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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.

Allan_Kay_and_Dynabook_prototype

Pssst. Want to buy a timeshare in the clouds?

Three questions: is baby turning into a monster? Are we desktop/notebook/tablet/smartphone users becoming the near-as-dammit slaves of social media and retail monopolists? Are these monopolists destroying jobs and impoverishing people faster than networked smart device and software technologies are creating jobs and enriching …
Chris Mellor, 24 Oct 2014
Storiant software

Upstart brags about cheaper-than-Amazon private cold data cloud

Storiant is an object storage startup which claims its customers can use its technology to store petabyte-scale data in a private cloud at a price below public cloud storage. How does it pull this trick off? It has a customer, Markley Cloud Services in New England, which it says stores 11PB of cold data in a Storiant silo – as …
Chris Mellor, 23 Oct 2014
Joe Tucci EMC

Hey, Joe. Give EMC the gun and SHOOT IT DOWN - before someone else messes 'round town

What should we do about the EMC Federation and the coming retirement of its founder and architect Joe Tucci? Activist investors want it dismantled to provide more value for shareholders. Nobody sees a replacement candidate for Joe Tucci; someone who could hold the ring while the three strong and capable CEOs that run EMC …
Chris Mellor, 23 Oct 2014
Fujitsu_CS200c

There's a lot more to backup than you thought

If backup is too often an afterthought, have you considered its even poorer relation, archive. You haven’t? What a surprise. The fact is, businesses and their infrastructure depend upon common services for general efficiency, management focus and cost control. All organisations do, and it would be a nightmare if they didn't. …
Chris Mellor, 23 Oct 2014
EMC_REvs_To_Q3fy2014

EMC profits flatline as VCE joins the storage-tastic federation

For its third quarter EMC reported good numbers but the news is overshadowed by the expected VCE announcement and the activist investor pressure on the Hopkinton firm. EMC recorded a satisfyingly chunky nine per cent uptick in consolidated quarterly revenues for its third 2014 quarter – a round $6bn compared to $5.5bn a year ago …
Chris Mellor, 22 Oct 2014

VMware, Cisco, EMC lovechild to live in Big Daddy EMC's house

As rumoured, VCE, the three-way love child of VMware, Cisco and EMC, is to be absorbed into the EMC Federation this quarter. VCE builds and sells converged Vblock systems based on VMware’s virtualisation software, Cisco servers and networking and EMC storage. It is a startup and was jointly funded (up until now) by Cisco and EMC …
Chris Mellor, 22 Oct 2014
Panzura Quicksilver cloud storage controller

Panzura's cloudy gear hits others' WAN optimisation kit for six

Cloudy firm Panzura's cloud storage gateway is saving distributed projects businesses enormous amounts of time when opening shared project files, it claims. So much so that Panzura is now focusing on the Architectural, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) market niche. Panzura FS is a global single namespace file system with …
Chris Mellor, 22 Oct 2014
The full Spanglish breakfast: mealy pudding, bacon, black pudding, sausages, fried egg, toast

Reg man has the cure for IBM storage: Just swallow 10 firms

When you are walking on the Moon, far from home and Earth's tethering gravity then giant steps are what you take. When a product set becomes low or no-growth, then its tethering product gravity effect is weakened and you need to take giant steps to rebuild it ... which brings us to IBM. Witness its results. IBM's old certainties …
Chris Mellor, 21 Oct 2014
Andrew Warfield, Coho Data CTO

Reg Vulture grills Xen hypervisor daddy on latest storage upstart

Like other storage startups, Coho Data has had to swim upstream* against prevailing storage orthodoxy. Its CTO and co-founder, Andrew Warfield, was one of the original authors of the Xen hypervisor, and we recently took the opportunity to ask him some questions about the firm's technology, product positioning and progress. Some …
Chris Mellor, 21 Oct 2014
Maginatics_MCSP_diagram

Will EMC swallow cloudy upstart? These analysts seem to think so

Any move by EMC to acquire Maginatics — and the latter’s software-only cloud storage gateway — would be a “very smart buy”, according to analyst Ben Woo at technical consultancy Neuralytics, following speculation the storage giant is closing in on the startup. “Software defined storage is not just about on-premise [developments …
Chris Mellor, 21 Oct 2014
Menage_a_TRois

