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Storage in 2017

December 30, 2016

The pace of storage change continues to accelerate, and its impact on us continues to grow. Digital storage is central to a digital civilization, and as we grow more digital, we grow more dependent on improvements in storage. Here’s what to expect in 2017.


AI will make stored data – and therefore storage- more valuable. When you can take – as we can today – a grainy surveillance video or a blurred face and read a license plate number of determine someone’s identity using AI, the value of stored data rises, for good or ill.

As the AI revolution gathers force, expect that researchers will discover even more ways to use machine intelligence to generate value from stored data. In our democracy, I hope, citizens will have some say in the ways AI is used by intelligence agencies and corporations.


We’ll see the first NVRAM (non-volatile RAM) in notebooks. This is the year that we’ll see the first mainstream NVRAM products from Intel and, I hope, others. Intel’s NVRAM SSDs

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Microsoft Teams

December 14, 2016

Chat is nothing new in business (or even new to Microsoft), but it’s now heading out of the technical department and the personal chat clients, and into the wider workforce. Microsoft Teams has some obvious similarities to Slack and HipChat and other business chat services, but it has a different focus: this is chat for teams of people in your business who already use Office 365, and want to base their collaboration around those tools and services.

It’s also chat that fits into the security, authentication and compliance that Office 365 provides for businesses. Microsoft Teams comes as part of your Office 365 subscription — there will be no free version for businesses who don’t use Office 365. And when the guest access feature arrives, we expect it to work like guest access in the Office 365 Groups on which Teams is based, with IT admins deciding whether guest users are allowed.

You can use Teams in a browser, or there are apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android and Windows 10 Mobile. They all use the familiar Office 365 sign-in experience, including multi-factor authentication if your tenant has set that up.

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Fake news

November 28, 2016

The recent uproar over fake news in the U.S. Presidential campaign was depressingly familiar to me. I’ve been dealing with the issue on topics related to my specialized field for more than a decade, and there’s no sign that the problem is getting better.

As with its political counterparts, tech-related fake news comes in all flavors. Some is deliberate disinformation, but most is the outgrowth of a one-two punch: ignorant reporting, fueled by a click-driven echo chamber.

The latest example is a story published last week by IDG’s ARN, an Australian website aimed at the reseller market.

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Cloud price war continues

November 22, 2016

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is cutting the price of its S3 cloud storage service and Glacier cloud archive service, as well as adding new options for companies wanting to retrieve data from Glacier.

AWS said it is cutting the per-gigabyte price of its S3 Standard Storage in most AWS regions as of 1 December, and reducing it down to three pricing tiers. It is also cutting the price of Glacier storage in most AWS regions.

The S3 price cuts vary by region and by the amount stored, ranging from 16 to 28 percent. Storage per gigabyte across all regions is now around two cents per gigabyte per month — in 2006, when S3 first launched, prices stood at around 15 cents per gigabyte per month, reflecting the downward pressure on prices.

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