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.

Alberta_Prairie

Boring old Brocade just sits there making money. Damn them

Brocade's second quarter fiscal 2015 revenue was $547m, up two per cent year-on-year and down five per cent sequentially, as is Brocade's seasonal pattern. Net income was $77m, monstrously better than the $14m loss it announced a year ago. That loss was due, Brocade says, to a non-cash goodwill impairment charge from the …
Chris Mellor, 22 May 2015
MDS_9396S

Cisco strengthens its hardware-defined networking products

Cisco has introduced a new Fibre Channel fabric switch to better connect virtualised servers to all-flash arrays, seeing a rise in back-end array connection port-counts and speed needed to satisfy all-flash array IO demands. It's also bumped up its mainframe FICON connect speed and spread 40GbitE support across its Nexus …
Chris Mellor, 22 May 2015
Fluffy grey ragdoll cat relaxes next to laptop.

HP storage revenues declining as the dithering continues

Comment HP storage revenues went backwards in its second fiscal 2015 quarter. The revenue from newer converged storage systems (3PAR, StoreOnce, StoreAll, etc) rose 5.3 per cent over the year to $356m (from $338m), but traditional storage revenues (EVA, MSA, tape) slumped 18.3 per cent to $384m (from $470 million). Overall storage …
Chris Mellor, 22 May 2015
SEO

NetApp's customers resisting Clustered ONTAP transition

Customer resistance to complex Clustered ONTAP migrations caused a slowdown in hardware sales at NetApp, with revenues clearly shrinking. Fiscal 2015 fourth-quarter revenues declined 6.6 per cent year-on-year from $1.65bn to $1.54bn. Net income was $135m, down from $197m (32 per cent). The full-year revenues told the same story …
Chris Mellor, 21 May 2015
bear_cub_with_salmon

Coho Data spawns all-flash MicroArray with fresh funding help

Storage service array startup Coho Data has nearly doubled its funding and got itself a new product to boot. A nice thirty million dollars has been injected into the company in a C-round led by March Capital Partners, along with Intel Capital, HP, Andreessen Horowitz and Ignition Partners. It's interesting that both Intel and HP …
Chris Mellor, 21 May 2015
Atomic_explosion_cloud

Imation CEO voted off board in proxy war bombshell

Imation's CEO has been provisionally voted off the company's board, as shareholders supported the activist investor Clinton Group in its view of Imation's alleged leadership failures. This AGM proxy vote result still has to be certified, but that looks a formality. The Clinton Group said Imation's long revenue decline and …
Chris Mellor, 21 May 2015
Rows of washing machines in shop aisle

Dell inserts Hyper-V smarts into its DL backup boxen

Dell has added two new back-up appliances to its range, top-and-tailing its existing DL1000 product and adding neat features such as virtual standby VMs. The DL series range is for small and medium businesses and are PowerEdge servers running AppAssure software. The 1U DL1000, with 2TB-3TB of capacity, was announced in July 2014 …
Chris Mellor, 21 May 2015
Nexenta_logos

Nexenta flies over the Edge into the object storage bearpit

Nexenta's hypercale block and object storage software has hit the streets, pitting Nexenta competitively against all the other object storage suppliers. NexentaEdge was introduced last August and now it's generally available, two quarters later than its then-schedule. We're having it described as "the first software-only scale …
Chris Mellor, 20 May 2015
Mohne_Dam_Breached

Cunningham exits EVault, pauses, then takes controls at Springpath

Comment Hyper-converged systems are set to pour through the breach established by Nutanix in the networked storage dam. Terry Cunningham – the man who ran EVault before Seagate bought the cloud back-up biz in-house – has joined start-up Springpath, following a funding round, and aims to capitalise on Nutanix' groundbreaking work …
Chris Mellor, 20 May 2015

Healthy Drobo set free by Connected Data to go it alone

Drobo, maker of simple-to-use personal data storage robots which you populate yourself with disk drives, is being spun-out by owner Connected Data, with an investment group buying the business. The firm was originally called Data Robotics but changed its name in 2011 to the name of its Drobo* product, which amassed a large and …
Chris Mellor, 20 May 2015
Woman packs up contents of desk. Image via shutterstock

