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MariaDB X4 brings smart transactions to open source database

MariaDB has come a long way from its MySQL database roots. The open source database vendor released its new MariaDB X4 platform, providing users with “smart transactions” technology to enable both analytical and transactional databases.

MariaDB, based in Redwood City, Calif., was founded in 2009 by the original creator of MySQL, Monty Widenius, as a drop replacement for MySQL, after Widenius grew disillusioned with the direction that Oracle was taking the open source database.

Oracle acquired MySQL via its acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2008. Now, in 2020, MariaDB still uses the core MySQL database protocol, but the MariaDB database has diverged significantly in other ways that are manifest in the X4 platform update.

The MariaDB X4 release, unveiled Jan. 14, puts the technology squarely in the cloud-native discussion, notably because MariaDB is allowing for specific workloads to be paired with specific storage types at the cloud level, said James Curtis, senior analyst of data, AI and analytics at 451 Research.

“There are a lot of changes that they implemented, including new and improved storage engines, but the thing that stands out are the architectural adjustments made that blend row and columnar storage at a much deeper level — a change likely to appeal to many customers,” Curtis said.

MariaDB X4 smart transactions converges database functions

The divergence with MySQL has ramped up over the past three years, said Shane Johnson, senior director of product marketing at MariaDB. In recent releases MariaDB has added Oracle database compatibility, which MySQL does not include, he noted.

In addition, MariaDB’s flagship platform provides a database firewall and dynamic data masking, both features designed to improve security and data privacy. The biggest difference today, though, between MariaDB and SQL is how MariaDB supports pluggable storage engines, which gain new functionality in the X4 update.

The thing that stands out are the architectural adjustments made that blend row and columnar storage at a much deeper level — a change likely to appeal to many customers.
James CurtisSenior analyst of data, AI and analytics, 451 Research

Previously when using the pluggable storage engine, users would deploy an instance of MariaDB for transactional use cases with the InnoDB storage engine and another instance with the ColumnStore columnar storage engine for analytics, Johnson explained.

In earlier releases, a Change Data Capture process synchronized those two databases. In the MariaDB X4 update, transactional and analytical features have been converged in an approach that MariaDB calls smart transactions.

“So, when you install MariaDB, you get all the existing storage engines, as well as ColumnStore, allowing you to mix and match to use row and columnar data to do transactions and analytics, very simply, and very easily,” Johnson said.

MariaDB X4 aligns cloud storage

Another new capability in MariaDB X4 is the ability to more efficiently use cloud storage back ends.

“Each of the storage mediums is optimized for a different workload,” Johnson said.

For example, Johnson noted that Amazon Web Service’s S3, is a good fit for analytics, because of its high-availability and capacity. He added that for transactional applications with row-based storage, Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS) is a better fit. The ability to mix and match both EBS and S3 in the MariaDB X4 platform makes it easier for user to consolidate both analytics and transactional workload in the database.

“The update for X4 is not so much that you can run MariaDB in the cloud, because you’ve always been able to do that, but rather that you can run it with smart transactions and have it optimized for cloud storage services,” Johnson said.

MariaDB database as a service (DBaaS) is coming

MariaDB said it plans to expand its portfolio further this year.

The core MariaDB open source community project is currently at version 10.4, with plans for version 10.5, which will include the smart transactions capabilities, to debut sometime in the coming weeks, according to MariaDB.

The new smart transaction capabilities have already landed in the MariaDB Enterprise 10.4 update. The MariaDB Enterprise Server has more configuration settings and hardening for enterprise use cases.

The full MariaDB X4 platform goes a step further with the MariaDB MaxScale database proxy, which provides automatic failover, transaction replay and a database firewall, as well as utilities that developers need to build database applications.

Johnson noted that traditionally new features tend to land in the community version first, but as it happened, during this cycle MariaDB developers were able to get the features into the enterprise release quicker.

MariaDB has plans to launch a new DBaaS product this year. Users can already deploy MariaDB to a cloud of choice on their own. MariaDB also has a managed service that provides full management for a MariaDB environment.

“With the managed service, we take care of everything for our customers, where we deploy MariaDB on their cloud of choice and we will manage it, administer it, operate and upgrade, it,” Johnson said. “We will have our own database as a service rolling out this year, which will provide an even better option.”

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OneDrive Personal Vault and expandable storage now available worldwide

Microsoft OneDrive has long been an innovation leader in cloud storage, and today we’re excited to launch a new feature that gives you greater security for your files in the cloud. This summer, we announced OneDrive Personal Vault, which uses identity verification to protect your most important files. Now we’re happy to share that Personal Vault is available worldwide on all OneDrive consumer accounts. Additionally, we have more OneDrive news to share on expandable storage options, automatic folder backup, and dark mode—read on to learn more.

