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.

Funnel of cash. Credit: via SXC – http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Leonardini

Kaminario swallows $15m – ONE MONTH after last cash gulp

Comment Not content with raising $53m in a E-round of funding at the end of November, flash array performance king Kaminario raised another $15m at the end of December. The startup’s K2 all-flash array business has now raised a total of $143m, getting close to Solidfire’s $150m but a long way behind Pure Storage’s $470m. King K got the …
Chris Mellor, 23 Jan 2015
management regulation1

All-flash case rehash: Modus vs Nimbus lawyers off to DC

Modus, a customer of all-flash array startup Nimbus Data, has failed to have Nimbus’ suit against it for breach of contract dismissed. The case is being heard in California’s Northern District court and concerns, Nimbus alleges, Modus buying a flash array from Nimbus and not paying the full balance for the equipment. A filed …
Chris Mellor, 23 Jan 2015
WD RE4 Enterprise disk drive

Seagate's spinning rust most likely to crash, claims backup biz

Online backup bods Backblaze have found Seagate hard disks fail much more than other suppliers, although recent improvements have redressed the situation. In a blog the Backblaze blogger Brian Beach says: “As of December 31, 2014, we had 41,213 disk drives spinning in our data centre, storing all of the data for our unlimited …
Chris Mellor, 23 Jan 2015

HDS embiggens its object array by feeding it more spinning rust

HDS has bulked up its HCP object storage offering with an erasure coding capacity tier, remote office and mobile access to objects, filer data stores and OpenStack support. Why? Preparations for the coming Internet of Things, we think. Hitachi's Content Platform (HCP) is the central object storage facility in a 3-part offering. …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jan 2015
Ghost Recon Future Soldier

Netlist and Diablo set for legal jaw-jaw, not a war-war

Somebody has been knocking a few heads together, it seems. Netlist’s flash tech shipping injunction stopping Diablo Tech’s business with SanDisk could be lifted – if settlement talks set for 12 February are successful. Court documents for the case (Netlist, Inc v. Smart Modular Technologies, Inc) reveal that settlement …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jan 2015

Big Blue weeps as another 8% slips off its storage scales

Comment When is Big Blue's storage slide going to end? IBM's latest quarterly and full year fiscal 2014 results show an unabated fall in storage hardware revenues, with an eight per cent annual decline to $864m in the fourth quarter of 2014. It's a huge number, but back in fiscal 2011 the same quarter recorded $1.2bn in storage hardware …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jan 2015
Megaphone

Nimble CEO lifts lid on sales veep saga. It ain't pretty

Nimble Storage and Eric Mann, its now ex-senior vice president for worldwide sales, parted ways because of travel overload and an exec team misfit, at least according to the company's CEO. Hybrid array vendor Nimble attended a Needham investor conference last week. A listen to the webcast of the conference reveals that Mann’s …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jan 2015
Man wrinkles his eyes in an expression of pain, annoyance or dsicomfort

ULLtraDIMM dam plus inventory oops smacks SanDisk’s Q4 growth

+Comment The expansion of SanDisk’s business nearly stopped in its latest quarter, with revenue growth stalled and profits down as it lost a major customer, experienced troubles in its supply chain and the ULLtraDIMM injunction took hold. Just a temporary setback guys, nothing to see here, move along folks. The consumer and enterprise …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jan 2015
Emulex_results_Q2fy156

What's that, Emulex? A profit? Just over the horizon?

Emulex CEO Jeff Benck unveiled a ray of sunshine with surprisingly good preliminary revenues for its latest quarter. The company ships Fibre Channel HBAs and Ethernet connectivity products and is locked in combat with QLogic in the HBA and converged network adapter markets. Emulex is expecting $110m to $111m in revenues for its …
Chris Mellor, 20 Jan 2015
Tintri

Tintri gazes hungrily at Japan after nailing Fujitsu OEM deal

Hybrid array startup Tintri has bagged Fujitsu as its doorway into the Japanese market. Fujitsu has its in-house ETERNUS DX arrays, classic dual-controller gear, and 50PB scale-out array for big data. The Japanese company has announced its ETERNUS TR line, with TR820, 850 and 880 models aimed at the VDI market. They feature …
Chris Mellor, 20 Jan 2015
Red Dead Redemption

Yep, we'll judge WHOLE DARN storage config. Problem with that?

