Chris Mellor

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Chris Mellor covers storage and allied technology areas for The Register. After experience working for DEC, Unisys and SCO, he became an IT journalist writing for a variety of print publications. He edited the UK's first storage print magazine and then moved into the online world writing for IDG's Techworld, then started up the Blocks & Files blog, which was bought by El Reg.

He has written many sportscar buying guides, a few mountaineering guides and drives a car that's faster than he is.

Dell hooking up with EMC and going public again? Come off it

The rumour mill about a Dell-EMC deal is going hyper, with a $51bn takeover by Dell being mentioned. Is Elliott Management holding a gun to EMC's head? EMC is trying to come up with a shareholder value-unlocking deal under pressure from activist investor Elliott Management, which says EMC investors would be better off if …
Chris Mellor, 09 Oct 2015
apple with ladybird

Exagrid, Simplivity and Zadara: Storage slowdown? Not for us

Comment Three storage startups claim they are still experiencing strong growth, even while mainstream vendors' revenue expansion remains disappointing. And the reason? Well, if you asked these three, it could be as simple as better or more efficient technology. Exagrid, the deduping backup-to-disk supplier, claims it has just …
Chris Mellor, 09 Oct 2015
Huge Clouds Ocean

The do-it-all storage giant is dying: Clouds loom over on-prem IT

Comment The days of the massive standalone storage company are coming to a close, as the public cloud and myriad storage startups drive cumulatively fatal wounds deep into the heart of the one-supplier-does-all-your-storage business model. The all-you-need, best-of-breed storage supplier days are ending as enterprises realize they can …
Chris Mellor, 08 Oct 2015

FBI inks deal with Dell and Nutanix for embiggenable mutants

The FBI is spending $28m on hyper-converged Dell systems, running Nutanix software, for 55,000 virtual desktop users. Dell has won a contract from the US Department of Justice for this deal. The basic hardware is Dell’s XC converged appliance, with the OEM’d Nutanix software, Dell’s networking gear and its AppAssure data …
Chris Mellor, 08 Oct 2015

Quantum sells so much product that its earnings might shrink

Quantum says it will make lower revenues than expected this quarter because it sold too many products and its supply chain couldn't keep up. How does that work? The data centre equipment firm thought its revenues for its second fiscal 2016 quarter, which finished on September 30, were going to be between $120m and $130m. Now …
Chris Mellor, 08 Oct 2015
Man thumbs down, image via Shutterstock

So Pure Storage did its IPO thing and investors blinked – now what?

Comment Pure Storage shares went on sale at about $17 today, valuing the all-flash array startup at roughly $3bn. Would they rise or fall after debuting on the stock market? Clue: they fell, from $16.74 to $16.29. If the shares had sold at $17, Pure would have raised $425m. This is an eagerly awaited IPO, as it tests the willingness …
Chris Mellor, 07 Oct 2015
Wedding cake. Pic: Tracy Hunter

Like a wedding cake: Avere unveils three-tier AWS cloud NAS

Avere is punting a three tier filer in the AWS cloud using its virtual FXT filer accelerator software. The general idea is that you have compute instances running in the AWS cloud and they use file data, so you need a NAS in the cloud. You have choices about where to put the file data: EC2 RAM for the fastest access; EBS …
Chris Mellor, 07 Oct 2015

French upstart Rozo: Magic beans will help us become storage giant

A French startup reckons it has the best software technology for scale-out filers because of its bean counter-style erasure coding. Rozo Systems is developing its RozoFS software-defined, scale-out NAS storage reaching for multi-petabyte file stores. It intends to compete with Isilon and Qumulo, as well as object storage …
Chris Mellor, 07 Oct 2015

Robin flies into storage aviary: Will it soar, or is it just winging it?

