Tag Archives: Flash

Adobe zero-day fix precedes June Patch Tuesday

An Adobe zero-day vulnerability in Flash Player that was actively exploited stirred up excitement for admins in the week leading up to June Patch Tuesday.

Adobe released a fix for the zero-day (CVE-2018-5002) and three other vulnerabilities for the Windows client operating system on June 7.

The zero-day exploit launched its attacks from Excel documents sent via email. Users who open these infected Excel attachments on unpatched systems could allow the execution of arbitrary code under the exploited user account.

Chris Goettl, director of product management, IvantiChris Goettl

After the Adobe zero-day issue, the patching workload for administrators is lighter than usual for June Patch Tuesday, with about 50 unique vulnerabilities to correct — including 11 rated critical.

“Our recommendation is the Flash patch — if it already hasn’t been pushed out, [give that] high priority,” said Chris Goettl, director of product management at Ivanti, based in South Jordan, Utah.

June Patch Tuesday closes about 50 vulnerabilities

Microsoft released an update for the only publicly disclosed vulnerability (CVE-2018-8267) for June Patch Tuesday, which affects the Microsoft scripting engine on all supported versions of Internet Explorer. Attacks can exploit this flaw through a compromised website, or user-contributed ads or content, to take control of the target machine.

On an unpatched system, attackers could execute arbitrary code as the hacked user. Organizations that follow least-privilege rules that restrict the use of higher full permissions will reduce the damage from a breach.

Jimmy Graham, director of product management at QualysJimmy Graham

Microsoft’s June Patch Tuesday fixes also closed a remote code execution vulnerability (CVE-2018-8225) that affects all supported versions of Windows. This vulnerability could allow an attacker to compromise systems through a domain name system (DNS) server.

“That would be higher risk for mobile workstations, where it’s likely the system will be accessing an untrusted DNS server through public Wi-Fi,” said Jimmy Graham, director of product management at Qualys, based in Redwood City, Calif.

A memory corruption vulnerability (CVE-2018-8229) in the Edge browser’s Chakra scripting engine would let an attacker exploit an unpatched system through specially crafted websites or user-provided content. The effects depend on the level of privilege on the system.

Spectre vulnerabilities continue

Just when it seemed the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities were winding down, security researchers uncovered another CPU bug. The vulnerability, called Spectre variant 4, is similar to the other speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities disclosed in January, but they are rated with moderate severity.  

Jann Horn, a security researcher at Google’s Project Zero, and Ken Johnson, of the Microsoft Security Response Center, discovered Spectre variant 4 (CVE-2018-3639). This exploit enables malicious actors to read privileged data across trust boundaries.

Microsoft released its ADV180012 advisory in January to assist administrators with closing the exploits from the speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities. The company continues to update the site, and it added further mitigation instructions to address Spectre variant 4. There are still no active attacks on Meltdown or Spectre, but administrators should install the patches and microcode updates when the CPU manufacturers release them.

For more information about the remaining security bulletins for June Patch Tuesday, visit Microsoft’s Security Update Guide.

TP-Link Archer C9 (Bricked)

TP Link Archer C9 (Bricked)

Was working fine, I then attempted to flash to DD-WRT and I bricked it!

I have tried the standard recovery to no avail. So this is either for parts only or you can take apart and flash using USB tool (can’t be bothered myself)

Other than that great condition!

Price and currency: 10
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: Paypal, BT
Location: Fareham
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods…

TP-Link Archer C9 (Bricked)

Potential NVMe benefits spark enterprise IT interest

IT pros accustomed to SAS- and SATA-based flash storage performance are eagerly anticipating the latest NVMe technologies. Some are already using nonvolatile memory express for demanding applications, while others wait for vendor support.

NVMe-based solid-state drives (SSDs) can lower latency and boost performance, compared with the standard SAS- and SATA-based SSDs that are the norm in most IT organizations. NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) can extend the NVMe benefits across a network, between application servers and storage arrays.

Although these are early days for NVMe, some enterprises already made the jump for select application workloads that have especially high I/O requirements. Market statistics indicate those users are in the distinct minority, but adoption should start to increase as storage vendors ramp up support and enterprise NVMe-based PCI Express SSDs drop in price.

NVMe benefits for database response time

Baystate Health took the leap to NVMe-based SSDs last year to try to boost database response time. The healthcare provider, based in Springfield, Mass., uses VMware’s vSAN hyper-converged infrastructure on Cisco Unified Computing System server hardware across three data centers in about a 10-mile radius.