Behold. The benchmarkers have brainstormed a fresh filer performance measure – SPEC SFS 2014. It looks at end-to-end filer performance instead of looking at component levels, as did the previous SPECsfs 2008 measure. SPEC SFS 2014 stands for the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation and its Solution File Server 2014 test. …
Chris Mellor, 19 Jan 2015
big droplets falling from rain cloud

Qubole rains down analytic insights from Hadoop cloud

Comment A whole new generation of storage software application startups focussed on Big Data is growing furiously in front of our eyes. Engineers involved with Google, Facebook and other big data-using, web-scale services pioneers have seen that where Facebook, Google and others lead enterprises are going to have to follow. Relational …
Chris Mellor, 19 Jan 2015
Gun and dollars

Hyperconverged IDC shamans mumble mantras over market

The MarketScape wizards at IDC have pounced on the hyperconverged systems market for their latest escapade, putting Nutanix well ahead of Simplivity. The two are in the leaders' section of the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Hyperconverged Systems 2014 Vendor Assessment which plots suppliers in a 2D space defined by strategies (low …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jan 2015

Nimble gives Mann severe kicking while he's down

Comment Nimble's w-w sales VP Eric Mann resigned abruptly a few days ago and the firm has released an unflattering statement about his departure. "Eric Mann made the personal decision to leave Nimble acknowledging that he underestimated the level of personal and professional commitment required to build and lead a high-performance sales …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jan 2015
Source: Simply Smile Photography by Georgia Stephenson

S3-lover Cloudian's hybrid object store gets Amazonian backend

Comment Object storage startup Cloudian is expanding into Big Data analytics via a tie-up with HortonWorks. Its product HyperStore uses distributed object storage technology and presents an NFS-accessed storage resource for mid-to-large enterprises and regional service providers. It has a local on-premises component with an S3- …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jan 2015

It's Friday. The pub is looming. IDC tells us 'bottoms up'. We'll drink to that headline

IDC has released a flash-based array study saying it's used a (and we quote) "bottoms-up approach." We'll raise a glass to that notion. The study, Worldwide All-Flash Array and Hybrid Flash Array 2014–2018 Forecast and 1H14 Vendor Shares, looks at revenues and raw terabytes shipped with flash-based arrays - all-flash arrays ( …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jan 2015
axe_channel_teaser

SAN upstart Coraid AXING staff, struggling to survive – sources

+Comment Multiple sources have told us that Etherdrive storage SAN startup Coraid is floundering and staffers are losing their jobs after the firm spent over $100m trying to launch itself as a viable business. The UK service office has no staffer answering calls, Coraid in Australia gives out a recorded message asking for your number. " …
Chris Mellor, 15 Jan 2015

Nimble loses sales Mann as veep exits

Four months after joining from NetApp, Nimble's worldwide sales veep, Eric Mann, has walked, citing personal reasons. Mann joined Nimble last September, coming in with fellow NetApper Mark Parrinello, veep of Americas sales. At NetApp, Mann was SVP and general manager for Americas sales. He was with EMC before NetApp, heading …
Chris Mellor, 15 Jan 2015
Super street fighter illustration - copyright Capcom

Defiant Diablo appeals FlashDIMM dam court order

Defiant Diablo Technologies is appealing* against the court order barring it from shipping any MCS flash DIMM products to customers such as SanDisk. MCS is Diablo’s Memory Channel Storage technology which enables flash memory to be fitted into dynamic memory (DRAM) sockets (DIMMs) and so provide faster-than-PCIe flash card …
Chris Mellor, 14 Jan 2015
Quantum_StorNext_Foundation_Pro

Shrinking tape, dedupe dumps... PAH! Just scale up scale-out – Quantum

StorNext scale-out storage is now a bigger business for Quantum than its deduplicating disk arrays. Quantum’s preliminary third fiscal 2015 quarter results show revenues below guidance at $142m but profits as predicted at $7m as it manages its shrinking tape automation business well. The OEM tape automation business shrank 31 …
Chris Mellor, 14 Jan 2015
Gone fishing