Two-timing HP snubs Scality's RING, organises object threesome

It’s a laugh a minute in the object storage business. Not content with reselling Scality’s RING object storage software alongside its own StoreAll product, HP is now two-timing Scality by reselling Cleversafe’s object storage software as well. It’s best to be sure – to be sure. Once again it’s HP’s hyperscale server group making …
Chris Mellor, 20 Oct 2014
Photo of a stack of $100 bills

IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO

IBM's storage revenues are continuing to slump, with the latest overall IBM results causing the abandonment of a long-term earnings/share goal. IBM's overall revenues for its third 2014 quarter were $22.4bn, down six per cent year-on-year and down 8.2 per cent sequentially. Net income was $3.5bn; it was $4.1bn in the previous …
Chris Mellor, 20 Oct 2014

Violin: Don't weep for Tier 1 storage... it'll soon be flashtastic

Flash will replace all enterprise tier 1 storage, and shared arrays will prevail over server-side SANs, while network latency remains a solvable computer science problem, argues Violin Memory CEO Kevin DeNuccio. The market and technology shocks waves of cloud, virtualisation and flash are coming Violin's way, with the all-flash …
Chris Mellor, 20 Oct 2014
FabricCache from QLogic

QLogic: Healthy fibre boosted our bottom line

QLogic has reported second quarter revenues of $127.5m, up 7 per cent on the previous quarter, and 13 per cent on the year-ago period. The server storage and Ethernet interconnect business also reported flat year-on-year profits of $11m, but up a whacking 83 per cent from the first quarter. Second quarter growth was attributed …
Chris Mellor, 20 Oct 2014

IBM: Please, take our chip unit. We'll give you $1.5 billion

Big Blue is going to become slightly less Big and Blue by paying Global Foundries $1.5bn to take on its chip-making business, according to multiple media reports. The giant's retreat from hardware continues following the transfer of the X86 server business to Lenovo. Bloomberg and others reported an IBM statement saying it is …
Chris Mellor, 20 Oct 2014
Walter Isaacson, The Innovators book cover

Steve Jobs' bio man tackles geeks who 'created the digital revolution'

This is an enthralling but slightly flawed read written by Walter Isaacson – of Steve Jobs' authorised biography fame. Computers first entered human consciousness just over 170 years ago, when Charles Babbage was working on his mechanical difference engine and Ada Lovelace described programming. Since that seminal time, the …
Chris Mellor, 19 Oct 2014

Flash daddy SanDisk: Revenues up, but Wall St unimpressed

SanDisk's third 2013 quarter showed a healthy annual and quarterly increase but subdued profits, while Fusion-io integration costs and mis-met Wall Street expectations sent the shares down a tad. Revenues were $1.75bn – a record. They were $1.63bn a year ago, meaning a seven per cent increase, and the same in the second 2014 …
Chris Mellor, 17 Oct 2014
Rails

Let the SAN shine: Supermicro inks EVO: RAIL deal with Nexenta

Tarkan Maner's Nexenta has snagged another server vendor to use its software for file access to VMware's EVO: RAIL. A couple of days ago it was Dell, today it's Supermicro. Supermicro's EVO: RAIL and VMware Virtual SAN offerings will come with NexentaConnect for Virtual SAN product, and so provide file services to the base SAN …
Chris Mellor, 17 Oct 2014

Hey small biz: You know what you need? A tape library – Overland

Overland has got itself a new NEO tape library (cue jokes about the Matrix Reloaded) called the NEOxl, and it's packed a huge amount of capacity inside it. The two models in the product line both support LTO5 and LTO6 tape formats and come in 6U enclosures: NEOxl 60 To 3 drives and 60 slots 90TB-375TB capacity (90TB is …
Chris Mellor, 17 Oct 2014
Archimedes

'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster

Big data analytics people are constantly panning for nuggets of gold, and Cray has just the machine for them — its Urika-XA. Said to be a single-platform entity, consolidating a wide range of analytics workloads previously needing separate systems, its design has been optimised for compute- and memory-intensive and latency- …
Chris Mellor, 16 Oct 2014
Australian_painted_lady_feeding

HP slips on Scality's RING, plans to flog it with ProLiant servers

HP is going to resell Scality's RING object storage software, despite having its own scale-out StoreAll object storage technology. Scality hopes this is a break-out deal and twins with a market move to unstructured data and server-side storage – as this would help object storage emerge from its chrysalis and float like a …
Chris Mellor, 16 Oct 2014
EVO: RAIL

Is HP riding the EVO: RAILs to oblivion?

