The 30 Hottest Tech Releases In August4:00 PM EST Wed. Aug. 29, 2012
There are no summer vacations for technology vendors as many came to market in August with a variety of product releases in a variety of niches. From high-profile releases, including the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and the latest version of Apple's Mac OS X, to more niche plays such as AMD's new FirePro APUs and Toshiba's PX-series SSDs, there was something for everyone.
For solution providers, identifying the potential for new business opportunities that accompany releases can be the key to getting ahead of the curve in various market trends. Check out CRN's picks for the hottest tech releases in August.
Despite the many common installation problems of Mountain Lion, Mac OS X 10.8 is Apple's latest and greatest. It's full of great new features, more than 200 in all, including tighter integration with Apple's free iCloud service, more and more fully integrated messaging, notifications and sharing, and hardened security with Gatekeeper to block malicious code.
Lenovo's new ThinkPad Tablet 2 will launch alongside Windows 8 this October and was optimized specifically to run Microsoft's newest and highly anticipated mobile OS.
The 10.1-inch tablet runs Windows 8 Pro, the business-specific flavor within the Windows 8 lineup, and sports a number of security features such as biometrically stored passwords and an optional Fingerprint Reader, poised to make it a hit among enterprise users. Like other Windows 8-based products, the new ThinkPad Tablet 2 also will integrate more easily into existing Windows-based IT environments than iOS- or Android-based devices.
Pricing details have not been disclosed for Lenovo's new tablet, which comes with an optional keyboard and stylus pen.
Silver Peak Systems is a fast-growing specialist in WAN optimization gaining especially strong traction behind its virtual appliances. One of its most important recent moves was the decision to make its Virtual Acceleration Open Architecture (VXOA) software available to VMware vCenter as a plug-in, meaning that administrators using VMware environments can automatically provision and easily manage workloads from within the VMware platform they're already used to.
Outsourcing company Infosys unveiled its Infosys Cloud Ecosystem Hub, a product to help businesses access hybrid clouds. The hub offers a catalog to let businesses access technology and business services across multiple environments and provision IT infrastructure and platforms in a hybrid cloud environment.
A brokerage feature of the Infosys Cloud Ecosystem Hub lets businesses select, compare and deploy cloud services from across cloud providers, with monitoring and metering capabilities.
Infosys is teaming with more than 30 cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services, CA Technologies, Dell, Hitachi Data Systems, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft and VMware.
Samsung's first-generation Galaxy Note quickly rose to fame as being one of the first-ever half-smartphone, half-tablet devices on the market (a model known now as a "phablet.") But Samsung in August introduced a new Galaxy Note that seems to overcome its indecision, with a 10.1-inch screen that clearly makes it a full-fledged tablet PC.
Though it's nearly twice the size of its 5.3-inch predecessor, the new Galaxy Note still runs Google's Android OS and comes with Samsung's S Pen stylus for users to take notes and draw directly on the device's screen. A 16-GB version of the Galaxy Note 10.1 sells for $499, and a 32-GB version is available for $549.
CA Technologies is offering customers who work with a qualified North American solution provider a rebate for every competitive backup or disaster recovery software replaced by CA ARCserve.
The offer, which is good until Dec. 31, offers a rebate of up to $700 per license for displacing the competitive software, up to a maximum of $5,000 per order.
CA ARCserve is a comprehensive data protection application that provides scalable data protection and integrates with third-party software such as remote monitoring tools, management platforms, and solutions from service providers.
Telecom giant Telecom and Data Systems (TDS) recently acquired solution provider Vital Support Systems, and in mid-August the combined companies went live with ReliaCloud, an IaaS offering intended primarily for moving back-office functions such as data warehousing and CRM to the cloud -- and doing so to hosting centers that are local to customer sites. TDS offers customers its IaaS platform not as hourly or daily use fees but either as a set of prepackaged servers or as a customizable pool of resources.
Research In Motion gave its BlackBerry PlayBook a makeover this month, rolling out a new version that includes support for high-speed 4G/LTE networks. The new PlayBook is said by RIM to offer a boost in performance compared to its predecessors, letting users browse the Web, send emails, and engage with multimedia faster than ever. It comes with 32 GB of storage, a 7-inch LCD display and clock speeds up to 1.5GHz.
RIM said the new PlayBook, which could potentially breathe new life into the company's struggling BlackBerry brand, will launch in the U.S. over the coming months but did not specify a price.
Testing iOS applications is important considering that there are more than 650,000 apps in the App Store and 1,100 news ones being added daily. Researchers from FishNet Security's new testing tool, SiRA (Semi-Automated iOS Rapid Assessment) performs forensics and analysis of mobile app components to ensure they don't contain security flaws.
