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.

Toshiba p-BiCS technology

Flash breaks free from the storage flat earth society

NAND used to be the sole prerogative of a two-dimensional flat earth society obsessed with shrinkage, but that approach is running into a technological dead end. To get more capacity the only feasible escape is upwards, using the third dimension and stacking layers of 2D flash to build multi-layered chips. The dead end is …
Chris Mellor, 22 Dec 2014
Dragster

Big Blue stuffs data into backup at GIGABYTES/sec

IBM's TSM backup product goes super-fast when backing up to the Elastic Storage parallel file system, according to company trials. TSM stands for Tivoli Storage Manager, with Elastic Storage being the re-branded GPFS. Servers running TSM were linked to an Elastic Storage array in a proof-of-concept test by IBM engineers in …
Chris Mellor, 22 Dec 2014
SAmba

Fujitsu’s customers come big data samba dancing

Fujitsu is helping its customers get up (and down again) on the big data dance floor and do the analytics samba with an integrated bundle of HW and SW and services called PRIMEFLEX for Hadoop (PfH - our initials) to save customers from any DIY aggro. Fujitsu's PRIMEFLEX - the company loves all-caps product names - is an …
Chris Mellor, 19 Dec 2014

Rivals feel power of EMC's storage software bite

IDC's latest storage software (SW) tracker numbers show top dog EMC is continuing to rule the kennels, with a chunkier market share than both its nearest rivals combined. The Worldwide Storage Software View says total sector revenues bounced 6.1 per cent on the same period last year to nearly $3.8bn. EMC had 27.2 per cent of …
Chris Mellor, 18 Dec 2014
Monty Python and the Holy Grail Blu-ray disc

Toshiba joins the exclusive, three-member 6TB disk drive club

Toshiba has joined Seagate and WD/HGST in the 6TB disk drive club, still so exclusive that it only has three members. The MG04, with capacities of 2, 4, 5 and 6TB, spins at 7200rpm, making it a nearline drive. Toshiba claims it is good for 24/7 usage. It has 12Gbit/s SAS or 6GBit/s SATA interfaces and a secure instant erase …
Chris Mellor, 18 Dec 2014
Spooky angel doll

Crossbar says it's 'one step' from delivering miracle RRAM

Crossbar has jumped a hurdle limiting the readability if its resistive RAM non-volatile memory tech and says commercialisation is getting closer. Crossbar's resistive RAM (RRAM) tech is a 3D semi-conductor structure promising higher densities and faster access than NAND; closer to the fabled uniform memory that's as fast as DRAM …
Chris Mellor, 18 Dec 2014
Old_disk_tech_with_head_crash

Disk areal density: Not a constant, consistent platter

Comment A disk's areal density varies according to where you look on a platter. This writer had thought it was constant cross a platter but, wouldn't you know it, it's not. The data recording technology can provide a uniformly dense layer of potential bits across a disk platter's surface but differing track lengths and radii, and head: …
Chris Mellor, 18 Dec 2014
ULLtraDIMMs

Tegile to shove flash into DIMMs, it would seem

Tegile's marketing veep figures that "PCIe flash and NVDIMMs will make their way into shared storage devices, further driving latencies down." Cue Tegile supporting flash DIMMs in 2015, then. NVDIMMs (or flash DIMMs) are DIMM memory sockets filled with NAND dies so that the flash is a read extension of the memory's address space …
Chris Mellor, 18 Dec 2014

HOW MUCH did WD pay for Skyera? Join the dots, work it out

Comment We at El Reg suggested yesterday, Monday, that WD paid up to $400m for the all-flash array upstart, but WD has since mailed us to say that's wrong. Jim Pascoe, WD's corporate marketing director, told us: "You estimated that Skyera had secured $90m-$100m of funding following on from seed finance. In fact, the total amount Skyera …
Chris Mellor, 17 Dec 2014
Samsung SSD850 PRO 3D V-NAND storage

FLASH! Aaa-aaah. 3D NAND will save every one of us

Comment We have 3D NAND flash chip supplier timing, courtesy of financial analyst whiz Aaron Rakers. The four foundry operators will all be pumping out mass production volumes of the high-capacity stuff in 18 months' time 3D NAND is a fresh way of getting out of the NAND scaling trap. The traditional way, of increasing NAND chip …
Chris Mellor, 16 Dec 2014
Clawfoot_bath

