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.

Two dollars

EMC splashed a BILLION dollars buying just one flashy upstart

Top mergers and acquisitions lawyer Michael Ringler helped EMC splash a cool billion dollars buying a rack-scale flash array upstart, The Register can reveal. It was in May 2014 that EMC swooped down and bought the stealthy DSSD rack-scale flash array startup. DSSD was founded around 2010 by two top Sun engineers involved …
Chris Mellor, 06 Jul 2015
SG_Guards

Catalogic brings rank and file into line with copy data cleanup tool

Undisciplined file copy creation spreads like a weed across data centres. You can deal with the problem in two ways. Firstly, dump all your secondary data into a fresh storage silo that makes virtual copies for everyone that needs them. Or you can use a tool to check out your existing infrastructure, identify the copy dross, …
Chris Mellor, 06 Jul 2015
Boxing_gloves

SolidFire pulls off gloves for unholy storage ding-dong. Ding-ding!

Punchy all-flash array startup SolidFire has taken the gloves off in its competition with EMC, NetApp and Pure Storage by releasing competitive architectural comparisons singling out weaknesses in their products. You can get comparison docs vs NetApp all-flash FAS, EMC’s XtremIO and Pure Storage’s FlashArray by filling in …
Chris Mellor, 06 Jul 2015

Storage upstart: Our flashy gear is WAY faster than slow old DRAM

A storage memory appliance to process massive Big Data sets in real-time is being developed by startup Levyx, with help from Toshiba and the reviving OCZ business in the flash department. Levyx was founded in 2013 by Reza Sadri, CEO, previously sTec’s chief technical officer, and Tony Givargis, a computer science professor at …
Chris Mellor, 03 Jul 2015
Facebookserveraisle

A looksee into storage upstart Hedvig's garage

+Comment Hedvig decloaked from stealth recently, saying it’s producing converged block, file and object storage for enterprises with Facebook/Amazon-level scale, costs and efficiencies. It does this through its DSP (Distributed Storage Platform) software, and The Reg was at a June 23 press briefing in Santa Clara to hear more. Founder …
Chris Mellor, 02 Jul 2015
Sprint

NexGen releases goodies for next-gen software package

Reinvigorated hybrid array startup NexGen is pushing out quality-of-service (QoS) goodies for vCentre and VMware VMs, saying it will cut the need for vMotioning VMs from one server to another when performance slows. It comes with v3.5 of NexGen’s ioControl software, which marketing veep Chris McCall said: “Takes our user …
Chris Mellor, 02 Jul 2015
Handcuffs

Nutanix vs VMware blog war descends into 'he said, she said' farce

Round two in the VMware-versus-Nutanix blog war has opened up with a full-frontal assault by a Nutanix exec, who claims Nutanix wants to be open about its performance advantages over VSAN, but is prevented from going public by VMware’s end user license agreements, or EULAs. In particular, Nutanix claims, EVO:RAIL sales are so …
Chris Mellor, 02 Jul 2015
White boxes

The case against Open Compute Project Storage flotation

Interview Did you know there was a storage part of the Open Compute Project? If not, you do now. The Facebook-generated OCP aims to make good, basic hardware available for data centres at low cost, with no bezel tax and no unwanted supplier differentiation justifying high prices. Its main focus is servers, but that's not all, as there is …
Chris Mellor, 02 Jul 2015
Avalanche

It's all downhill from here: Avalanche spins STT-RAM

Startup Avalanche is sampling an STT-RAM chip offering DRAM/SRAM speed, persistent storage, unlimited endurance and scalability beyond 10nm. The holy unified memory chip grail is to replace DRAM, SRAM and flash with a single chip tech, offering the benefits of each without the drawbacks. Thus NAND cannot scale down psst 10nm and …
Chris Mellor, 01 Jul 2015
Easter_Island_Monoliths

Don't start reading the last rites for monolithic storage just yet

Monolithic storage arrays may well claim that rumours of their death have been exaggerated, but that doesn't mean that they aren't entering the digital care-home for the soon-to-be-departed. These boxes — the mainframes of storage — are magnificent beasts, like do-everything battleships of the storage wars in an era in which …
Chris Mellor, 01 Jul 2015
DX8900_S3_detail

ETERNUS embiggens at peak of Mt Fujitsu (it's a drive array, not Tolkien)