NetAuthority rolled out a transaction verification solution that provides a device-centric approach to strong authentication. Targeted exploits and attack surfaces include keyloggers, stolen cookies and user credentials, phishing attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks and man-in-the-browser attacks. The company's Transaction Verification Key technology provides independent transaction verification as an extension to its Dynamic Device Keys, Device Authentication Service and Device Authentication Engine.
AMD grew its FirePro line of processors for entry-level and mainstream desktop workstations this month with the launch of its new FirePro A300 and A320 APUs.
As the first-ever APUs in AMD's FirePro line, the new A300 and A320 take on the responsibilities of both the traditional CPU and graphics-based GPU, a combination AMD said will especially increase performance in workstations performing compute-intensive tasks, such as computer-aided design.
NJVC released an infrastructure hosting and managed services offering for SaaS providers.
Called NJVC SaaS Accelerate, the service offers infrastructure management components that help deploy secure hardware, software and networking infrastructure for application hosting.
NJVC SaaS Accelerate also provides marketing services to support business development related to revenue targets and is built into the hosting services fee structure. These services include public relations, joint marketing collateral, online marketing and other support programs. Customers can work with NJVC advisers to develop services.
The SUSE division of Attachmate launched SUSE Cloud, an automated private cloud platform built on the OpenStack Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud computing project. SUSE said the new system makes it easier for organizations to deploy and manage private cloud environments.
SUSE Cloud incorporates the SUSE distribution of the Linux operating system and is integrated with Dell Crowbar, Dell's open-source tool for deploying and configuring cloud systems. It's also linked with the SUSEStudio development toolset and SUSE Manager Linux server management system. It is generally available now.
Nimsoft added French and German versions of its Nimsoft Service Desk IT Management-as-a-Service solution this month. Nimsoft Service Desk provides incident, problem, change/configuration, SLA, knowledge and catalog services.
VMware's Fusion 5 release, its latest update to software that allows Mac users to run Windows apps, includes some 70 new features and supports both Windows 8 and OS X Mountain Lion. VMware's Workstation 9, which lets users runs multiple operating systems on a single PC, also comes with support for Windows 8.
ARM, the U.K.-based chip licensor whose low-power architectures are leveraged by mobile chip giants Qualcomm, Samsung and Texas Instruments, unveiled this month its second-generation Mali-T600 GPUs.
The three new chips -- the Mali-T624, Mali-T628 and Mali T-678 -- offer a 50 percent boost in performance compared to the fist-generation Mali T-600 lineup, and are the first ever to be based on ARM's Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression (ASTC) technology, a design technique said to increase a device's battery life and ensure a smooth, always-on, always-connected experience.
The new Mali-T624 and Mali-T628 GPUs are being targeted at smartphones and smart TVs, while the Mali-T678 was designed specifically for tablets.
The latest update to Avaya's Aura Conferencing platform provides session-based unified voice and Web collaboration for both desktops and mobile devices, and can newly support up to 7,500 active, concurrent conferencing sessions. Among updates related to the platform are Avaya's Collaboration Agent Client, which ties conferencing to Avaya's Flare Experience collaboration dashboard, and visual controls such as the user's ability to filter out background noise and eliminate attendee announcements.
The CRN Test Center this month took a close look at the ZFS Storage Appliance 7420, Oracle's latest low-cost, flash-optimized storage hardware for high-performance transactional systems. In the ZFS, Oracle combines 2 TB of DRAM with more than 10 TB of SSDs and another 1.72 PB of spinning storage to deliver an appliance with performance well beyond that of traditional tiered storage. And it's all in a box with software so easy to use that it can be set up and configured in less than an hour and integrated in an enterprise in days rather than weeks.
According to Oracle's own performance benchmarks, the ZFS 7420 appliance delivered 10,703.69 SPC-2 MBps and a price-performance of $35.24, placing it in the top 10, ahead of IBM's DS8800 and with half the number of hard disk drives.
Fortinet rolled out changes to its product line for SMBs. The new 200D series of platforms for three existing product families are designed to be more powerful and less expensive than the previous versions. FortiManager is a centralized management platform that enables control of Fortinet devices from a single pane of glass. The forthcoming 200D version supports up to 30 licensed network devices, which quadruples the earlier capacity.
The FortiAnalyzer platform integrates network logging, analysis and reporting with centralized security event analysis, forensic research, content archiving, data mining, malicious file quarantining and vulnerability management. The updated version can accommodate 150 devices and up to 350 logs per second. The company's encryption-based messaging security platform, FortiMail, is getting a performance boost from 80,000 messages per hour to more than 170,000 messages per hour, backed by increased memory and processing power, as well as IPv6 support, identity-based encryption and enhanced server mode functionality.
