Trending December 2023 # Flash Storage: Choosing The Best # Suggested January 2024 # Top 13 Popular

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It’s no surprise that the enterprise data center has a storage performance problem.  Look at what the data center to contend with: raw sensor data, machine-generated data, financial transactions, big data analysis, hosted applications, R&D, mobile, social media, video, broadcasting – and that’s the short list.

Hard disk drive-laden SANs still top the storage food chain but even high-end arrays have issues around IO and latency.

Flash can remediate performance problems and many data center managers have already adopted it. Many more plan to within a 12-18 month timeframe.

The question is: are the managers choosing the best flash solution for their needs? Flash comes in many flavors. Just because it’s flash does not make it an automatic fix for your storage performance.

Flash Factors: What You Must Have

What do you look for? There are several different flash architectures to consider. Let’s look for first for the qualities that any flash installation must have.

· Flash storage needs to provide high IO processing speeds and low latency. These requirements are the point of flash but flash products differ dramatically in their performance levels.

· Flash arrays need to ensure data integrity. These include enterprise services for redundancy such as replication and mirroring, media quality protection, RAID (traditional and flash), and more. Hot swapping and non-disruptive firmware upgrades are also important in this space.

· Flash needs to have a reasonable cost. What constitutes “reasonable” differs radically from customer to customer. The measuring stick is cost-for-value: what does the customer need from primary storage, and when does flash meet or exceed the value of commensurate HDD performance? The good news is that flash prices are dropping, and can come in lower when measured dollar-to-dollar against clustered HDDS.

Flash Usage in the Enterprise Data Center

Flash products primarily serve Tier 0 and Tier 1 storage processing needs. High-end disk-based arrays can approach flash speeds by short-stroking fast HDD clusters, but this gets expensive – even costlier than high end flash arrays.

Tier 0 characteristics are ultra-low latency and very high IOPs for intensive storage processing. Examples of this tier include streaming sensor or scientific data, caching, in-memory compute, OLTP, and analytics. Tier 1 is also low latency and high IOPs with added storage services for data protection and management. Examples include VDI, databases, online transactions – any enterprise application that requires fast processing and storage services.

Top Flash Contenders

Server-side flash deploys at the server level as a PCIe card and/or SSDs. It mirrors active data into a local flash cache for higher active processing speeds. Administrators use server-side flash for critical applications and virtual machines.

The primary use for flash storage is in arrays. The top three categories are all-flash arrays (AFAs) with flash chips, AFAs with SSDs, and hybrid storage combining SSDs and HDDs.

All Flash Arrays using Flash Modules

Instead of housing flash in SSDs, the array maker builds proprietary hardware to house flash chips. These systems are expensive but their high performance and array-based management are good fits in intensive storage environments. Their cost also looks better when compared to high-end HDD clusters, and when dedupe and compression yield better capacity.

IBM FlashSystems 840 yields high performance and their enterprise version, V840, adds storage services. Violin Concerto also exerts flash control at the array level. This yield high performance and improves consistency of functions such as garbage collection, which is managed at the array level and not at the more fragmented SSD level. Skyera provides skyHawk, an all-flash AFA with high performance flash and storage services.

Hybrid Flash Arrays

Hybrid arrays combine SSDs and HDDs. The SSD layer acts as fast performance Tier 0 processing and the HDDs do the data storage heavy lifting. These vendors seek to provide the familiarity, capacity and long-term storage retention of disk with faster I/O performance and lower latency at the flash layer. As with other flash storage technologies, dedupe and compression will yield much more effective capacity at the SSD layer. They lack the high I/O speed and low latency numbers of their all-flash cousins but are a good jumping off point for balancing long-term storage capacity with faster storage.

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Choosing The Best Manufacturing Communications Tools

The promise of the next industrial revolution — Industry 4.0 — is that it marries the best of cyber-physical systems and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to deliver efficiencies in manufacturing. Manufacturing trends driving smart factories lean on future-forward technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning, so original equipment manufacturers can do more with less and function on highly automated, self-auditing and self-calibrating levels.