A new robin has landed in the storage startup tree, whose song promises to clear up the sprawling horrible inefficient mess that is today's Big Data munching and analysing customer IT infrastructure. If that strikes a chord then read on. It is Robin Systems and it has just gained $15 million in A-round funding led by a USAA …
Chris Mellor, 07 Oct 2015

Teenage backup biz Code42 gets cash bonanza

End-point backer-upper, file-sharer and security monitor Code42 has just raised a huge chunk of cash to grow its business into the big time. Code42 was founded back in the stone age, 2001, making the company a relatively aged 14. In 2013, it took in its first funding, a substantial $52m in A-round. This was 12 years after it …
Chris Mellor, 06 Oct 2015
Speedy Gonzales surrounded by cheese

EU flings cash from €80bn pot at Seagate-led HPC storage project

+Comment Data storage giant Seagate is launching a SAGE European Exascale HPC project with nine partners to find ways for storage systems to work with exascale compute mills, as part of a multi-billion-dollar EU research and innovation programme. Seagate claims the project will research and redefine data storage in the era of extreme …
Chris Mellor, 06 Oct 2015

IBM gobbles storage upstart Cleversafe

IBM is buying object storage startup Cleversafe for an undisclosed amount of cash or shares. Why? Big Blue says the deal will enable it to "support clients' drive to next-generation mobile, social and analytics applications." It will integrate the Cleversafe dsNet software portfolio into its Cloud business unit with on-premise …
Chris Mellor, 05 Oct 2015
Broken piggy bank with coins surrounding it. Image via Shutterstock

Don't want to fork out for NAND flash? You're not alone. Disk still rules

NAND flash shipments are not catching up with disk, casting doubt on the idea that disks will disappear from data centres, according to the latest research. Stifel MD Aaron Rakers used data from Samsung, Gartner and others to tabulate capacity-based shipment data for consumer and enterprise disk and flash storage devices. …
Chris Mellor, 05 Oct 2015
Tom Cruise plays with impressive looking giant touchscreen in still from the movie Minority report (based on book by Phillip K DIck))

Your storage environment will be toast in... 8... days

Comment You are about to run out of SAN capacity and your sales order booking system will fail its response time limit in five days. Not a nice message to get, but it's much better knowing in advance and being able to do something about it than hearing about your storage systems crashing on the day. Such predictive analytics are being …
Chris Mellor, 05 Oct 2015

DCIG rates top-selling EMC flash array as survey bottom-dweller

In its latest All-Flash Array Buyer's Guide, DCIG plonks EMC's market-leading XtremIO array in the bottom group of suppliers, with HP's 3PAR StoreServ 20000 Series ranked best-in-class. The DCIG folks use an 8-step process to score and rank 28 array products from 18 suppliers, surveying each vendor's products and assigning …
Chris Mellor, 05 Oct 2015

Fujitsu fleshes out Ceph hyperscale CD10000 with cost-saving tweaks

Fujitsu has moved on from its first generation Ceph-based ETERNUS CD10000, a hyperscale system, to the S2 version, and reduced its raw capacity from 56PB to 42PB in the process, while increasing the storage node options. The basic idea of up to 224 scale-out nodes stays in place, but the storage node types have altered. The S1 …
Chris Mellor, 02 Oct 2015
IBM Headquarters, Armonk, NY

Analytics are better with shared storage and not scale-out, says IBM

IBM has a packaged IBM Data Engine for Analytics – Power Systems Edition, a cluster that includes the integrated servers, parallel file system storage, network switches, and software needed to run MapReduce-based workloads. It is described as a technical-computing architecture that supports running Big Data-related workloads …
Chris Mellor, 02 Oct 2015

Data boffins see the light with extravagantly bit-blessed optical PCM

As if PCM (phase change memory) wasn’t esoteric enough, we now have optical PCM, thanks to sterling boffinry efforts at Oxford and other universities. Material scientists at Oxford University, Karlsruhe, Munster and Exeter have produced the world’s first all-photonic, non-volatile memory chip. It uses Ge2Sb2Te5 (GST), a …
Chris Mellor, 02 Oct 2015

Avere climbs higher up the Google cloud mountain

Filer speed turbocharger Avere has a faster virtual filer in the cloud and front-ends Google Nearline and DRA cloud storage. It's adding the three-second data retrieval Nearline and Durable Reduced Availability (DRA) support to its existing FXT front-end caching box' support of Google cloud storage. This means that data in …
Chris Mellor, 02 Oct 2015
4 arrows signs in arrow on wooden wall

