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.

Train wreck

What a bum note: Violin's shares perform financial diminuendo

Violin Memory's stock price has plummeted to $1.30 from its IPO level of $7.51 on October 4, 2013. That's an 82.7 per cent fall in 25 months. CEO Don Basile was axed in mid-December 2013 after the stock had fallen to $2.69; he was ousted as a result of the disastrous post-IPO business performance. Violin_Memory_stock_price …
Chris Mellor, 27 Nov 2015

Texas HPC cowboys win award for data-nomming flashy Wrangler

Texas Advanced Computing Centre has won an award for a new data-intensive system that incorporates the beta tested DSSD product from EMC. DSSD is EMC's rack-scale all flash array (AFA) which connects to accessing servers across an NVMe fabric to provide a large flash store effectively co-located with servers to reduce data …
Chris Mellor, 27 Nov 2015

Getting a little flashy! Funds are in place, and Kaminario targets growth

Feature Kaminario CEO Dani Golan was in the UK yesterday, sporting a brand new EMEA veep and going gung-ho for growth from his scale-out, storage-for-all-seasons data centre flash array. Which is a big deal, as the competition is wide-ranging and strong; Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, HDS, HP, IBM, Nexenta/SanDisk, Pure Storage, Solidfire, …
Chris Mellor, 26 Nov 2015

Startup is creating real-time Big Data analytics storage

One-year-old, an Israeli Big Data startup, has just won a $15m A-round from Magma Venture Partners, JVP and large strategic investors. So what's the magic product that grabbed funding so early in the game? It seems it's all about big data-handling, which is criticised for being rigid and inflexible, with repeated …
Chris Mellor, 26 Nov 2015

HP storage financials: Meh. Meg Whitman needs to make this right

+Comment HP, no HPE, storage's revenues are down again, continuing a longish slump and, with HP Inc (PCs and printers) now undocked from HPE (the rest), many are asking the question: "What next?" Within HP's* revenues for the fourth fiscal 2015 quarter, converged storage product revenues (3PAR, StoreOnce, and StoreAll) grew nine per …
Chris Mellor, 26 Nov 2015
The road running through the PRATCHETT landing area

Dell-EMC deal difficulties: VMware and daddy postpone roadtrip

The Dell-EMC acquisition was announced on 12 October this year, with Dell buying EMC along with its 80 per cent holding in VMWare. Since the deal was announced, VMWare shares (VMW) have lost considerable value compared to EMC’s shares. Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi thinks the EMC share price fall “can be attributed to the …
Chris Mellor, 25 Nov 2015
shutterstock_183801788_container ship

Brocade wrings profits from a steady-as-she-goes business

Analysis Brocade has jogged along nice and evenly for four years now, at around $2.25bn annual revenues with steadily rising profits, and its fiscal 2015 added a similar fifth year of pretty decent results. It saw $2.26bn in revenues and a $340m profit, while in full year 2014 it saw $2.21bn in revenues and a $238m profit, indicating …
Chris Mellor, 25 Nov 2015

We pick storage brains: Has object storage endgame started?

Interview IBM buying Cleversafe could mark the start of the endgame for independent object storage suppliers. We talked to Philippe Nicolas, who was Scality’s Director of Product Strategy until earlier this year and is now a storage industry advisor. We asked him questions about the state of the object market and its suppliers. His …
Chris Mellor, 24 Nov 2015

NetApp adds in-line dedupe to all-flash FAS arrays

NetApp has updated its Clustered Data ONTAP OS to support in-line deduplication and 3.8TB SSDs. Inline deduplication means data is deduplicated as it lands on the array instead of being initially stored in its full form and then having later, post-process deduplication applied to it. In-line deduplication is more space- …
Chris Mellor, 20 Nov 2015
Nimble Storage array

Shares tumble at flash-disk array maker Nimble: Time to crack open the all-flash?

