchers discovered the Gafgyt and Mirai variant on Aug. 5, and they alerted SonicWall about its GMS vulnerability. The public disclosure was posted by Palo Alto on Sept. 9.

Two seconds to take a bite out of mobile bank fraud with Artificial Intelligence

The future of mobile banking is clear. People love their mobile devices and banks are making big investments to enhance their apps with digital features and capabilities. As mobile banking grows, so does the one aspect about it that can be wrenching for customers and banks, mobile device fraud. 

image

Problem: To implement near real-time fraud detection

Most mobile fraud occurs through a compromise called a SIM swap attack in which a mobile number is hacked. The phone number is cloned and the criminal receives all the text messages and calls sent to the victim’s mobile device. Then login credentials are obtained through social engineering, phishing, vishing, or an infected downloaded app. With this information, the criminal can impersonate a bank customer, register for mobile access, and immediately start to request fund transfers and withdrawals.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) models have the potential to dramatically improve fraud detection rates and detection times. One approach is described in the Mobile bank fraud solution guide.  It’s a behavioral-based AI approach and can be much more responsive to changing fraud patterns than rules-based or other approaches.

The solution: A pipeline that detects fraud in less than two seconds

Latency and response times are critical in a fraud detection solution. The time it takes a bank to react to a fraudulent transaction translates directly to how much financial loss can be prevented. The sooner the detection takes place, the less the financial loss.

To be effective, detection needs to occur in less than two seconds. This means less than two seconds to process an incoming mobile activity, build a behavioral profile, evaluate the transaction for fraud, and determine if an action needs to be taken. The approach described in this solution is based on:

  • Feature engineering to create customer and account profiles.
  • Azure Machine Learning to create a fraud classification model.
  • Azure PaaS services for real-time event processing and end-to-end workflow.

The architecture: Azure Functions, Azure SQL, and Azure Machine Learning

Most steps in the event processing pipeline start with a call to Azure Functions because functions are serverless, easily scaled out, and can be scheduled.

The power of data in this solution comes from mobile messages that are standardized, joined, and aggregated with historical data to create behavior profiles. This is done using the in-memory technologies in Azure SQL.  

Training of a fraud classifier is done with Azure Machine Learning Studio (AML Studio) and custom R code to create account level metrics.

Recommended next steps

Read the Mobile bank fraud solution guide to learn details on the architecture of the solution. The guide explains the logic and concepts and gets you to the next stage in implementing a mobile bank fraud detection solution. We hope you find this helpful and we welcome your feedback.

For Sale – WD 2TB My Cloud NAS Brand new sealed.

Brand new and sealed Western Digital 2TB My Cloud NAS drive.

Fantastic devices but these are spare units which I never got round to setting up.
I have 2 of these available. Both sealed and brand new.

I’ll add pictures ASAP as I’m listing this on my phone right now.

Price and currency: 125
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: BT PPG
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne.
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – WD 2TB My Cloud NAS Brand new sealed.

Brand new and sealed Western Digital 2TB My Cloud NAS drive.

Fantastic devices but these are spare units which I never got round to setting up.
I have 2 of these available. Both sealed and brand new.

I’ll add pictures ASAP as I’m listing this on my phone right now.

Price and currency: 125
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: BT PPG
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne.
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.