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.

Slipway

It's Friday! Had a good week? It was probably better than Seagate's

In keeping with its warning, Seagate confirmed a revenue and profits decline as its mainstay desktop and notebook drive shipments tumbled for the third straight quarter. Enterprise drive shipments also declined in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015, as did branded (consumer drives), although consumer electronics shipments rose …
Chris Mellor, 31 Jul 2015
Violins

Oh Jeez, not now! Activist investor threatens Violin Memory

Violin Memory’s board is under attack from the Clinton Group, an activist investor wanting to have talks about “a number of topics germane to creating shareholder value”, meaning an asset or company sale. Apparently it’s been a shareholder for almost two years and has been pushing for talks for some time. Violin’s board has …
Chris Mellor, 31 Jul 2015
Back_of_the_NSCI_envelope

Obama endorses 3D TLC flash. How else can you do exaflop computing?

Comment New storage technologies are needed for exabyte-munching exaflop supercomputers. The same-old-same-old disk tech used for supercomputers won’t do for the exaflop generation promised by President Obama’s US leadership supercomputing order. This is Obama’s moonshot, the equivalent of President Kennedy’s man on the moon vision …
Chris Mellor, 30 Jul 2015
HDD_heads

Will the PC glory days ever return, WD asks as its finances slip

Are the glory days gone for good? Will the PC market ever come back? AS WD rues the damage that declining PC disk sales have done to its revenues, that’s a question that will be exercising its product strategists as they ponder its latest results. Revenues for its fourth fiscal 2015 quarter were 14 per cent down from a year …
Chris Mellor, 30 Jul 2015
cuckoo_648

Feeding the XPoint cuckoo and finding it a place in the storage nest

XPoint memory is a spectrum-invading cuckoo. Spectrums are great ways to describe a range including different items with differing characteristics. Everyone gets used to the range, then something comes along and forces its way into the spectrum, making existing items shuffle up and down. There is a memory-storage spectrum with …
Chris Mellor, 30 Jul 2015
Surfer

Beyond virty boxen and hyperconvergence: Regard the mighty data centres of the future

SANs and filers are facing decline because of the sudden rise of hyper-converged systems and enterprises seeking IT silo simplification. This isn’t because of a wish to get rid of networked storage per se. Rather, it’s a manifestation of enterprises recoiling from the burdensome complexity of being IT system component …
Chris Mellor, 30 Jul 2015
Caught_in_the_mud

CommVault mired in losses. Will activist investors move in?

Data management specialist CommVault could be open to activist investor activity, said an analyst, after reporting a loss and seeing yearly revenues down on Americas sales inadequacies and foreign currency headwinds. First, fiscal 2016 revenues were down nine per cent on the year, at $139.1m, and down eight per cent …
Chris Mellor, 29 Jul 2015
Labelled_XPoint_Diagram

Peering closer at 3D XPoint memory: What are Intel, Micron up to?

Analysis Asking what we know about Intel/Micron's XPoint memory announced yesterday is maybe the wrong question. What don't we know about it? Here are a few mysteries: Is the technology patented? Have developers kept quiet for 10 years? What is the memory cell material? What is their selector material? What is the process used to …
Chris Mellor, 29 Jul 2015
Grand Fromages at Reggio Parmagiano

Moshe's Infinidat happy to SHOUT about its progress

Moshe Yanai's Infinidat startup, which came out of stealth in April with its InfiniBox array, is bragging about its growth. It recently revealed figures including: 300 per cent sales growth in the second quarter compared with Q1 2015 500 per cent growth in channel sales 53 per cent of global sales came through resellers …
Chris Mellor, 29 Jul 2015
3d_XPOint_structure

Just ONE THOUSAND times BETTER than FLASH! Intel, Micron's amazing claim

Next year, the world will start using products with an amazing new type of memory in them - or so say Intel and Micron, allied to produce the 3D XPoint chippery. This is, we're told, a radical resistive-RAM technology that is bit-addressable, non-volatile, and forms a new memory tier between DRAM and NAND. That means software …
Chris Mellor, 28 Jul 2015
REvolving_door

All change at NetApp: One veep joins as another goes fishing

Five sales people have left NetApp simultaneously, including VP Americas channels sales Regina Kunkle. What gives? The background is one of exec changes. Bill Lipsin became NetApp's VP for worldwide channels in May this year, coming to NetApp from Brocade where he was VP for global channels and system integrators from August …
Chris Mellor, 28 Jul 2015
Marconi-Stille steel tape recorder

So what exactly sits behind Google’s Nearline storage service?

