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Toshiba launches new enterprise-grade 4 TB hard drive

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November 29, 2012

Toshiba said this morning that it's now shipping its new enterprise-grade 4 TB hard drive just a few days after Western Digital revealed its new 4 TB drive.

Toshiba will build its new drive at the 3.5-inch manufacturing facility it bought from Western Digital just last year. Western Digital had to sell the building in order to appease China's so-called 'MOFCOM' regulator during its acquisition of Hitachi Storage back in 2010.

Western Digital's three-platter 4 TB SATA3 drive now faces tough competition from Toshiba's MG-03-SCA400 competing drive, which has five 800 GB platters turning at 7,200 RPMs.

Toshiba also announced a new 6 GB SAS model, the MG-03-SCA-400, which also stores 4 TB of data and has a self-scrambling drive option.

Hard drives in Toshiba's MG series have a 64 MB buffer, 3 to 4 ms average seek latency, 8.5 ms average read seek time, and 9.5 ms average write time. Disks with smaller capacities are also available in that product range.

These are nearline drives built for continuous operation. The self-scrambling models offer near-instantaneous cryptographic data erasure, Toshiba added.

The SATA SED models fully support the T-13 Sanitize command to scramble the contents of the disk and the older T 13 ATA Secure Erase command. The SAS SED disks support the T-10 Sanitize feature and the Trusted Computing Group's enterprise protocols to securely wipe drives.

According to Toshiba, the crypto-scramble features eliminate the need for lengthy data overwrite cycles and reduce IT department expenses associated with secure data destruction and device sanitisation.

And as can be expected, now everybody is waiting for Seagate's 4 TB offering. Toshiba will ship samples of its MG 4 TB series drives next week. Volume shipments are scheduled to arrive sometine in January 2013.

In other IT news

Oracle has started a new initiative to improve the way that JavaScript integrates with Java itself, in an effort to benefit the developer community.

Oracle’s senior Java developer Jim Laskey says that 'Project Nashorn' is a lightweight, high-performance runtime app in Java that uses the native Java Virtual Machine (JVM).

Overall, Nashorn will start from scratch, using entirely new code, with initial source coming from an unnamed Oracle internal project manager, says Laskey.

The new initiative will allow Java developers to embed JavaScript in apps using the JSR-223 implementation and to develop freestanding JavaScript apps using the Jrunscript command line as well.

Nashorn will also use MethodHandlers and InvokeDynamic APIs, as described in JSR-292. “The goal is to provide a lightweight, high performance JavaScript on a native JVM,” Laskey added in his project proposal to the OpenJDK community.

"The scope of this project will include, but is not limited to, a parser API for scanning JavaScript source code, a compiler to convert ASTs from the parser to JVM byte code, and a runtime to support the execution of said generated byte code. Execution of JavaScript in this environment will be in conformance with ECMA-262 Edition 5.1 and will adapt to newer guidelines as standards evolve.

The project, part of the OpenJDK, will be moved to the OpenJDK repositories. OpenJDK is a free and open-source implementation of the Java programming language. The initiative was recently re-invigorated by Oracle once it took ownership of Sun Microsystems and which later attracted support from IBM and Apple after many years in the wilderness thanks to industry politics.

Nashorn is the latest effort to diversify the languages supported by the JVM, a push that started under Sun to help ensure Java remained relevant in a world of growing language diversity.

JavaScript runs in a browser, but making it execute in a JVM on the client or server side has some benefits. It means apps written using JavaScript code can take advantage of a device or a server's CPU or GPU in performance. But Oracle is a bit vague when asked if this will cause a server's memory or its CPU resources to be negatively impacted, something that system admins are advised to look into.

JavaScript is finding its way on to the server in particular, thanks to PHP – one of the web’s most popular programming languages.

To be sure, JavaScript is being mixed with other languages as well. It might call Java functions on a server and be used to retrieve data from PHP files, while PHP apps are being built that also use tabs written in CSS and JavaScript. But the issue with this could be that the transition to the server isn’t seamless, and apps that might work on a test machine may or may not run on the main server, something that Oracle needs to address.

Developers are using JavaScript because it dominates web programming and means a transfer of skills, but its downside includes having to deal with complex server-side issues such as scale and performance, running on multiple cores and keeping lots of long connections open, again, something that may not please many system admins that are keen on getting the best performance out of their server farms.

Laskey says that you can already run JavaScript on the server side using frameworks such as Node.JS, while there’s also Jaxer and Narwhal. Jaxer and Nawhal use a threaded model that suites web server development but which doesn’t scale well in applications running large numbers of processes or long connections.

Recently, Node.JS has been getting a lot of interest mainly because it uses event loops to run processes, helping JavaScript apps scale on the server. After initial enthusiasm, criticism of Node.JS set in - especially on its inability to scale.

An official project from the OpenJDK at least stands the chance of becoming something people agree on using, and could possibly offer the IT industry some sort of an alternative that could attract some developers and which isn’t subject to the usual complexity of frameworks and languages.

In other IT and developer news

Microsoft has released its first major update to Visual Studio 2012, in what it claims is only the first in a regular cadence of planned improvements to its main developer tool suite.

Microsoft launched Visual Studio 2012 in mid-September, but according to Steve Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft's developer division, programmers should expect regular updates at shorter intervals from now on.

"Most importantly, this isn't just about bug fixes, though it contains a few of those," Somasegar added. "This update also delivers a wealth of new functionality into Visual Studio 2012."

Predictably, several of those new features are designed to aid developers who want to build Windows Store apps for Windows 8's new Start Screen.

Source: Toshiba.

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