11th > June > 2011 Archive


Inside the 'funky' history of Groupon's biggest shareholder

A decade before he helped found Groupon – the online daily-deals site that turned so many heads last week when it filed for an IPO valuing itself at $30bn – Eric Lefkofsky ran a startup called Starbelly.com. In the lingo of the day, the Chicago-based Starbelly was billed as a "B2B" outfit, offering a marketplace where businesses could arrange to distribute promotional goods. In 2000, the company sold itself to old-school brick-and-mortar retailer Ha-Lo for $240 million.
Cade Metz, 11 Jun 2011

The New C++: Lay down your guns, knives, and clubs

"The world is built on C++," Herb Sutter tells The Reg. Considering he's one of the language's chief stewards, we question his impartiality. But he does have a point.
Gavin Clarke, 11 Jun 2011
Samsung UE40D6530

Samsung UE40D6530 LED 3D TV

ReviewReview When it comes to features, Samsung’s UE40D6530 40in LED telly doesn’t skimp on anything much. Freeview HD, 3D, Video on Demand, Skype, integrated web browser, social media apps, media streaming, PVR recording to external hard drive – it’s all here. This isn’t so much a TV as an all in one entertainment centre. And priced at £1099, Samsung is clearly planning to shift a lot of these puppies.
Steve May, 11 Jun 2011

A cloud hangs over the sysadmin

The IT job sector has been under increasing pressure. A couple of decades ago it was easy to imagine IT as a job for life, but outsourcing, offshoring and the dot-bomb brought wave upon wave of uncertainty to IT professionals.
Nathan Coates, 11 Jun 2011

Time to say goodbye to Risc / Itanium Unix?

Mission CriticalMission Critical Twenty years ago open systems was the battle cry that shook the absurdly profitable proprietary mainframe and minicomputer markets. The proliferation of powerful and less costly x64-based systems that can run Solaris, Linux or Windows is making more than a few Unix shops think the unthinkable: migrating away from Unix for their mission-critical workloads. The dot-com crash was the last hoorah for Unix systems. Unix machines accounted for nearly half of worldwide server revenues, shipments ran at about 75,000 units per quarter and revenues were about $2.5bn per quarter. Hit for six Shipments and revenues took a hit in the recession that ran from 2001 through 2003, and Unix also vendors suffered in the slump of 2008-9. Unix now represents about 20 per cent of worldwide server sales. In the first quarter of 2011, according to statistics from Gartner, Risc/Itanium server sales where Unix is the primary operating system started heading back towards 50,000 units and revenues hit $2.6bn. The Unix market has rebounded to where it was after the dot-com crash. Meanwhile, the Windows and Linux markets have surged, driving about two and a half times as much revenue and accounting for the bulk of the two million or so servers that get shipped in a quarter. And even as Unix has recovered, the market is adopting Windows and Linux at a feverish pace, predominantly on Xeon and Opteron server platforms. The same economic and technical pressure that Unix put on proprietary systems is not letting up on Itanium and Risc servers. Organisations look at their data centres and see the big cheques going out to IBM, Oracle and HP, the three remaining commercial Unix suppliers, and start asking a lot of questions about the alternatives. At the start of the Unix revolution, the processors and system components in Unix machines were leaps and bounds ahead of what x86 server makers could deliver in terms of capacity and reliability. A Unix system was a safe bet. So safe, in fact, that when the dotcom bubble started to inflate in the late 1990s a Sun Microsystems Sparc server and an Oracle database were the default platforms for Web 1.0 startups – a fact that made Sun and Oracle stinking rich and IBM and HP envious. HP may have moved from PA-Risc processors to Itanium chips from Intel, but Integrity machines are still seen as more expensive than x64-based alternatives running the same workloads. Itanium is, for all economic purposes, no better (or worse) than a Risc processor. The pace of change for Risc and Itanium processors has slowed a little in the past decade and enhancements have been coming to x64 processors from Intel and AMD. The x64 processors have grown up, with 64-bit memory addressing and a slew of reliability features that previously were part of only mainframe or Risc/Itanium systems. The expanded set of machine check architecture features with the Westmere-EX Xeon E7 processors announced in April are an example of such RAS enhancements. Salute the kernel Perhaps more importantly, Windows and Linux, the operating systems favored on x64 platforms in the data centre, have also improved greatly over the past decade in terms of reliability and scalability.