DDN chap throws in towel, taps on Accenture’s door

DDN EVP and CTO Jean-Luc Chatelain has left and joined Accenture as managing director for analytics. At DataDirect Networks Chatelain was responsible for Strategy and Technology, having joined in February 2011. He is a proponent of modern Big Data analytics, thinking that the old Extract-Transform-Load (ETL)-style of Business …
Chris Mellor, 14 Jan 2015

Grow, grow, Grohe, you gloat. Well done that sales team. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, profit is just a dream

Blink and you’ll miss it: Barracuda made a microscopic loss of $36,000 in its latest quarter. That's just 0.1 per cent of its $70.4m revenues. This is a company growing sales by 17 to 20 per cent in each quarter compared to the year before – nothing dramatic but more than respectable. Barracuda Networks sells data protection and …
Chris Mellor, 14 Jan 2015
channel_teaser_exit

Atlantis Computing: CEO left due to 'personal reasons'

Comment Atlantis CEO Jason Donahue stepped down for personal reasons with no business-related issues at all, says the firm, which adds that it has set up a partnership with Citrix using its virty storage booster software USX. Chetan Venkatesh, Atlantis’ founder and new CEO after Jason Donahue left just four months post-appointment, said …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jan 2015

Dell muscles into all-flash for small biz with $35k 4TB array

Dell is shipping a go-faster version of its $25k entry-level all-flash array for $35k. The basic SC4020 AFA single-tier configuration has six 480GB read-intensive SSDs, 2.8TB raw capacity, for an advertised street price of $25,000, $8.83/raw GB. A flash-optimised multi-tier config has faster write performance. It has six 200GB …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jan 2015

IDC on marketscape mayhem: EMC asked us to ignore Atmos

Following our comment on its marketscape on Friday, analyst IDC has explained that EMC had asked it to include its new ECS product in the object storage marketscape, thus requiring the analyst to ignore Atmos. The 2014 marketscape chart showed EMC’s relative market share much diminished compared to the 2013 chart. We said on …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jan 2015
Toshiba MQ03ABB300

Toshiba tosses out uber-slim THREE TERABYTE HDD

Toshiba has launched a 3TB small-form-factor hard drive, which must set some sort of record, surely. Its MQ03ABB300 – what sexy names these suckers have – is a 2.5-inch disk drive with four platters each holding 750GB. That makes the drive 15mm thick (high in HDD parlance) and suitable for external drive use. Tosh's latest …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jan 2015

Virtually yours: Citrix swallows Sanbolic

Server/desktop virtualisation supplier Citrix has acquired storage virtualisation software startup Sanbolic. No price was revealed. Sanbolic’s Melio software turns a set of servers’ direct-attached and network-attached storage into a virtual storage resource pool. Citrix will combine it with XenDesktop, XenApp and XenMobile …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jan 2015
Scylla_and_Charybdis

SanDisk's flash chip nightmare: How I'd escape black hole if I was in charge

Comment Apparently let down by a component supplier allegedly shipping technology it has no rights to, SanDisk now finds itself facing a FlashDIMM sales shutdown – just as the server world realizes that DIMM flash is much faster to access than PCIe flash and wants more of it. As detailed here, Netlist has won an injunction preventing …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jan 2015

Activist Elliott gets two seats on the EMC board

EMC - currently under attack by activist investor Elliott Management, which is wanting it to sell off VMware - has granted Elliott two board seats. The EMC board has been expanded from 11 to 13 seats to make room for the two, Jose Almedia (chairman, president and CEO of global healthcare company Covidien), and Donald Carty ( …
Chris Mellor, 12 Jan 2015

Lenovo, Huawei could face SanDisk FlashDIMM dam – analysts

SanDisk could be stopped from shipping its FlashDIMMs for Lenovo, Huawei and Supermicro servers if analysts' interpretations of a Netlist court-awarded injunction are correct. SanDisk’s acquired SMART business unit supplies ULLtraDIMMs, flash dies fitted to DIMM sockets - flashDIMMs - which are based on MCS (Memory Channel …
Chris Mellor, 12 Jan 2015
Alarm clock

