Tech News of the Week for 11/23/2023 [MTG019]

Posted on Thursday, Nov 23, 2023 | Series: Moar Tech Garbage
Microsoft turns on the Nitro Boost for Azure, Nvidia makes an even more expensiver GPU, and Nothing supports iMessage, sorta.


[00:00:01.290] Announcer: Welcome to Tech News of the Week. With your host soul crushing on, we.

[00:00:08.690] Ned: Welcome to Tortoise Narwhal of the Westerns. Nailed it.

[00:00:15.430] Chris: You know, you could do this in advance.

[00:00:17.450] Ned: I could, but that wouldn’t be fun for you, for me or for our listeners. So welcome to our weekly Tech News podcast, where we take a look at four interesting articles that we found in our feed and we try to give it to you in about ten minutes or less. Unlike a pizza, which takes way too long, I know. Unless it’s DiGiorno. No, that still takes over ten minutes. Garbage. So let’s talk about something else. Microsoft brings a Nitro Boost to Azure for those familiar with AWS Nitro, this will sound extremely familiar. During Microsoft Ignite 2023, the cloud giant announced the general availability of the Azure Boost system. Boost is a combination of hardware and software that physically separates the hypervisor and its operating system from the virtual machines hosted on the server. The custom Microsoft Silicon handles networking, storage and host management duties, leaving more room for virtual machines and accelerating the maximum network throughput and storage through two hardware enhancements. The first is the Microsoft Azure Network Adapter, or Mana, and it’s their next generation Nic that supports over 200 gigabits per second of bandwidth to the virtual machine. 200 gigabits per second?

[00:01:45.090] Ned: Because you need that. The Boost card also includes an FPGA for storage that boasts up to 12.5gb of throughput per second and 650,000 I ops. If you pair it with some local NVMe drives in the host for Caching, they are able to deliver 3.8 million I ops and 17.2gb/second of throughput.

[00:02:15.770] Chris: We are reaching powers of ten situations here. These numbers have ceased to have all meaning.

[00:02:21.230] Ned: I would argue that any number that goes over, like eight kind of gets fuzzy, but yeah, point taken. Now, since Microsoft owns the entire Boost stack the hardware, the software, the operating system they can also deliver additional security through an independent hardware route of trust. And they can update the hypervisor software and the operating system independent of the virtual machines that are running on the system. Like I said, if you followed what AWS did with Nitro, none of this is news. But hey, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And AWS should be very flattered. You can start using the features of Boost today on select VM size families.

[00:03:07.950] Chris: Nvidia’s insanely expensive AI chips are about to get expensiver. Nvidia has kind of a hammer lock on the AI supercomputer hardware space with their hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of dollar units using the H 100 GPU, you can look these prices up online. Holy crap. The setup, though, is totally old news with the announcement of the H 200. This new GPU combined with HBM three E memory, which means something I’m sure adds up to at least a two times inference speed on the Llama two LLM. The performance numbers that are associated with these boxes are staggering. I mean, I guess if you think things like 141gb of memory 4.8 terabytes of near memory bandwidth mean anything to you. So that’s cool. Nvidia also released the GH 200 superchip, which is intended for AI and high performance computing. The GH, which is short for Grace Hopper for some reason is intended to be used in research based on supercomputers such as HPE Craze. Yes, those are still a thing, at least in name, and they will scale up to, quote, tens of thousands of superchip nodes. 2024 will see the beginning of installation on the Jupiter supercomputer in Germany, which will use nearly 24,000 of these chips.

[00:04:47.750] Chris: And they’re all connected by InfiniBand, of course, which is still a thing.

[00:04:52.020] Ned: Sure is neat.

[00:04:54.510] Chris: The goal of GH 200s in Jupiter is, quote, scientific breakthroughs around climate in particular, which is different than the regular H 200s, which will be used for cynical money grabs by AI based side hustle grifters. So, like, potato potato.

[00:05:12.610] Ned: Yeah, I read about the H 200. I was like, I’m glad we just did a whole show about the H 100. All of it still holds up, though, in terms of the infrastructure backing AI. So worth a listen if you haven’t already caught it. Rackspace’s $11 Million Mistake you remember how Rackspace had a little whoopsie doodle with their hosted Microsoft exchange service last year? Allow me to refresh your memory. What started as an outage of the service that was expected to be resolved in a few hours turned into weeks of almost zero communication from Rackspace regarding what was happening, and it turned out to be a widespread ransomware infection that impacted a large swath of their user base. The culprit was a mediation that had been put in place for the proxy not shell exploit and an improperly secured employee laptop. Rackspace was able to assist most customers in migrating to Office Three and establishing dial tone email service. But the historical data remained locked up for weeks after, with the last update from Rackspace stating that only half of the data had been recovered. That was back in January of this year. Despite the hosted exchange service only representing 1% of Rackspace’s revenue, the ensuing cost of recovering from the issue and the continuing legal battles have taken their toil to the tune of $10.9 million so far.

