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By Hamza Jawad
Azure NetApp Files gains cross region replication and further enhancements
by Hamza Jawad
Earlier this year, at its virtual Build conference 2020, Microsoft announced that its Azure NetApp Files service had achieved 99.99% availability. Today, the tech giant has unveiled a flurry of new enhancements in preview for the file storage service, with the headliner being cross region replication.
Cross region replication is essentially a disaster recoverability mechanism, enabling the replication of volumes from one Azure region to another. As one would expect, failure of one such region will still allow the replicated data to be kept safe in a separate region. With the NetApp SnapMirror technology being utilized, only changed blocks are sent over the network in a compressed manner, making the process cost-effective with reduced replication times.
Over the next few months in preview, users can expect the following additions to this capability:
Currently, cross region replication is available in popular regions from U.S., Canada, AMEA, and Asia. The preview waitlist can be joined here. Three pricing tiers are available - minutes, hourly, and daily, with each corresponding to a replication frequency of 10 minutes, one hour, and one day, respectively. You can learn more about pricing per region here.
Among other free enhancements that have been introduced, for starters, volume snapshots can now be defined at a frequency desired by the user. Hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly options will be offered. The service level of an existing Azure NetApp Files volume can now also be changed by moving it to another capacity pool, and a volume can now also be created with simultaneous dual-protocol (NFS v3 and SMB) access. The preview for dynamic volume tier change can be signed up for here.
Moving on, NFS client encryption in Kerberos modes (krb5, krb5i, and krb5p) with AES-256 encryption is now supported in order to enhance data security. And finally, the NetApp Files service is now generally available in some Azure Government regions, starting with U.S. Gov Virginia. Other regions to which the service will soon be expanded include U.S. Gov Texas, and U.S. Gov Arizona. The region roadmap for Azure NetApp Files can be checked out here.
By News Staff
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by Steven Parker
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Linux Mint is working on a new tool called Web App Manager
by Paul Hill
In its monthly update, the Linux Mint project announced that it’s working on a new app called Web App Manager that’ll let users turn their favourite websites into stand-alone applications that can be found in the start menu and be pinned to the taskbar. The Mint team is developing the tool in collaboration with the Peppermint OS team which has built a similar tool before.
As things stand right now, the Peppermint team has a tool called ICE that lets you turn websites into web apps. In a thread on GitHub, the head of Linux Mint, Clem Lefebvre suggests that the ICE back-end be separated from the interface so that the Mint team and Peppermint team can use their own respective interface. This plan isn’t definite yet but has been suggested.
Gallery: Web App Manager
According to the images that have been made available, users will be presented with a list of web apps that they have already created. Users can remove and edit these or add a new web app. When creating a new web app, users will need to supply the app’s name, web address, an icon, which category it should be included in on the menu, which browser it should open in, and there’s a toggle to hide the browser's navigation bar.
Another nice aspect to these web apps is that they’re created with their own browser profile and appear in their own window. Not only does this give users help to separate their general browsing from their web app browsing but it also makes switching between apps on the Alt-tab selector a bit easier.
The Web App Manager is currently available for download but keep in mind that it is beta quality and isn’t fully translated. Around November or December when Linux Mint 20.1 launches, the new Web App Manager will probably be included.
How to install the Kali Linux's Win-KeX desktop on WSL 2
by Paul Hill
In the last week or so, Kali Linux 2020.3 was released for download. The new update introduced lots of new features but we want to focus on the Windows + Kali Desktop EXperience (Win-KeX), a GUI that can be used with Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) 2.
To get started, you need to have updated to Windows 10 version 2004, if you are running this version you’ll want to install Kali Linux in WSL 2 next.
According to the Kali Linux documentation, you’ll first want to open PowerShell as administrator and run Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux then restart. Once you’ve done that, open up PowerShell again as the admin and run dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:VirtualMachinePlatform /all /norestart and dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux /all /norestart then restart again.
Next, you’ll want to download the WSL 2 Linux kernel. After you’ve installed it open PowerShell as administrator once again and run wsl --set-default-version 2. Once all of that’s done, head into the Microsoft Store and install Kali Linux.
If you have Kali Linux installed on WSL 1, it will be necessary to upgrade it before continuing. Run wsl --set-version kali-linux 2 then open up Kali Linux in WSL to finish the setup.
At this point, you should have Kali Linux running on WSL 2, to get Win-KeX up and running, you’ll need to run sudo apt update && sudo apt install kali-win-kex within your Kali Linux installation. Once installed, type kex to run the Win-KeX interface.
The Kali Linux documentation also contains some extra commands that you can run to further customise your installation, however, these are beyond the scope of this guide.
Google tells Android developers to get ready for a 5G world
by Paul Hill
In a new blog post over on its Android Developers website, Google has asked developers to transform their apps and games for a 5G world which it imagines will be more immersive.
In its post, Google suggested four new enhancements that 5G enables. With 5G, what was previously only possible at home on WiFi is now available outdoors. Google hopes more developers will leverage the new speeds to incorporate high-quality video chat in apps and multiplayer modes to games.
For those apps that are photo-centric, Google suggests that videos or augmented reality content could become the new default. In the past, videos and AR content would need time to buffer but now they can slot into app interfaces more seamlessly.
The third recommendation is to prefetch content. This will let users get started watching content more quickly than before. While this setting will be great for those with unlimited data, users are still likely to be capped for the foreseeable future, so hopefully, Android’s data saver will rein in apps that leverage content prefetching.
The fourth recommendation to developers is to put content streaming into the mainstream. Google said that in the 4G world, streaming content was the exception but with faster speeds, streaming can be done reliably and should have a more prominent role inside apps.
The search giant said it has been working on and adding new APIs to make features such as these possible. It has also added features to the Android SDK emulator that let developers build and test apps using these APIs without needed a 5G device or network connection.
If you’re an Android developer and these enhancements seem interesting to you, Google has launched a new page collating all of the new features and how you can build them into your products.