Mobile devices are increasingly the communications tools of choice in the smart factories of tomorrow. A study by LNS Research and MESA International points to a steady mobile adoption on the plant floor, with 54 percent of plant supervisors and 53 percent of managers expecting to rely on mobile devices as the information conduit for all their job-related tasks. Since mobility delivers strong and secure computing access on the go and in rugged situations, these numbers are expected to rise as more original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) make the switch to mobile.

Given the wide variety of mobile devices — tablets, phones and wearables to name a few — which ones function best as manufacturing communications tools? The answer really depends on the tasks that OEMs are looking to accomplish and how completely they expect to transition to mobility.

Rugged Tablets

Rugged mobile devices such as the Samsung Tab Active2 enable plant workers to seamlessly perform a number of manufacturing-related tasks. OEMs can set up a few tablets on the plant floor that enable workers to punch into and out of work, request time off, check on the status of work orders, pull up machine drawings and diagrams of finished products, and use augmented reality to compare and contrast current metrics against the ideal.

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Alternatively, smart factories assign a dedicated tablet to each piece of machinery. Workers can securely log in to each tablet using biometric data, pull up asset management software to check on error logs when alerted and file for repair orders if needed. Mobility effectively aids in task management and increases employee productivity.

Mobile Phones

Plant supervisors and managers on the go in smart factories can’t afford to stay tethered to a desktop or draft a paper checklist of to-do items to attend to later. Instead, they can use mobile phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Note9 to accomplish all their daily tasks, from the factory floor, the warehouse, the executive suite or wherever else they are. In addition to facilitating task management from anywhere, the Galaxy Note9 offers note-taking, form filling and document markup using the attached S Pen.

Users can also switch to desktop mode with Samsung DeX, a unique built-in capability that enables them to connect to a monitor, keyboard and mouse with an HDMI adapter. With DeX, plant supervisors and managers can rely on their phones as their primary computing devices, because they can connect to any hot desk at a moment’s notice. When the company uses virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) or has all its core applications mobilized, the end user never needs a dedicated laptop or desktop, because the phone is their computer.


Manufacturing trends point to an increasing embrace of machine learning algorithms that can deliver predictive maintenance in asset management. Essentially, embedded sensors on the factory floor report constantly on asset conditions, and that data is analyzed by machine learning algorithms in an edge processing environment or in the cloud. When new data from the machine (the temperature on a rotor, for example) falls outside preprogrammed boundaries, plant workers will receive an alert about potential system failure through a wearable device such as the Samsung Gear S3. A worker who has received an alert can then log in to the enterprise resource planning (ERP) or asset management software on a dedicated mobile tablet to pull up error logs and troubleshoot the production process accordingly.

Smart factories work with a combination of mobile tablets, phones and wearables in concert to accomplish a variety of tasks, improve employee productivity and deliver efficiencies in a number of key performance indicators.

Learn more about using mobile technology to modernize your factory with our free white paper.

The Flash Game Archive: Everything You Need To Know

For years Adobe Flash Player was the heart of multimedia content on the web. If it had video, animation, or interactivity, it was probably Flash. On December 31, 2023, Adobe stopped all support for Flash Player, removing it from Microsoft Windows and Apple macOS, rendering all Flash content on the web inoperable, and bringing about the death of Flash plugins.

Well, that’s not entirely true. As we explain in How To Play Flash Files After 2023, there are many ways to access Flash content that modern browsers won’t play. The Flash Game Archive is one such project, and they’re working hard to preserve Flash games specifically.

Table of Contents

What Is the Flash Game Archive?

The FGA is a preservation project to save as many Flash video games as possible. They’ve created a standalone application that plays these Flash games through emulation and using the original Flash player software. The application also works as a launcher for the game collection and offers information about each title.

If you look inside the FGA application folder, you’ll find copies of various Flash Player Executables and Ruffle. Ruffle is an excellent Flash emulator that third-party users, such as FGA’s developers, can use to run Flash games or Flash animations on modern hardware and operating systems. It works by translating Flash to modern HTML5 and is generally effective.