[00:06:48.480] Ned: The principal attorney in one such legal case said, quote, despite hundreds of data breaches every year in this country, I am receiving reports of vulnerabilities in Microsoft Rack space’s hosting environment that go back over a year. End quote. It appears that Rackspace had stopped prioritizing the hosted exchange service and was in the process of migrating everyone to Office 365 when disaster struck. Which should be a reminder to all you CSPs out there that just because you’ve decided to sunset a product doesn’t mean you can stop securing it.

[00:07:26.670] Chris: I was going to complain about TikTok, but now I have to complain about nothing. No, not literally nothing. It wouldn’t be a day of the week if I wasn’t complaining about something.

[00:07:41.560] Ned: True.

[00:07:42.020] Chris: Or so I’ve been told. No, I am instead here to complain about the company called Nothing, hence why the above sentence was so confusing. Just like every other sentence written about this infuriatingly named Burr in the side of all logic and reason. Now, the real headline I want to complain about is, quote, nothing is bringing imessage to its Android phone unquote. Which just Nothing, for those not in the know, is a third party phone manufacturer run by people who are infuriating and they make a phone, and it’s called the Phone. Well, at the moment, it’s actually Phone Two, which I hate. Everything I just had to say out loud. Anyway, focus their messaging app, which is called Chat, because of course it is, will now allegedly support imessage. Interesting. This, however, is not a new idea. Even though Apple wants to keep imessage inside of their garden forever, there are a number of other companies out there that try to unify the chat world, such as Bluebubbles, Air, Message, Beeper, and Sunbird. That last one is actually the software that powers this new Nothing feature. Okay, actually, that time I enjoyed the entendre.

[00:09:23.510] Ned: Fair enough.

[00:09:24.950] Chris: All of these are backended by an open source project called Matrix, which, if you really want imessage on your Android, I highly encourage you to do Matrix. Do it that way in any world, in order to make this work, you need Mac hardware running somewhere, which means things like this nothing chat would require you to give your Apple ID credentials to a third party, which is an objectively terrible idea indeed. You can’t just say imessage only, kids. That’s not how it works. In any event, as you can imagine, apple is not on board with any kind of imessage porting whatsoever. So any quote solution to this problem is probably going to come with a hefty amount of air quotes. Time will tell if it also comes with a cease and desist on Nothing’s doorstep. And then hot off the presses. Yesterday, right as I was thinking I was done with this nonsense. It seems that Apple is going to dip their toe into the open standard RCS protocol with interdevice compatibility and availability quote next year. Needless to say, I was surprised. Even if this is just a way to throw off regulators, you will remember last year when Tim Apple famously told people to, quote, buy your mom an iPhone when questions about messaging compatibility came up.

[00:11:05.570] Chris: Oh, how the turntables?

[00:11:10.610] Ned: Still not going to buy an iPhone, though.

[00:11:14.450] Chris: What about out for your mom?

[00:11:17.210] Ned: Don’t talk about my mom. All right, that’s it. We’re done. Go away. Bye.


Chris Hayner

Chris Hayner (He/Him)

Our story starts with a young Chris growing up in the agrarian community of Central New Jersey. Son of an eccentric sheep herder, Chris’ early life was that of toil and misery. When he wasn’t pressing cheese for his father’s failing upscale Fromage emporium, he languished on a meager diet of Dinty Moore and boiled socks. His teenage years introduced new wrinkles in an already beleaguered existence with the arrival of an Atari 2600. While at first it seemed a blessed distraction from milking ornery sheep, Chris fell victim to an obsession with achieving the perfect Pitfall game. Hours spent in the grips of Indiana Jones-esque adventure warped poor Chris’ mind and brought him to the maw of madness. It was at that moment he met our hero, Ned Bellavance, who shepherded him along a path of freedom out of his feverish, vine-filled hellscape. To this day Chris is haunted by visions of alligator jaws snapping shut, but with the help of Ned, he freed himself from the confines of Atari obsession to become a somewhat productive member of society. You can find Chris at coin operated laundromats, lecturing ironing boards for being itinerant. And as the cohost on the Chaos Lever podcast.

Ned Bellavance

Ned Bellavance (He/Him)

Ned is an industry veteran with piercing blue eyes, an indomitable spirit, and the thick hair of someone half his age. He is the founder and sole employee of the ludicrously successful Ned in the Cloud LLC, which has rocked the tech world with its meteoric rise in power and prestige. You can find Ned and his company at the most lavish and exclusive tech events, or at least in theory you could, since you wouldn’t actually be allowed into such hallowed circles. When Ned isn’t sailing on his 500 ft. yacht with Sir Richard Branson or volunteering at a local youth steeplechase charity, you can find him doing charity work of another kind, cohosting the Chaos Lever podcast with Chris Hayner. Really, he’s doing Chris a huge favor by even showing up. You should feel grateful Chris. Oaths of fealty, acts of contrition, and tokens of appreciation may be sent via carrier pigeon to his palatial estate on the Isle of Man.