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The Secret Behind Radiation Hardened IT Equipment in Space

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The Secret Behind Radiation Hardened IT Equipment in Space

From 1961- 1975, during the worldwide space race and when the United States was making history with successful moon landings, technology at the time was booming. However, the Apollo 11 computer had a processor which ran at 0.043 MHz; meaning the iPhone in your pocket has over 100,000 times the processing power of the computer that landed man on the moon! More than 50 years later, its no secret that technology has developed into something we’d never dreamed possible. So, you’d think we’d at least be using updated systems in space today. Right?! Wrong. The computer hardware on board spacecraft computers is far from the newest and best around. 

Until the recent Space X Flacon 9 rocket, space travel was conducted with outdated processors. Even the International Space Station (ISS) is operating with using two sets of three command and control multiplexer demultiplexer computers from 1988. Even the chips that made up the original Sony PlayStation in 1994 are faster! Well luckily for all future astronauts and space cowboys alike, the Space X Falcon 9 carrying a Dragon spacecraft sent to the ISS was the first commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) high-performance computer to orbit the earth. It just so happens to be among the first supercomputers in space.

What is Radiation Hardening and Why is Necessary?

Radiation hardened electronics can simply be defined as electronic components that have been designed and tested to provide some level of protection against penetrating radiation. If not protected, radiation can cause the computer components to malfunction, damage circuitry or cause the electronic device to completely shut down. Radiation hardening is essential when the electronics are used in environments where they will be exposed to high energy ionizing or space radiation.

There are three types of space radiation concerning electronic computer components used in space: galactic cosmic rays (GCRs), high energy solar radiation, and radiation belts. Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCRs) are electrons, protons or neutrons that originate outside of our solar system. High Energy Solar Radiation are emissions from the sun due to solar flares or explosions of stored magnetic energy. Radiation Belts contain trapped electrons and ions of varying energy levels. GCRs and solar radiation routinely reach the earth; therefore, they are present at all of the earth’s atmospheric levels. 

For manned spaceships and satellite, continuous and reliable operation depends on being able to withstand space radiation. If you don’t already know the answer to the question, then you’re probably asking yourself why do we use spacecraft with such outdated processors? Well, by NASA’s standards and the laws of physics, not just any computer can go into space. Computer components must be radiation hardened, especially the CPUs. Otherwise, they tend to fail due to the effects of ionizing radiation. 

There is more modern hardware in space like the laptops used on the ISS. But those laptops are not high-performance computers. They’re just ordinary laptops that are expected to fail. Actually, there are more than a hundred laptops on the ISS, and most are obsolete. In order to perform serious data mining, we want high-performance computing. Afterall these are the reasons we’re doing experiments on the space station. 

The typical way to radiation-harden a computer that will be used in space is to add redundancy to its circuits or use insulating substrates instead of the usual semiconductor wafers on chips. That’s not only very costly but laborious as well. Scientists believe that simply slowing down a system in adverse conditions can avoid glitches and keep the computer running.

The end goal is to develop a functional supercomputer for operation in space without spending years hardening it. By using off-the-shelf servers and custom-built software, scientists are trying to harden a computer using software by throttling its speed when there’s a solar flare or other radiation hazard. If possible, astronauts will have the latest devices available, increasing their onboard capabilities.

The Effects of Space Radiation

There are a number of ways that computer components designers can radiation-harden their devices. One of the most common is to harden for total-ionizing-dose radiation – or the amount of radiation the device is expected to withstand for its entire life before problems occur. A typical requirement is for 100 kilorads of total-dose radiation hardness. The advancement of today’s advanced electrical components is changing the total-dose picture. Specifically, the shrinking size of circuits on today’s most modern chips is decreasing their exposure to total-dose radiation.

This trend is a double-edge sword because the steady shrinking of chip geometries also makes these devices even more vulnerable to other kinds of radiation effects, namely single-event upset (SEU) and single-event latchup (SEL). If not protected, radiation can cause the computer components to malfunction, damage circuitry or cause the electronic device to completely shut down.

A Step by Step Guide on How to Sell Used Servers

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Looking for a solution to dispose of your retired and used servers that is painless for both you and the environment? Has your organization recently updated the data center or IT infrastructure and need to get rid of used IT equipment? We Buy Used IT Equipment is your best choice to sell used servers and networking equipment. It’s in our name. We’ll pay you a fair market value to take it off your hands and dispose of it, so you don’t have to worry about a thing. In the case that your used equipment can’t be refurbished, we’ll handle the recycling on your servers in an environmentally friendly manner. By partnering with We Buy Used IT Equipment, you get paid for your used IT assets, ensuring that it is properly handled, and your data protected. 