Why Archive Flash Games?

It’s easy to think of Flash games as disposable curiosities. However, Flash games from sites like Newgrounds represent a crucial era in the early days of the web. We saw something similar happen in the early days of cinema.

People didn’t think movies were valuable or important, so most early films are now lost to time. The internet will be with humanity for as long as we’re a high-tech society, so preserving internet artifacts representing a specific time and place in its history is inherently valuable.

The FGA Philosophy

For many of the reasons listed above, the FGA believes that preserving Flash games is worth doing. Their main argument is that a thriving emulator community helps keep console games alive long after the consoles themselves are gone, but there’s no console for Flash games.

FGA Is Small

One of the most popular solutions to accessing Flash games today is Bluemaxima’s Flashpoint Infinity. However, the installation size for Flashpoint varies from a few gigabytes to several hundred gigabytes!

In contrast, FGA’s download comes in at under 50MB, and you only need to use disk space and bandwidth for the specific games you’re interested in playing. As you select games from the available titles, they’ll download to your computer.

How to Use FGA

Using the FGA applications is easy to understand on your own, but why beat around the bush? Here’s how to get into a game as quickly as possible:

Download the latest version of FGA. It’s Windows-only. Sorry Linux and macOS users!

Unzip the folder you’ve downloaded.

Run Flash Game Archive 2.

On the app’s home screen, select Categories.

Pick any category you’d like.

Select a game from the list, such as 3 Foot Ninja.

Select the Play button.

You can favorite a game by selecting the heart icon on its page. Then when you go to Favorites on the home screen, you’ll see all the titles you’ve shortlisted. You can also find games by searching for them or checking the Featured section on the home screen to see which games Patrons and developers think everyone should know about.

Configuring FGA

Flash Game Archive doesn’t have many settings for you to tweak, but they’re worth highlighting.

At the top right of the home screen, you’ll see several resolution presets for the app. Simply pick the one that matches your screen, or choose one below your screen’s native resolution if you want it in a smaller window.

If you select Settings from the app’s home screen, you’ll have the option to allow all Flash games.

This restores the removed functionality from Microsoft Windows, where otherwise, the OS might block the games. You can also undo that settings change and fix it with the Restore Old Settings button on the right-hand side.

Contributing Games to the Archive

You can upload Flash games to the archive using the Upload option on the website. All the files required to run the game must be compressed into a single ZIP file and uploaded using that page. As far as we can tell, direct requests to add games to the archive are reserved for FGA Patreon subscribers.

There’s not much information on that page about how the approval process works. Unfortunately, you also don’t get to provide personal details with the upload, so being a Patron is likely the way to go.

What About Copyright?

Most Flash games in the FGA are made by individuals or small groups of enthusiastic amateurs. Professional teams backed by large companies made some. Either way, these games are the intellectual property of their creators.

Anyone can submit a game to the FGA, creating a situation where games end up in the archive when the copyright owner doesn’t want them to. FGA has a dedicated page where copyright holders can request that a game be removed from the library. This is essentially an “ask for forgiveness later” approach, but it’s impossible to seek out the copyright holder for every flash game. Most of these games have anonymous authors who can’t be tracked down.

Supporting the Flash Game Archive

The Flash Game Archive is free for everyone to download and use, but it does cost money to develop and maintain software like this. So, FGA relies on the support of like-minded people and allows you to donate money through cryptocurrency or a Patreon subscription.

There are three tiers: Grey, Blue, and Gold. These cost $5, $10, and $20 per month. All three tiers get their names put in the software, but if you are a Gold Patreon, you can request that games you care about are placed in the Featured section, so more people will likely play them.

The FGA Discord

FGA’s Discord is packed with features. There are channels to donate money, request features, and learn how to change the default password (it’s just “password”). There’s even an FAQ that covers the most common questions and misconceptions about FGA.