Comment How is Google’s retrieval service for non-essential data, Nearline, with its three-second retrieval latency, viable at the same cost as Amazon’s Glacier, when it uses tape with a 3-5 hour retrieval latency? Tape is cheap – but slow – and Google can't be using the stuff for Nearline. We think Nearline uses either Blu-ray …
Chris Mellor, 28 Jul 2015
iglu_blaze

X-IO erects its iglu over the data management market

X-IO, the supplier of just-won't-fail ISE storage boxes, has added a data management services head unit which can support up to 11 ISE blocks, calling it an iglu. ISE, the Integrated Storage Elements, come in disk (100 and 200), all-flash (800) and hybrid flash/disk (700) variants, have a five-year sealed box warranty and …
Chris Mellor, 28 Jul 2015
Chimney_demolitioin

Plexistor's latest box sounds a lot like flash memory as virtual DRAM

Comment It's all about speed; the faster apps run the better, which means they can access and process data faster. In that vein, Plexistor, born in Israel's tech startup hot-house, claims it can turn commodity servers into data munchers running at incandescent speed. We’re talking more than seven million 4KB write IOPS at 1.7 …
Chris Mellor, 27 Jul 2015
Violin_G_Dead_webpage

Violin Memory thinks it'll boost sales by copying face cream giants

Comment The Grateful Dead concert was only the start to a sustained, brand-led marketing effort by Violin Memory, which aims to rewrite the rules of tech product marketing. Techy speeds and feeds and flashy tactical positioning statements will be subsumed into a disciplined, co-ordinated and orchestrated marketing campaign led by Amy …
Chris Mellor, 27 Jul 2015
The Hindenburg disaster

How to waste two years and lose $415m: Cisco's now-dead Whiptail deal

Exclusive + analysis Cisco has confirmed that the Invicta all-flash array line is no more, telling The Register: "As part of product lifecycle management, we withdraw technology from the marketplace when necessary to focus our efforts on what is critical for the future of our customers' business as well as our own." The networking goliath added: …
Chris Mellor, 24 Jul 2015
St_George_and_Dragon

Plummeting SanDisk snaps awake, pulls hard on the control stick

After a terrible first quarter of the year, SanDisk revenues continued to fall in its second quarter, which has just ended. However, profits went up sharply, giving hope that a turnaround at the wannabe enterprise flash storage supplier is under way. SanDisk_Q2_2015 SanDisk financials ... Click image to increase its size …
Chris Mellor, 23 Jul 2015
Dead_Invicta_parrot

The green salamander is OUT: Cisco gives up on Invicta flash arrays

That’s that then: it was a $415m mistake. We have heard from several sources that Cisco has laid off virtually the entire Invicta all-flash array engineering and development team. If true, Cisco – still led by John Chambers – has admitted the 2013 Whiptail acquisition was a complete cock-up. Timing-wise, this has happened at …
Chris Mellor, 23 Jul 2015
storm_warning_648

EMC's turbulent trifecta temporarily ties Tucci to top table

Comment Succession, transformation and a customer buying pattern sea-change are simultaneously embroiling EMC’s top management and board in a perfect storm, according to CEO Joe Tucci in the quarterly results earnings call. Six months after Joe Tucci’s last – and deferred – retirement date from running the EMC Federation, where he is …
Chris Mellor, 23 Jul 2015
UNicorn

Storage unicorns and their hyped-up horns

Comment A venture-capitalist-tracking website has revealed a list of unicorns, which are startups valued at a billion dollars or more. Eight storage companies are in the list; does this mean a glorious outcome for them? The CB Insights’ list contained these familiar names: Dropbox at $10bn (£6.4bn), and hence a “decacorn” Cloudera …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jul 2015
Golden_Gate