Atlantis Computing CEO stands down

+Comment After just four months as Atlantis Technology CEO and president, Jason Donahue has left, and has been replaced by founder and now ex-chief technology officer Chetan Venkatesh. The company's management page now has Venkatesh listed as chief. Atlantis has RAM-using server and VDI virtualisation software technology products called …
Chris Mellor, 12 Jan 2015
channel_teaser_exit

Hauling DRaaS: Unitrends CEO off to consulting job

+Comment Virtual server backup and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) startup Unitrends has lost one CEO and hired a new one. Mike Coney, CEO since November 2009, has been thanked for his valued service and Unitrends wishes him well in his next endeavour. Coney now describes himself as a CEO consultant. This CEO change follows on …
Chris Mellor, 09 Jan 2015

'IDC, why did you play down EMC?' IDC: WAAAAHHHH

Comment When IDC produced its new object storage marketscape there were significant changes compared to the year-ago marketscape chart. Notably EMC’s presence was much reduced, which we pointed out, mentioning “the fading presence of EMC, where ViPR and Isilon object storage has not, apparently, built on the surge established by Atmos …
Chris Mellor, 09 Jan 2015

BOOM! Seagate attacks storage array hardware market

Analysis Remember Dot Hill, LSI/Engenio, and Xyratex when they were all independent? They made storage array hardware for the storage system suppliers such as Dell, EMC, HP, IBM, NetApp, Sun and others. Yes, it was that long ago. The business was hard because storage system suppliers could use contract manufacturers to make their own …
Chris Mellor, 09 Jan 2015
Wolverine in a cage - X-Men publicity pic

SanDisk opens its cages, sets its mutants FREE

SanDisk - owners of Fusion-io, who bought Nexgen and its hybrid flash/disk array business in April 2013 - has decided it doesn’t want Nexgen and is spinning it off as an independent business. Why? Sumit Sadana, SanDisk EVP and chief strategy officer, said in a canned quote: "Hybrid systems incorporating hard-disk drives are not …
Chris Mellor, 08 Jan 2015
RDX_QuikStor

Sphere 3D: Our pop-out 2TB disk product? Of COURSE it's rugged

Forget Overland Storage – that company has merged with Sphere 3D, which added its software virtualisation technologies, like Glassware, to the Overland line of SnapServer, SnapScale, SnapSAN, NEO and RDX disk array, tape library and removable disk products. And now it has got itself an RDX QuikStor removable disk product –r …
Chris Mellor, 08 Jan 2015

Samsung’s SUPER-speedy SSD is a real power-sipper

Samsung’s latest small form factor PCIe flash drive shunts data at up to 2.15GB/sec, making it a right speedy little critter. It’s also much more power-efficient, using its “L1.2 low power standby mode (which allows all high-speed circuits to be turned off when a PC is on sleeping or in hibernation) as defined by PCI-SIG (the …
Chris Mellor, 08 Jan 2015
Lamb Stew

Cloud Backup stew in Docker container? Check – Asigra

Quick as a flash, Asigra has added Docker container support to its Cloud Backup product. Traditional virtualised servers have applications running in a virtual machine (VM or virtual server) with a guest operating system. Multiple VMs have multiple copies of guest VMs, which is wasteful of server memory and processor resources …
Chris Mellor, 07 Jan 2015

IBM hastens END OF HUMANITY with teachable AI 'brain'

IBM researchers in Almaden have built a brain-like system capable of recognising hand-written numbers, essentially by using phase-change memory chips instead of flash. Neuromorphic computing is a variant of artificial intelligence research, which has a computer’s memory configured in a rudimentary brain-like way, as quasi- …
Chris Mellor, 07 Jan 2015
G-DRIVE_ev_ATC_Thunderblt

G-Tech goes full lumberjack with drive for hard storage heroes

CES 2015 HGST’s G-Technology external drive biz has gone all rugged and takes on Seagate’s LaCie with a bright blue bumper case for tough-look G-DRIVE. The G-DRIVE ev RaW - get that fancy capitalisation - has a removable bright blue wrap-around case giving this 500GB/1TB external drive, spinning at 7,200rpm, the ability to withstand a 1. …
Chris Mellor, 07 Jan 2015