Server SANs: Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater

Getting rid of SAN complexity and cost is an idea that appeals to many CIOs sick of juggling storage area networking components and array costs. Let app servers virtualise a SAN into existence by pooling their own direct-attached storage and just buy servers with server SAN software, such as StoreVirtual from HP, DataCore's SAN …
Chris Mellor, 16 Dec 2014
Iron Throne

EMC: People are going to be FLASHING their RACKS next year

EMC's chief evangelist Chad Sakac got up at an investor conference and said DSSD systems should arrive in limited availability next year. Startup firm DSSD was developing rack-scale all-flash array technology when EMC bought it in May. We'e thinking an EVO: RACK type converged system is coming. Stifel Nicolaus MD Aaron Rakers …
Chris Mellor, 16 Dec 2014
Tintri

Tintri adds Hyper-V to its virtualised server support

Hybrid flash/disk array upstart Tintri has added Hyper-V to its virtualised server support, to sit alongside its existing VMware and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation services. Tintri's schtick, apart from a ground-up design for its hybrid array VMstore hardware and Tintri OS software, is its presentation of storage as just …
Chris Mellor, 15 Dec 2014
money notes lifted up

Private equity downs WAN furtler Riverbed in $3.6bn gulp

+Comment WAN optimiser and app speeder Riverbed is being bought by private equity house Thoma Bravo for $3.6bn. Riverbed failed to grow sufficiently and its business foundered somewhat, opening it up to the attentions of activist investor Elliott Management. That's the same investor that is pushing EMC for a VMware sell-off. In October …
Chris Mellor, 15 Dec 2014

Drive-making kingpin WD gobbles Skyera... to give to HGST

Rumour had it last month that WD was going to buy Skyera and rumour was right. WD subsidiary HGST is getting an early Christmas present with WD buying the all-flash array packing density king and assigning it to HGST. Skyera changed its CEO in August, with COO Frankie Roohparvar taking over from flash tech genius and co-founder …
Chris Mellor, 15 Dec 2014
Transporter

Imation rolls out the Barrall

Imation has recruited BlueArc and Drobo founder Dr. Geoff Barrall to its board. Barrall has an impressive storage, having founded BlueArc, a hardware-accelerated filer startup which was bought by HDS. Subsequently he was the founder and CEO of Data Robotics, the startup which produced the Drobo (Data Storage Robot), a CTO and …
Chris Mellor, 15 Dec 2014
Samsung_850_EVO

Samsung brings out new longer-lived 1TB Flash podule for PCs, notebooks

Just in time for Christmas, Samsung has taken its 3D enterprise SSD, added a bit per cell, and come out with a longer-lived 1TB SSD for PCs and notebooks. The triple-level cell (TLC), 3D V-NAND, 850 EVO SSD follows on from the planar (2D) TLC 840 EVO which also topped out at 1TB. This drive used 19nm NAND, whereas the 850 EVO is …
Chris Mellor, 15 Dec 2014

Storage firm Box: We're BIG enough... to FLOAT

Market concerns over the delayed public offering of personal cloud content manager Box could be easing, after it filed updated IPO documents showing reduced losses during a nine-month period in its fiscal 2015 year. The offering, with the S1 document filed in March, was delayed initially as players saw the growing losses as …
Chris Mellor, 11 Dec 2014

Dedupe, dedupe... dedupe, dedupe, dedupe: Oracle polishes ZFS diamond

Oracle's ZFS is widely lauded as a great file system even though several suppliers that use it for their own products have replaced its deduplication code with their own. One such was GreenBytes, a startup which developed an all-flash array for virtualised servers and focused on VDI. It switched to a software-only model after …
Chris Mellor, 11 Dec 2014

Hungry, hungry CPUs: Storage vendors hustle to get flash closer to compute

Multi-socket, multi-core CPUs are demanding entities: they have a gargantuan appetite for data which they suck up through a CPU-memory channel from DRAM, the server's memory. This access happens in nanoseconds, billionths of a second. Getting data from places beyond memory, such as PCIe server flash cards, SSDs directly attached …
Chris Mellor, 11 Dec 2014
Pure Storage array