Hybrid SSD and spinning disk array vendor Starboard Storage is teaming with virtualized environment specialist Veeam to provide a storage platform for handling backup, replication and virtualization management in VMware vSphere and Windows Hyper-V environments.
Starboard Storage and Veeam said the combination of Starboard's SSD hybrid storage arrays with Veeam's data protection technology provide the performance to deliver data backup and recovery in such applications as virtual server and VDI deployments.
LogMeIn updated its IT automation and management product, LogMeIn Central, a tool that helps users monitor and manage hundreds of versions of antivirus software through a centralized interface. The enhancements allow MSPs and IT administrators to monitor installations, run threat scans and receive threat protection reports from any remote PC under management, according to the company.
EPlus, an integrator of private and hybrid clouds, unveiled eCloud Readiness Consultation, an assessment service to evaluate cloud execution, ongoing managed services and security monitoring.
The eCloud Readiness Consultation offers an analysis of a customer's enterprise computing environment to evaluate its cloud potential for its existing IT architecture, business drivers and individual needs.
Salesforce.com is adding to its lineup of social networking and collaboration services with a new system that allows businesses to connect employees, customers and partners in a single community. The new Salesforce Communities service is currently in a limited pilot stage and is slated to be generally available in mid-2013. Salesforce will be demonstrating the service at its upcoming Dreamforce conference next month.
Toshiba America Electronic Components (TAEC) introduced the PX-series of enterprise SSDs. The three models in the PX-series are optimized for different applications.
The performance-focused PX02SM includes enterprise MLC (eMLC) NAND technology with a dual-port 12-Gbps SAS interface. It will be available in 200-GB, 400-GB, 800-GB and 1.6-TB capacities. The PX02AM value SSDs also feature eMLC NAND but come with a 6-Gbps SATA interface and capacity points of 100 GB, 200 GB and 400 GB. The read-intensive PX03AN uses consumer-level MLC NAND flash and will come in 55-GB, 120-GB, 240-GB and 480-GB models.
All the new SSDs are slated to ship in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Logitech this month introduced a solution to the age-old problem of a dusty (or crumb-ridden) keyboard: the Logitech Washable Keyboard K310.
The first washable keyboard to launch from Logitech, the K310 can handle everything from a light dusting to a full-fledged soak, able to submerge itself in up to 11 inches of water. Drainage holes are located on the back of the device for a quick drying process.
The K310 also has a number of new shortcut keys that can be used to more quickly access the Web, email accounts and apps.
ForeScout Technologies rolled out new mobile security features for its NAC-as-a-service platform for MSPs. The new features are delivered through add-on modules to be integrated into its CounterACT network access control solution. The overall NAC platform is designed to provide increased visibility and automated control over devices being connected to the enterprise.
ForeScout Mobile, which is delivered through the add-ons, will increase the granularity of that information, providing extensive data on the device, its user, its configuration, its apps and its security posture for IOS and Android devices, with an eye toward augmenting security assessments and policy enforcement, especially in BYOD environments. Nifty features include the ability to dynamically shut down smartphone cameras when the user enters a sensitive area.
Citrix VDI-in-a-Box 5.1, which comes from the vendor's acquisition of desktop virtualization startup Kaviza last year, comes with a raft of new personalization and other features that make life easier for IT departments. New features include Active Directory failover, twin data stores, built-in load balancing and Google Earth integration.
GFi Software introduced MailArchiver 2012, a new email management solution to help SMBs guard against the leakage of sensitive data, according to the company.
MailArchiver flags emails containing credit card and Social Security numbers and also emails related to job searches, according to GFI. It also archives all corporate email to reduce server demands by up to 80 percent and meet compliance and eDiscovery regulations, according to the company.
In an effort to expand the capabilities of its cloud-based application and network monitoring software, Boundary is adding the ability to create visual maps of application data flows that help IT managers track changes in those flows in realtime. The company also said it is making available a free version of its SaaS application performance monitoring product to attract potential customers.
In addition to its FirePro APUs, AMD took aim at the virtualized desktop and server markets this month with the launch of its new FirePro S9000 and S7000 GPUs.
Said by the chip maker to reduce server power consumption by up to 95 percent when idle, the new S9000 and S7000 are ideal for handling compute-heavy workloads, such as those demanded by computer-aided design and media and entertainment apps. The two GPUs also come with native support for virtualization technologies from Citrix, Microsoft and VMware, a feature that AMD said enables faster virtualized desktop deployments to client devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Both the FirePro S9000 and S7000 are available this month for $2,499 and $1,249, respectively.