It's been a dire third quarter for Nimble, whose latest results fell short of market expectations. Shares dropped by a hefty 31 per cent to $14.15 as the news was absorbed by investors. Despite year-on-year growth was still positive. Compared with the year-ago Q3's $59.1m, this year's equivalent showed a 36.5 per cent uplift. …
Chris Mellor, 20 Nov 2015
Hillary Clinton

Another $75m for Datto as EMEA and APAC expansion beckons

Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV) has led a $75m B-round for cloud backup and biz continuity service/product supplier Datto, as it looks to expand its presence in the EMEA and APAC regions. Datto provides backup, recovery and business continuity products used by thousands of managed service providers around the planet. It …
Chris Mellor, 20 Nov 2015

Western Digital begins navigating the non-volatile memory maze

Comment Stifel MD Aaron Rakers has taken a deep dive look at the SanDisk technology Western Digital is aiming to buy, and his report brings out cost-savings derived from HGST escaping payment of an Intel tax, 3D NAND timescales, and possibilities for future planar NAND node shrinks. SanDisk brings Western Digital a NAND chip supply …
Chris Mellor, 19 Nov 2015

Is Tsinghua Unigroup still stalking Micron for NAND IP?

China's Tsinghua Unigroup, which is set on building China's first flash chip foundry, is talking to a US chip technology concern about a stake, according to reports. Reuters reports that Tsinghua Unigroup's Chairman Zhao Weiguo said he wants the group to be the world's third-largest chipmaker in five years. A deal could be …
Chris Mellor, 19 Nov 2015

Fujitsu hits the data accelerator and parallelises SSD access

Fujitsu Labs has had in-memory database software directly talk to an SSD, optimising data positioning for faster access, and boosting database performance threefold over standard SSD use. The in-memory database SW sent read and write commands directly to the flash chips. It has a read-ahead feature, cognisant of data access …
Chris Mellor, 19 Nov 2015

Samsung tosses lifeline to Netlist NVDIMMs

Flash DIMM technology developer Netlist has signed a five-year joint development deal with global memory leader Samsung to produce non-volatile DIMMs, giving it a lifeline from years of litigation hell against Diablo Technologies over memory channel storage IP. The basic concept is to put flash chips on DDR3 and 4 memory DIMMS …
Chris Mellor, 19 Nov 2015
4 arrows signs in arrow on wooden wall

NetApp revenues and profits decline again despite positive spin

Despite its CEO saying NetApp was moving forward with clarity and speed in the data-powered digital era, NetApp recorded lower revenues and profits on the annual compare for its second fiscal 2016 quarter, ended October 20. Same old, same old. Revenues for the quarter were $1.45bn, six per cent down on the year-ago quarter’s $ …
Chris Mellor, 19 Nov 2015

EMC enables data movement from the white fluffy stuff

Cumulo Hopkintus is forming new product shapes as cloud winds strengthen in the data centre. There’s no bending with these gales, and EMC is having to go with the flow, enabling data movement off its arrays and into the public cloud. But it’s also providing better data protection in the cloud than Amazon, Google or their like …
Chris Mellor, 18 Nov 2015

Overland Storage by any other name would still make losses (and has)

Comment Overland Storage ... sorry, Sphere 3D these days after the acquisition, continues on its merry way with no appreciable change in its progress – revenues are still falling and losses are deepening. Actually, if you look at 22 consistently loss-making quarters, you might even think this is its strategy. CEO and chairman Eric …
Chris Mellor, 18 Nov 2015
Cloud Hype Hoodie

Behold, the fantasy of infinite cloud compute elasticity

Comment Cloud computing has elements of a fool’s paradise. We’re told it’s elastic, infinitely elastic even, with thousands of virtual servers spun up in minutes. But there's just one problem ... this is palpable nonsense, short-term excess capacity being mopped up by early entrants to a large resource. Virtual servers are not magic. …
Chris Mellor, 18 Nov 2015

Pure gives its flash boxes some 3D TLC

Pure Storage wants to be its flash array customers’ best friend forever with announcements lowering flash storage cost and improving its availability. The Silicon Valley biz is now supporting 3D TLC flash, the three-bits-per-cell stuff that has an endurance long enough for enterprise use. Other flash array suppliers using this …
Chris Mellor, 17 Nov 2015