Don't you forget about VCE... Cisco gets cosy with Pure Storage

Comment Not content with partnering with IBM and its storage to sell its UCS servers, Cisco is now doing a Flexpod-style dance with EMC’s arch flash array enemy Pure Storage. These recent shocks to the VCE alliance between EMC and Cisco must surely have contributed to Cisco’s tactical withdrawal and EMC’s taking of VCE in-house. Joe …
Chris Mellor, 11 Dec 2014

Oh SNAP, Microsoft! Asigra steals a march with Office 365 cloudy backup

Enterprise backup firm Asigra has added Office 365 support to its Cloud Backup product. This is a cloud-to-cloud service sending backup data to authorised cloud service providers or to the customer's private cloud. IT admins choose the frequency and granularity of the backups and recovery is said to be both fast and simple, …
Chris Mellor, 11 Dec 2014

IDC Storage Tracker in Hitachi Data Systems number-fumble

IDC's latest Storage Tracker used the wrong HDS numbers and mis-represented the company's progress. We at the great El Reg wrote about the third-quarter tracker here and reported that Hitachi external storage revenues fell 9.4 per cent in the quarter, compared with a year ago. However, we now learn from HDS that: In the IDC …
Chris Mellor, 11 Dec 2014

Roll up, roll up for Oracle database flash tune-up – Violin

Comment Violin Memory has developed software to tell you how tune Oracle databases to run faster on its arrays, and is making it available through a lead-generation exercise where you (pretty much) qualify yourself. Its Oracle Performance Analysis Service (O-PAS) is free to end-users and resellers and generates reports which identify " …
Chris Mellor, 11 Dec 2014
Flash Gordon

Who won all-flash sales sash, sucked up all the cash? – IDC report

An EMC-distributed excerpt of an IDC all-flash array shipments and revenues report has Hopkinton topping the sales rankings, with NetApp at number four and IBM topping the capacity-shipped chart. The report is a special IDC one, titled Worldwide All-Flash Array and Hybrid Flash Array 2014–2018 Forecast and 1H14 Vendor Shares. …
Chris Mellor, 10 Dec 2014

WD and HGST: We tried to merge our two drive makers, MOFCOM said NO, NO, NO

Analysis Although WD’s acquisition of HGST was approved over two years ago, Chinese regulatory authority MOFCOM is still preventing the full integration of their respective drive-making ops. The Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (MOFCOM) has always maintained it was not keen to see WD and its HGST subsidiary move …
Chris Mellor, 10 Dec 2014
Tad_HUnt_climber

Hunt the RAID killer: Exablox builds object storage that isn't

Exablox was cofounded by a video-making, rock-climbing CTO intent on killing RAID. El Reg got a closer look at Exablox by attending a press tour at its HQ last week and looking deeper into its object storage-based filer. Co-founder and CTO Tad Hunt explained that he became frustrated with filer performance while taking time out …
Chris Mellor, 09 Dec 2014
The Black Hole's Maximilliam. Source: Disney

The great Data Gravity black hole: Another 50 million greenbacks sucked in

DataGravity, the upstart data-aware storage platform founded by serial entrepreneur Paula Long, is turning into a dollar bill black hole, sucking in another fifty million in C-round of funding. The company, profiled here, has a hybrid flash/disk array with substantial metadata facilities to provide significantly more knowledge …
Chris Mellor, 09 Dec 2014

IBM, NetApp suffer as storage buyers shun mainstream suppliers

The disruptive influence of the largest service providers ignoring mainstream suppliers when buying disk storage has been highlighted for the first time in stats from IDC - big brands should sit up and take note. The IDC tracker* reports on worldwide total disk storage and external storage array sales, and in Q3 included …
Chris Mellor, 09 Dec 2014
Lake Tahoe

HPC storage bods at DDN fish for BIG CATCH in the data lake

Interview Suppliers of storage and analytics systems to the so-called "big data" lake market are enduring turbulent technology transitions and fast-changing requirements, as we saw here. Startups with $100m-plus funding are common and one, Cloudera, has surpassed $1bn in funding, as VCs and startup execs scramble to find their way through …
Chris Mellor, 09 Dec 2014
Discworld

No NAND's land: Flash will NOT take over the data centre

Comment NAND is not taking over the data centre. Estimates of shipped disk and SSD capacity out to 2018 shows that, while flash will continue to grow faster, disk capacity will still outstrip that of flash by eight to one four years from now. SSD_vs_HDD_ships_To_2018 Total SSD capacity shipped is falling more and more behind disk …
Chris Mellor, 09 Dec 2014
Claw hammer

Seagate: We'll bring down the HAMR in 2017. But will we give you SHINGLES?

