News New Products Lead image: © 2011 PR NEWSWIRE

Android Gets Rugged with Panasonic

Tablet computers are fantastic, but they're also fragile. Although most people can avoid killing an iPad or Android tablet at home, taking one on the road or into the field is another story. If you carry a tablet into the field and you are worried about the life expectancy of your device, Panasonic might have the answer for you: an Android-based Toughbook tablet. On June 16, Panasonic took the wraps off the yet-to-be-released Toughbook.

The Toughbook is ruggedized to help withstand the shocks and drops that come with professional use outside the office. The durable device also addresses another problem that plagues too many tablets: glossy screens that are totally unusable in daylight. The Toughbook tablet provides a daylight-viewable screen for workers who have to get the job done outdoors while the sun is still shining. Toughbook also comes with something many users have been wanting since the first iPad shipped – a stylus.

The full specs for the tablet aren't out yet, but the company promises 3G/4G connectivity, "full shift" battery life, satellite-based GPS, and professional-grade accessories. Although the workplace usability for tablets is obvious, it looks like Panasonic might be the first company to cross the finish line with a system that actually matches up to mission critical environments; however, the niche that Panasonic promises to fill will be empty until 2011Q3 when the first models are due to ship.

© 2011 Panasonic Corporation of North America

© 2011 Panasonic Corporation of North America

Dot Hill Crams 36TB into 2U with AssuredSAN 3000

If you need a lot of storage in a tiny enclosure, you might want to take a look at Dot Hill's latest offering. The company recently announced the introduction of the AssuredSAN 3000 Series with 36TB of storage.

The AssuredSAN 3000 is a 2U enclosure that can hold up to 36TB, which can expand to up to 288TB with JBOD enclosures. The series is supposed to be very "eco-friendly," sporting features to spin down drives when they are not in use, and 80-PLUS rated power supplies that are rated at more than 80 percent energy efficient. As every admin knows, the power costs add up over time, sometimes more than the price of the unit.

The AssuredSAN also comes with new setup wizards and scheduler improvements, as well as remote backup features and up to 1,000 snapshots per storage array – meaning small and medium-sized businesses can be as confident of their data as their enterprise counterparts, but without the same kind of storage bills.

The AssuredSAN 3730 Fibre Channel model, with 36TB of storage, is expected to sell at about US$ 16,000.

Lenovo Focuses on SMBs with New ThinkServers

Everybody's talking about cloud computing and tablet computers – but what about good, old-fashioned servers for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)? Don't worry, Lenovo hasn't forgotten about you. The company announced two new ThinkServers in mid-June aimed squarely at SMBs and corporate branch offices that need a powerful server but not big iron.

The TS130 and TS430 from Lenovo feature the latest Intel Xeon processor, the E3-1200, which boasts up to 30 percent better performance than previous processors. The servers include Intel's new Active Management Technology (AMT) 7.0 tools for remote management and onboard RAID. The TS430 is a rackable system, and it has options that will bring its storage capacity up to 16TB of hot-swap storage. You'll also find front-side drive access and the optional ThinkServer Management Module with iKVM.

The TS430 will pack up to 32GB of RAM, and the TS130 will take 16GB. The ThinkServers are offered with Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition and a slew of warranty and support options. Red Hat 6.0 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11.2 are also available for the TS430, as well as VMware ESX/ESXi. The servers are due at the end of June, and they are priced at US$ 499 and US$ 699 to start, although (naturally) options will drive the cost up a notch if you want the extra goodies.