NetApp consciously uncouples from 500+ staff

We're hearing NetApp has laid-off up to 512 staff world-wide in a cost-cutting exercise before its full-year results come out later today. There are reports that some 200 staff are going from its Research Triangle Park facility in North Carolina. WRAL TechWire says 15 per cent of the RTP facility have received pink slips, …
Chris Mellor, 20 May 2015
udp_7000_648

Arcserve boxes clever, takes back-up appliance down a price division

CA spin-out Arcserve has an updated back-up appliance for the mid-market that should be faster, easier, better-priced and more capable. It says the UDP 7000 Appliance is for small, medium and mid-market customers, and is a simple yet powerful all-in-one product. UDP stands for Unified Data Protection and the appliance features …
Chris Mellor, 20 May 2015
Dell chairman and CEO, Michael Dell

Nutanix CEO nixes Cisco buy rumours, swears allegiance to Michael Dell

Nutanix CEO Dheeraj Pandey has nixed rumours of Cisco buying his co-founded hyper-converged server/storage/networking startup. The rumours were started by senior research analyst Jared Rinderer of Equity Capital Research Group. Pandey says Rinderer's analysis is off the mark. Pandey, who has consistently said he wants to take …
Chris Mellor, 19 May 2015
Exablox node stack

Toshiba pumps 'use-more-Ethernet-drives' cash into Exablox

Scale-out object storage startup Exablox has received a $7m investment from Toshiba to add to its existing $16m pot, taking total funding to $45.5m. Toshiba, actually Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC) joins Dell Ventures as a strategic investor in Douglas Brockett's firm. The initial $16m in the C-round came …
Chris Mellor, 19 May 2015
key

Toshiba flings covers from Key Value disk and device stores

OpenStack Summit Industry leader trailer Toshiba America is demoing direct-addressed Ethernet disk drives for scale-out object storage at the Vancouver OpenStack Summit, and it's developing hybrid flash/disk array tech using the drives. Direct-access Ethernet drives bypass the conventional server IO stack with applications writing directly to …
Chris Mellor, 19 May 2015
OpenStack

Maxta polishes OpenStack credentials with Kilo support

Maxta is polishing up its OpenStack credentials by adding Kilo support, service quality policies, and call-home diagnostics to its hyperconverged software-led systems. Hyperconverged systems refer to integrated, typically virtualised, servers and storage, and some networking, that are bought and operated as single systems. They …
Chris Mellor, 19 May 2015
Broom

QLogic escapes HBA flat trap with Ethernet and add-on services

QLogic, a storage networking adaptor vendor, is escaping the sagging Fibre Channel host bus adapter (HBA) revenue trap by focussing on fast Ethernet and adding in-line data reduction, availability and encryption services. Analyst haus Stifel Nicolaus' MD, Aaron Rakers, sees QLogic ramping up its 10GbitE products, with 25/50/ …
Chris Mellor, 19 May 2015
grateful_dead_1970_648p

Violin acknowledges Valley's hippy roots with Grateful Dead gig lottery

In a move calculated to appeal to the aging hippies who now run Silicon Valley, Violin is entering readers of its marketing white paper-type docs into a Grateful Dead concert ticket sweepstake. Marketing head Amy Love said that with "the directional relevance of being 'Grateful that Disk is Dead', we are enabling our customers, …
Chris Mellor, 18 May 2015

Can Barracuda become the big fish in a small cloud?

Interview It was a rare surprise when Bill (BJ) Jenkins left his position as boss of EMC's Backup Recovery Systems division to become CEO of Barracuda. Barracuda? That was in late 2012 and since then Barracuda has grown, with annual revenues from full-year 2012 to 2015 increasing steadily: $161m, $199m, $234m and $277m in successive years …
Chris Mellor, 18 May 2015
Apple

CommVault cloudifies its offering with expanded product range

Cloud is upsetting the back-up apple cart and CommVault, already suffering from this, aims to move its software faster to the cloud. Four product announcements are the start of this. CommVault's cloudy foursome consists of: Cloud Gateway – Software which extends the protection tier from on-premise to the cloud Cloud Disaster …
Chris Mellor, 15 May 2015

