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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.

Swiss Cow

Street-beating Brocade bounces back

Storage networking biz Brocade has bounced back from its disappointing and loss-making second quarter results with third quarter profits and a revenue rise. The quarter finished on 2 August and revenues of $545m were 2 per cent up on the previous quarter and the year-ago one – not dramatic but nice and steady. Net income (profit …
Chris Mellor, 22 Aug 2014
Racehorse

Fujitsu flasher pleases data-intensive divas – SPC-1 benchmark

If you need cheap storage array IOPS and lots of them, Fujitsu's DX600 S3 array can deliver those goods – at least according to an SPC-1 benchmark. The Storage Performance Council (SPC) is an industry group dedicated to producing objective and vendor-neutral benchmarks to enable meaningful performance comparisons to be made …
Chris Mellor, 22 Aug 2014
Micron 128-gigabit multi-level cell NAND Flash memory device

HP lets the SAN shine: StoreVirtual now bigger, flashier, OpenStack-ier

HP has added lots of features to its StoreVirtual software SAN, announced a lower-cost all-flash 3PAR array and provided cheaper backup for remote offices. Here's how the StoreVirtual virtual storage appliance (software SAN) has been enhanced: The StoreVirtual VSA is a fully integrated storage option for Helion OpenStack and …
Chris Mellor, 22 Aug 2014
Clouds_and_sun

Biz data botherer CommVault slips out fresh do-it-all bundle

CommVault has added additional AWS and Azure support and reveals easier, more targeted ways to buy its all-singing, all-dancing backup/archive/data management product Simpana 10. The AWS and Azure facilities include cloud reporting, end-user self-service provisioning, recovery, software snapshots and virtual machine resource …
Chris Mellor, 22 Aug 2014
Light at the end of the tunnel. Credit: Smabs Sputzer

HP Storage results: Gloomy, but there's light at the end of the tunnel

HP storage emulated HP's latest overall quarterly results, with both good news and bad news, but the gloom overwhelmed the gleam. Within HP's $27.6bn third fiscal 2014 quarterly revenue report, storage contributed $796m (just 3.6 per cent) of HP's earnings for the quarter and 11.5 per cent of the Enterprise Group's revenue. EG …
Chris Mellor, 21 Aug 2014

Death by 1,000 cuts: Mainstream storage array suppliers are bleeding

Great beasts can be killed by a 1,000 cuts, bleeding to death from the myriad slashes in their bodies – none of which, on their own, is a killer. And this, it seems, is the way things are going for big-brand storage arrays, as upstarts slice away at the market with converged systems, virtual SANs, all-flash kit, hybrid devices, …
Chris Mellor, 21 Aug 2014
Bones, Kirk and Spock prepare to transport in Star Trek

TELEPORTABLE storage? Atlantis Computing's PR bods jump the shark

Altantis Computing has come up with a rather neat marketing hook for its new USX device. Fancy getting your hands on teleport-enabled storage? In Atlantis' latest vision of the storage world you would teleport your VM storage between DAS, NAS, SAN and the cloud, with VVOL support covering all storage. With Atlantis USX you …
Chris Mellor, 21 Aug 2014

It's ALIVE: Unstructured data upstart whips out data-AWARE array

Stealth exit startup DataGravity has introduced a hybrid flash/disk array with rich metadata recording and reporting functions for file creation, keyword content, content change and access, as well as data protection functions and collaboration help. DataGravity was founded by CEO Paula Long, co-founder of EqualLogic, which was …
Chris Mellor, 21 Aug 2014
MICA aurora borealis probe small1

Speedy software upstart PernixData showered in gold by expectant VCs

VMware hypervisor-caching software startup PernixData is gorging on cash from VCs as it ramps up development and its go-to-market efforts. PernixData's FVP product transparently virtualises server flash and RAM as an ESXi cache across multiple servers to enable scale-out storage performance and accelerate applications in virtual …
Chris Mellor, 20 Aug 2014
Carpenters_workbench

Can it be true? A BIG DATA benchmark? Yes, says TPC

Up until now there hasn't been an objective or standard way of comparing different suppliers' big data systems performance. The Transaction Processing Council (TPC) is remedying that with its TPCx-HS benchmark. The TPC provides objective, vendor-neutral benchmarks for things like virtual servers and transaction processing. The …
Chris Mellor, 20 Aug 2014
SanDisk_Ultra_II

