Apr
19
2017
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Facebook will license its new 360 cameras that capture in six degrees of freedom

 On day two of Facebook’s F8 conference, Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s CTO showed off designs for two new 360 cameras that the company is going to help push to market. The x24, with 24 cameras, and its little brother the x6, with six cameras, can each capture in six degrees of freedom for more immersive 360 content. Facebook plans to license the designs of the two cameras to… Read More

Apr
06
2017
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SkyX drones are half-helicopter, half-plane and built to fly long distances

 A Markham, Ontario startup called SkyX Ltd. emerged from stealth today to share with TechCrunch details about its unique industrial drone designs. The company’s SkyOne drones take off and land like a helicopter, but fly more like an airplane, with a range of more than 25 miles (40 km) per charge. For drone industry nerds, this means they have both VTOL and fixed-wing elements. Read More

Mar
27
2017
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Airobotics scores authorization to fly autonomous drones in Israel

 A startup based in Petah Tikva, Israel, Airobotics, has scored the right to fly drones autonomously for business purposes in Israel. The Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI) was the first in the world to authorize commercial, fully unmanned drone flights in their nation’s airspace. Read More

Mar
21
2017
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Mythic launches a chip to enable computer vision and voice control on any device

 Hardware that responds to voice commands is already out there and probably in your hand or house right now. Whether it’s a smartphone, smart speaker or wearable, it has to connect to the cloud to deliver answers. Now, a startup called Mythic (formerly known as Isocline) is launching a chip and software that will change all that, putting voice control, computer vision and other kinds of… Read More

Mar
16
2017
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Carbon moves into high-volume manufacturing with SpeedCell system, and bigger 3D printers

 Additive manufacturing startup Carbon is on a mission to help manufacturers and designers cut their costs, waste less energy and materials while speeding up the time it takes to get from concept to product on the market. The company, which has raised $221 million in venture capital, is firing up a new service aimed at contract manufacturers, and other high volume manufacturing businesses,… Read More

Mar
09
2017
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Google’s Jamboard will cost $5,000, plus an annual management fee

 Google’s delivering on its promise of keeping its interactive whiteboard under $6,000. Priced at $4,999, the Jamboard is just a hair more expensive than the 55-inch version of Cisco’s Sparkboard and considerably less so than the $8,999 Surface Hub, which was both the first of the trio to be announced and first to market when it started shipping last March.
Google’s 55-inch… Read More

Feb
09
2017
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Using NVMe Command Line Tools to Check NVMe Flash Health

NVME

NVMEIn this blog post, I’ll look at the types of NVMe flash health information you can get from using the NVMe command line tools.

Checking SATA-based drive health is easy. Whether it’s an SSD or older spinning drive, you can use the

smartctl

 command to get a wealth of information about the device’s performance and health. As an example:

root@blinky:/var/lib/mysql# smartctl -A /dev/sda
smartctl 6.5 2016-01-24 r4214 [x86_64-linux-4.4.0-62-generic] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-16, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke, www.smartmontools.org
=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
 1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x002f   100   100   000    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
 5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0032   100   100   010    Old_age   Always       -       0
 9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       41
12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       2
171 Unknown_Attribute       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
172 Unknown_Attribute       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
173 Unknown_Attribute       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       1
174 Unknown_Attribute       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
183 Runtime_Bad_Block       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
184 End-to-End_Error        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
187 Reported_Uncorrect      0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   065   059   000    Old_age   Always       -       35 (Min/Max 21/41)
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0030   100   100   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
202 Unknown_SSD_Attribute   0x0030   100   100   001    Old_age   Offline      -       0
206 Unknown_SSD_Attribute   0x000e   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
246 Unknown_Attribute       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       145599393
247 Unknown_Attribute       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       4550280
248 Unknown_Attribute       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       582524
180 Unused_Rsvd_Blk_Cnt_Tot 0x0033   000   000   000    Pre-fail  Always       -       1260
210 Unknown_Attribute       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0

While

smartctl

 might not know all vendor-specific smart values, typically you can Google the drive model along with “smart attributes” and find documents like this to get more details.

If you move to newer generation NVMe-based flash storage,

smartctl

 won’t work anymore – at least it doesn’t work for the packages available for Ubuntu 16.04 (what I’m running). It looks like support for NVMe in Smartmontools is coming, and it would be great to get a single tool that supports both  SATA and NVMe flash storage.

In the meantime, you can use the

nvme

 tool available from the nvme-cli package. It provides some basic information for NVMe devices.

To get information about the NVMe devices installed:

root@alex:~# nvme list
Node             SN                   Model                                    Version  Namespace Usage                      Format           FW Rev
---------------- -------------------- ---------------------------------------- -------- --------- -------------------------- ---------------- --------
/dev/nvme0n1     S3EVNCAHB01861F      Samsung SSD 960 PRO 1TB                  1.2      1         689.63  GB /   1.02  TB    512   B +  0 B   1B6QCXP7

To get SMART information:

root@alex:~# nvme smart-log /dev/nvme0
Smart Log for NVME device:nvme0 namespace-id:ffffffff
critical_warning                    : 0
temperature                         : 34 C
available_spare                     : 100%
available_spare_threshold           : 10%
percentage_used                     : 0%
data_units_read                     : 3,465,389
data_units_written                  : 9,014,689
host_read_commands                  : 89,719,366
host_write_commands                 : 134,671,295
controller_busy_time                : 310
power_cycles                        : 11
power_on_hours                      : 21
unsafe_shutdowns                    : 8
media_errors                        : 0
num_err_log_entries                 : 1
Warning Temperature Time            : 0
Critical Composite Temperature Time : 0
Temperature Sensor 1                : 34 C
Temperature Sensor 2                : 47 C
Temperature Sensor 3                : 0 C
Temperature Sensor 4                : 0 C
Temperature Sensor 5                : 0 C
Temperature Sensor 6                : 0 C