DDN's cache wolves come howling out of the creek

WolfCreek, Data Direct Network’s burst buffer caching system, has arrived in the shape of the IME14K product – apparently ready to leap burning buildings, solve climate change, and make a $5m HPC cluster perform like a $100m one. The idea here is that high-performance computing (HPC) is dealing with ever-bigger data sets, and …
Chris Mellor, 17 Nov 2015

Avere adds Azure to triple-headed cloud beast

Microsoft's Azure has joined AWS and Google as a virtual filer accelerator host for Avere’s vFXT filter caching software. Avere makes its FXT, a hardware and software multi-tier caching appliance, which accelerates on-premises filers, such as those from Isilon and NetApp. It can also be an on-premises front-end for files held …
Chris Mellor, 17 Nov 2015

Seagate serves up three layer ClusterStor sandwich

Seagate has three new ClusterStor HPC arrays: the A200, G200 and L300. The A200 is a cold data archive array. The G200 is loaded with IBM’s Spectrum Scale parallel file system software, GPFS that was, while the L300 is an equivalent array running Lustre parallel file system software. The existing ClusterStor range includes …
Chris Mellor, 17 Nov 2015

How to wrap your brain around HP Enterprise's reheated StoreOnce kit

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has refreshed its deduplicating backup-to-disk products with new hardware and software. On the same day HPE announced flash-oriented StoreServ arrays, the biz revved its StoreOnce product line as well. The old product line started with a software-only virtual storage appliance (VSA) with up to 50TB …
Chris Mellor, 16 Nov 2015

Hurricane Meg unleashes storm of HPE storage updates

After its SPC-2 benchmark-beating all-flash 3PAR array result, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has unleashed a storage hurricane of news announcements, with a VMAX and XIV assault and 3D NAND SSDs included, as it goes all out to expand its 3PAR on-premises array territory. It is saying a StoreServ 20850 delivers 13 per cent better …
Chris Mellor, 16 Nov 2015

Brace yourselves. Huawei’s launching an HCIA product

Comment Huawei has a hyperconverged infrastructure Appliance (HCIA) product; its FusionCube product line. This is comprised of its own server, storage, and networking system components, plus virtualisation and management software. The company said one of these can be deployed in 11 minutes after being unpacked and powered up. A rack …
Chris Mellor, 16 Nov 2015
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It's Gartner Magic Graph of Wonder time! And Google won't be happy

Focus your eyes on this little MQ beauty from Garner’s gnomic gnosticians who have tracked, analysed and rated enterprise information archive suppliers' products and technology. GartnerMQ_IA_2015 2015 Gartner Magic Quadrant for information archiving. Whoo-hoo, Commvault is a challenger and not a leader. In fact there are …
Chris Mellor, 13 Nov 2015

Seagate forms federal biz unit to latch onto the gov cash faucet

Seagate has formed a Federal business unit to help shift its acquired Xyratex ClusterStor HPC arrays to Fed buyers. Seagate Government Solutions (SGS) will focus on the federal government’s big data, high performance computing (HPC), and security needs. It’s presided over by Deb Oliver, formerly with Lockheed Martin and …
Chris Mellor, 13 Nov 2015

The ETERNUS dance: Fujitsu extends backup and archive box range

Fujitsu has updated two of its backup and archiving appliance products; the ETERNUS CS200c and CS800. Both of these use OEM'd software and provide deduped backup to disk. They have been given a hardware refresh with faster CPUs, which speeds dedupe. The CS200c S2 all-in-one backup and archiving product embeds Commvault …
Chris Mellor, 13 Nov 2015

Huawei’s FusionSphere now a SAP-happy converged system

Chinese telecoms equipment behemoth Huawei has a converged system called FusionSphere, which now runs SAP HANA, the in-memory database. It combines Huawei server, storage and networking components with the FusionSphere operating system. This integrates a FusionCompute virtualisation platform and FusionManager cloud management …
Chris Mellor, 12 Nov 2015