Fujitsu's modular array line is being refreshed at the top end, with a third-generation ETERNUS DX8700 S3 product and a new DX8900 S3 array.   DX8700 S2 (2011) DX8700 S3 (new) DX8900 S3 (new) Max capacity 6.14PB 4.6PB 13.8PB IOPS 1 million Not known 4 million Max drive count 3072 1536 4608 Storage controllers 2 to 8 …
Chris Mellor, 01 Jul 2015

DataDirect introduces its hyper-converged Wolf in Creek clothing

DataDirect is building WolfCreek, a 5 million IOPS converged compute and storage appliance, with vastly enhanced IO processing and 60GB/sec bandwidth. Ponytailed CEO and co-founder Alex Bouzari spilled a few WolfCreek beans at a Silicon Valley briefing on June 22. It sees storage and compute converging and its edge here is to …
Chris Mellor, 01 Jul 2015

Radian Memory Systems decloaks, says it'll twin DRAM and flash

Stealthy upstart Radian Memory Systems is coming out at the Flash Memory Summit in August, and is developing storage memory software to be used in enterprise, hyperconverged, and cloud computing environments. Storage memory refers to the twinning of DRAM and non-volatile memory, meaning flash, in a single logical address space …
Chris Mellor, 30 Jun 2015
Flash Gordon

Fireworks expected from Oracle at Flash Memory Summit

Comment Oracle is giving a keynote pitch at the Flash Memory Summit, indicating it's got something NAND-like up its sleeve. The pitch is being presented by long-time disk man Mike Workman, currently SVP for flash storage systems at Oracle. He was the CEO of Pillar Data – which was acquired by Oracle in 2011 – which built the Axiom line …
Chris Mellor, 30 Jun 2015
Spinning_tops

Hello Tosh, got a downrated 6TB spinner? Yes, for slower workloads

Toshiba has introduced a downrated version of its MG04 6TB disk drive, suitable for bulk storage and cloud-based apps requiring less data transfer velocity than the standard model. This feat is accomplished by retaining most of the feeds and speeds, such as the 7,200rpm spin speed, but giving it a 6Gbit/s SATA interface instead …
Chris Mellor, 30 Jun 2015
Lightning

The all-flash market will just about double in five years, says Gartner

Gartner thinks the all-flash array market will expand at a 37 per cent compound annual growth rate, embiggening from $1.43bn in 2014 to about $7bn by 2019. Storage notes from analyst haus Stifel Nicolaus' MD, Aaron Rakers, reveal that and other interesting predictions: Gartner thinks no data centres use only all-flash arrays …
Chris Mellor, 30 Jun 2015
taylor_swift_apple_648

Apple Music available on Sonos by end of this year

Apple’s streaming music service will be available on Sonos’ streaming Wi-Fi speaker set-up by the end of the year. Buzzfeed editor Jon Paczkowski received a message from Apple confirming the move and tweeted the news: Apple_Sonos_Bussfeed Paczkowski Apple Music on Sonos tweet Sonos confirmed this to The Verge. Sonos makes Wi …
Chris Mellor, 29 Jun 2015
Distorting_Mirror

HP one of the fairest, claims Gartner's magic quadrant on the wall

Gartner has announced that HP has joined the leaders in its all-flash array magic quadrant, while Violin Memory, Nimbus Data and Cisco have been demoted, and Dell and HDS are excluded altogether from the MQ because of the research giant's peculiar classification criteria. The MQ classifies suppliers in what Gartner calls the …
Chris Mellor, 29 Jun 2015
A proton carries the DIRECTV 12 satellite aloft in 2009. Pic: International Launch Services

Micron fires off some in-memory flash data rockets

Comment Micron’s Storage Business Unit (SBU) wants to shake up the server status quo with a dynamic upstart duo: in-memory app accelerating data processing rockets and instant access, cold data flash vaults. How it’s going to do that begins with its NAND chip development plans, which we learned about at a Silicon Valley briefing. It …
Chris Mellor, 26 Jun 2015
4 arrows signs in arrow on wooden wall