DRAM-firm-fattened flash bods double last year's profits

Memory/flash chip maker Micron, fattened with Japanese DRAM firm Elpida, has recorded record revenues of $4.57bn. Its first quarter of fiscal 2015 finished with a bang on December 4, 2014, delivering revenues 13 per cent higher than a year ago and eight per cent up on the fourth fiscal 2014 quarter. Profits of a round billion …
Chris Mellor, 07 Jan 2015

Watch out Seagate: Here comes WD with a hybrid flash/disk drive launch

WD is demonstrating a faster-than-Seagate 4TB hybrid flash/disk drive at Storage Visions 2015. It is built with 3.5-inch disk drive, an up to 128GB SSD, and the SATA Express PCIe interface with the flash and disk components presented as a single volume. The demos include commercially available ASRock and Gigabyte motherboards …
Chris Mellor, 07 Jan 2015
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Samsung revs flashy 1TB road warrior (then crawls away)

CES 2015 Samsung has used its 32-layer, 40nm V-NAND flash dies to produce its Portable SSD T1, a USB 3.0-connected drive for fast access to 250GB, 500GB or 1TB of flash capacity. As you would expect with a USB interface, the performance is dreadfully slow compared with an internal drive using SATA (or SAS) interfaces. Random read/write …
Chris Mellor, 06 Jan 2015
Tokyo Skytree world's tallest tower

Micron stacks its 3D NAND high in 2015

Intel recently made a splash about its 3D NAND intentions. Knowing that Intel basically works with Micron on flash through the joint IMFT business, we asked Micron NAND marketing head Kevin Kilbuck about Micron's 3D NAND activities. El Reg: Why is 3D NAND needed? Kevin Kilbuck: Micron has been working on 3D NAND technology for …
Chris Mellor, 06 Jan 2015
Crystal ball via http://www.manoftaste.de/

IDC: Who's HOT and who's NOT (in object storage) in 2014

IDC’s latest object-storage "marketscape" shows 18 active players and significant changes in EMC’s and HDS’ status. The chart, IDC’s sort-of answer to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, positions rivals in a 2-dimensional box, using capabilities and strategies as axes. There are four bands inside the square, one for the "participants", …
Chris Mellor, 06 Jan 2015
LaCie Mirror

Mirror, mirror: Seagate shows off 1TB data shiny at HDD beauty contest

CES 2015 For those of us who like to sport Rolex watches and Montblanc pens Seagate’s LaCie unit has a swanky, sexy new desktop drive - the Mirror portable. Inside is a bog-standard 1TB HDD with a USB 3.0 connection. So what right? Yada yada yada. However, outside is an enclosure encased in Corning Gorilla glass resting on a polished …
Chris Mellor, 05 Jan 2015

VMware: Storage data functions can and WILL migrate to flash media

Comment VMware's CTO has revealed his belief that array and VSAN-level storage data service functions can, and will, move into flash media. He made the point on a recent blog that it is logical for physical block addressing to be dynamic rather than static. A disk drive's firmware maps logical block addresses (LBAs) to physical block …
Chris Mellor, 05 Jan 2015
Seagate_living_logo

Seagate makes CES splash with $99 drive, 'personal' cloud offerings

CES 2015 Seagate's arriving at CES 2015 with all guns blazing, with a new "living" logo and personal cloud, wireless, and anorexic hard drives to store the data of tomorrow. Thin, portable, $99... The first of the new products is a 7mm thick, 500GB portable external drive called the Seagate Seven - as in 7mm. It has a bare drive look …
Chris Mellor, 05 Jan 2015
StoreServ_7450

Bringing AFA SAN orphans in house

All-flash arrays are SAN orphans, typically operating outside the existing SAN infrastructure and having a hard time of it from the data services angle as a result. Wouldn’t it be much better if they lived inside the existing SAN house rather than being out in the cold, so to speak? Existing enterprise SAN arrays are robust, …
Chris Mellor, 29 Dec 2014
LG HS6 and sub-woofer

LG Flow punches Sonos right in its portable battery speaker hole

Aiming to compete more strongly with Sonos, LG Electronics is updating its streaming Wi-Fi loudspeaker/music-player product line with something that Sonos users have (so far fruitlessly) requested; a portable, battery-powered job. Sonos speakers all need tethering to a power outlet, restricting where they can be placed. Unless …
Chris Mellor, 26 Dec 2014