Inside Amazon's Cloud Computing Infrastructure 76

1sockchuck writes: As Sunday's outage demonstrates, the Amazon Web Services cloud is critical to many of its more than 1 million customers. Data Center Frontier looks at Amazon's cloud infrastructure, and how it builds its data centers. The company's global network includes at least 30 data centers, each typically housing 50,000 to 80,000 servers. "We really like to keep the size to less than 100,000 servers per data center," said Amazon CTO Werner Vogels. Like Google and Facebook, Amazon also builds its own custom server, storage and networking hardware, working with Intel to produce processors that can run at higher clockrates than off-the-shelf gear.

Intel Launches SSD DC P3608 NVMe Solid State Drive With 5GB/Sec Performance 65

MojoKid writes: Intel just launched a new NVMe-based solid state drive today dubbed the SSD DC P3608. As the DC in the product name suggests, this drive is designed for the data center and enterprise markets, where large capacities, maximum uptime, and top-end performance are paramount. The Intel SSD DC P3608 is somewhat different than the recent consumer-targeted NVMe PCI Express SSD 750 series, however. This drive essentially packs a pair of NVMe-based SSDs onto a single card, built for high endurance and high performance. There are currently three drives slated for the Intel SSD DC P3608 series, a 1.6TB model, a 3.2TB model, and a monstrous 4TB model. All of the drives feature dual Intel NVMe controllers paired to Intel 20nm MLC HET (High Endurance Technology) NAND flash memory. The 1.6TB drive's specifications list max read 4K IOPS in the 850K range, with sequential reads and writes of 5GB/s and 3GB/s respectively. In the benchmarks, the new SSD DC P3608 offers up just that level of performance as well and is one of the fastest SSDs on the market to date.

Microsoft and Others Mean Stiff Competition For Apple iPad Pro 279

MojoKid writes: When Microsoft first announced the Surface Pro back in 2012, many Apple fans snickered. Here was Microsoft, releasing a somewhat thick and heavy tablet that not only had a kickstand, but also an odd cover that doubled as a keyboard. And to top things off, the device made use of a stylus. Steve Jobs famously said in 2010, "If you see a stylus, they blew it." But Microsoft forged ahead with the Surface Pro 2, and later with the Surface Pro 3. Not only were customers becoming more aware of the Surface but competitors were also taking note. We've seen Lenovo introduce the ideapad MIIX 700, which incorporates its own kickstand and an Intel Skylake-based Core m7 processor. And most recently, we've seen Apple pull a literal 180 on this design and platform approach, announcing the iPad Pro — a device that features a fabric keyboard cover similar in concept to the Surface Pro and a stylus. Dell and ASUS have also brought compelling offerings to the table as well. However, the big head-to-head competition will no doubt be between the Surface Pro 4, which is set to be unveiled early next month and Apple's iPad Pro when it finally goes on sale.

AMD Confirms Vulkan Driver For Linux, But To Start Off As Closed-Source 47

An anonymous reader writes: AMD has finally revealed some basic details concerning their support of Vulkan on Linux. AMD has a Vulkan driver but it will begin its life as closed-source, reports Phoronix. In time the AMD Vulkan driver will transition to being open-source. This Vulkan driver is built to interface with their new AMDGPU kernel DRM driver that's part of their long talked about AMD open-source strategy for Linux. This closed-then-open Vulkan driver will be competing with Valve's Intel Vulkan driver that will be open from day one.

Intel Kills a Top-of-the-Line Processor 99

itwbennett writes: In June of this year, Intel announced a processor branded as Broadwell-C. Now, the company has confirmed that the part was cancelled but would not give an official reason. Why did Intel kill the Broadwell-C? ITworld's Andy Patrizio speculates that it's a 'combination of increased cost, lower yield and potential product cannibalization' — cannibalization of the company's newly-launched Skylake processor, which the Broadwell-C outperformed.

iPad Mini-Style Specs, On the Cheap, In Android-Based ASUS ZenPad S 8.0 87

MojoKid writes: The ASUS ZenPad S 8.0 is a well-designed Android tablet based on an Intel X86 platform that boasts better specs than the iPad mini 3 in many areas and is also less expensive. As configured, the ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA has an MSRP of $299, which is $99 less than the 16GB iPad mini 3, and $199 less than 64GB model. However, it's based on a quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, and modern amenities like 802.11ac Wi-Fi, a USB Type-C port and a 2048X1536 IPS display. A 2GB RAM and 32GB variant can be found for $199 as well. In the benchmarks, the ZenPad S 8.0 handles pretty well, offering middle-of-the-pack performance in both standard CPU tests as well as gaming, in addition to running the latest version of Android Lollipop.