“It’s not like we want to do cool, fancy things,” said Raj Subramanian, director of IT infrastructure and technology at Baystate Health. He said NVMe had become “necessary for the response time.”

Subramanian said Baystate’s InterSystems Caché database, in particular, requires low response time to prevent corruption and performance issues.

“Overall, NVMe improved the cache performance,” Subramanian said, “but it still hasn’t been determined if the performance is good enough for Caché’s IOPS requirements.”

Financial institutions tend to be early adopters of any new technologies that can boost performance. One technical director in infrastructure architecture said his financial services firm used Fusion-io’s PCIe-based SSDs before shifting to standard NVMe-based PCIe SSDs as soon as the drives became available.

“It’s definitely significantly faster. And the pricing has come down on the NVMe drives, so it’s actually pretty competitive, especially in comparison to a SAS flash drive,” said the technical director, who asked that neither his name nor company be identified.

The financial services firm bought Samsung NVMe-based PCIe SSDs for its Aerospike in-memory NoSQL database running on Dell servers, with plans to explore storage-class memory for its trading systems and in-memory databases. The technical director said the firm’s other databases use conventional disk- and flash-based SAN storage, and the company’s virtual servers connect to Pure Storage and Dell EMC XtremIO all-flash arrays.

Flash users anticipate NVMe benefits

For many enterprise users, the performance that all-flash arrays equipped with conventional SAS- or SATA-based SSDs offer has been good enough to meet their application needs. But now that they’ve gotten a sense of the benefits that ordinary flash can bring, some are starting to envision use cases for NVMe-based technologies.

“I wouldn’t rule it out,” said Alton Levesque, IT strategic director of enterprise platform engineering at LabCorp in Burlington, N.C. “The medical and science communities are always doing interesting things. Right now, the [conventional] SSDs are doing very well, but we’re keeping our eye on NVMe and seeing where that’s going.”

Chad Brannan, an infrastructure architect at Patterson Companies, a Minnesota-based distributor of dental and veterinary supplies, is considering the potential upsides of a shift to “ridiculously fast” NVMe technologies with its e-commerce and customer service databases.

“Anytime we can drive down the I/O latency, it’s going to drive up our ability to deliver faster to the customers what they want,” Brannan said. “We have a large competitor. We both carry the same product lines. We just want to make sure we get that sale, and we keep them happy.”

Brannan said Patterson’s internal employees could potentially reduce the response times for customer-assistance calls. He said extra seconds add up over time, and “next thing you know, you’ve got to hire another FTE [full-time equivalent] because your back-end storage isn’t fast enough to be able to handle what one person can do in an average day.”

San Antonio-based Frost Bank is a large Pure Storage customer, with seven Pure FlashArrays and three FlashBlades equipped with conventional SSDs. Daniel King, senior vice president of IT operations, predicted the bank will use NVMe by early 2019. That transition should be easy, because Pure promises nondisruptive upgrades to NVMe-based SSDs in its FlashArrays in 2018.

“Honestly, it’s about the load of the Pures. Our load is running about 60%, 70%. And as you grow, once you get hooked, you see very quickly how much you can put on it,” King said.

King cited the example of the bank’s VMware server farm with about 150 TB of data. He said that data reduces to about 12 TB after deduplication and compression, and he balances the load equally across three Pure Storage arrays. He said faster NVMe could offer benefits in balancing the controller load.

Potential NVMe benefits in power reduction

Central New Mexico Community College is also a Pure Storage customer. Bill Halverson, a senior adviser to the CIO at the college, based in Albuquerque, N.M., sees NVMe as a possible way to reduce power and cooling requirements and overall storage costs.

Beatriz DeStefano, a system administration manager at Nemours Children’s Hospital, said her organization might not currently have a need for NVMe. But she recognizes requirements could change as the healthcare provider grows and adds more clinics and patients. Nemours, which has hospitals and clinics in Florida and Delaware, currently uses a mix of all-flash and hybrid storage.

“NVMe is the future,” said DeStefano, who is keeping tabs on vendors’ NVMe support plans.

NVMe use cases

Uses cases that Gartner research vice president Joseph Unsworth sees for NVMe include hyperscale, analytics and high-performance computing workloads that require massive data ingestion, high-performance database management systems and consolidation.

Unsworth recalled the introduction of PCIe cards enabling massive server consolidation, translating to a lower server count and fewer database licenses. Unsworth said NVMe-based technologies could play out in a similar way.