Creaky PC? SanDisk gives users a NAND with speedy '3-bitter' SSD

SanDisk has pushed out an Ultra II SSD for retrofitting to PCs that uses lower cost 3-bits-per-cell NAND technology. TLC or 3 bits per cell flash stores 50 per cent more information in each cell than MLC (2 bits per cell) and is cheaper to make on a cost/bit basis. But the number of times TLC flash can be rewritten, the P/E …
Chris Mellor, 20 Aug 2014
Skyera Skyhawk all-flash array

Super-dense flasher Skyera gets new CEO, fills pockets

Skyera, the super-dense all-flash array startup, has acquired a new CEO at the same time as it scored an additional funding round from its strategic investors. Former chief operating officer Frankie Roohparvar will be taking up the reins from today. Skyera was co-founded in July 2010 by Radoslav Danilak, who was also the …
Chris Mellor, 19 Aug 2014
Stradivarius violin reproduction

Violin Memory FINALLY writes dedupe and compression into its latest Concerto

Violin Memory has fixed a gaping hole in its data management feature set by adding deduplication and compression to its Concerto memory array controller product. This will cut its effective cost/GB figures to new lows, and strengthens its competitive hand against other all-flash array vendors – such as EMX XtremIO, IBM …
Chris Mellor, 19 Aug 2014
AMD_R7_Series_SSD

AMD slaps 'Radeon' label on Tosh flash: >Beard stroke< Hmm, cunning ...

X86 CPU and Radeon graphics chipper AMD has come out with an SSD line using Toshiba/OCZ componentry. It's called the Radeon R7-Series, which us a sideways extension of existing graphics processor branding. The SSD uses 19nm Toshibs MLC flash and has been designed, we understand, for balanced read and write workloads. The speeds …
Chris Mellor, 19 Aug 2014
Cliffs_of_Moher_Ireland

Nexenta reckons it has Edge in squeezing your object storage BLOB

Nexenta says its latest NexentaEdge software product delivers petabyte-scale block and object storage with inline deduplication. NexentaStor, the existing product, is a ZFS-based software SAN product which Nexenta partners and customers can install on commodity storage array hardware – a mainstream SAN/filer replacement product …
Chris Mellor, 19 Aug 2014
Exablox_vid

Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead

Object storage supplier Exablox has provided a file interface to its OneBlox object store, which is basically a Drobo-style BYOD store - Bring Your Own Disks. El Storage asked Sean Derrington, senior director of products at Exablox, some questions about the company. Some of the answers have been edited for brevity. El Storage: …
Chris Mellor, 19 Aug 2014
EMC&#39;s new Syncplicity apps

Oh SNAP, here comes Amazon: EMC drops prices for Syncplicity

EMC has made dramatic pricing and capacity changes to its Syncplicity product after Amazon has entered the market with its Zocalo services. The news was announced in an EMC blog. Syncplicity has an Enterprise Edition ($150/user/year or $12.50/user/month) which now has unlimited storage in the cloud and unlimited storage on- …
Chris Mellor, 18 Aug 2014
Red Hat Enterprise Linux

VM herder Tintri tries on Red Hat, plans support for Microsoft Hyper-V

Hybrid startup Tintri, whose hybrid arrays are VMware virtual machine-centric in their operation and management, now supports Red Hat's KVM as well. Tintri OS 3.0 has the KVM support and customers can deploy multiple hypervisors on a single VMstore. This version also has RBAC and Active Directory and LDAP integration enabling …
Chris Mellor, 14 Aug 2014
Scale Computing HC3 boxes

Scale Computing scales up sales – but can its HC3 kit take on Marvin?

Start-up Scale Computing is selling lots more of its HC3 converged virtualised server and storage nodes. These – like generally equivalent converged systems from upstart NIMBOXX, Nutanix and Simplivity – provide a simple way for IT to provide compute and storage resources to applications from a single system. Not just any old …
Chris Mellor, 14 Aug 2014
No Sale

NetApp: Revenues are down – but own brand kit wasn't to blame

Revenues down, profits up and no growth for three years: that's the picture from NetApp's first fiscal 2015 quarter results. The quarter finished on 25 July, and revenues were $1.49bn. They were $1.52bn a year ago, a 2 per cent fall, and $1.65bn in the previous quarter, 10 per cent less and a seasonal pattern. Net income for …
Chris Mellor, 14 Aug 2014
Sepaton S2100-ES3