Intelligence Start-Up Goes Behind Enemy Lines To Get Ahead of Hackers 54

anlashok writes: The Times profiles a company called ISight, which sells computer security intelligence gathered by professionals from the "dark web". From the article: "ISight's investors, who have put $60 million into the company so far, believe that its services fill a critical gap in the battle to get ahead of threats. Most security companies, like FireEye, Symantec, Palo Alto Networks and Intel's security unit, focus on blocking or detecting intrusions as they occur or responding to attacks after the fact. ISight goes straight to the enemy. Its analysts — many of them fluent in Russian, Mandarin, Portuguese or 21 other languages — infiltrate the underground, where they watch criminals putting their schemes together and selling their tools."

Intel Establishes Automotive Security Review Board 39

An anonymous reader writes: To help mitigate the cyber-security risks in connected automobiles Intel has established the Automotive Security Review Board (ASRB). Intel says: "The board will encompass top security industry talent across the globe with particular areas of expertise in cyber-physical systems. The ASRB researchers will perform ongoing security tests and audits intended to codify best practices and design recommendations for advanced cybersecurity solutions and products to benefit the automobile industry and drivers. Intel also published the first version of its automotive cybersecurity best practices white paper, which the company will continue to update based on ASRB findings."

Linux 4.3 Bringing Stable Intel Skylake Support, Reworked NVIDIA Driver 93

An anonymous reader writes: Mr. Torvalds has released Linux 4.3-rc1 this weekend. He characterized the release as "not particularly small — pretty average in size, in fact. Everything looks fairly normal, in fact, with about 70% of the changes being drivers, 10% architecture updates, and the remaining 20% are spread out." There are a number of new user-facing features including stabilized Intel "Skylake" processor support, initial AMD R9 Fury graphics support, SMP scheduler optimizations, file-system fixes, a reworked open-source NVIDIA driver, and many Linux hardware driver updates.
United States

Spy Industry Leaders Befuddled Over 'Deep Cynicism' of American Public 403

New submitter autonomous_reader writes: Ars Technica has a story on this week's Intelligence & National Security Summit, where CIA Director John Brennan and FBI Director James Comey had a lot to say about the resistance of the American public to government cyber spying and anti-encryption efforts. Blaming resistance on "people who are trying to undermine" the intelligence mission of the NSA, CIA, and FBI, John Brennan explained it was all a "misunderstanding." Comey explained that "venom and deep cynicism" prevented rational debate of his campaign for cryptographic backdoors.

Intel Drops Support For Science Talent Search 115

An anonymous reader writes: Started by Westinghouse Electric, the Science Talent Search (STS) has for 73 years been the nation's oldest and most prestigious science competition for high school students. Intel has been sponsoring the competition since 1998 at an annual cost of approximately ~$6M, representing 0.01 of the company's $56B revenue last year. Intel's abrupt decision to cancel sponsorship of this beloved and venerable institution is baffling to students and educators the world over. Former STS finalists include inventor Ray Kurzweil and physicist Brian Greene.

Alienware's X51 R3, Revamped With Skylake and Maxwell, Tested and Torn Down 18

MojoKid writes: Alienware has been relatively quiet for the past 18 months or so with respect to their X51 small form factor gaming systems. However, Intel's recent Skylake processor launch and NVIDIA's further optimizations in their Maxwell GPU architecture have given the company a fresh suite of technology to work with to enhance performance and reduce power consumption. As such, the Alienware X51 was given a complete overhaul of the lastest technologies, all of which play very well with the tighter power budgets and thermal constraints of this class of machine. Alienware calls their new machine simply the X51 R3, as it's the third revision of the product. One of the more unique design changes that Alienware made was to the graphics riser card which plugs into a X20 PCI Express slot on the motherboard. This is a rather unique approach to design efficiency which allows the Samsung NVMe M.2 gumstick Solid State Drive in this machine to ride along shotgun with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960, on the side of a custom riser card. Performance-wise the machine is capable of strong standard compute performance on the desktop and in the latest game titles it's able to offer up playable frame rates up through 1440p resolution with high image quality settings. Not bad for a console-sized small form factor PC, actually.

Vietnam's Tech Boom: a Look Inside Southeast Asia's Silicon Valley 40

rjmarvin writes: Vietnam is in the midst of a tech boom. The country's education system is graduating thousands of well-educated software engineers and IT professionals each year, recruited by international tech companies like Cisco, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Intel, LG, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba and others setting up shop in the southern tech hub of Ho Chi Minh City and the central coastal city of Da Nang. Young Vietnamese coders and entrepreneurs are also launching more and more startups, encouraged by government economic policies encouraging small businesses and a growing culture around innovation in the country.
The Almighty Buck

$415 Million Settlement Approved In Tech Worker Anti-Poaching Case 117

An anonymous reader writes: Adobe, Apple, Google, and Intel have been embroiled in a high-profile court case accusing them of creating anti-poaching agreements in an attempt to keep tech industry salaries under control. Now, Judge Lucy Koh has ruled that the $415 million settlement against the tech giants is fair, and will stand. Koh also cut in half the amount awarded to the attorneys in the case. The lawsuit was a class-action originally joined by about 64,000 workers. Other companies were involved with the case, and reached settlements earlier, and a few members of the class action may opt out of any settlement. But the remaining members will only get something in the vicinity of $6,000 apiece for the damage done to their earnings.