HP is set to launch a VMware EVO: RAIL hyper-converged appliance that threatens to kill off its StoreVirtual product. HP's StoreVirtual 200-HC hyper-converged system, combines server, networking, storage, and virtualisation and management software for mid-size businesses, remote offices and branch office locations. It is …
Chris Mellor, 15 Oct 2014
EVO: RAIL

What the Dell? Big Mike and co join Nexenta for EVO: RAIL file access

Dell is using Nexenta's software to bring file access to VMware's EVO: RAIL virtual SAN. It is shipping NexentaConnect and NexentaStor software with its EVO: RAIL kit, its pre-configured, fully integrated, hyper-converged appliance. NexentaStor is Nexenta's ZFS-based storage software which runs on certified server/storage …
Chris Mellor, 15 Oct 2014

Lure of OpenStack overwhelms EMC: Must ... SLURP... startup

EMC is reportedly buying the Cloudscaling Group, a software startup helping to manage clouds of OpenStack-using servers, with the deal worth less than $50m. Could EMC be following in Cisco's footsteps? Bloomberg reports the intent is for EMC's cloud strategy to integrate better with OpenStack-using systems. EMC spokesperson …
Chris Mellor, 14 Oct 2014
Mr BLOBby

Facebook storage techies: We sift through your family snaps to find 'warm BLOBs'

Facebook has ditched RAID and replication for its nearline storage, using distributed erasure coding to isolate what it calls "warm BLOBs" instead. Translation please: BLOB — Binary Large OBject — Facebook user’s photos, videos, etc. Warm — data that has to be kept and is accessed at a lower rate than hot data, but more than …
Chris Mellor, 13 Oct 2014

Nimbus Data sues over unpaid bill: 'Kit didn't work', says customer

Flash array firm Nimbus Data is suing a customer, insurance telemetry firm Modus LLC, because it did not complete payments for an E-Class array flash array it ordered from Nimbus. The case is being dealt with in Northern California, with Nimbus suing for a breach of contract and recovery of debt. According to documents filed …
Chris Mellor, 13 Oct 2014
Nutanix NX-9000

Nutanix goes all-flash, will rescue dying data from imploding cities

Converged system startup Nutanix has topped out its range with an all-flash appliance, and added protection at inter-city distances. Its clusterable appliances combine servers, storage and networking to provide a single converged data centre that, it says, replaces racks of disparate servers, storage arrays and network gear. …
Chris Mellor, 13 Oct 2014
Nutanix NX-3000 server-storage node

Iron out the kinks and all-flash servers just might have a future

Nutanix's NX-9000 is an all-flash, scale-out, hyperconverged server/storage/networking system, with a single logical pool of SAN storage aggregated from the NX nodes in a cluster. In other words, it's a clustered, disk-less server. It's disk-less, and so less prone to mechanical and electro-mechanical errors and needs less power …
Chris Mellor, 10 Oct 2014

SPLITTERS! Symantec cleft in twain

The reports have been confirmed: Symantec CEO Michael Brown will split the unwieldy business into separate security and information management concerns, thus undoing the 2004 Veritas acquisition. Brown has moved quickly after his confirmation in the role to lift the cleaver. The San Andreas-style fault running through the heart …
Chris Mellor, 10 Oct 2014
Ciscoblood

Cisco denies plans to pull its cash out of VCE

Cisco has denied it will stop investing in VCE – the converged systems company financed by itself, EMC, and EMC sub VMware – following a report that appeared across the pond, citing unnamed sources. “Cisco is not pulling out of VCE,” the company’s senior PR manager, Gareth Pettigrew, said. “VCE customers and partners can be …
Chris Mellor, 09 Oct 2014
DX4200

I want to TRANSPLANT your storage BRAINS: WD desktop NAS refresh

WD has updated its small office Sentinel desktop filer range, adding Windows Storage Server 2012 with its Storage Spaces facility. The Sentinel storage servers are for small and medium businesses that don’t want or need a full-blown racked NAS system running on X86 processors. The DX4200 is basically the same as the 4-bay, 2 or …
Chris Mellor, 09 Oct 2014
Vulture

Activist investors DESTROY COMPANIES. Don't get me started on share dealings...