Seagate offers California Uni genome data storage K-drives

Seagate has given the University of California, Santa Cruz a petabyte of Kinetic drives to store and access genomic data. Kinetic disk drives have direct access over the Ethernet, and a key:value store structure with an object-style PUT and GET interface. Andy Hospodor, UCSC’s executive director of the Storage Systems …
Chris Mellor, 12 Nov 2015

Tintri snaffles NetApp ONTAP engineering veep

+Comment Execs come and execs go but some moves seem to illustrate the zeitgeist – and this is one such move. Tony Chang has left his NetApp ONTAP engineering VP role to join Tintri as an executive veep, not as a senior VP but an exec VP for Tintri’s engineering of its VM-aware systems. Chang has left the NetApp comfort blanket, where …
Chris Mellor, 12 Nov 2015

Nexgen’s QoS AFA has flash players in tiers

Nexgen has stripped out the 7.2K disks from its hybrid flash/disk N5 hardware box and replaced them with dual-port SSDs to create a 3-tier, all flash array with quality of service features driving data movement across the tiers. The Quality of Service features were introduced in July. The dual-active-active controller N5 …
Chris Mellor, 12 Nov 2015

HDS flashifies VSP arrays for solid-state server farms

Hitachi Data Systems sees an all-flash on-premises data centre future and is upgrading and extending its big iron Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) array line to help us on the way there, with faster and larger flash modules, in-line compression, and an all-flash VSP F Series. This is a substantial announcement by Hitachi/HDS, …
Chris Mellor, 11 Nov 2015

Making movies: Sucking up on-prem files for cloud burst compute

Avere has won another movie special FX house as a customer. No surprise there, but this one uses Avere in the cloud to suck up data from on-premises Isilon filers to feed EC2 compute instances running the rendering work. ILP, or Important Looking Pirates, a Swedish animation and digital effects studio, has renderable and other …
Chris Mellor, 11 Nov 2015

EMC Isilon extends its software out to ROBO edge and cloud

EMC has announced Gen 8 of its Isilon operating system, providing it in software-only form for small offices, and adding the ability to send less active data to the cloud with the Cloud Pool construct. Isilon is EMC’s scale-out filer offering and it runs the OneFS software. It’s an unstructured data storage system support file …
Chris Mellor, 11 Nov 2015

DataDirect shovels ever more IOPs into core storage array

DataDirect Networks has boosted the performance of its flagship SFA12K array, upgrading it to the SFA14K with more than three times the IOPS performance. DDN boasts: “The introduction of the SFA14K delivering 60GB/s and six million IOPs in a single 4U appliance, is the largest single leap forward in performance of any large …
Chris Mellor, 10 Nov 2015

HGST closing SSD plant in Malaysia – report

HGST is reportedly closing an SSD manufacturing and research and development plant in Penang. The plant currently employs 450 people. Managerial staff are going to HGST subsidiaries in Singapore. The move is part of Western Digital's integration of its acquired HGST subsidiary, which was agreed by MOFCOM, China's Ministry of …
Chris Mellor, 10 Nov 2015

Block storage is dead, says ex-HP and Supermicro data bigwig

Interview Block storage is dead, object storage can be faster than file storage, and storage-class memory will be the only local storage on a server. So said Robert Novak ... but who is he? Novak was until recently a Distinguished Technologist in the HP servers' Hyperscale Business Unit and has had an interesting employment history, …
Chris Mellor, 10 Nov 2015

China’s chip shop makes dash for flash with huge new fab

The Tsinghua Unigroup is spear-heading China’s dash to get its own flash fab off the ground. Filed plans show pilot production starting in 18 months. According to Stifel MD Aaron Rakers who has looked into the Tongfang Guoxin filing, the plant will build NAND and NOR flash wafers, not DRAM, with a 120,000 wafer starts/month ( …
Chris Mellor, 10 Nov 2015