Meet Personal Vault

Personal Vault is a protected area in OneDrive that can only be accessed with a strong authentication method or a second step of identity verification, such as your fingerprint, face, PIN, or a code sent to you via email or SMS.1 Personal Vault gives you an added layer of protection for your most important files, photos, and videos—for example, copies of documents such as your passport, driver’s license, or insurance information—should someone gain access to your account or device.

Plus, this added security won’t slow you down. You can quickly access your important documents, photos, and files with confidence wherever you are, on your PC, OneDrive.com, or your mobile device.2

Beyond a second layer of identity verification, Personal Vault also includes the following security measures:

  • Scan and shoot—Using the OneDrive app, you can scan documents or shoot photos directly into your Personal Vault, keeping them off less secure areas of your device, like your camera roll.
  • Automatic lockingNo need to worry about whether you left your Personal Vault or your files open—both will close and lock automatically after a period of inactivity.3
  • BitLocker encryptionOn Windows 10 PCs, OneDrive automatically syncs your Personal Vault files to a BitLocker-encrypted area of your local hard drive.4
  • Restricted sharing—To prevent accidental sharing, files in Personal Vault and shared items moved into Personal Vault cannot be shared.

Taken together, these security measures help ensure that Personal Vault files are not stored unprotected on your PC, and your files have additional protection, even if your Windows 10 PC or mobile device is lost, stolen, or someone gains access to it or to your account.

Animated image of a user verifying her identity in OneDrive Personal Vault.

Personal Vault is the latest advancement in OneDrive’s suite of security features, which also includes file encryption at rest and in transit, suspicious sign-in monitoring, ransomware detection and recovery, mass file deletion notification and recovery, virus scanning on downloads for known threats, password protected sharing links, and version history for all file types.

Personal Vault is now available worldwide

To start using Personal Vault, look for the Personal Vault icon Personal Vault icon. in your OneDrive and simply click or tap it. If you’re using OneDrive’s free or standalone 100 GB plan, you can store up to three files in Personal Vault. Office 365 Personal and Office 365 Home subscribers can store as many files as they want in Personal Vault, up to their storage limit.


Don’t have OneDrive? Download the app and get your first 5 GB of storage free.

Get OneDrive

Learn more in this Personal Vault podcast on Intrazone.

Backing up your folders just got easier

We made it easy to back up your important folders to OneDrive—so your files are protected and available even if something happens to your PC. With PC folder backup you can choose to automatically back up files in your Desktop, Documents, or Pictures folders to OneDrive. Now you don’t have to worry about protecting your work—OneDrive will do it for you.

You can also access your backed-up files even when you’re away from your PC—just use the OneDrive mobile app or go to OneDrive.com. Plus, saving your files to OneDrive allows you to view and restore previous versions of your files up to 30 days in the past.

PC folder backup is now more deeply integrated with the newest version of Windows 10, so you can easily enable it during Windows setup or updates. The feature is included with all OneDrive consumer plans and is available on Windows 7, 8, and 10 PCs with the OneDrive sync app. Learn more about PC folder backup.

OneDrive fans rejoice—additional storage is now available!

In June, we announced that we would deliver on one of the most requested OneDrive features of all time—more storage options. Now you can add storage to your existing Office 365 subscription in 200 GB increments, starting at $1.99 per month.5 Learn more about OneDrive additional storage.

Dark mode is now available on OneDrive iOS

We’re also thrilled to announce that the OneDrive mobile app on iOS 13 now supports dark mode. This dramatic new look is both easy on the eyes and lets you take full advantage of an OLED screen to save battery life. To try it out, simply set your iOS 13 device to Dark Appearance in Settings > Display and Brightness and then open the OneDrive app.

Animated image of a phone switching between dark mode and standard, and back again.

Let us know what you think

To let us know what you think or share your thoughts and ideas, visit OneDrive UserVoice. To learn more about all the advanced protection features included in Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal subscriptions, see our support page.

1 Face and fingerprint verification requires specialized hardware including a Windows Hello capable device, fingerprint reader, illuminated IR sensor, or other biometric sensors and capable devices.
2 OneDrive for Android requires Android 6.0 or later; OneDrive for iOS requires iOS 11.3 or later.
3 Automatic locking interval varies by device and can be set by the user.
4 Requires Windows 10 version 1903 or above.
5Additional storage only available to Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal subscribers. For Office 365 Home subscribers, only the primary subscription holder may purchase additional storage, and only for that user’s account.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

A Look Inside Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age

A day we’ve long anticipated has finally arrived. Today, the new book that Carol Ann Browne and I have written, Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age, publishes by Penguin Press and Hodder & Stoughton in North America and English languages around the world. We chose the phrase “Tools and Weapons” to capture the paradox of technology. While tech companies like Microsoft create products and services to serve humanity, that same tech is being weaponized to inflict harm. And more indirectly, many of the issues people debate today, like income equality, trade, immigration and globalization, are all enabled and fueled by technology.

