If you're familiar at all with Google and/or the dism command you can bypass Microsoft's omission of deduplication in Essentials. This lets you test what this system would be like with a full-blown copy of Server 2012 R2 installed with all the bells turned on.The result is actually quite stunning. I was cheerfully able to hammer the system with a consistent 75 megabytes per second of network traffic while deduplication and an active Unitrends  VM were both running in the background.The Sentinel took this load no problem. The cores were pinned and the 16GB of RAM was pretty much constantly full, but the system sustained access. It even worked after I put a cardboard box over it to simulate being in an improperly ventilated closet with a bunch of other computer gear and drove the thermals through the roof. It continued soldiering on, right up until it hit thermal shutdown.There is a lot of work to do to confirm this thing is as robust as it seems at first blush. However, it has an impeccable pedigree. The DX4000 reviewed earlier this year was pressed into emergency production service after a minor natural disaster. It has handled workloads way beyond its design capacity for months in an industrial building with notoriously dirty power without even the remotest hint of a complaint
The DX4000 was a tiny little Atom with 2GB of RAM that I had upgraded to 4GB. The DS6100 has more than 4 times the horsepower and by all accounts is equally well-engineered. I realise it borders on blasphemy to say it, but WD might be on the verge of giving Synology real competition.Naturally, I am not remotely satisfied with what WD has presented. This unit is great, but I want awesome. A filer is just a filer and what I want is a femtoSAN capable of handling file workloads and serving as block-based centralised storage for a VMware Essentials Plus cluster.The DS 6100 is theoretically capable of that – Essentials has both an iSCSI target and a top-notch NFS server, after all - but that's really stretching what you can expect from 4 x 7200 RPM drives.The first thing I did was upgrade the RAM. To do so you have to void the warranty by pulling up the motherboard . You'll find two of the DIMM slots are open; you can now upgrade the system from 16GB of RAM to 32GB of RAM just by adding a pair of 8GB SODIMMs.
So far, so good ... but this doesn't help us much with our IOPS issue. For this we need to swap our the operating system disks for SSDs. (Don't forget to Ghost your old drives, unless you fancy explaining to WD and/or Microsoft your need to re-activate Essentials because you went fiddling in the thing's guts.) I choose Micron/Crucial M500 960GB SSDs because they are the best bang for your buck currently available.Pop the SSDs in; use the chipset RAID to make them a RAID 1. Ghost the partitions back on (shrink the OS partition to 120GB, if you can) and leave the rest of the SSD blank. When you get into Windows add the blank portions of the SSD as well as your data drives into a new Storage Space. Create a virtual drive and make sure you check the box labeled create storage tiers on this disk. You can't do RAID 5 with tiered Storage Spaces yet, so it will require you to plan how you want to carve up your storage somewhat. The result, however, is dramatic. The system goes from feeling a little anemic for virtualisation to both NICs flattened 100 per cent of the time.
I'm still trying to convince WD to release a Vulture Edition version of the Sentinel with the above configuration, however, for now you can roll your own if you so desire.World Solar Challenge Although the World Solar Challenge is intended to be a challenge rather than a simple “race”, the quest to be first is one of the things that drives innovation.And, just as F1 gave the world disk brakes, some of the innovations helping to drive the World Solar Challenge will probably end up giving lessons and technologies to the rest of the industry.Meet Alain Chuzel who, with his wife Linda Bozarth, owns and operates SunCat Solar, a maker of specialist photovoltaic modules used not only by Nuon, but by many of the teams.Chuzel doesn't make the solar cells – his speciality is taking cells from companies like SunPower, and packaging them up with two aims in mind: giving them a surface coating that maximises their ability to gather sunlight, and creating a structure that's suitable for the vehicles (the right stiffness, and light weight).
A consumer photovoltaic, Chuzel explained to The Register, is built with protection from the elements in mind. Hence the heavy layer of glass on the front, and the need to give the panels a standoff from the roof, so that air can circulate and keep the solar cells cool.Cells that are too hot suffer a voltage drop, which limits their power output – which is why every team was spraying the panels with water at the control stop.But Chuzel had another interest in this year's race: keeping an eye on a new structure he designed for team Nuon. The image below clearly shows two module types on the car. The newer modules have an orange substrate.The modules showing an orange background are the new modules. So new are they that SunCat didn't have time to manufacture a whole car's worth of modules.What's different? The 10/1000ths of an inch coating on top of the solar cells, which has a tiny structure designed to capture more sunlight. Here's a close-up of a sample that Chuzel brought along for show-and-tell.