Riding on the memory bus: Micron brings out 8GB flash DIMM

Micron is launching an 8GB flash DIMM, providing competition for SanDisk and its ULLtraDIMM. Flash DIMMs mount a flash chip card on a DIMM socket, putting the NAND on the memory bus, which is even faster than the PCIe bus. The idea is to provide an intermediate store or cache between main memory and PCIe flash or SAS-connected …
Chris Mellor, 10 Nov 2015

Western Digital in joint push with Unisplendour to sell arrays in China

Following Unisplendour’s intended $3.8bn investment in Western Digital, the two companies are forming a joint venture to sell WD’s data centre arrays in China. According to analyst haus Stifel Nicolaus' MD, Aaron Rakers, this JV will be 49 per cent owned by Western Digital and 51 per cent by Unisplendour and its subsidiary …
Chris Mellor, 09 Nov 2015

Teradata’s troubles cause the restructuring knives to slip out

Teradata revenues dropped again in its third quarter and the company has decided to get serious abut the situation and walk away from the marketing applications business. Revenues of $606m for the data and analytics company were nine per cent lower than a year ago and three per cent less than the previous quarter. There was a …
Chris Mellor, 09 Nov 2015

Imation results drenched in red as exiting consumer biz cuts deep

+Comment Global data storage company Imation is on the accountant's operating table and diseased flesh is being slowly cut away. Its third quarter results are dominated by red ink, with a $152m loss, 148 per cent worse (yes, worse) than a year ago. Revenues for the quarter were $129.2m, 26.2 per cent less than the year-ago quarter’s $ …
Chris Mellor, 09 Nov 2015

HPE trots out benchmark blaster flash array as PCs become distant memory

An all-flash 3PAR array has stormed to the top of the SPC-2 benchmark charts. Nice one HPE, you've timed it just right for your independence from PCs and printers. The 3PAR 20850 scored 62,844 aggregate MB/sec, topping EMC’s VMAX 400K and its 55,643.78 MB/sec. This benchmark measure array performance in terms of throughput ( …
Chris Mellor, 09 Nov 2015

China decides to cook its own chips – report

Chinese government-owned Tsinghua Unigroup, having failed to buy Micron, is going to make its own memory chips. The WSJ reports that TU will spend $12bn-plus to build a fab and make acquisitions. It's being positioned as part of China's long term goal of being less dependent on Western technology. The acquisitions will be …
Chris Mellor, 09 Nov 2015
A humpback whale shows its open mouth as it breaches the surface of the sea.

Cloud will kill tech sales jobs

Comment On-premises IT brings tech sales jobs in its wake. Cloud IT kills them. That's the thinking of a territory account manager in a storage IT startup. The thought process starts: "There is probably some statistic where, for every IT deal that goes to the cloud, there are 20 traditional tech sales jobs that are eliminated." How …
Chris Mellor, 09 Nov 2015
CSIRO's silicon sphere

Sphere 3D now sure about Azure, joins Microsoft Cloud Alliance

Virtualisation and data management company Sphere 3D says its Glassware 2.0 and SnapCLOUD VirtualNAS products can now use Azure, as the company has joined a Microsoft Enterprise Cloud Alliance. Glassware is, we are told, a "virtual application hosting platform which uses a lightweight containerisation technology to enable …
Chris Mellor, 06 Nov 2015
Nutanix Logo

DCIG puts out new flash array guide – wonder where EMC is this time?

Analyst group DCIG has produced another report ranking hyper-converged infrastructure appliance vendors based on documented features and questionnaire answers. A canned quote by Tim Anderson, research analyst and co-author of the DCIG 2015-16 All-Flash Array Buyer’s Guide, said: "We are confident this [guide] will give …
Chris Mellor, 06 Nov 2015
A close up at atomic level of limpits' teeth. Image via Portsmouth University

Another win for SanDisk as CloudByte sinks teeth into InfiniFlash

SanDisk has won another InfiniFlash OEM, in the shape of enterprise and cloud storage provider CloudByte. CloudByte's ElastiStor software has networking and enterprise storage facilities and uses the InfiniFlash IF100 all-flash enclosure, with its MLC flash, as a high-performance/high-capacity storage resource. CloudByte …
Chris Mellor, 06 Nov 2015