Micron blames dismal PC sales for EVERYTHING

Memory firm Micron's third fiscal 2015 quarter results were pretty poor - and the chief exec blames the slumping PC market. Revenues of $3.85bn were three per cent down on a year ago and eight per cent down sequentially. Net income of $491m compared poorly to the $806m reported a year ago and the $934m in the previous quarter. …
Chris Mellor, 26 Jun 2015
Spinning_tops

Delphix gets a pat on the back in Gartner's latest tea leaves reading

Data virtualiser Delphix has had a Gartner boost by appearing in the leaders’ box of its Magic Quadrant report for Structured Data Archiving and Application Retirement. Delphix_MQ_chart Fellow data virtualiser Actifio was also placed in the MQ, as a niche player. The other four leaders are IBM, HP, Informatica and Solis …
Chris Mellor, 24 Jun 2015

NetApp cackles as cheaper FlashRay lurches out of the door

FlashRay lives! All-flash FAS is now a price/performance beast – which now comes with a substantial price cut. NetApp is doubling down on its 3-product all-flash arrays; the EF Series, All-Flash FAS (AFF) and FlashRay with its Mars operating system. Yes, FlashRay lives and has not been gobbled up and absorbed into the FAS …
Chris Mellor, 23 Jun 2015
silicon_valley_shutterstock_map_648

Komprise aims to kill data sprawl with virtualising software

Rubrik, Primary Data, Formation Data Systems, and Hedvig: all startups that want to provide a virtualising data abstraction layer above and across multiple storage silos to make storage access and management easier. Now you can add Komprise to this list. None have done it, yet. All are led by founding teams with track records …
Chris Mellor, 23 Jun 2015
A soldier aims an XM-25 smartgun. Credit: PEO Soldier

Cheeky upstart Mangstor hungrily eyes Fusion-io's pots of gold

Developer of flash storage solutions and startup Mangstor is developing PCIe flash cards usable both as direct and shared flash storage, with figures indicating SanDisk has some work to do if it wants to return Fusion-io to the top of the performance tree. The base MX6300 flash card technology uses non-volatile Everspin ST-MRAM …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jun 2015
management mobile

Fujitsu shrinks SMB file transfer metadata traffic jams

Fujitsu has found a way round repetitive metadata ops that delay CIFS and SMB transfers from remote file-sharing sites. It's developing a WAN optimiser product using this software tech. File metadata is sent too many times in a transfer session, slowing data transfer. What Fujitsu engineers found was that, with a large number of …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jun 2015
Breakwater at Portland Harbour

Breqwatr breqs hyper-converged mould with all-flash box

Breqwatr? What on Earth is a Breqwatr? It looks like someone is trying too hard to get attention with bad spelling.* In fact, it's a company making the Breqwatr Cloud Appliance, a turnkey, all-flash, scale-out, hyper-converged appliance for private cloud deployments. This BCA v2.0 product is built on OpenStack's Juno release, …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jun 2015
PWX_image

Docker-ed vessel Portworx takes three Ocarina folk aboard

Startup Portworx is providing elastic scale-out block storage natively to Docker containers, so containerised apps can execute directly on the storage infrastructure and containers persisted and scheduled fluidly across machines and clouds. It says its PWX software product "enables the rapid deployment of stateful, distributed …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jun 2015
WAtering_trough

Facebook SSD failure study pinpoints mid-life burnout rate trough

Facebook engineers and Carnegie Mellon researchers have looked into SSD failure patterns and found surprising temperature and data contiguity results in the first large-scale SSD failure study. In a paper (PDF) entitled A Large-Scale Study of Flash Memory Failures in the Field they looked at SSDs used by Facebook over a four …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jun 2015
Mustard

Can Said Ouissal really cut Violin’s sales mustard?

Has Violin’s new worldwide sales head Said Ouissal got what it takes to lift sales at the recovering all-flash array company? He comes to the SVP position with no prior direct sales management experience, and told us he joined Violin in April last year to be SVP for product management and strategy. He came from Juniper Networks …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jun 2015
storage arrays superimposed on cloudy sky

Connected Data's Transporter private-cloud-in-a-box hooks up with the office NASties

Connected Data's Transporter stores and shares files over the network like a Dropbox-style private cloud. Now it can hook up with any supported NAS system, thanks to its Network Storage Connector. Transporter is a peer-to-peer sync'n'share storage device that doesn’t expose files to any public cloud, and thus avoids the need for …
Chris Mellor, 20 Jun 2015
Lord Tywin Lannister