We Make It Easy to Sell Used Servers & IT Equipment

When you decide to sell used servers and IT equipment not only will you make money, but you will also be helping your business stay socially responsible. We’ll either revamp your used servers and IT equipment or make sure everything is properly recycled. Regardless of the outcome, you walk away with some cash in your hand, your data secure, and the reassurance that your retired equipment was handled properly. Our simple six-step process to buying used servers will make everything as simple as possible.

Here's how it works:

    1. Submit your list of equipment you wish to sell: Send us a list of the servers or IT equipment you want to sell via the contact form on our site, or by emailing us at Sales@WeBuyUsedITEquipment.net. Be as specific as possible by providing information such as: quantities (the more the better), which brand/model numbers, capacity of drives, types of processors, and how much memory on each server.
    2. Receive an Offer: Once our team of IT equipment specialists reviews your list of equipment, we will reach out to you with an offer. We may ask questions like, will your company be responsible for data destruction, or will you need us need to provide these services? 
    3. Get the specifics on shipping. We Buy Used IT Equipment organizes and pays for the shipping. That’s right! We handle all of the logistics! If there is enough value in the equipment, we can get it done.
    4. Equipment Inspection and Audit: Once your used servers and equipment is received in our 24-hour secured facility, we perform a thorough inspection and audit. All drives are tested and formatted. 
    5. Data Destruction: If any data destruction, shredding, or magnetic degaussing is needed, we can take care of it. We can also provide you with a certificate of data destruction upon completion.
    6. Get Paid: This is the best part! We will either write you a check for your used servers, or if you choose, we will apply your used equipment as a credit towards upgrades and newer equipment purchases. 

Check out this short video to learn more about how our ITAD process works

We Buy Used IT Equipment buys all makes and models of used IT equipment, including, but not limited to:

Rackmount and Standalone Used Servers:

  • HP Proliant: DL320, DL360, DL380, DL385, DL580, DL585
  • Dell PowerEdge: R610, R710, R620, R720, R630, R730, R640, R740
  • IBM / Lenovo xSeries: x3250, x3550, x3650, X3850
  • Sun Oracle: T4, T5, T6, T7, T8, X4, X5, X6, X7, X8
  • Supermicro Servers

 

Used Blade Servers:

  • HP C7000 – BL Blade Servers BL460c, BL480c, BL660c
  • IBM® BladeCenter – HS22, HS23
  • Sun Blade 6000 – X6220, X6250, X6420, X6440
  • Dell PowerEdge M1000e, M620, M630, M640, M720, M730, M740
  • Cisco UCS 5108 – B Series Blades B200 M3, B200 M4, B200 M5

THREE REASONS TO START PLANNING YOUR IT INFRASTRUCTURE UPGRADE

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Microsoft will soon be ending its customer support for Windows Server 2008. What does this mean for you and your organization?

Well, the end of one era always means the beginning to another. This could be the perfect opportunity to ramp up your production, security, and improvements throughout. 

As much as we all tend to preach about the importance of staying up to date with the latest and greatest equipment in the IT industry, its easier said than done.

That fact of the matter is that more than half of all servers in operating existence are five to seven years old, and using archaic software like Microsoft Windows Server 2008.

windows server 2008
Image Courtesy of Microsoft

In recent news from the Microsoft Ignite conference, Microsoft will stop support for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 effective January 14, 2020.

They also plan to terminate the support service of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on July 19, 2019. If your organization is one of the many businesses that still currently uses these systems, you could be directly affected.

The news isn’t all bad though. Microsoft’s end of service could be the inspiration your organization needs in order to implement a full IT renovation, from up-to-date software solutions to the servers that propel them forward.

Need even more motivation for a data center facelift? We’ve put together three reasons to consider, based on challenges that technology experts are facing and the direct benefits they’re receiving from a well-orchestrated server overhaul.

Image Courtesy of Device42

REASON ONE: YOU’LL BE READY FOR MORE DEMANDING WORKLOADS

Recent surveys conducted with IT professionals and industry leaders suggests that analytics and AI strategy are among their top priorities in regards to infrastructure investments. 