Spell Sepaton backwards three times ... Puff! It just vanished into HDS

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has bought Sepaton, the highest of the high-end enterprise deduping backup targets. Sepaton used to have a rewarding deal with HP until the StoreOnce came long. The news was announced in a blog post by Sean Moser, a senior veep for HDS' global portfolio and product management. Sepaton will be run as …
Chris Mellor, 13 Aug 2014

Meet the Flockers... and please, do try to contain yourself

What on Earth is a Flocker? It's a piece of open source software that lets you run databases, key-value stores and queues inside Docker containers, and comes from ClusterHQ. Any wiser? Docker is an open-source Linux container technology that runs multiple apps under a single OS inside a containing structure instead of each …
Chris Mellor, 13 Aug 2014
NEC_Express5800_server

Flash to the Max: HGST, NEC ink SQL Server appliance deal

Japanese server maker NEC's Express5800 servers will soon use HGST FlashMax PCIe flash cards via a reference architecture deal. HGST, a WD company, obtained this product line and technology when Western Digital bought Virident in 2013 for $685m. The servers, said to be intended for the enterprise scale-out server market, will …
Chris Mellor, 13 Aug 2014

Cash-laden backers chuck $35 MEELLLION into the clouds

Venture capitalists have been tossing money into the burgeoning cloud space with a $10m funding boost to cloud storage gateway upstart Nasuni and the chucking of $25m into cloudy backup firm Druva's burlap sack. Nasuni's fresh $10m funding round takes its total funding to $53m. Here's the funding history from Crunchbase: …
Chris Mellor, 13 Aug 2014
CS400

Nimble's latest mutants GORGE themselves on unlucky forerunners

Hybrid flash/disk array supplier Nimble Storage has rejigged its product line, replacing the entry-level and midrange products with ones driven by faster processors. Hybrid arrays offer a combination of flash speed and disk capacity and cost/GB, offering much of the performance if all-flash arrays but at a lower cost and with …
Chris Mellor, 13 Aug 2014

A beheading in EMC's ViPR lair? Software's big cheese to advise CEO

The head of EMC's Advanced Software Division – the man behind the storage giant's ViPR technology – has become an advisor to EMC CEO David Goulden. We'll explain why this is a big deal. Amitabh Srivastava headed EMC's Advanced Software Division (ASD) after coming over from Microsoft in 2011; we wrote about his arrival to run the …
Chris Mellor, 12 Aug 2014
Seagate ST-412 disk drive

Seagate to splash MILLIONS on LAND, FACTORIES

Malaysian sources are reporting that Seagate will spend $327m to expand its operations in Penang, where it has a factory making disk drive read/write heads. The Malaysian Digest says Seagate will spend the money over five years. The company's plan reportely entails buying some 40 acres of land at the Batu Kawan Industrial Park …
Chris Mellor, 12 Aug 2014
Dot Hill Assured_SAN_Ultra48

Storage array supplier Dot Hill: Revenues are down, but so are losses

Storage array supplier to OEMs has less to be dismal about with declining revenues but much less of a loss in its second quarter. The business isn't growing, but at least it is not shrinking. Revenues for the second calendar 2014 quarter were $48.2m, the same as the previous quarter but 8.4 per cent down on the year-ago quarter …
Chris Mellor, 12 Aug 2014
Crystal ball via http://www.manoftaste.de/

Gartner mages throw deduping backup appliance bones, claim EMC's in lead

Gartner has released its first deduplication target backup appliance Magic Quadrant, confirming EMC's Data Domain in the lead but placing HP in a distinct second place, Quantum as a challenger and Exagrid as a visionary – surprise all round. The MQ is a (the) classic 4-box diagram, placing suppliers in a 2D space defined by " …
Chris Mellor, 12 Aug 2014
TSM GPFS

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who has the best TSM backend of all?