Reader suggestion: Using HDFS as generic iSCSI storage

Comment El Reg reader Greg Koss reckons the Hadoop filesystem can be used to build an iSCSI SAN. Er, say what? Here's his thinking: we could use Hadoop to provide generic storage to commodity systems for general purpose computing. Why would this be a good idea? Greg notes these points: Commodity storage pricing is roughly $60/TB in …
Chris Mellor, 14 May 2015
The Black Knight, defeated

Merged Sphere 3D merrily continues Overland's loss trend

Sphere 3D, now replete with the fruits of its Overland Storage merger, has carried on Overland's history of declining revenues and constant losses. We thought we might have had to undergo a mental reset for a moment. Canadian application virtualisation software hawker Sphere 3D took over/merged with Overland recently and this …
Chris Mellor, 14 May 2015
nasuni_cloud_survey_648

Azure gives AWS the blues again in Nasuni cloud storage poll

Storage bits still prefer Microsoft over Amazon's cloud. So says a report by storage gateway start-up Nasuni. Nasuni offers storage in the cloud to its customers, with its NF-series filers acting as the gateway devices. It offers service-level agreements and so has a strong interest in CSP performance, rating cloud storage …
Chris Mellor, 14 May 2015
Phoenix

Crashed Coraid's tech resurrected by founder's new start-up

Say hi to The Brantley Coile Company*, because it now owns the AoE technology assets that went south when Coraid crashed and burned. Coraid was a start-up which was founded in 2000 to build EtherDrive networked storage arrays using ATA-over-Ethernet (AoE) access protocol as an alternative to Fibre Channel and iSCSI. AoE is not …
Chris Mellor, 14 May 2015
XMen 2

SFX studio uses Avere turbocharger to accelerate Isilon rocket

Comment Who would think a rocket needs a turbocharger? Yet data access from Isilon filers is being accelerated by front-end Avere FXT devices in a movie special effects rendering environment. Avere has previous in the SFX industry, having been used to render effects for the film Gravity, accelerating hardware-accelerated BlueArc …
Chris Mellor, 13 May 2015

Try-before-you-buy software. Back in vogue for the storage giants?

Comment Nexenta, Nutanix and Unitrends are all giving away software. Why? And EMC has just open-sourced its ViPR controller, while Coraid’s AoE technology is also being made open source. Free storage software seems to be in the air. Nexenta Nexenta’s NexentaStor 5 Community Preview will be introduced at the Citrix Synergy conference …
Chris Mellor, 13 May 2015

There's little spending on Big Data, object storage and OpenStack

A DataCore survey has shown little spending on sexy storage products in the Big Data, public cloud, object storage, and OpenStack areas, arguing software-defined storage (SDS) gives a faster payback. DataCore asked 477 IT professionals currently using or evaluating software-defined storage technology about their 2015 spending …
Chris Mellor, 13 May 2015
Douanier_rousseau_hungry_lion_art

CTERA's cloudy gateway gets sync 'n' share bolted on

Life in the cloud storage gateway jungle gets tougher and tougher as cloud file sync 'n' sharers invade the storage gateway space. CTERA is taking on the file sync'ers directly. It's combined its cloud storage gateway with file sync 'n' share for business users in central, branch and remote offices, covering access from desktops …
Chris Mellor, 12 May 2015

Gartner: Dell nowhere to be seen as storage SSD sales go flat

Well, here's another nail in the coffin for traditional storage arrays; Gartner claims array SSD sales were up just one per cent year-on-year, while server flash sales grew 51 per cent. EMC leads the AFA players, while Cisco and Dell are nowhere. Total enterprise SSD revenue is 2014 was $5.77bn, up 30 per cent year-on-year. …
Chris Mellor, 11 May 2015
Wall of Spam. Pic: freezelight

Delphix hires anti-PR bloke Silicon Valley Watcher as head of PR

Gearing up for an IPO, copy data virtualiser startup Delphix has hired veteran blogger Tom Foremski as its communications editor, a CFO and corporate comms head. Delphix categorises its software as providing data-as-a-service (DaaS) and it makes production data available to test and dev', as well as other purposes without the …
Chris Mellor, 11 May 2015
Phoenix