ATTOboy, says Nexenta as it lets you HA-ve a FibreBridge or two

NexentaStor MetroHA provides high-availability at city-wide distances for NexentaStor shared storage arrays, making it viable for high-availability needs. NexentaStor's open source storage software involves controllers (heads) linking to the storage enclosures by ATTO FibreBridge 6500 rackmount controllers by 8Gbit/s Fibre …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jul 2015

Storage slump? Dunno what you're talking about, beams EMC

EMC basically saw off most signs of a storage slump with a two per cent revenue rise in its second quarter 2015, although with revenue being reduced after paying $75m in a VMware pricing settlement with the US government. Revenues of $5.98bn generated profits of $487m, 17 per cent down on profits a year ago, but still well …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jul 2015

Catch 'em while you can! Presenting Druva's virtual open door detector

Think checking doors and windows every night so as to stop burglars scrambling through to rob you. Well, now your personal data can be handled in the same way, with Druva's end-point protection services identifying risky exposure to sensitive information loss by scanning backed-up data and alerting compliance teams. Its inSync …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jul 2015
Job cuts jpeg

Staff at stumbling server storage supplier QLogic brace for big layoffs

QLogic, swaying in the doorway with a tatty photocopy of its lousy prelim results in hand, has warned staff they will be axed to cut costs. A couple of weeks ago, the server-storage connectivity card vendor signaled poor first fiscal 2016 quarter results were coming: sales will be up to $19m lower than the most optimistic …
Chris Mellor, 21 Jul 2015
Layout of IBM's four superconducting quantum bit device. Using a square lattice, IBM is able to detect both types of quantum errors for the first time. This is the best configuration to add more qubits to scale to larger systems. (Credit: IBM Research)

Big Blue bafflement: Anyone in IBM Storage know which way is up?

Comment IBM's storage hardware revenues continued their long-term dive, judging by the corp's latest financial results. It's getting hard to know what to say about this. IBM is supposed to be one of the best-managed corporations in the world and yet, for twenty quarters in a row, its quarterly storage revenues have declined on the …
Chris Mellor, 21 Jul 2015
Space_Shuttle_launch

VC cash, growing market propels SimpliVity into hyperconverged orbit

Comment SimpliVity's hyperconverged system sales grew almost 250 per cent in the first half of 2015 – pretty impressive for sure, but how’s it doing compared with everyone else in this hot storage sector? Wikibon's Server SAN 2012-2026 research report includes hyperconverged system vendors, and below we picked out a chart showing …
Chris Mellor, 21 Jul 2015
Swarm of Auklets

Caringo insists its software is more than a Swarm in a tea cup

Object storage startup Caringo has upgraded its Swarm software to handle partial disk failures gracefully and play nice with large object deletions, node retirement, and upgrade. Swarm is Caringo's re-branded and developed CAStor object storage software and came out as Swarm v7 in May last year. Caringo said it was going to …
Chris Mellor, 21 Jul 2015

VMware flushes away unbelievers with its new VSANitation unit

VMware has set up a chief tech officer's office in its Storage and Availability Business Unit. You might call a VSANitation office. Charles Fan is the SVP and general manager running the SABU, and his CTO's office is headed up by principal engineer Christos Karamanolis. Karamanolis's LinkedIn profile says he has "technical …
Chris Mellor, 20 Jul 2015
Dell_TLC_3D_flash_drive

Flash in the pan? Dell 3D TLC AFAs are cheaper than spinning rust

Dell is hitting a $1.66/GB all-flash array street price point using 3D TLC flash drives from Samsung, the first enterprise array supplier to go 3D and TLC. TLC (triple-level cell) NAND has 3 bits per cell and its production cost is roughly two thirds of 2-bits/cell MLC flash, the bulk of storage array flash shipped today. It’s …
Chris Mellor, 20 Jul 2015
Racecar