A respected EMC blogger and IBM are arguing over who has the best scale-out backend storage repository for Big Blue's TSM backup and archive software: EMC's Isilon or Big Blue's GPFS. IBM says that TSM – Tivoli Storage Manager – products "provide backup, archive, recovery, space management, database and application protection, …
Chris Mellor, 12 Aug 2014

Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp

A NetApp pitch at the Flash Memory Summit said the cost-per-GB price trends for cheap TLC flash mean it will dip below SAS disks in 2017. TLC is triple layer cell flash which holds three bits per cell, half as much again as the standard 2-bit or MLC NAND that is used in SSDs and server flash cards. Because TLC is denser in …
Chris Mellor, 12 Aug 2014
Baseball

Would you rip'n'replace your IT for Simplivity kit? Upstart reckons so

Simplivity makes scale-out converged server-storage Omnicubes, and you have to rip-and-replace your IT infrastructure to make the best use of them. This sounds like a hard sell, but many of its customers are doing just that as the startup heads towards a $200m run-rate. The company was founded in September 2009, and it spent …
Chris Mellor, 11 Aug 2014

Oh, Emulex: Another quarter, yet more red-splattered results

Emulex results were dismal, never mind what president and CEO Jeff Benck said about achieving "the high end of our revenue guidance." Revenues were down and losses deeper for its fourth fiscal 2014 quarter - ended June 29 - and for the full year. Q4 of financial year 2014's revenues were $99.8m; they were $109.7m last quarter …
Chris Mellor, 11 Aug 2014

How to deal with server hogs: Throw them out of the frying pan and into the Solidfire?

Not content with eliminating unruly neighbours in cloud servers, Solidfire is bringing its QoS-focussed flash array tech to enterprises too. Up until a couple of months ago it had reached a 70:30 split between cloud service provider (CSP) customers and businesses. Now that's running at a 50:50 split. Marketing veep Jay Prassl …
Chris Mellor, 11 Aug 2014
Symform Android App

Recovering Quantum buys Dropbox-alike cloudy biz Symform

Quantum has bought cloudy firm Symform, a file sync 'n' share company where the users themselves are the cloud. Instead of being stored in a data centre in the public of Symform’s own cloud, users’ data is stored as redundant and protected blocks distributed across the Symform customers’ own storage devices. The users' own …
Chris Mellor, 08 Aug 2014
CacheBox

Budge up, yet another flash cache software biz wants to squeeze in

Your humble hack must admit he started yawning almost before finishing the first sentence of the announcement: startup CacheBox has built server flash caching software called CacheAdvance, which gets apps running faster. Don't they all? Flash caching software products, I mean. Sure, says CacheBox, but we do it better, much …
Chris Mellor, 08 Aug 2014
Violin VIMM

Violin strings up cheaper instrument: 17.5TB flash box for $100k + change

Violin Memory has built a 6000-series entry-level all-flash array, calling it the 6100. The upstart hopes it will land some punches in the larger mid-market than its high-performance enterprise base. The 6100 uses the same 19nm MLC flash chips as the 6200, and has three capacity points: 17.5TB, 26TB and 35TB. The 6200 runs up to …
Chris Mellor, 07 Aug 2014
ZAdara_storage

Cloudy startup drops unified storage array into YOUR data centre

Cloudy storage startup Zadara can now drop a unified storage array in your own data centre, with you paying for its use and maintenance on a pay as you go scheme. It's essentially a "serviced storage array" (like a serviced office). Zadara has gone into acronym overload with this new VPSA OPaaS SAN and NAS product. Let's go …
Chris Mellor, 07 Aug 2014
Samsung SSD845DC EVO

Ain't NAND grand? Samsung unveils next-gen SAS SSD

Samsung has followed its 2012-era SM1625 SDD with the SM1623 model, and promised next-generation SAS SSDs are coming in the near future. What can it mean? The S1625, using 2Xnm-class NAND (29-20nm cell geometry) topped out at 600GB capacity. The 1623 uses 1Xnm-class geometry (19nm - 10nm) and reaches 800GB capacity. Its …
Chris Mellor, 07 Aug 2014

Cost-cutting pays off for Symantec as profit lifts

Software security, data management and protection behemoth Symantec has cashed in on hacking fears with an upswing in product sales, giving itself a revenue and profits lift. Revenues for its first fiscal 2015 quarter, which finished on 4 July, were $1.74bn, up a mere 1.5 per cent on a year ago, and a more flattering 6.4 per …
Chris Mellor, 07 Aug 2014
David and Goliath in the Valley of Elah

EMC boots Egnyte from partner list after SHOCK software claims

Top marks for chutzpah. Enterprise storage biz Egnyte is saying its software turns EMC VNX arrays into better file-sharers than EMC's own Syncplicity software does. EMC, meanwhile, says it has not "tested or validated" the product's integration with VNX and has terminated Egnyte from its Tech Connect programme as a result. …
Chris Mellor, 07 Aug 2014
Zadara array

Who is Zadara and what does it mean by a Virtual Private Storage Array?