“If you want to drive mass adoption, you have to give them a way to go to the CFO and say, ‘We’re going to go to this high-end technology that’s going to cost more, and we’re going to be able to pay for it by some other cost savings,'” Unsworth said. “That seems the lowest-hanging fruit, but that’s going to take time to drive the education and the adoption.”

Gartner statistics projected a 17% attach rate for PCIe SSDs in servers and 5% in storage arrays in 2017. By 2020, the rate will be 69% for servers and 26% in storage arrays, according to Gartner projections.

Unsworth said single-ported, NVMe-based PCIe SSDs are 45% faster than SATA SSDs and approaching price parity with them, opening the door for hyperscale users to shift to them on the server side. But he said storage arrays with dual-ported enterprise NVMe-based PCIe SSDs currently command a 15% to 40% price premium over traditional arrays, and they’re not especially plentiful.

“Once we see more competition, the premiums are going to get beaten down. It’s going to take some time. We think probably the second half of [2018],” Unsworth predicted.

True NVMe benefits with end-to-end use

Unsworth also noted that IT users won’t be able to fully exploit the performance capabilities of NVMe until they can use the technology end to end through NVMe over Fabrics. He said NVMe-oF is immature and probably won’t become a factor until 2019, when more vendors offer true end-to-end options. NVMe-oF-based products might not get into users’ hands until 2020, he added.

NVMe-oF and storage class memory set to disrupt storage

Five years ago, flash technology transformed the storage market forever. Today, flash-first arrays are the new normal. Will a new shared storage access protocol called nonvolatile memory express over fabrics combined with the advent of storage class memory prove as disruptive to traditional storage over the next five years as NAND flash technology was in the recent past?

When NAND-based SSDs first came to market, data was accessed using traditional block protocols, such as SCSI, and the SSDs were physically attached to array controllers and servers using SATA and SAS bus infrastructure. Also, locally attached PCI-based add-in cards were popular for server-side caching, predominately for storage acceleration.

As NAND flash evolved, the SCSI protocol itself started limiting flash storage performance. So the industry created a new block protocol called nonvolatile memory express (NVMe) that capitalizes on the performance characteristics of nonvolatile memory — such as flash’s ability to easily support data being accessed in parallel at a much greater degree than was ever imagined for HDDs. The initial target for NVMe is PCI Express bus interfaces to unlock the SCSI performance bottleneck. 

Recently, new classes of nonvolatile memory — such as 3D XPoint, which operates much faster than traditional 3D NAND flash and approaches dynamic RAM speeds — have emerged. Called storage class memory (SCM), it also can be addressed at the byte level versus the page level of NAND memory. SCM enjoys a thousand times speed and durability advantages over NAND, but it comes at a premium cost over NAND, similar to how initial SSDs’ pricing compared with HDDs. Using SCM only makes sense if it’s accessed with the NVMe protocol.

Thanks to SCM and NVMe-oF, innovation is alive and well in the storage industry.

Just as Fibre Channel and iSCSI extended the SCSI protocol to fabric, the NVMe protocol has been extended to fabric using a similar approach. The figure below offers a birds eye view of how NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) works.

NVM Express over Fabrics operates over Fibre Channel, TCP or remote direct-memory access networks and is, by design, transport agnostic. Applications written to take advantage of NVMe should operate over a fabric with limited latency impact. Since NVMe over Fabrics is relatively new, it will take time to gain native OS support from the likes of Windows and all flavors of Linux.

Why NVMe over Fabrics matters

Why should this matter to storage architectures? Because to achieve full SCM or newer-generation NAND flash performance requires that shared storage architectures change with advent of NVMe-oF. Most all-flash arrays boast latencies of less than a millisecond, and many leading AFAs have latencies of less than 500 microseconds. SCM-based arrays using NVMe-oF could improve latencies by another order of magnitude, approaching 50 microseconds.

Many external arrays were designed to put rich data services directly in-line to the data path, impeding the latency improvements promised by SCM. Initially, SCM will likely operate as a large cache minimizing the need for expensive battery-backed dynamic RAM. Ultimately, SCM-based storage will store long-term data, however, and need to include the rich data services available in AFAs. Just like flash coexisted with hard disk, creating flash-first hybrid arrays, SCM will become a fully functional tier of storage, with high-capacity NAND-based SSDs coexisting in the same array. 