Druva Phoenix is heading ROBO-wards via the public cloud

Comment It's not the end after all. End-point backup 'n' sharing biz Druva believes it can extend its end-point expertise to remote offices. Its business is end-point backup and file-sharing, protecting data on business users' laptops, tablets, desktops and smart-phones with the InSync software product designed to minimise resource use …
Chris Mellor, 11 May 2015
See_saw

Who's the fat kid on the storage see-saw? We think it's All-Flash

Analysis We're in a kind of phoney war right now as all-flash arrays, hybrid arrays and hyper-conveged arrays fight for mind-and wallet-share. The storage world is in stasis whilst customers work out what to do with the onslaught of SAN/filer alternatives coming their way. What are the suppliers doing to cover the various ways customers …
Chris Mellor, 08 May 2015
Ocean yacht

Dot Hill sails along with the glass indicating profit set fair

Dot Hill is getting the trade winds behind its sails. The OEM disk array supplier continued its comeback with another quarter showing annual revenue and profits growth as new OEM customers like Teradata and Quantum took its arrays to market. The company reported $61.1 million revenues for its first 2015 quarter, 27 per cent …
Chris Mellor, 08 May 2015
PS6610

Drama in the dingly Dell as it embiggens its data centre range

Dell has dug a deeper bottom level for its SC Compellent arrays and piled up a new peak for its PS series EqualLogic arrays, expanding and enhancing both product ranges while still having an overall convergence strategy. SCv2000 SCv2000 In your mental landscape, place Dell SC (Compellent) arrays as the enterprise multi- …
Chris Mellor, 08 May 2015
Buffalo_bills_Riders

How NVMe tamed the cowboy world of the flash card

It all started with flash devices upsetting the cosy disk world. Flash was faster than disk at responding to IO requests, if not at streaming data, and the easiest way to put flash drives, solid state drives, into servers and storage arrays was to use disk drive bays and interfaces such as SAS and SATA. This was practical but …
Chris Mellor, 08 May 2015
Ziggurat

MAID to order: Inside Facebook's cold-storage data ziggurats

Analysis Facebook is storing old photos in special cold storage halls, Zucky ziggurats housing racks filled with MAID (massive arrays of idle drives) using erasure coding and anti-bitrot scanning to increase storage density and lower power costs while providing faster-than-tape access. Some two billion photos are shared every day on …
Chris Mellor, 07 May 2015

Teradata tumbles off Wall Street pedestal, buys back paper

Big data and data warehouse shop Teradata has fallen from Wall Street grace with a Q1 revenue and profits miss. First quarter 2015 revenues of $582 million were 7.3 per cent down on the year-ago quarter's $628 million. The $22 million net income was 63 per cent less than the $59 million recorded a year ago. In the prior quarter …
Chris Mellor, 07 May 2015
Barracuda

Barracuda: It's like the IKEA of backup and security

Comment Barracuda, the backup, file copy and security supplier, has a laser-like focus on the mid-market and aims to offer Walmart pricing with Nordstrom quality and features (that's IKEA pricing with Heal's quality for UK readers). It's not a bleeding edge company, aiming instead to move into a market when best-of-breed products have …
Chris Mellor, 07 May 2015

Cash-happy Quantum is poised to enter the HPC market

Quantum's confirmed fourth quarter and full fiscal 2015 results were better than the prelim numbers, with full year net income the highest in more than five years, and it's aiming to move into high-performance computing storage. Q4 revenues were $147.8m (the preliminary figure was $145m) with net income of $12.9m (prelim: $12m …
Chris Mellor, 07 May 2015
Stop sign in front of a bush. Image via Shutterstock

CommVault struggles to get the wheels back on its growth engine

A hard rain's a-gonna continue to fall as CommVault's uphill struggle shows a fourth fiscal 2015 quarter revenues fall. The US sales mix-up is being corrected and the appliance business is growing, but just when they're not wanted foreign currency problems pop-up. Fourth quarter FY2015 revenues were $150.7 million, 4 per cent …
Chris Mellor, 07 May 2015
U-boat