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One of the engineering challenges, Chuzel explained, is to design a coating that doesn't reflect sunlight the way a consumer-grade glass-coated panel will. So for the Nuon modules, he's designed a transparent coating (“It's more fun to call it a goo”, he noted) that doesn't reflect light.“Because we know that solar cars move a lot, we also wanted to make sure that no matter how these were oriented on the car, and no matter how the car moves around, we wanted it to have really good anti-reflection properties no matter what the angle.“Previous texturing-type products are a little more sensitive to the angle.”The structure – microscopic three-dimensional pyramids on the surface of the coating – is what causes the “cross-hatch” pattern visible in the image. The reason there's a cross-hatch pattern is a compromise: it indicates textures aligned in different directions.“There is inherently a compromise whenever you do geometrical texturing. Because my target was solar cars and moving vehicles, I wanted the best average no matter what angle … and this design was what I came up with,” he told The Register.
For the Nuon team, the new modules made up around 40 percent of the total solar panel surface of the vehicle. Chuzel said measurements made by Nuon concurred with his own pre-race measurements: the experimental modules are about 1-2 percent more efficient than the other modules used on the car.World Solar Challenge The “Dutch oven”, Nuon Solar Team, is tantalisingly close to claiming Challenger-class line honours from its shadow since Darwin, Team Tokai from Japan.Passing the Atfinish of timing of the World Solar Challenge at 10:03 am Darwin time, at Angel Vale in Adelaide's suburban north, Nuon maintained its lead over Tokai. The Japanese team maintained a pace close to that of Nuon for nearly the whole race, which is a remarkable achievement over 3,000 km.There's still one last aria to be sung in this particular opera, however. From the end of timing point, vehicles still have to reach Hindmarsh Square in central Adelaide. This run is rather like the last day at the Tour de France: it's procession rather than competition, except that if a team hasn't retained enough power to reach the finish, or if it suffers a mechanical breakdown, a follower is allowed to pass.
A few hundred kilometres – and therefore a few hours – behind the leaders are Challengers Team Twente, Stanford, Punch Powertrain, Solar Energy Racers, and Team Arrow. UNSW's Sunswift is currently in front of the Cruiser class on the road, but with more than 600 km to travel, there's plenty of time for things to change (not to mention that the cruisers will still be awarded points for the practicality of their designs after they reach Adelaide).Your correspondent for this report is happily indoors in Sydney, with APAC editor Simon Sharwood currently streaking carefully obeying South Australia's 110 km/h speed limit as he heads southwards away from Coober Pedy. Update: The weather still has a hand in events. At just after 10:30am, race organisers Tweeted that Tokai has had to pause just north of Wild Horse Plains to take its array off and try to get some extra charge, due to bad weather in Adelaide.The unscheduled stop is regrettable, since the finish won't reflect the race. Most of the 3,000 km distance, Tokai has been within striking distance of Nuon.
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However, with around 200 km between it and the third-placed Twente - and with everybody likely to suffer in the cloud - Tokai is unlikely to give up its second place.Review It seems an odd paradox that the more a company tries to hide something, the more publicity it attracts. Apple certainly uses this notion to good effect, knowing that it can't keep those secrets indefinitely, but also knowing that when it eventually lifts its kimono, what's new in the garden customarily causes a commotion among the brand faithful.Apple is not alone in this scripted sensationalism, but when it comes to what's inside a product, hiding some of the basics any mildly curious buyer might be interested in knowing usually suggests that what is being hidden certainly doesn't have a wow factor about it.So here I am with Samsung's slim, attractive and could-be-cheaper Ativ Book 9 Lite. At a glance, it could easily be mistaken for an Ultrabook, but at £500, this 13.3-inch touchscreen Windows 8 notebook is hiding something that its Lite moniker hints at.OK, so at 1.44kg, it could be lighter, but that's not it. It measures up as quite respectable really – Samsung has been busy with the tape measure to ensure the Ativ Book 9 Lite is fractionally smaller than a MacBook Air at 324 x 224 x 16.9mm – yes, it's 0.1mm thinner than the 13-inch Air (324 x 224 x 17mm).
There's nothing particularly unusual about the 4GB of DDR3 1066MHz RAM (albeit slightly slow) or the 128GB SSD. Perhaps it is a bit Lite on RAM, but Apple wouldn't give you any more in a standard configuration.Moving on, there's an AMD Radeon HD 8250 GPU in there and quad-core processor that apparently goes up to 1.4GHz. Well that's informative. Even the x4 Quad Core sticker on the palm rest doesn't want to flag up the fact that there's no Intel Inside.The AMD GPU does rather give the game away though. So there's an AMD chipset in here, what's so bad about that? The company makes some decent low-power, low-cost chippery that keeps the Lite end of the market very well fed.Maybe the issue isn't so much to do with what AMD is making, but more to do with what Samsung is doing with it. If you nose around the Ativ Lite with anything from System Settings, to CPU-Z to PCMark 8, you'll find no specific reference to the chip inside.There are clues though, and the biggest one is the graphics chip, as currently the HD 8250 appears on only one AMD APU (accelerated processing unit). It's part of its Elite Mobility APU platform – formerly codenamed Temash – and unless there's something very tricky going on, it's the A6-1450 APU. The four cores run at 1GHz, peaking at 1.4GHz in Turbo mode.