Check Point Introduces New CPU-Level Threat Prevention 135

An anonymous reader writes: After buying Israeli startup company Hyperwise earlier this year, Check Point Software Technologies (Nasdaq: CHKP) now unveils its newest solution for defeating malware. Their new offering called SandBlast includes CPU-Level Threat Emulation that was developed in Hyperwise which is able to defeat exploits faster and more accurately than any other solution by leveraging CPU deubgging instruction set in Intel Haswell, unlike known anti-exploitation solutions like kBouncer or ROPecker which use older instruction sets and are therefore bypassable. SandBlast also features Threat Extraction — the ability to extract susceptible parts from incoming documents.

Intel Launches Onslaught of Skylake CPUs For Laptops, Hybrids and Compute Stick 54

MojoKid writes: Intel is following up on its Skylake launch bonanza by opening the floodgates on at least two dozen SKUs mostly covering the mobile sector. The company is divvying up the range into four distinct series. There's the Y-Series, which is dedicated to 2-in-1 convertibles, tablets, and Intel's new Compute Stick venture. Then there's the U-Series, which is aimed at thin and light notebooks and "portable" all-in-one machines. The H-Series is built for gaming notebooks and mobile workstations, while the S-Series is designated for desktops, all-in-one machines, and mini PCs. Also, the Y-Series that was previously known as simply the Core M, (the chip found in products like the 12-inch Apple MacBook and Asus Transformer Book Chi T300) is now expanding into a whole family of processors. There will be Core m3, Core m5, and Core m7 processors, similar to Intel's Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 CPU models in other desktop and notebook chips.

Mozilla, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Others Form 'Alliance For Open Media' 99

BrianFagioli tips news that Mozilla, Microsoft, Google, Cisco, Intel, Amazon, and Netflix are teaming up to create the Alliance for Open Media, "an open-source project that will develop next-generation media formats, codecs and technologies in the public interest." Several of these companies have been working on this problem alone: Mozilla started Daala, Google has VP9 and VP10, and Cisco just recently announced Thor. Amazon and Netflix, of course, are major suppliers of online video streaming, so they have a vested interested in royalty-free codecs. They're inviting others to join them — the more technology and patents they get on their side, the less likely they'll run into the issues that Microsoft's VC-1 and Google's VP8 struggled with. "The Alliance will operate under W3C patent rules and release code under an Apache 2.0 license. This means all Alliance participants are waiving royalties both for the codec implementation and for any patents on the codec itself."
Open Source

Linux Kernel 4.2 Released 142

An anonymous reader writes: The Linux 4.2 kernel is now available. This kernel is one of the biggest kernel releases in recent times and introduces rewrites of some of the kernel's Intel Assembly x86 code, new ARM board support, Jitter RNG improvements, queue spinlocks, the new AMDGPU kernel driver, NCQ TRIM handling, F2FS per-file encryption, and many other changes to benefit most Linux users.

Video The IoT, the MinnowBoard, and How They Fit Into the Universe (Video) 25

The IoT is becoming more pervasive partly because processor costs are dropping. So are bandwidth costs, even if your ISP isn't sharing those savings with you. Today's interviewee, Mark Skarpness, is "the Director of Embedded Software in the Open Source Technology Center at Intel Corporation," which is an amazing mouthful of a title. What it means is that he works to extend Intel's reach into Open Source communities, and is also aware of how hardware and software price drops -- and bandwidth price drops at the "wholesale" level -- mean that if you add a dash of IPV6, even lowly flip-flops might have their own IPs one day.

This video interview is a little less than six minutes long, while the text transcript covers a 17 minute conversation between Mark Skarpness and Slashdot's Timothy Lord. The video can be considered a "meet Mark" thing, and watching it will surely give you the idea that yes, this guy knows his stuff, but for more info about the spread of the IoT and how the Open Hardware MinnowBoard fits into the panoply of developer tools for IoT work, you'll have to read the transcript.
Input Devices

Skylake Has a Voice DSP and Listens To Your Commands 99

itwbennett writes: Intel's new Skylake processor (like the Core M processor released last year) comes with a built-in digital signal processor (DSP) that will allow you to turn on and control your PC with your voice. Although the feature is not new, what is new is the availability of a voice controlled app to use it: Enter Windows 10 and Cortana. If this sounds familiar, it should, writes Andy Patrizio: 'A few years back when the Xbox One was still in development, word came that Kinect, its motion and audio sensor controller, would be required to use the console and Kinect would always be listening for voice commands to start the console. This caused something of a freak-out among gamers, who feared Microsoft would be listening.'