Even more so, enterprise IP traffic is projected to triple by 2020. With these developments, it’s no surprise there’s a growing strain within IT that warrants an updated data center to sustain it.

Let’s be real here, there’s no such thing as “business as usual” anymore. Not just in IT, but in any industry for that matter. In order to stay competitive in any market, businesses must welcome change, and embrace adaptability to stay ahead. In terms of IT, modernization is critical.

According to 71% of those surveyed, the biggest road block preventing their IT transformation is an aging infrastructure. Businesses that currently operate with legacy systems find it nearly impossible to compete. 

Their archaic data centers just weren’t built to keep up with the modern demands of a digital world.

data center upgrade
Image Courtesy ComputerWorld.com

Modernization of your organization’s infrastructure is the most efficient strategy to stay competitive for the long haul.

A well-orchestrated renovation also brings opportunities to take full advantage of recent server technologies such as effortlessly handling workloads that would otherwise bog down any legacy systems.

For instance, new equipment running Windows Server 2019 optimized for Intel Xeon Scalable processors delivers a 4X performance increase over similar systems that are five years older.

REASON TWO: YOU’LL BENEFIT FROM INCREASED SECURITY

It’s no secret that the number of security breaches and cyber-attacks on businesses continue to grow astronomically, creating an impact of almost $2.1 trillion by 2019.

An older and weaker operating system leaves you vulnerable to an overabundance of business-critical attacks. The last thing any organization needs is a list of compliance failures that could result in the end of valued relationships. 

Ensuring your system is safeguarded against ransomware and protecting customer’s proprietary information to GDPR and HIPAA standards is vital.

Having an updated IT infrastructure allows you to deploy the latest security measures for data protection and encryption.

To name a few, Windows Defender Advanced Threat Detection and Intel Trusted Execution Technology, servers are furnished with a collection of multi-layered security resources.

Modern security can be instilled deep within an organization’s infrastructure and therefore out of reach of hackers. With features such as next-gen firewalls, security with software-defined networking, and identity and access management; newer systems create a much larger obstacles in the way of attacks.

REASON THREE: YOU’LL BE READY FOR THE FUTURE

Decrease total operating costs– Organizations that modernize experience up to 69 percent less revenue losses. Maintenance expenses used to maintain aging systems, unplanned downtime, and more abundant power usage all add up.

Simplify your transition to cloud – Studies have shown that by 2020, 90 percent of businesses will have developed a cloud strategy to support mission-critical applications. Updating your IT infrastructure will ensure you don’t get left behind.

Support expanding workloads – Organizations that update their systems have the ability to speed time-to-insight from analytics and AI technologies.
Enjoy the benefits of Windows Server 2019 – the advantages of the server upgrade include improved application platforms, containerization, pervasive encryption, and more

DON’T WAIT TO START PLANNING YOUR INFRASTRUCTURE UPGRADE

Despite the fact that your current legacy system may still be ultra-reliable, you’ll still want to take a proactive approach to planning a server upgrade before Windows Server 2008 support goes away. 

There is still plenty of time to both plan a serviceable upgrade strategy, and to take the steps necessary to complete it.

No matter which modernized options you wish to explore; whether it be hybrid cloud, hyperconverged infrastructures, virtualized networks, or the full capabilities of Windows Server 2019, DTC Computer Supplies can help.

Data Protection and Information Security – Together at Last.

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Any IT professional that spent time around a corporate data center for several years has more than likely adapted to the separation of data protection and data security fields. The division in specialties has long historical roots, but does it really make sense anymore?

data protection

Data protection is a major component of any corporate disaster recovery plan. A disaster recovery plan is a set of strategies and processes put in place to prevent, avoid, and minimize the impact of a data loss in the event of a catastrophe. Data protection is essential to a disaster recovery plan as business-critical data cannot be substituted.

The only way to protect data is to make a copy of the original and store the copy adequately secluded from the primary. That way in the event of an unfortunate incident, the same disaster cannot destroy both copies.

In fact, a sufficient disaster recovery plan should also include requirements for application, network, and user data retrievals, as well as procedures for testing and training management.

Disaster recovery planning can be compared to information security planning in many ways. They both intend to protect business-critical practices and data assets. However, InfoSec uses various intertwining tactics that are exclusive to security.

infosec

Information Security

Infosec has established its own terminology and set of strategies for securing vital data assets. These policies are then enhanced by methods of constant monitoring and seasonal analysis to ensure that security precautions are keeping data confidential.