How NVM Express over Fabrics works

With that in mind, we recommend AFA vendors consider the following in designing their external controller-based storage, server-centric software-defined storage (SDS) and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) architectures.

Controller-based storage considerations

Separate the control and data planes. It is going to be critical to optimize data for throughput and latency. The best way to offer rich data services at performance is to keep control operations separate from data plane operations. 

Reconsider what data services you put in-line versus post-process. SCM will enable some advanced data services to operate with acceptable post-process functionality while optimizing the overall performance. It may be better to land data first with minimal latency and leave storage optimization features such as compression and deduplication for later. Basic durability and encryption functionality would be exempt from this approach.

Push legacy protocols to the side. Future storage products should make NVMe-oF the optimized primary access protocol and then provide file, object and legacy SCSI block protocols using a gateway style approach.    

SDS and HCI considerations

Embrace local-attached SCM and NVMe SSDs. Industry standard servers are where SCM and NVMe options first appeared. It will be much easier for SDS-based storage vendors to take advantage of these technologies and provide the most flexibility to modify software and mature the storage infrastructure.

Consider using JBOF (just a bunch of flash) that supports NVMe over Fabrics for composable direct-attached storage. NVMe-oF protocol chip suppliers, such as Mellanox, are enabling low-cost shared-storage JBOF. If SDS and, more importantly, HCI vendors embraced this technology, they could support configurations with flexible compute-to-storage ratios. This approach will also let them fully embrace popular blade server environments and make the compute-to-storage capacity composable on demand.

Consider NVMe-oF support across a cluster of nodes. SDS and HCI vendors may want to use NVMe-oF to enhance durability and capacity between adjacent server nodes by making locally attached NVMe devices accessible to the other nodes in the architecture.

Some vendors will pragmatically add in SCM and NVMe technologies much like they did during the transition from HDD to SSD. I’m also seeing others go radical with all-SCM array options with extremely low latencies, enabling 10 million IOPS in a 2U form factor. This performance density is mind-boggling, and I fully expect we’ll see some new breakout storage vendors over the next couple years as these two transformative technologies mature and take hold.

Thanks to SCM and NVMe-oF, innovation is alive and well in the storage industry. I can’t wait to see what the next five years holds. Now is the time to be asking your storage vendors how they plan to make the most of SCM and NVMe-oF and, just as importantly, if your storage purchase today is future-proofed for tomorrow.

Are you ready for NVMe storage and the future of flash?

Flash storage has radically changed the IT landscape. While the most obvious benefit is improved application performance, Enterprise Strategy Group research shows flash users have experienced improved reliability and resource utilization, as well as reduced TCO. Solid-state storage continues to transform the data center, but what’s next? Nonvolatile memory express, or NVMe storage, is one technology to watch.

Think about the entire data path for a second. Applications demand processing — typically in the form of servers — and access to data via reads and writes across some sort of interconnect or storage network to a storage device. That model is overly simplistic, but it helps illustrate my point. With spinning disk technology, the storage device was often the bottleneck in the data path.

Using a memory cache to accept write requests and serve a subset of read requests helped reduce latencies, but, typically, the entire system was limited to HDD performance. Even with the performance benefits of spreading, or striping, data volumes across a large number of spinning disks, these mechanical devices were the bottleneck. With solid-state, a couple things happened.

First, flash storage dramatically reduced latencies. As a result, IT organizations didn’t need all the hardware and spindles to manufacture performance, helping reduce TCO. In addition, managing data center infrastructure got simpler because the additional performance headroom eliminated the need to regularly isolate and resolve application performance issues.

The second impact was less obvious. With the storage device no longer slowing down the rest of the data path, it wasn’t the performance bottleneck anymore. As a result, the entire data path experienced a surge in performance and utilization. The bottleneck didn’t go away, though; it only moved.

The new bottleneck

Understanding the location of the bottleneck is critical. If you want to increase the performance of a system, adding resources to any component other than the bottleneck is usually futile.

The low-latency NVMe offers must be extended to the entire data path.

But where did the bottleneck go? Often in flash storage environments, it shifts to the storage network or, in other words, the data path. The dramatic reduction in storage latencies increases the amount of traffic on the storage network, and now the storage network starts holding back data center performance.

NVM Express is one technology expected to resolve this problem. The basic premise of NVMe is that SCSI technology, and SAS by extension, which were designed for HDDs, are simply too inefficient. NVMe storage is an alternative to SCSI that can take advantage of the low latency and internal parallelism inherent to flash storage.