These challenges affect us all, no matter where we live, fostering a new age of anxiety. Tools and Weapons starts with the proposition that if your technology changes the world, you bear a responsibility to help the world navigate these changes. We wrote the book to make these issues more accessible to people and to examine ways to address them.

As we worked on the book, Carol Ann and I reflected on several stories drawn from current events, issues faced by Microsoft, and history. Why history? As we delved into the issues, we realized most have parallels from the past. The horse lost its job to the car, trains forced interstate regulation, the public revolted against the radio in the 1940s, and people feared that early cameras and the advent of street lamps would invade their privacy. But what’s different today is the speed of change. In a way, the issues created by today’s technology aren’t unprecedented, things are just moving a lot faster.

Tools and Weapons opens with a tour of what has become the world’s filing cabinet – the cloud. While the cloud is the underpinning of almost every aspect of society, most people don’t understand what it truly is: a massive fortress of concrete and steel. And while there is no cloud without a data center, these complexes are shrouded in mystery. We realized that to understand how the world really works today, you need to visit a data center. That’s why we open the book by taking the reader on the type of tour that typically is available only to a few industry insiders.

I hope that when people read this book, they will gain not only a better understanding of the forces changing our world, but also a sense that there is a promising way forward. It is a path that requires the entire technology sector to change and take on more responsibility. It’s also a path that requires governments to do more, to move faster and change as well. Fundamentally, it’s a path that requires that we work together in very concrete ways to bring together people who create technology, people who use technology, people who govern technology, and people who are impacted by it. As the book illustrates with concrete and colorful stories, we believe that this will provide the best approach to address issues that range from privacy and security to the development of artificial intelligence and the impact of technology on our jobs and international relations between nations, including the U.S. and China.

And there is one other thing that was very near and dear to our hearts. For all of us who like to read, as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said, we all buy more books than we start and we all start more books than we finish. We had a clear goal throughout our writing process and that was to write a book that we hope people will enjoy reading. I hope you enjoy it. Please tell us what you think on LinkedIn or Twitter.  

Tools and Weapons is available today in the English language at retailers including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and International Booksellers. Editions in additional languages will publish in the coming months. To learn more, visit the Tools and Weapons website and register for public events in your city.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

How to manage Windows with Puppet

IT pros have long aligned themselves with either Linux or Windows, but it has grown increasingly common for organizations to seek the best of both worlds.

For traditional Windows-only shops, the thought of managing Windows systems with a server-side tool made for Linux may be unappealing, but Puppet has increased Windows Server support over the years and offers capabilities that System Center Configuration Manager and Desired State Configuration do not.

Use existing Puppet infrastructure

Many organizations use Puppet to manage Linux systems and SCCM to manage Windows Servers. SCCM works well for managing workstations, but admins could manage Windows more easily with Puppet code. For example, admins can easily audit a system configuration by looking at code manifests.

Admins manage Windows with Puppet agents installed on Puppet nodes. They use modules and manifests to deploy node configurations. If admins manage both Linux and Windows systems with Puppet, it provides a one-stop shop for all IT operations.

Combine Puppet and DSC for greater support

Admins need basic knowledge of Linux to use a Puppet master service. They do not need to have a Puppet master because they can write manifests on nodes and apply them, but that is likely not a scalable option. For purely Windows-based shops, training in both Linux and Puppet will make taking the Puppet plunge easier. It requires more time to set up and configure Windows systems in Puppet the same way they would be configured in SCCM. Admins should design the code before users start writing and deploying Puppet manifests or DevOps teams add CI/CD pipelines.

SCCM works well for managing workstations, but admins could more easily manage Windows with Puppet code.

DSC is one of the first areas admins look to manage Windows with Puppet code. The modules are written in C# or PowerShell. DSC has native monitoring GUI, which makes the overall view of a machine’s configuration complex. In its enterprise version, Puppet has native support for web-based reporting. Admins can also use a free open source version, such as Foreman.

Due to the number of community modules available on the PowerShell Gallery, DSC receives the most Windows support for code-based management, but admins can combine Puppet with DSC to get complete coverage for Windows management. Puppet contains native modules and a DSC module with PowerShell DSC modules built in. Admins may also use the dsc_lite module, which can use almost any DSC module available in Puppet. The dsc_lite modules are maintained outside of Puppet completely.

How to use Puppet to disable services

Administrators can use Puppet to run and disable services. Using native Puppet support without a DSC Puppet module, admins could write a manifest to always have the net logon, BITS and W3SVC running when a Puppet run completes. Place the name of each Windows service in a Puppet array $svc_name.