Playing Your Own SWF Files

If you have your own SWF Flash game files, you can load them directly using the FGA application. All you have to do is select Load Local SWF from the app’s main menu.

You can choose which Flash versions to use for maximum compatibility, but the developers have not done anything to ensure the game runs properly.

You can find SWF files all over the internet, but we recommend you look first in the Internet Archive’s Flash Game Library.

More Than Flash Games

Although the FGA is mainly about preserving and letting us play flash games, there’s also a collection of Flash animations. These might be interactive, but they aren’t games. Still, they have the same overall historical value as Flash games, and much of internet culture history is locked up in these animations. If you want to see the FGA collection of Animations, scroll right on the home screen to reveal them.

Adult Content on FGA

If you haven’t noticed, FGA has many adult Flash games and animation. You mustn’t let underage or sensitive users access FGA. While these categories are password-protected, looking up the default password or how to change it is easy. It’s as simple as opening the Password text file in the FGA folder and editing the contents with Notepad.

There is no version of the FGA we could find that does not include this explicit content, so a responsible adult should always supervise it.

Flash Sales – Worth The Hype Or Too Much Trouble?

More often than not, many customers are greeted by a “Sold Out” banner, resulting in a lot of heartburn and wastage of time. Many of these unsuccessful customers resign themselves to the belief that they will try to buy in the next sale. And speaking from experience, the success rates are not nearly good enough.

The question that arises then is, are flash sales worth the hype or are they just too much trouble?

In this post, I try to understand the problems that these flash sales are causing, ranging from customer distrust to loss of sales. But before we get into those problems, let’s identify why some companies and online retailers use the flash sales model in the first place.

Why Flash Sales?

Several retailers have implemented flash sales under various names, with these sales often lasting anywhere between a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the value of the product and the amount of discount being offered.

However, the Flash Sales we’re talking about are drastically different. The price is fixed upfront, and the sales are announced beforehand. But unlike other retailers’ sales, these flash sales almost always last for a couple of seconds, with the entire inventory seemingly going out of stock in 2-3 seconds. This has often caused a lot of confusion and unsuspecting customers end up believing that the product is extremely popular and in very high demand.

In the first few weeks, scarcity of stock does make sense. However, when these flash sales last for months at a stretch from the launch date of the product, customers end up being disinterested and start looking for other options. This becomes even more troublesome when companies resort to these flash sales for almost every product launched in the country, ending up angering quite a few customers in the process.

Creating a sense of urgency

Using flash sales, companies try to lure in customers who are still on the edge when it comes to deciding on their purchase. With the timer closing down quickly, many customers end up deciding in favour of the smartphone and try to purchase it during the flash sale. Whether or not they actually end up purchasing the phone successfully is a different matter.

By creating a sense of urgency and pushing customers towards their smartphone, companies ensure they have captured a customer and their competitor has lost a prospective sale.

Supply-side constraints and costs

Companies sometimes end up manufacturing more smartphones than the demand, resulting in an increase in storage costs and a higher opportunity cost. This works out okay for companies that charge a healthy margin on their smartphones, but for companies that work on razor thin margins, saving up on component and storage costs can often be the difference between breaking even or making a thin profit, and making losses.

Worth of mouth publicity Side-effects of flash sales

So, this brings us to the core issue at hand – are flash sales worth the hype or are they too much trouble?

The side-effects of flash sales have mostly been customer distrust and frustration. An unsatisfied customer can often end up negatively influencing many other prospective customers, leading to wider discontent with the brand’s sales strategy.

Customer distrust

While companies can often push customers towards their smartphones using the flash sales method, unsuccessful customers can often end up distrusting these companies. Whether or not this is an important factor for these companies depends on their research.

Blackmarketing Conclusion

Flash sales can be a great way to generate interest in a product – this is especially useful if it is a good value for money product. Customers often end up trying to buy the product for a few weeks before they are successful, and as such, can end up becoming loyal fans of the company.

While there are a lot of positives for these flash sales, there are side-effects too. Unsuccessful customers can often end up distrusting the company and spreading negative information, which can lead to bad publicity for the company.