Public companies have four groups of stakeholders: shareholders; execs paid with share performance in mind; other workers; and their customers. Shareholders and share value-incentivised execs are ripping the heart out of many public companies, siphoning off their wealth, going for short-term in favour of long-term interests, and …
Chris Mellor, 09 Oct 2014
Beached-Whale

Splitters! First HP's cut in two, now it's Symantec’s turn – report

Multiple reports say Symantec is thinking of splitting itself up into separate security and storage businesses. Symantec bought Veritas for a massive $13.5bn in 2004, promising synergies between its existing security business and Veritas’ backup and storage management software. The synergies didn’t appear and Symantec's storage …
Chris Mellor, 09 Oct 2014
Oculus Rift VR system prototype

Audio playground: How does an Oculus Rift with surround sound sound?

Wi-Fi music streaming and virtual reality both just received audio boosts, with news from Bose, DTS and Oculus. Bose has done a music streaming supply deal, like Sonos, with Deezer, but for Deezer's Premium Plus service, not the higher-rated lossless Elite service Sonos is involved with. It's a US region-specific deal and marks …
Chris Mellor, 09 Oct 2014
IBM RTP Data Center

IBM leaps aboard the software-defined stuff bandwagon

IBM storage is getting software-defined, with IBM seeing that concept as a way of better integrating its storage hardware and software assets. Big Blue's Storage and Software-defined Systems general manager Jamie Thomas outlined a new storage deal at IBM's Enterprise event in Las Vegas, claiming the "new model will provide …
Chris Mellor, 09 Oct 2014

Shouty investor Elliott makes PUBLIC CALL for VMware sale

Activist investor Elliott Management, the holder of a billion dollars' worth of Hopkinton shares, has publicly called for a VMware sale in a letter to EMC's CEO and board. Its release has been nicely timed to closely follow on from HP's decision to split itself into an printer and PC company on the one hand (HP Inc) and a …
Chris Mellor, 08 Oct 2014

Analytics pusher Interana: Why tweak your seeks when you can scan your DRAM?

Startup Interana has an analytics tool that processes data in scans rather than seeks, claiming it’s designed to be great at analysing time-based streams of event data. The software is a proprietary database that organises data by time and user to allow for single-pass queries with no intermediate sorts. It runs on clustered …
Chris Mellor, 08 Oct 2014

An EMC-HP Borg cube will totally ANNIHILATE its storage worlds

Suppose EMC and HP merged: the result would be an outrageous nightmare of overlapping storage products. Managers would run screaming into the darkness, and bean counters would spend millions converging products. It’s a no-go area, really. Quick and dirty look at HP and EMC storage products A quick and dirty look at HP and EMC …
Chris Mellor, 08 Oct 2014
Bored girl

NetList returns Diablo's ULLtraDIMM sueball with counter-injunction

Diablo Technologies and Netlist continue their flashy patent fight to the death as Netlist today applied for an injunction to prohibit Diablo and SanDisk from making the disputed ULLtraDIMM module. Years ago Diablo and Netlist signed a non-disclosure agreement giving Diablo access to Netlist information about its way of hooking …
Chris Mellor, 07 Oct 2014
DTI scans of male and female brains, showing pathways

Big racks? Pah. Storage boffins have made a BIONIC BRAIN material

Research boffins at RMIT university in Melbourne have demonstrated a non-volatile memory at nanometer scale using memristive effects – and suggest it could help build a bionic brain. The team, led by Dr Sharath Sriram, built a stacked structure using perovskite oxide with designed-in defects in its chemistry to demonstrate a …
Chris Mellor, 07 Oct 2014
SolidFire Range