Micron: Those dratted PCs, dragging down our revenues

Declining PC sales took their toll on Micron's DRAM revenues, sending year-on-year growth into reverse for its fiscal 2015. Full-year revenues were $16.2bn, one per cent down on fy2014's $16.4bn. Net income of $2.9bn was five per cent lower than the $3bn recorded in fy2014. Revenues for the final quarter in fy 2015 of $3.6bn …
Chris Mellor, 02 Oct 2015

How do you solve a problem like Elliott? EMC's got 3 weeks to figure it out

EMC has most of October to answer activist investor Elliott Management's demands for a shareholder value increase through a sell-off of VMware. According to an Elliott leak Reuters report, Elliott, with two directors on EMC's board, hopes the extra time after the expiration of the September standstill agreement will enable EMC …
Chris Mellor, 02 Oct 2015

Barracuda misses Q2 results target

Cloud security and storage supplier Barracuda recorded growing revenues in its latest quarter, but fell short of expectations and made a loss because of poor sales in Europe and large deal push-outs. However, it announced it was buying a managed service provider software company to grow its market. Revenues for the second …
Chris Mellor, 01 Oct 2015

As 'cheap as tape': HGST’s disk array gets Commvault OK

HGST’s Active Archive array now has Commvault certification as a backup target that offers instant access to data archives at a price point that rivals tape. It wants channel partners to resell it. The Active Archive System array is a disk array using helium-filled drives, storing 4.7PB of data in a rack for starters - it …
Chris Mellor, 01 Oct 2015

Intel doubles capacity and speed of PCIe flash card

Intel has near-doubled the capacity and speed of its DC P3600 PCIe NVMe flash card with a DC P3608 refresh. It’s doubled the number of PCIe lanes from 4 to 8 and upped the maximum capacity from 2TB to 4TB, while still using 20nm MLC flash – the HET variety – in the P3608’s case. The net effect is to boost both IOPS and …
Chris Mellor, 01 Oct 2015

Tegile thrashes rivals in race to supply vomit-free krill pills seller

Ah, the perils of buying bleeding edge kit: Dutch organic nutritional powder and pill pusher GreenPower has chosen Tegile over HP, Pure Storage, Nimble, Violin Memory and EMC to replace a Skyera skyHawk all-flash array, which ran out of support. GreenPower_supplements GreenPower nutritional supplements, including the …
Chris Mellor, 01 Oct 2015

EMC purchase of Graphite Systems was a wetware buy

EMC’s purchase of Graphite Systems was a wetware acquisition, a simple acquihire, according to sources close to the matter. EMC didn’t want the hardware or the software: it wanted the wetware – the people – because what they were developing was so similar to DSSD’s own technology of an ultra-fast, solid state storage array …
Chris Mellor, 01 Oct 2015

Straight from the horse's mouth: It's October 7 for Pure's IPO

Pure Storage has told us something quite interesting: "Pure Storage will be listing shares for our initial public offering at the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, 7 October." One of the most eagerly awaited initial public offerings will take place on Wednesday next week with several companies anxious to see how well the …
Chris Mellor, 30 Sep 2015

Western Digital sells strangely limited 15 per cent stake to China

In a transaction said to be unconnected to the HGST-WD merger – still becalmed by Chinese watchdog MOFCOM – Western Digital is selling a 15 per cent stake to a subsidiary of China-based Unisplendour Corporation (Unis) for $3.8bn. Western Digital said: “Unis is a respected, publicly-traded Chinese company. It has been trading …
Chris Mellor, 30 Sep 2015

Tucci’s terrible dilemma: Unlock EMC value without destroying the Federation

Comment War could break out in EMC's investor ranks any day now as the standstill agreement between EMC's board and activist investor Elliott Management runs out this month. Elliott wants the federation structure or status changed so that hidden investor value inside EMC can be unlocked for investors' benefit. This means the potential …
Chris Mellor, 30 Sep 2015
Railway line split. Pic: Ian Sane

Blood in the boardroom as Imation ejects from tape media business

Clinton Group execs in charge at struggling Imation have started restructuring the business to make it a tastier dish, discarding its tape media business, selling off property assets and starting a Nexsan array business restructuring exercise. Activist investors at the Clinton Group deposed Imation’s existing board chairman …
Chris Mellor, 29 Sep 2015