Beating the bottleneck

NVMe flash storage is the presumptive favorite to replace the common SAS- or SATA-based flash storage offerings. But it’s only one component. The low-latency NVMe offers must be extended to the entire data path. For external storage systems, such as all-flash arrays, that means using NVMe over Fabrics.

NVMe over Fabrics extends NVMe performance to common storage network technologies, such as Ethernet and Fibre Channel. IT shops that wish to maximize the value of their flash storage investments should look at integrating NVMe storage technology into their storage networks: But where to start?

Storage networking infrastructure is a significant capital investment that should support multiple technology lifecycles. Your decision must therefore incorporate other factors besides performance. In an ideal world, you’d want your NVMe-enabled storage network to deliver the latest technical capabilities, manageability and support, while enabling your infrastructure to easily integrate future technology options.

Before building an NVMe flash storage network, consider three factors beyond its technical capabilities:

  • Who owns — or should own — the data path? This old argument remains relevant. The addition of NVMe will dramatically reduce — and possibly eliminate — the need to diagnose complex performance issues across the network. Having a single IT team that owns and manages the entire data path, including the storage device and the network, is critical for timely diagnosis and resolution of issues. A single team is also important in guaranteeing the fast deployment of new infrastructure capacity and resources.
  • Is your NVMe storage deployment a new infrastructure deployment or an update? A concern with new technologies is how much existing infrastructure you must replace. If NVMe performance is added to a data center that already has significant investment in Fibre Channel- or Ethernet-based storage, ensuring continued access to that storage via NVMe technology is an important consideration.
  • What are the skill sets of your team? There are limits to what you can accomplish with retraining. The addition of NVMe can help eliminate the need for complex diagnosis of performance issues, but familiarity with the network architecture is key to ensuring an agile and resilient architecture.

Others considerations — such as manageability, analytics and bandwidth —  focus on technical or vendor-specific options. Of course, you should consider these elements when making an NVMe storage investment, but the three factors highlighted above will help provide the context to maximize the advantages of that decision. For enterprises seeking to get the most out of flash storage, an investment in NVMe technology is becoming a foregone conclusion.

For Sale – £700 – Apple 15″ MacBook Pro Retina 2.4 GHz Intel Core i7 (Early 2013)

The MacBook is great working condition and it comes boxed.

251gb Flash Storage
8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3

It is in great condition and the only marks I can see I have added photo. There is a dead pixel (I think on the screen) I have added a photo of this. The power cable has tape on because the white coating has come away, it still works 100%

Selling because I’ve ordered a 27″ iMac.

Price and currency: £800 – £750 Now £700 (open to offers)
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: Bank Transfer or Cash
Location: Suffolk
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
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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:

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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 – £700 – Apple 15″ MacBook Pro Retina 2.4 GHz Intel Core i7 (Early 2013)

The MacBook is great working condition and it comes boxed.

251gb Flash Storage
8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3

It is in great condition and the only marks I can see I have added photo. There is a dead pixel (I think on the screen) I have added a photo of this. The power cable has tape on because the white coating has come away, it still works 100%

Selling because I’ve ordered a 27″ iMac.

Price and currency: £800 – £750 Now £700 (open to offers)
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: Bank Transfer or Cash
Location: Suffolk
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
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 – £700 – Apple 15″ MacBook Pro Retina 2.4 GHz Intel Core i7 (Early 2013)

The MacBook is great working condition and it comes boxed.

251gb Flash Storage
8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3

It is in great condition and the only marks I can see I have added photo. There is a dead pixel (I think on the screen) I have added a photo of this. The power cable has tape on because the white coating has come away, it still works 100%

Selling because I’ve ordered a 27″ iMac.

Price and currency: £800 – £750 Now £700 (open to offers)
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: Bank Transfer or Cash
Location: Suffolk
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
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 – £700 – Apple 15″ MacBook Pro Retina 2.4 GHz Intel Core i7 (Early 2013)

The MacBook is great working condition and it comes boxed.

251gb Flash Storage
8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3

It is in great condition and the only marks I can see I have added photo. There is a dead pixel (I think on the screen) I have added a photo of this. The power cable has tape on because the white coating has come away, it still works 100%

Selling because I’ve ordered a 27″ iMac.

Price and currency: £800 – £750 Now £700 (open to offers)
Delivery: Delivery cost is not included
Payment method: Bank Transfer or Cash
Location: Suffolk
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
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.