Ubuntu 11.04 Released, Toshiba’s NAND Announcements, Apple’s iCloud


This week saw a new version of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution (version 11.04) released, Toshiba making a pair of announcements around its NAND flash storage business, and Apple allegedly stamping its “i” of approval on the Cloud movement.

Ubuntu 11.04 Released

Ubuntu is a very popular (relatively) Linux distribution, so every six months, when a new version is released, it is news. This week Ubuntu 11.04 was launched which is significant not just for its updated user interface, but also because it generated enough interest to grind repositories to a crawl. For example, I was installing the 8MB samba package on a Ubuntu 10.10 installation yesterday and the process failed multiple times eventually taking over three hours to download the package.

Toshiba in 19nm Process NAND Flash

Toshiba made a pair of announcements this week. First, according to the EETimes, due to the devastating earthquake in Japan and ensuing Tsunami, Toshiba cut its NAND production by half. The reason cited was a lack of wafers from one of Toshiba’s suppliers constraining raw material supply. Expect this to prop up prices for flash storage both in SSDs as well as flash-based consumer electronics in the near future. As was previously mentioned on ServeTheHome, NAND demand is forecasted to skyrocket in the near future so we have entered a period where despite technological advances, demand is way up and supply has eased leading to stable prices.

The next step is 19nm NAND as compared to today’s 24nm manufacturing process. This week, Toshiba announced that its 19nm memory is ready to go and one can expect production to begin in Q3 2011. Assuming the current production derth in the wake of the earthquake subsides, 19nm NAND will lead to less expensive and less durable memory by the end of the year. The new memory will be available in 2-bit and 3-bit per cell varieties and will include Toggle DDR2.0 to increase data transfer speeds.

Apple iCloud and Emerging Trends

Well, the cloud officially seems to have arrived with Apple finally bestowing the buzzword with an “i” allegedly purchasing iCloud.com for $4.5 million. With Amazon’s push into providing cloud services, Google gearing up to do the same on is popular web properties and Android devices, and Microsoft’s products increasingly looking at Azure this is a clear signal that the inevitable is coming.Cloud computing, like pods, pads, tunes, and phones before, has arrived. For those looking beyond the obvious here, we are watching two trends that are about to come to a junction. First, media providers are increasingly trying to save media in the cloud and users are looking to store more data in the cloud. Each access to the data requires a WAN connection. On the other side, we are seeing US and European ISP’s looking to raise prices of data transfers both to end users (through usage based pricing) and Internet companies (through charging Google for YouTube traffic for example.) At some point, if the ISPs go after metering data traffic, storing things in the cloud where each access incurs significant charges becomes less attractive.

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