How To Upgrade The Storage Of Your Ps4

With games clocking in at gigabytes in the double-digits, downloadable DLC and lots of patches, storage space on modern video game consoles is at a premium. Fortunately, the PS4’s storage space can be upgraded fairly easily. Those who are desperate for a little more breathing room have two options. The scary one (it’s not that scary) is cracking your PS4 open and replacing the internal hard drive. The second, slightly easier option is connecting an external drive. We’ll run through how to do both safely in this article.

Replace the Internal Hard Drive

Replacing the internal drive sounds hard, but it isn’t that difficult. However, there are a few steps that are necessary for a smooth transition. First, before you remove the drive currently inside your PS4, you’ll want to back up its data so you can transfer it to the new drive once you have it installed. To do so, simply follow this guide from Sony. Alternatively, you can back up your PS4’s data to the cloud if you are a Playstation Plus subscriber.

Note: replacing the internal hard drive on your PS4 DOES NOT void your warranty.

What You’ll Need

Phillips head screwdriver

USB flash drive

2.5 inch (9.5mm or slimmer) internal SATA hard drive

Playstation 4 operating system

Swap the Hard Drives

To remove the existing hard drive inside your PS4, you want to unplug your PS4 from the power point. Next, remove the casing on the top-left of the console by simply sliding it to the left. If you have a PS4 Classic, you can pry open the hard drive door at the front of the machine. Alternatively, if you have a PS4 Pro, you’ll be removing the casing at the back of the machine. Once the casing is removed, you should see the hard drive and the bracket. Locate the screws that hold the hard drive bracket in place and remove them. This will allow you to remove the bracket from the console.

Next, you’ll want to take out the screws securing the hard drive to the bracket. With the old drive removed, pop the newer, larger hard drive into the bracket and secure it with the screws. Finally, reverse the removal process to install the new hard drive in your PS4.

Install the Playstation 4 Operating System

With the new hard drive installed, you’re ready to get it up and running. The first thing you’ll need to do is download the operating system software to your computer from the Playstation support page. Once you’ve downloaded the PS4 operating system, plug in a USB flash drive and format it to FAT32. If you used a USB to back up your PS4’s data, DO NOT use that USB. You must use a different USB for the operating system.

Note: formatting a drive will erase all data currently on the drive.

Once the USB is formatted to FAT32, create a folder on the root of the USB called “PS4.” Inside the “PS4” folder create another folder called “UPDATE.” Be aware that both the “PS4” and “UPDATE” folders need to be labeled in all caps. Finally, transfer the Playstation operating system to the “UPDATE” folder. Next, plug your PS4 back in and start it up in safe mode. You can do this by holding the Power button down for approximately 8 seconds. Select “Initialize PS4 (Reinstall System Software),” and sit back while it does its thing.

Restore Backed-Up Data

To restore your data from the cloud, head to Settings and select “Application Saved Data Management.” From here, choose “Saved Data in Online Storage.” Finally, select “Download to System Storage” and follow the prompts.

Connect an External Drive

If opening up your PS4 gives you anxiety, don’t fret. A firmware update last year finally enabled PS4 owners to use external hard drives to beef up their console’s storage space. To use an external hard drive with your PS4, you’ll need to make sure it is USB 3.0 and has a storage capacity between 250 GB to 8 TB. You can use either a portable hard drive or a desktop type that requires an external power supply.

How to Move Data from Internal to External

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11 Factors To Consider While Choosing An Analytics Tool

Analytics Insight Presents the factors to remember While Choosing Analytics Tool

The growth of artificial intelligence (AI), is delivering a flood of data to the industry in massive quantities. As per management consulting company Aspirant, all of this data is highly helpful for businesses, but many don’t know how one goes about evaluating or analyzing such enormous volumes of information. Each year, a slew of analytics solutions are introduced, with mostly similar features and functions. We’ve compiled a list of 11 critical elements to consider when assessing and picking an analytics platform so that you can make the best decision for your company.  