Seagate has been talking about coming disk tech and expects to have a HAMR product in 2017. We have better visibility into Seagate’s view of the ending of the current perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) era. The ending is delayed by narrowing the tracks so as to cram more of them on a platter. This is called two-dimensional …
Chris Mellor, 08 Dec 2014
Cyberman on steps of St. Paul's

Step by flashy step: Toshiba clambers up to next gen SSD

Toshiba has introduced SSDs using second-generation 19nm NAND tech to double the maximum capacity of one, and have a higher endurance rating on the other. The HK3R2 is the second generation of the HK3R product technology, using the same basic 19nm MLC NAND but with a newer production process enabling a capacity increase to 960GB …
Chris Mellor, 08 Dec 2014
Grumpy cat

EVO: RAIL – Is NetApp sleeping with a SAN killer?

Comment Innovation rules, OK! NetApp's unlikely pairing of VMware's server-side SAN VSAN product with its networked ONTAP array was unorthodox, with VSAN being seen as a physical SAN killer. What is NetApp up to with its ONTAP EVO: RAIL system? NetApp spokesperson Amelia Vierra provided the answers to a set of questions we asked. …
Chris Mellor, 08 Dec 2014
Oracle_ZS4_4

Oracle refreshes RAM-crammed ZFS array line

After updating its old Pillar Axiom array line with the hybrid FS1 array a few months ago, Oracle has refreshed its ZFS array line with a bigger, faster generation and a quasi in-memory design. Larry Ellison's company announced the third generation ZS3 appliances back in October last year. Fourteen months later, we have the …
Chris Mellor, 05 Dec 2014

Overland Storage becomes part of Sphere3D

Overland Storage is merging with Sphere 3D; two loss-making companies hoping to come good by coming together. Overland has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian Sphere 3D, and Sphere 3D Corporation will trade on Nasdaq. Both boards approved the deal as did Overland's shareholders; 99 per cent of the shares were voted in …
Chris Mellor, 05 Dec 2014
Permabit Albireo SANBlox

Permabit: Wham, bam, box of data shrink SAN... for NetApp E-Series only

Permabit has made its SAN data shrink box available to NetApp users. But don't get your hopes up - it's for the E-Series arrays. The Albireo SANblox appliance sits in front of a Fibre Channel-connected SAN array and dedupes and compresses the data flowing into it and, we hope, rehydrates the data on the way out. Permabit said …
Chris Mellor, 04 Dec 2014
Tornado_funnel

Violin Memory hires ex-Egnyter to add heat to global channel sales

Flash storage biz Violin Memory is hoping to pump up its channel sales volume by recruiting an ex-Egnyte channel sales VP to replace a guy who went to HGST. Jeff Nollette joins from Egnyte, where he spent seven months as its VP for Channels, helping to build a channel for that company's file sync and share product. Before that …
Chris Mellor, 04 Dec 2014
Sonos Sub

Sonos rattles begging bowl, hopes for $130m cash stream

Sonos, the Wi-Fi speaker streaming firm, is looking to raise $130m from investors, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing doc doesn't say what the cash is for and Sonos isn't saying either. It's facing increased competition as Bose and other mainstream speaker suppliers jump on the Wi-Fi …
Chris Mellor, 04 Dec 2014
HDD_head_stack

Seagate adds FIFTY PER CENT more capacity to new NAS drive

Seagate has increased the capacity of its enterprise NAS drive, lengthened its warranty, and increased the NAS box slot count. The existing Enterprise NAS drive holds up to 4TB, has a three-year warranty and is suitable for 1-5 bay NAS enclosures. The nice new one holds up to 6TB, has a five-year warranty, and is suitable for 1- …
Chris Mellor, 04 Dec 2014