Until recently there have been few exchanges between data protection and information security fields. However, when someone in the data protection field is worried about retrieving data that is encrypted, communication with the InfoSec team is mandatory.

On the other hand, the InfoSec team might only collaborate with the data protection team to confirm that continuous data protection resources are being implemented and used. This would allow speedy restoration in the wake of a cyber-attack by basically reversing data to a point prior to the attack.

Together at Last

Believe it or not, both data protection and InfoSec fields have a lot to learn from each other. Data protection has already dipped into quantitative techniques for matching protection services to detailed data provided the threats to the organization.  These quantitative methods, Single Loss Expectancy (SLE) and Annual Loss Expectancy (ALE), were trivial at face value and abandoned by disaster recovery experts.

InfoSec is moving down a similar path.  Attack surface reduction modeling techniques are akin to the pseudo-scientific numerical looking practices as ALE and SLE. Certain experts see these methods as an upgrade over the threat modeling that was applied by many InfoSec specialists in the 90s.  Before the turn of the century, it was widely thought that the cost to protect data should not be much higher than the cost to hackers to sidestep the security. In spite of this, the correlation was lopsided as hackers suffered little to no expense in testing the protection of their targets or to rout the actions that were taken to keep them out.

Selecting the Best Server for Your Data Center

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Server Selection

In order to improve bottom line performance in the workplace, IT professionals should assess top priorities to establish protocol on how to choose a server while constructing the most efficient workloads.

Some may say that servers are the heart and lungs of the modern internet, but the deliberation on how to select a server can every so often create a confusing range of hardware choices. Even though it’s possible to pack a data center with matching, virtualized and bundled systems that have the ability to handle any job, the cloud is forever altering how businesses run applications. As more organizations move workloads in the public cloud, local data centers need less resources to host the workloads that remain on site. This is encouraging IT administrators and business professionals to pursue more value and performance from the dwindling server fleet.

These days, the infinity of computer hardware systems is being tested by a new trend in customization with server attributes. Some businesses are encountering the idea that one size may in fact fit all in regards to servers. However, you can opt for and even design server cluster hardware to accommodate specific usage categories.

server selection

Figure from: http://searchdatacenter.techtarget.com/tip/How-to-choose-a-server-based-on-your-data-centers-needs

VM Merger and Network I/O

An advantage of server virtualization is the capacity to host several virtual machines on the same physical server in order to use more of a server’s existing resources. VMs largely depend on RAM and processor cores. It’s impractical to decide exactly how many VMs can exist on any given server because you can arrange them in a way that they can use an extensive range of memory space and processor cores. However, selecting a server with more memory and processor cores will usually permit more VMs to exist on the same server, improving consolidation.

For instance, a Dell EMC PowerEdge R940 rack server can host up to 28 processor cores and offers 48 DDR4 DIMM slots that support up to 6 TB of memory. Some system administrators may choose to pass on individual rack servers with a preference of blade servers for another form factor or as part of hyper-converged infrastructure. Servers meant for high levels of VM merger should also contain resiliency server features.

Another thing to consider when choosing a server for consolidation reasons is the extra attention to network I/O. Enterprise workloads regularly exchange data, access centralized storage resources, and interface with users across the LAN or WAN. Server merging can take advantage of a fast network interface, such as a 10 Gigabit Ethernet port.

Visualization and Scientific Computing

Graphics processing units (GPUs) are surfacing at the server level more and more to help with statistically intensive tasks from big data processing and scientific computing to modeling and visualization. GPUs also allow IT to retain and procedure sensitive, valuable data sets in a more secure data center rather than let that data flow to business endpoints.

GPUs need more than an extra GPU card in the server since there is a slight effect on the server’s traditional processor, memory, I/O, storage, networking or other hardware. The GPU adapters contained in enterprise-class servers are usually far more advanced than the GPU adapters offered for desktops. Graphics processing units are progressively more available as highly specific modules for blade systems.

Take HPE’s ProLiant Graphics Server Blade for instance. The graphics system flaunts support for up to 48 GPUs through the use of multiple graphics server blades. The huge volume of supported GPU hardware gives several users and workloads the ability to share the graphics subsystem.

Info from: http://searchdatacenter.techtarget.com/tip/How-to-choose-a-server-based-on-your-data-centers-needs