John Fowler survives latest chapter of Oracle's Game of Thrones

The confusion over whether John Fowler will remain at Oracle, now that incomer David Donatelli has an executive vice-president role that includes Fowler's responsibilities, is over. Fowler is staying. Oracle spokesperson Deborah Hellinger has told The Reg "with John's continued focus on engineering and with the addition of Dave …
Chris Mellor, 19 Jun 2015
Beheading_Duke_Somerset

Donatelli's Oracle arrival leaves Fowler in corporate no man's land

An Oracle EVP has become a non-person after David Donatelli was appointed EVP for converged infrastructure at Larry’s Redwood Shores palace. Donatelli will be responsible for Oracle’s infrastructure offerings, including engineered systems, server, storage, networking and tape products, and help the company respond to customer …
Chris Mellor, 19 Jun 2015
wham_bang_648

All-flash array reports aren't all about all-flash arrays, rages Gartner

Comment Our earlier pop at Gartner's all-flash array methodology has generated a response from Gartner. Joe Unsworth from Gartner – the author of the Market Share report and co-author on the Solid-State Arrays magic quadrant – has been in touch. We said corrective glasses were needed to read the report. View what follows as corrective …
Chris Mellor, 18 Jun 2015
fatboy_slim_glastonbury_2013_648

Samsung spins up its latest rusty rotators for release

Seagate’s Samsung unit has spun out the lightest, thinnest, 4TB USB-powered 2.5-inch drive in the world, with its M3 and P3 portable products. The case is 0.78 inches thin and weighs 8.3 ounces. It is 1/10 of an inch thicker than Samsung’s 2TB drive. Inside is a Spinpoint M10P drive with 800GB/platter – impressive areal density …
Chris Mellor, 18 Jun 2015
Leatherman

Cohesity looking to consolidate ALL THE SECONDARY DATA

Flush with cash, startup Cohesity is aiming to "eliminate the current fragmentation and data sprawl", and run MapReduce analytics using a claimed infinitely scalable, Google File System-type platform. It has had such a massive $55m second funding round it's overflowing with cash, having now raised $70m in total since starting up …
Chris Mellor, 18 Jun 2015
Hazelnuts

Hazelcast adds amped-up caching to its in-memory tech

In-memory open source NoSQLer Hazelcast has announced a caching update to its product range, claiming v3.5 of its High Density Memory Store offers “100’s of GB of near cached data to clients for massive application scalability”. The near cache provides hundreds of gigabytes of in-memory data on a single application server, …
Chris Mellor, 18 Jun 2015
Stll_life_with_skull

Disk is dead, screeches Violin – and here's how it might happen

Analysis And in a flash, disk is dead. Well, actually, not that fast. But flash array flogger Violin Memory is convinced disk is dying in the data centre, killed by a series of NAND acronyms: 2D MLC, 3D TLC and, the final blow, 3D QLC. Is this view realistic? Even remotely realistic? It starts from a pair of observations by Violin …
Chris Mellor, 17 Jun 2015
Testing Java

A testing time for storage – it's VMware from Nutanix, by a nose

VMware evangelist and blogger Chuck Hollis says Nutanix prices are vastly higher than VSAN prices for equivalent performance and functionality at least, so why pay more? It seems VMware sees Nutanix's hyperconverged products as the top competitor for its VSAN (Virtual SAN) product, so Hollis compared various VSAN configurations …
Chris Mellor, 17 Jun 2015
Railway line split. Pic: Ian Sane

VMware doubles the VM count for EVO: RAIL systems

VMware has pumped up the power of its hyper-converged EVO: RAIL nodes with more memory and storage, so they can run twice as many VMs. As detailed in a VMware blog, the latest node options look like this: Dual 6, 8, 10 or 12 core Intel Haswell or Ivy Bridge CPUs per node 128GB to 512GB of memory per node, up from 192GB VMware …
Chris Mellor, 17 Jun 2015

Flexible PRAM: Not a bendy baby carriage, but infinitely cooler

Bendy humans pose problems for wearable IT as devices break when they’re deformed. Flexible computers would be ideal – and a group of Korean boffins has devised some flexible PRAM tech to help with the problem. They work at KAIST, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and want to persuade us that having non- …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jun 2015
management intelligence