What is a data analytics tool?

A data analytics tool is a piece of software that collects and analyses massive volumes of user data in order to discover patterns and anticipate user behavior.  

Why use a data analytics tool?

Product teams can discover which functionalities keep people engaged and identify possible resistance or drop-off spots in the user flow by monitoring user behavior. You may use a data analytics tool to assess engagement by correlating factors like hours wasted in an application when utilizing a specific feature. If consumers aren’t performing the desired action, you may discover drop-off spots and subsequently enhance the product to promote that action.  

How to choose an Analytics Tool?

1. Business Objectives Your analytics platform, like every other IT expenditure, should be able to serve both current and future business needs. To begin, you must determine your company’s fundamental objectives and develop a list of desired business results. After that, disintegrate your business goals into quantifiable analytics objectives. Ultimately, select an analytics platform that gives you access to information and reporting tools that will help you meet your company goals.   2. Pricing Do you have the expertise, resources, and experience to create and manage your own analytics solution? You must be completely informed of the expenses connected with the analytics solutions you are investigating, including memberships, growth, and extra costs, before picking an analytics tool. Varied analytics systems have different price structures, which you should be aware of before making a purchase.   3. User Interface and Visualization Your workers will use your analytics tool whilst creating marketing choices. Self-service analytics must have a user-friendly design that can accommodate a variety of users. Even non-technical people must be able to generate and comprehend dashboards and reports with ease. While aesthetics may not seem significant, having unattractive images on your panels will have a detrimental influence on user adoption.   4. Advanced Analytics Your analytics software should be able to spot patterns in data and predict what will happen, events, and results. It must go past basic mathematical calculations to provide contextualized insights, allowing you to develop complex predictive methods and future-proof your company.   5. Integration You must consider if a standalone solution or an incorporated solution is best for your company when choosing an analytics tool. With standalone solutions, you have a range of alternatives, but with incorporated solutions, you can access analytics from apps that your people are already acquainted with. You must be able to link your analytics platform to your current systems and third-party information sources. You should also consider how quickly your data can be transferred to other platforms if the need arises.   6. Mobility Mobile analytics is a simple and effective method to keep anyone in your company connected at all times and from anywhere. Businesses worldwide need mobile analytical capabilities to make data-driven choices on the fly. Before weighing your alternatives, consider the following:

What analytical skills do your staff require on their mobile devices?

Do they need to be able to merely see reports and dashboards, or do they need to be able to create and update them on the fly?

Mobile BI increases information accessibility, reaction times, and corporate communication. According to studies, mobile BI promotes user adoption.   7. Agility and Scalability   8. Multiple Sources of Data Modern analytics systems can evaluate structured, semi-structured, and unorganized data and integrate many sources of complicated data. It’s critical to use products that don’t necessitate the help of your IT staff. You can get a full picture of your business performance by gathering and combining data from several systems into a single dashboard.   9. Customization Because every organization has its own set of needs, you must choose an analytics solution that suits them. To integrate seamlessly into your processes, your company may require a bespoke analytics setup. You should also consider if the solution can be modified or expanded to suit both current and future requirements.   10. Collaboration Self-service, interactive analytics facilitate brainstorming and make the problem-solving process easier. To enable better, collaborative decision-making, your analytics solution must allow people to exchange, analyze, and engage with data in various content forms. When you need to communicate and make choices, you should be able to swiftly disseminate information throughout your business.   11. Security You must assess your analytics providers and vendor’s security to verify that the appropriate safeguards are in place to protect your data. Establish standard security systems and procedures at all levels, processes, systems, and data, to restrict which people or groups have access to which data. It’s also crucial to comprehend the consequences of mobile BI, as customers can view data from outside the corporation’s firewalls.  


However, determining which analytical tools to utilize is one of the most difficult aspects of data analytics. As per Josh Levy, a supervisor in analytics at Aspirant, when new analytical tools are introduced, organizations are having a more difficult time determining which is the greatest fit for their group.

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