EMC/DSSD swallows Graphite Systems, begins technology digest

EMC’s DSSD unit bought a stealth-mode startup developing an ultra-high performance flash array in August this year. DSSD is developing a flash array connected to servers via a high-speed NVMe fabric interconnect operating at PCIe buys speed, and with the flash logically resident in the accessing servers’ memory address space …
Chris Mellor, 29 Sep 2015

Peaxy offers a vision of the future – and it’s a silo-melding data lake

Data management and storing startup Peaxy aims to provide a Big Data analytics tool that locates and gives you access to data where ever it is. Well, okay, that all seems a bit of a yawn. We’ve all experienced file virtualisation software, that moves files around storage locations leaving stubs behind. Did someone mention …
Chris Mellor, 29 Sep 2015

Red alert: Pure Storage IPO could maybe hit as early as next week

A well-informed storage industry source with close ties to startups suggests that Pure's IPO could happen as early as next week – yes, the one beginning Monday, October 5. We expected it to be delayed to mid-2016 to allow Pure to get better quarter-on-quarter growth numbers. But our insider said companies these days don't file …
Chris Mellor, 29 Sep 2015
Rings of a distant star

Where VSAN doesn't shine: Sources explain EMC's ScaleIO purpose

EMC introduced its scale-out ScaleIO Node virtual SAN a couple of weeks ago, with hybrid flash-disk and all-flash server chassises. It overlaps as a product with EMC-owned VMware's VSAN, and therefore EMC's EVO:RAIL implementation of that, and also competes with scale-out all-flash arrays. Discussions with sources have …
Chris Mellor, 29 Sep 2015

NetApp slims down latest controller, beefs up channel efforts

NetApp has announced a slimmed down top-end array, cutting the controller box size in half. It is a 6U-sized version of the AFF8080 EX, NetApp's most powerful AFF8000 system. The 8000 series product line previously started with the 3U AFF8020, passed through the 6U 8040 and 8060, and peaked with the 12U (2 enclosures) AFF8080 …
Chris Mellor, 28 Sep 2015

Diskicide – the death of disk

How might disk death in the data center come about? These are the notes used at a Tech Unplugged event in Amsterdam on September 24, and they present a scenario in which data center disks could stop spinning. Is it a sensible scenario? Read on. I try and connect the dots in the industry, the dots being the myriad individual …
Chris Mellor, 28 Sep 2015
Don Basile in 2013

Look out, Silicon Valley – Don Basile is back to kick ass and chew gum

Ex-Violin Memory CEO Don Basile has emerged as an investor in Cumulus Logic. It’s great to have one of the most colorful people in storage back on the scene. Cumulus Logic is building a cloud-based multi-tenant real-time analytics platform. It is a stealthy startup founded in 2014 by Iqlas Ottamalika, its CEO, who was a …
Chris Mellor, 25 Sep 2015

We want flying space cars and robo-butlers, and Pure Storage wants $450m in IPO cash

Flashy all-flash-array startup Pure Storage wants $450m in cash from its looming stock market debut. This would value the company at $3.1bn, giving its venture-capital backers a return of up to 6.6x on $470m in total funding. In an amended S1 filing with US financial watchdog the SEC, Pure Storage has priced its IPO shares …
Chris Mellor, 25 Sep 2015
Raising _Lazarus_from_the_dead

What's in the water coolers at Falconstor? Now it's being paired with Kaminario's K2 box

Kaminario, with its capacity-rising, price-dropping K2 3D TLC flash array, is evaluating using Falconstor-sourced migration software. Together with other deals, this looks like FalconStor-Lazarus is coming back to life. Version 5.5 of Kaminario’s K2 array, as well as adding Samsung 3D flash chips, also added native snapshot- …
Chris Mellor, 25 Sep 2015

Radian inflicts shingles on poor, unsuspecting Flash drives

Radian Memory, startup pusher of faster SSD software, claims its SSD-managing software can work with host-managed shingled disk drive software to make an SSD-SMR disk combination quite exciting. We'll see. Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) disk drives gave higher capacity than normal drives by overapping wide write tracks, …
Chris Mellor, 24 Sep 2015
Iris flowers

Will the Iris (Hatzenbichler-Durchschlag) flower at FalconStor?