Dive! Dive! Dive! Imation submarine barrels down toward rocky seabed

The good ship Imation is like a World War Two submarine facing attack, with the captain yelling out "Dive! Dive! Dive!" - because diving is what all its revenues are doing. First quarter 2015 revenues were $155.4 million, 13 per cent down on the year-ago's $178.9 million, and a staggering 21 per cent down on the preceding …
Chris Mellor, 06 May 2015
Photo of HP Enterprise office

Merging HP and EMC – hold on, wait, hear us out. The cap is still on the bottle of crazy pills

Comment Does an EMC-HP merger make more sense now than last year when the two titans' inability to agree on a price put a stop to the idea? HP could join the EMC Federation as a servers-and-networking business, and stand alongside EMC II (EMC Information Infrastructure, aka storage), VMware (virtual server software), and Pivotal (big- …
Chris Mellor, 05 May 2015
Copperhead

EMC to open-source ViPR - and lots of other stuff apparently

Surprise, surprise; snake-charmer EMC is open-sourcing its ViPR Controller product. ViPR is software storage controller tech that separates the control and data planes of operation, enabling different data services to be layered onto a set of storage hardware products - such as EMC's own arrays, Vblocks, selected third-party …
Chris Mellor, 05 May 2015
Atlantis_butch_bezel

Atlantis kicks its flashy upstart brethren right in the price tag

Atlantis has a software-defined, butch-bezelled, all-flash hyper-converged appliance radically cheaper than EVO:RAIL, Nutanix and SimpliVity alternatives, even the hybrid flash-disk ones. Its turnkey HyperScale product is a development of its ILIO VDI and USX VMware VM-accelerating products, which use RAM caching to speed data …
Chris Mellor, 05 May 2015
Trex skull

EMC touts X-brick's hit house: 320TB all-flash cluster and XtremIO v4

EMC World 2015 EMC has doubled the capacity of its XtremIO all-flash array X-bricks – and increased the cluster count taking it up into higher-performing application areas. X-brick raw capacity doubles from 20TB to 40TB while the cluster node limit rises from six to eight, meaning there are 16 N-way active controllers. The previous maximum raw …
Chris Mellor, 04 May 2015
SAP HANA

Pure Storage flashes SAP credentials for HANA platform

Pure Storage is flashing its SAP Credentials in the enterprise with news it’s certified for HANA, the in-memory database for SAPpers. Formally, Pure’s FlashArray 400 Series is certified by SAP as storage for its HANA platform, meaning HANA offers database, transaction, query and analytics processing in-memory, with no need to …
Chris Mellor, 01 May 2015
FAme_the_Musical

If flash storage achieves FaME, will it live forever?

Data access latency has topped the IT sin charts lately and networked flash arrays have been replacing disk drives, doing away with those drives’ rotational delays. Anything that keeps applications in multi-core virtualised servers running, and not waiting for data while somebody accessing a web commerce page gets impatient and …
Chris Mellor, 01 May 2015
NetApp_AFA_FAS8080_SPC_1

NetApp's all-flash FAS array is easily in the top, er, six SPC-1 machines

NetApp has published an all-flash FAS8080 EX SPC-1 benchmark report [PDF]: 685,281 IOPS, $2.68/IOPS, and 1.23-millisecond response at 100 per cent load. This is the fifth-fastest SPC-1 result in our files in IOPS terms. NetApp_AFA_FAS8080_SPC_1 Top SPC-1 performance (IOPS) results with NetApp's FAS8080 EX in the fifth slot ( …
Chris Mellor, 30 Apr 2015
Xeon E7 die

HDS turns its back to ASICs: Storage vaults to rely on x86 sans magic

With its greatly expanded VSP G-line of products, Hitachi Data Systems has opened a path to a single converged enterprise storage array platform – and has done so by eliminating proprietary hardware dependencies. The high-end VSP G1000 has a handful of ASICs for hardware acceleration and a PCIe backplane with similar custom …
Chris Mellor, 29 Apr 2015
Umbrellas

Oh, hey, look – it's the hardware storing all your medical records

Hitachi has whipped out a data-center outage tool, a health data storage product, and an analytics center of excellence – and put them under a social innovation umbrella. What gives? Hitachi and HDS is turning itself into a kind of amalgam of GE (General Electric) and EMC. The three new products are: Hitachi Live Insight for IT …
Chris Mellor, 29 Apr 2015