$svc_name  = [‘netlogon’,’BITS’,’W3SVC’]

   service { $svc_name:

   ensure => ‘running’


In the next example, the Puppet DSC module ensures that the web server Windows feature is installed on the node and reboots if a pending reboot is required.

dsc_windowsfeature {‘webserverfeature’:

  dsc_ensure = ‘present’

  dsc_name = ‘Web-Server’


reboot { ‘dsc_reboot’ :

  message => Puppet needs to reboot now’,

  when    => ‘pending’,

  onlyif  => ‘pending_dsc_reboot’,


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For Sale – Corsair HX1200 PSU

Selling a Corsair HX1200 that’s been sitting on the shelf for too long now. Bought in Nov 2017 from Scan so still has warranty remaining.

As new condition and only used for a month or so, with full box and papers etc.

Looking for £140 inc special delivery

Price and currency: 140
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Cash or Bank Transfer
Location: Ingatestone, Essex
Advertised elsewhere?: Not 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.

Expanding Xbox Voice Commands to Hundreds of Millions of Smart Devices: Xbox Now Connects with Cortana and Alexa-Enabled Devices – Xbox Wire

Here at Team Xbox, we’ve had a long history in offering voice controls as a way to interact with your Xbox console through Kinect and headsets. Today, starting with select Xbox U.S. Insiders, we’re expanding voice support by introducing the Xbox Skill, which enables you to navigate and interact with Xbox One using voice commands through your Cortana and Alexa-enabled devices.

With the Xbox Skill, you can use voice commands to power your Xbox One console, adjust volume, launch games and apps, start and stop broadcasts on Mixer, capture screenshots, and more. It’s the fastest way to get into your games and one of the easiest ways to interact with your console for everyday tasks. For example, if you have the skill enabled on your Echo and you’re a part of the Insider preview, just say “Alexa, start Rocket League.” and this command will automatically turn on your console, sign you in, and launch your game.

The Xbox Skill integrates with your Cortana and Alexa-enabled device such as a Windows 10 PC, Amazon Echo, Harman Kardon Invoke, Sonos One, or Cortana and Alexa apps on iOS and Android, enabling voice commands to control your Xbox One console.

For Xbox Insiders* in the U.S. who want to try the Xbox Skill with Cortana or Alexa, here’s how to get started:

If you use Cortana:

  1. Sign into the Xbox you want to control.
  2. On your Windows 10 PC, click here and sign in with your Microsoft account to link the skill.
  3. Try your first command! “Hey Cortana, tell Xbox to open Netflix.”

If you use Alexa:

  1. Sign into the Xbox you want to control.
  2. Click here, sign in with your Amazon Account, and click Enable.
  3. Sign in with your Microsoft account to link the skill.
  4. Let Alexa discover your console, then follow the instructions to pair your console with Alexa.
  5. Try your first command! “Alexa, start Rocket League.”

Wondering what else the Xbox Skill can do? Just say “Ask Xbox what can I say?” to discover more commands for your console. For a full list of commands, troubleshooting assistance, and to give the team feedback and ideas, you can visit the Xbox Insider Subreddit.

As always, your feedback is important to us and our partners as we continue to evolve this experience and grow our voice integration across devices, digital assistants and voice services.

*Note to Xbox Insiders: We will be rolling the Xbox Skill out to Xbox Insider rings gradually. If the Digital Assistant setting is visible on your console in Settings -> Devices, then you are currently eligible to test the Xbox Skill. If it doesn’t appear, then please be patient as we are working quickly to add more Insider rings to the beta.

Wanted – Good spec and condition Chromebook

Thanks buddy. crazy how time is flying so not long to go now. She’s given me the go ahead to sell her mint laptop as well which I’m about to advertise here which still has 1.5yr on-site warranty.

The Chromebook is a 16GB Internal I believe. It’s a beautiful machine. I can do it for £230 delivered and that is mainly because it’s in brand new condition. I cannot see a single hairline scratch on it or thumbprint. My wife and eye have serious OCD when it comes to keeping our tech in the best condition. Me being in IT, I’m always using Antec spray to clean my devices.

I appreciate the price may be out of your budget but just wanted to see if anyone would want it at this price. I’ll upload some pics for you now and any marks that come up, please ignore as it’s most likely my shadows,lol

Wanted – Good spec and condition Chromebook

Thanks buddy. crazy how time is flying so not long to go now. She’s given me the go ahead to sell her mint laptop as well which I’m about to advertise here which still has 1.5yr on-site warranty.

The Chromebook is a 16GB Internal I believe. It’s a beautiful machine. I can do it for £230 delivered and that is mainly because it’s in brand new condition. I cannot see a single hairline scratch on it or thumbprint. My wife and eye have serious OCD when it comes to keeping our tech in the best condition. Me being in IT, I’m always using Antec spray to clean my devices.

I appreciate the price may be out of your budget but just wanted to see if anyone would want it at this price. I’ll upload some pics for you now and any marks that come up, please ignore as it’s most likely my shadows,lol