Storage software supplier FalconStor has hired itself an EMEA marketing director to help get its FreeStor messages out there. Iris Hatzenbichler-Durchschlag comes from heading up DataCore's EMEA marketing organisation and contributed to developing DataCore from a startup to a leading software-defined storage company, with …
Chris Mellor, 24 Sep 2015

Thanks for the memory: XPoint put under the analyst microscope

Semiconductor market researcher Jim Handy of Objective Analysis has produced an 80-page report looking into what XPoint memory is, how it could be used and what its prospects are. XPoint memory was unveiled by Micron and Intel in July to general amazement. The pair claimed it was 1,000 times faster than NAND, ten times denser …
Chris Mellor, 23 Sep 2015
management regulation2

SimpliVity saddles up the lawyers, sues rival Springpath

Hyper-converged startup SimpliVity is suing hyper-converged startup Springpath for allegedly wrongfully using its patented technology. Both vendors supply hyper-converged infrastructure appliance (HCIA) systems. SimpliVity sells packaged hardware and software, including an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) of its …
Chris Mellor, 23 Sep 2015

Policing the data hinterlands beyond the corporate firewall

Comment For Code42, the answer to the universe and everything is getting more interesting as it moves from protecting business users’ PCs and notebooks to providing data access security and monitoring tools. The US backup company has undergone recent C-level management changes, including making Joe Payne its CEO in July, and its focus …
Chris Mellor, 23 Sep 2015

SolidFire not a shiny object chaser

Comment The best situation for an all-flash array is to be built from commodity flash components and be at a WAN arms-length from servers; that’s SolidFire CEO Dave Wright’s view. SolidFire’s SF9605, SF4805, and SF2405 arrays run the Elements OS, now in its 8th major release. The systems have a clusterable, scale-out design, …
Chris Mellor, 23 Sep 2015

Backblaze beats Bezos: Backup biz boasts bettering AWS bit bucket

Backblaze, the disk reliability statistics-publishing cloud data-centre operator, says it has the world’s lowest-cost cloud storage, beating Amazon and others, with its B2 Cloud Storage offering. The company is known for its personal and business software that enables Windows and Mac users to back up their files to a Backblaze …
Chris Mellor, 22 Sep 2015

What the Zeus? Nexenta beats VSAN, Nutanix and SimpliVity

Comment IT biz Northern Backup has replaced Hitachi, Dell and HP SAN arrays with Nexenta storage, which it chose ahead of VMware VSA, Nutanix and SimpliVity alternatives because Nexenta storage was both cheaper and faster. Calgary-based Northern Backup was started up in 2004 and offers offsite back-up, managed hosting and support …
Chris Mellor, 22 Sep 2015

Samsung sneaks out its TRIM, SMART SSD model – using 3D Magic

A new, thinner and faster SSD from Samsung, using the M.2 form factor, is hitting the retail market next month. Sammy has taken its 850 PRO SSD with its 2.5-inch form factor and SATA interface and implemented the same 3D V-NAND 32-layer MLC flash in a smaller PCIe M.2 2280 form factor, and given it an NVMe driver. The result …
Chris Mellor, 22 Sep 2015
Unicorn. Detail from Domenico Zampieri fresco in Rome

Storage unicorn nonet graces list of $1bn+ tech startups

It’s got to be a bubble, don’t you think? How is it sustainable that we have 145 startups, each valued at over a billion dollars? Nine of them are storage startups, by the way. TechCrunch has compiled a table of 145 startup unicorns – companies valued at more than a billion dollars. Uber tops the list at $51bn, with total …
Chris Mellor, 22 Sep 2015

Huawei, whoa: New beau to grow Dorado dough

Huawei is using FalconStor's FreeStor software to enhance the appeal of its Dorado all-flash arrays in China. FalconStor, which is expanding its presence in the Middle Kingdom, is presenting at Huawei's Cloud Congress 2015, the largest IT conference in China. The two are also showing off Huawei's OceanStor Dorado2100 G2 and …
Chris Mellor, 22 Sep 2015