NetApp goes for a ride on VMware's EVO: RAILs

NetApp will offer VMWare's EVO: RAIL hyperconverged rigs but with its networked FAS arrays. NetApp says its offering will have three main components: VMware EVO: RAIL NetApp Clusetred Data ONTAP NetAppFAS arrays It's designed for enterprise remote and branch offices (ROBO), also SMBs, with limited IT staff and apps in VMware …
Chris Mellor, 04 Dec 2014
Tom Reilly Cloudera CEO

Why Intel's Kings of Xeon handed Cloudera a $740m cash pot

Analysis Why did the Kings of Xeon bet so big on Cloudera, lobbing $740m at it earlier this year and pushing any IPO well into the future? Cloudera, founded in 2008, and distributing Hadoop plus analytics software for big data munching, was a well-funded startup with a string of investment rounds up until 2013. When CEO Tom Reilly came …
Chris Mellor, 03 Dec 2014

Storage for BUILDERS: No, it's not a roomy cupboard, it's Nasuni's BIM file bash

Cloud storage gateway startup Nasuni has added global file locking tuned for Autodesk's building design software and a natty little desktop gateway box. V6.2 of its Nasuni Service software has had its global file locking software developed to support the work-sharing features in Revit, which is Autodesk's Building Information …
Chris Mellor, 03 Dec 2014
Dark mountain. Pic: Stian Rødven Eide

Dig into Iron Mountain and you'll find Seagate and EVault

Cloud-based backup, recovery and disaster recovery (DR) services are being offered from an Iron Mountain data dungeon using Seagate kit and EVault software. Seagate is helping Iron Mountain move into the digital storage business again. Autonomy, in pre-HP days, bought the rusty heap's cloud archive storage business in 2011 after …
Chris Mellor, 03 Dec 2014
SpectraLogic T-Finity library

TAPE LIVES... virtually: SpectraLogic and Veeam twin old and new tech

Backup data source Veeam and backup data target SpectraLogic are getting into bed together, and offering combined old school tape/new school virtual server backup software. The arrangement involves Veeam's Availability Suite and Spectra's T-Series tape libraries and its near-line storage nTier Verde disk arrays. Veeam's …
Chris Mellor, 02 Dec 2014
K2

All-flash upstart Kaminario trousers $53m, spills scale-up secrets

Kaminario has picked up $53m in an E-round of funding, taking total funding to $128m and signalling the startup's backers are convinced its low cost/GB and scale-up/scale-out architecture will give it the growth goodies. In comparison, fellow all-flash array startup Pure Storage is the funding champion with $450m and SolidFire …
Chris Mellor, 02 Dec 2014
Hightall

Hightail buddies up with Cleversafe

File sync 'n' sharer Hightail has hightailed it from DDN to object storage supplier Cleversafe after facing a dramatic cost hike. The company started out as YouSendIt in 2004, enabling users to bypass email restraints on sending large files. It then moved on in 2012 to being a file-sharing site for enterprises, competing against …
Chris Mellor, 01 Dec 2014
VMware VSAN Concept

Loved-up 'frictionless' EMC bods slide ScaleIO into VMware kernel

EMC is going to extend its ScaleIO serverSAN product to function as a VMware kernel module to speed it up, thereby "twinning" it with VSAN in terms of VMware and ESXi integration. There is a new spirit of co-opetition and even co-operation inside the EMC federation these days after its CEO, Joe Tucci, openly admitted there had …
Chris Mellor, 01 Dec 2014
CPU_DIMM_Flash

NAND designs: Vendors hustle to get flash closer to compute

Multi-socket, multi-core CPUS are demanding entities: they have a gargantuan appetite for data which they suck up through a CPU-memory channel from DRAM, the server's memory. This access happens in nanoseconds, billionths of a second. Getting data from places beyond memory, such as PCIe server flash cards, SSDs directly attached …
Chris Mellor, 01 Dec 2014
The HP 3PAR StorServ 7000 series arrays

What's that rumbling sound? It's HP preparing to deliver truckload of storage products

Attendees at HP’s Discover event in Barcelona this week are getting a bumper crop of StoreServ hardware and software announcements, expanding the HW range and adding object access and better data protection. They'll hear about: Enhanced 7200, 7400 and 7450 StoreServ arrays New 7440c array Expanded data import sources …
Chris Mellor, 01 Dec 2014