Flash storage upstart SolidFire slurps $82m, intros Mini-Me arrays

Solidfire has introduced two smaller arrays that, over time, will replace their existing entry-level and mid-range offering. It's also picked up an extra $82m of funding. The SF2405 and 4805 are two new products with smaller capacities and a lower starting price point so that customers can scale their storage at a more granular …
Chris Mellor, 07 Oct 2014
Brueghel_Leapfrog

Hopeful hybrideer Reduxio grabs more cash for disk+flash

A late-coming hybrid flash/disk array startup, Reduxio, has acquired $15m in additional funding to build a better box. Three hybrid array companies are going gang-busters. Post-IPO Nimble Storage and pre-IPO Tegile and Tintri are all growing at triple-digit rates, as they tear into the mainstream array suppliers' customer bases …
Chris Mellor, 07 Oct 2014

Storage startups: Hey VCs, it's not just the size, it's the frequency

The funding pattern for storage startups has radically changed as newer young companies in hotly contested marts race for growth. The chart shows the various funding events we have recorded for 32 individual storage startups. These may be declared VC funding rounds or strategic investments. The units are millions of dollars, …
Chris Mellor, 07 Oct 2014
Suitcase bulging with cash

Hot DRAM! Samsung splurges $15 BILLION on Korean chip fab

Samsung Electronics has decided to spend a massive $15bn building a memory fab in South Korea. Samsung is the world’s largest DRAM chip maker, followed by Micron and SK Hynix. It also leads the NAND chip market, being ahead of Toshiba, SanDisk, Micron and SK Hynix. Toshiba and SanDisk are partners in flash fabrication. The new …
Chris Mellor, 06 Oct 2014
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Moneymen dash to hand cash to storage upstarts

There has been a sudden rush of venture capital cash to storage startups as mainstream vendors respond to the upstarts' products and squeeze their growth window. The backing VCs want fast growth to IPO level run rate revenues so they can get their exit before the startup's growth fizzles out. Only last year, storage startups …
Chris Mellor, 06 Oct 2014
Billy_Connolly

Bring your spade: The BIG DATA Gold Rush has begun

The forty-niners rushed to California in search of gold. Some even found it. But most stayed poor and the only people who got reliably rich were people who made and sold the picks and shovels the miners needed. Is that the way it is with big data? Will the only people to get rich be the suppliers of big data computer software, …
Chris Mellor, 03 Oct 2014
RHSS_on_Premises

Scale out sister: Open sorcerer pulls v3 Gluster cluster out of Red Hat

Open sorcery evangelist Red Hat has updated its Gluster clustering Red Hat Storage Server to v3, adding capacity and cluster nodes. RHSS v 3.0 is based on the GlusterFS 3.6 file system with RHEL 6.0. It is designed for scale-out file storage and is built from, of course, open source software. A datasheet (PDF) says: “Red Hat …
Chris Mellor, 03 Oct 2014

Symantec offers BIGGER, FASTER NetBackup appliance

Symantec is refreshing its NetBackup 5000 series appliance line with a new model that operates faster and holds more data. The firm's 5000 Series Purpose-Built Backup Appliance (PBBA) range has expandable storage and end-to-end (both client and target sides) deduplication for physical and virtual environments. The existing 5230 …
Chris Mellor, 03 Oct 2014
X300 SSDs

SanDisk hopes to lure in enterprise clients with a little TLC (SSD)

SanDisk has launched its X300 3-bit per cell TLC SSD, which has neat-looking read performance – although the reported write endurance is less impressive. The X300 comes in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB capacity points and is classed by Sandy as a client SSD, a mainstream corporate drive, meaning it can replace business users' …
Chris Mellor, 03 Oct 2014
Samsung 60nm 1Gb DDR 2 DRAM chip and DIMM

DRAM! Speedy software upstart PernixData's caching up fast

VMware IO cacher PernixData has upped the quick access ante by caching virtual machine disk IO in DRAM — much faster for data access than flash. The startup’s FVP software runs in the ESXi hypervisor, and it's also added user-defined fault domains and adaptive network compression to its clustering technology. FVP accelerates …
Chris Mellor, 02 Oct 2014