Corrective lenses needed for Gartner's flashy array vision

Comment Gartner's gnomes gnosticated on all flash array sales (AFA) and revenues recently. Dell did not appear at all in its charts or revenue numbers and neither did HDS, leading us to suppose Dell revenues were lower than any of the eight AFA vendors mentioned. Yes, really. What's happened is a consequence of Gartner's requirements …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jun 2015
Tornado

Asigra's fast BaaS on-ramp for Cloud Service Providers

Managed and cloud service providers have a lightning fast on-ramp to providing backup services via three Asigra appliances. These are converged backup systems using commodity servers, FreeBSD Unix, the ZFS file system and Asigra's agentless cloud backup and recovery software. There are three models, arranged by capacity: 1800 …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jun 2015
Roughly 150kg of gold

Veeam-ing all the way to the bank: No IPO for these VM replicants

Comment At a UK temple to old tech, the London Science Museum, storage firm Veeam introduced its new tech, promising replication of VM images to the cloud – and El Reg quizzed two top Veeamers about the company. V9.0 of Veeam’s Availability Suite will add Cloud Connect Replication for Service Providers, using SSL, and be generally …
Chris Mellor, 15 Jun 2015
Huawei HQ

Huawei humps up its DS8000 heavyweight array range

Chinese IT conglomerate Huawei has added a third generation to its VMAX/DS8000-class 18000 series arrays. The V2 18000 arrays topped the SPC-1 lists for hybrid arrays, delivering more than a million SPC-1 IOPS. They have from 2 to 16 controllers, up to 99.9999 per cent availability, and range up to 7PB of capacity. Huawei says …
Chris Mellor, 15 Jun 2015
£10 notes. Pic: Howard Lake

Crossroads Systems takes wrong turn. Is it running out of cash?

Comment It isn’t pretty watching this. Poor beleaguered archival product vendor Crossroads Systems reported even worse results for its second quarter than its dire first quarter, as well as a diminishing cash balance. Crossroads_Q2cy2015 Crossroads Systems quarterly revenue and net income. Moving average trendlines added. Crossroads …
Chris Mellor, 12 Jun 2015
Nantero_nanotube

Carbon nanotube memory tech gets great big cash dollop

Future memory hardware startup Nantero has had a big funding round, suggesting its technology is getting closer to becoming a reality. It got $31.5m in an over-subscribed round to continue developing its nanotube-based non-volatile RAM (NRAM) semiconductor technology, which it says has DRAM read/write speed and is ultra-high …
Chris Mellor, 12 Jun 2015
Photographic plate image of the colliding galaxies NGC 6769, 6770, and 6771.

Data Dynamics chap lifts curtain on anti-fluster cluster thruster tool

Comment There's no need to get in a fluster over clusters. Data Dynamics reckons it has a better tool to migrate NetApp's non-clustered array users to the joys of clusterdom; having separate NetApp arrays function and be managed as one. The move to clustered Data ONTAP (CDOT) from the original ONTAP operating system — 7mode — has proved …
Chris Mellor, 11 Jun 2015
Pilot_oxygen_mask

Breathe normally: Oxygen coming to Solidfire's flashy folk

How quickly yesterday's revolutionary product becomes a solid everyday reality. At least, that's how it seems even as all-flash arrays have yet to conquer the hearts and minds of the broad mass of disk array-using customers. So it is with Solidfire, whose first product was released in late 2012. It is now bringing out its eighth …
Chris Mellor, 11 Jun 2015
Containers_at_port

Catalogic gets Dockerised with NetApp and VMware support

Catalogic has hustled out a flagship product update extending its copy data management to all VMware and NetApp ONTAP environments and supporting Docker. Copy Data Management (CDM) aims to save disk space by identifying duplicate and unwanted copies of data and helping you get rid of them. It also helps build automated data copy …
Chris Mellor, 11 Jun 2015

Prelude to Foundation: Startup FDS builds next silo-melding platform

What we need is an all-singing, all-dancing, virtualising storage foundation that is software-defined, crafted for hyper-scale, offers file, block and object access and embraces the cloud. Yeah baby! What we need is what startup Formation Data Systems is developing: Foundation XV. Co-founder and CEO Mark Lewis has blogged: I …
Chris Mellor, 10 Jun 2015