To get additional SMART information (not all devices support it):

root@ts140i:/home/pz/workloads/1m# nvme smart-log-add /dev/nvme0
Additional Smart Log for NVME device:nvme0 namespace-id:ffffffff
key                               normalized raw
program_fail_count              : 100%       0
erase_fail_count                : 100%       0
wear_leveling                   :  62%       min: 1114, max: 1161, avg: 1134
end_to_end_error_detection_count: 100%       0
crc_error_count                 : 100%       0
timed_workload_media_wear       : 100%       37.941%
timed_workload_host_reads       : 100%       51%
timed_workload_timer            : 100%       446008 min
thermal_throttle_status         : 100%       0%, cnt: 0
retry_buffer_overflow_count     : 100%       0
pll_lock_loss_count             : 100%       0
nand_bytes_written              : 100%       sectors: 16185227
host_bytes_written              : 100%       sectors: 6405605

Some of this information is self-explanatory, and some of it isn’t. After looking at the NVMe specification document, here is my read on some of the data:

Available Spare. Contains a normalized percentage (0 to 100%) of the remaining spare capacity that is available.

Available Spare Threshold. When the Available Spare capacity falls below the threshold indicated in this field, an asynchronous event completion can occur. The value is indicated as a normalized percentage (0 to 100%).

(Note: I’m not quite sure what the practical meaning of “asynchronous event completion” is, but it looks like something to avoid!)

Percentage Used. Contains a vendor specific estimate of the percentage of the NVM subsystem life used, based on actual usage and the manufacturer’s prediction of NVM life.

(Note: the number can be more than 100% if you’re using storage for longer than its planned life.)

Data Units Read/Data Units Written. This is the number of 512-byte data units that are read/written, but it is measured in an unusual way. The first value corresponds to 1000 of the 512-byte units. So you can multiply this value by 512000 to get value in bytes. It does not include meta-data accesses.

Host Read/Write Commands. The number of commands of the appropriate type issued. Using this value, as well as one below, you can compute the average IO size for “physical” reads and writes.

Controller Busy Time. Time in minutes that the controller was busy servicing commands. This can be used to gauge long-term storage load trends.

Unsafe Shutdowns. The number of times a power loss happened without a shutdown notification being sent. Depending on the NVMe device you’re using, an unsafe shutdown might corrupt user data.

Warning Temperature Time/Critical Temperature Time. The time in minutes a device operated above a warning or critical temperature. It should be zeroes.

Wear_Leveling. This shows how much of the rated cell life was used, as well as the min/max/avg write count for different cells. In this case, it looks like the cells are rated for 1800 writes and about 1100 on average were used

Timed Workload Media Wear. The media wear by the current “workload.” This device allows you to measure some statistics from the time you reset them (called the “workload”) in addition to showing the device lifetime values.

Timed Workload Host Reads. The percentage of IO operations that were reads (since the workload timer was reset).

Thermal Throttle Status. This shows if the device is throttled due to overheating, and when there were throttling events in the past.

Nand Bytes Written. The bytes written to NAND cells. For this device, the measured unit seems to be in 32MB values. It might be different for other devices.

Host Bytes Written. The bytes written to the NVMe storage from the system. This unit also is in 32MB values. The scale of these values is not very important, as they are the most helpful for finding the write amplification of your workload. This ratio is measured in writes to NAND and writes to HOST. For this example, the Write Amplification Factor (WAF) is 16185227 / 6405605 = 2.53  

As you can see, the NVMe command line tools provide a lot of good information for understanding the health and performance of NVMe devices. You don’t need to use vendor specific tools (like isdct).

Jan
25
2017
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Blackboard cofounder Michael Chasen takes CEO reins at PrecisionHawk

PrecisionHawk helps drones navigate only where it is safe and legal to fly. Commercial drone tech venture PrecisionHawk has a new CEO—again. Red Hat Inc. cofounder Bob Young, who has served as PrecisionHawk’s CEO since July 2015, is handing over the reins to another veteran of enterprise software, Michael Chasen, a cofounder and former CEO of education tech giant Blackboard Inc. Verizon Ventures, an investment arm of TechCrunch’s parent company… Read More

Jan
24
2017
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D-Wave ups its quantum annealing game to 2000 qubits

2000q-extracted-image Universal quantum computers don’t exist, but that hasn’t stopped D-Wave from carving out its own place in the quantum computing market. Today, the 17-year-old company is announcing its forth quantum chip, the 2000Q, doubling the number of qubits on its exiting 1000Q chip. The Burnaby, British Columbia based company’s chips fall under a specific class of quantum… Read More

Jan
12
2017
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Roambee adds $3.1M and a partner to help businesses monitor assets in real-time

roambee Internet of things news in the wake of CES is a bold move, but Roambee isn’t letting the over-saturation of connected everything (hairbrushes!) get in the way of its mission to take the pain out of asset monitoring for businesses. The startup just closed a $3.1 million strategic investment from  Deutsche Telekom Strategic Investments and secured a partnership with the group’s… Read More

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