Storage upstart Zadara supplies a VPSA, a Virtual Private Storage Array, to managed and cloud service providers. What is a VPSA? It is a 4U rackmount node containing dual x86 controllers and three types of storage media: 200GB SSDs, 600GB 10K rpm SAS drives and 7.2k rpm SATA drives storing up to to 5TB each. There are 36 drive …
Chris Mellor, 07 Aug 2014
ULLtraDIMM_front_and_back

Supermicro adorns servers with bright and shiny ULLtraDIMMs

Supermicro is using fast flash access ULLtraDIMM technology from SanDisk to enable its Green SuperServer and SuperStorage platforms to access data faster. An ULLtraDIMM is flash memory interfaced to a memory DIMM connected to a computer's main CPU-Memory bus instead of the PCIe bus, which avoids the latter's longer latency …
Chris Mellor, 07 Aug 2014
Nutanix cloud appliance

Compute+storage upstart Nutanix reveals $200m-plus run rate

Nutanix, the converged compute+storage box-shifter is shifting more boxes and says it has reached a $200m annual revenue run rate 11 quarters after starting shipments. Its VCP (Virtual Computing Platform) has been bought by 800 customers in 43 counties – the country total was 30 in January. The firm adds that more than 16 …
Chris Mellor, 06 Aug 2014
Tosh_surveillance_5TB_900

Not a load of Tosh: 5TB 'surveillance drive' from Toshiba hits shelves

Toshiba has wrung another market slot-filling product out of its 5TB disk tech – a surveillance drive. The company has two existing 5TB disk drive products. There is the MC04ACAnnnE bulk storage drive spinning at 7,200rpm for servers and arrays with cloud-scale needs. It has a 6Gbit/s SATA interface and an 800,000 hours MTBF …
Chris Mellor, 06 Aug 2014
Samsung 3D V-NAND SSD

Samsung: We've slashed programming time with 3-bit vertical NAND

Korean flash foundry king Samsung has announced the entry of 3-bit (TLC) flash in its V-NAND product line at the Flash Memory Summit. The product has 32 layers of TLC NAND, TLC being triple-level cell as opposed to the bulk of today’s business NAND products which use MLC or 2-level cell with 2 bits per cell. TLC NAND is both …
Chris Mellor, 06 Aug 2014

IBM furtles all-flash biz bruiser FlashSystem

IBM has upped its all-flash array FlashSystem capacity to an effective 1.6PB by baking in SVC/Storwize features – including real-time compression. The FlashSystem V840 release 1.2 is built from three 2U rackmount boxes: an AE1 storage enclosure (as used in the 840) and two active-active AC1 control enclosures. The storage box …
Chris Mellor, 05 Aug 2014

HGST brings PCM to flash show, STUNS world+dog with 3 MILLION IOPS

In a terrific demo of the wrong technology for the Flash Memory Summit, HGST is showing a PCIe-connected Phase Change Memory device running at three million IOPS with a 1.5 microsecs read latency. Phase Change Memory (PCM) stores binary digits as differing resistance levels by changing the state, or phase, of the chalcogenide …
Chris Mellor, 05 Aug 2014
FlashMAX_III

HGST refreshes $685m flash tech: Go-faster FlashMAX PCIe card

HGST claims it has doubled the price/performance of its FlashMAX PCIe flash card, lowering the maximum capacity and moving to gen-3 PCIe from gen-2. These cards came to HGST when its parent, Western Digital, bought Virident and its FlashMAX II PCIe flash product line in 2013 for $685m. Now we have the updated FlashMAX III line …
Chris Mellor, 04 Aug 2014
Pernix Data novel

Diablo locks down 'key' memory channel storage patent

Diablo Technologies, the supplier of flash latency-lowering Memory Channel Storage IP to SanDisk/SMART, has been awarded a patent, U.S. patent No. 8,713,379, entitled a “System and method of interfacing co-processors and input/output devices via a main memory system”, which t describes as a "key technology". The new patent …
Chris Mellor, 04 Aug 2014