Seagate pumps up EVault capabilities to enterprise level

Seagate has improved the punch and capacity of its EVault hybrid backup products, with 4X speed boost and 5X capacity enlargement. EVault hybrid backup uses on-premises appliances storing some data locally and sending the rest to a public cloud service; Seagate’s own or Azure in the USA with national service providers in EMEA …
Chris Mellor, 20 Jul 2015
Banksy_death

Server storage slips on robes, grabs scythe, stalks legacy SANs

Analysis In ten years, legacy enterprise storage-area networks (SANs), network-attached storage (NAS), and direct-attached storage (DAS) revenues will have lost 88 per cent of their present value, according to Wikibon research. Nearly 90 per cent of today's storage revenues will then be split between enterprise server SANs and …
Chris Mellor, 17 Jul 2015
Finnish_Sauna_etching

Quantum blames wobbly storage world for its own wobbly financials

They say that when the tide goes out you can see who's been swimming naked. It's going out for Barracuda, QLogic, and Seagate, and Quantum makes four as it bares lousy preliminary Q1 numbers. Instead of the hoped-for $125 million to $135 million revenues in its first fiscal 2016 quarter, it's looking at just $111 million. This …
Chris Mellor, 17 Jul 2015
Sugar_granules

Helpful Nimble enhances NUKE THE LOT option on array control panel

Hybrid array supplier Nimble Storage has added evolutionary tweaks to its array software to enable more precise control of performance, better data security, and a programmatic interface for building your own workflows and reports. Its product is NAF, the Nimble Adaptive Flash Platform, which is branding for its CS-Series …
Chris Mellor, 17 Jul 2015
row-boats

Cloudian says yes please to object-happy S3 storage

Comment Cloudian, an object storage startup, says that, with its integral S3 support, as the enterprise IT world adopts S3 its fortunes will benefit from that adoption. A rising S3 tide will lift its boat. The dominant object storage access protocol will be S3 because it's openly available and not proprietary. So says Cloudian's w-w …
Chris Mellor, 17 Jul 2015

Backup upstart Code42 is in a world of Payne

Backup and file sync'n'sharer Code42's cofounder CEO has stepped back to bring in a pro to grow the upstart into the big time. Cofounder Matthew Dornquast is shifting to an undefined role as Joe Payne seats himself behind the chief exec's desk. Payne gets a presidential title as well. His CV must have made the Code42 board and …
Chris Mellor, 17 Jul 2015

Firmware fixes and hybrid bundles make mutant MSAs meatier

HP has improved its firmware and hybrid bundle pricing to make flashifying its MSA arrays more enticing. The addition of flash PCIe cards and SSDs can radically improve data access times, but also expose weaknesses in controller software/firmware through disk-based access assumptions in the code. HP has found some of these, …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jul 2015
Scale_computing

Hyperconverged upstart Scale slurps $18m from cash-happy VCs

ABS Capital has led an $18m funding round for hyperconverged system startup Scale Computing, so it can (try) to spread its business around the globe. Hyperconverged systems in Scale's case combine server, storage and virtualisation software elements in an appliance-like system for mid-market customers. Scale says its …
Chris Mellor, 15 Jul 2015

Micron re-furtles its data centre SSD offering

Micron has revved its middle-of-the-road M500DC SSD with smaller cells and boosted security to turn out a cost-optimised SSD which it says will take over more work from spinning disks. The M510DC is built from 16nm MLC NAND and Micron says it's complementary to the existing M500DC SSD, built with older 20nm technology and …
Chris Mellor, 15 Jul 2015
ClusterStor_HW

Seagate wins HP as ClusterStor array reseller, bolts on IBM Spectrum Scale

HP will resell Seagate's Lustre-ous ClusterStor 1500 and 9000 high-performance computing arrays, while Seagate is adding IBM's Spectrum Scale parallel file system to ClusterStor alongside Lustre. These scale-out HPC arrays run the Lustre parallel file system and are OEM'd by Cray, as Sonexion storage, and SGI. The ClusterStors …
Chris Mellor, 14 Jul 2015
Ferrari 488GB

Lustrous scarlet drawers with plenty crammed into them: Get a load of DDN's box

DDN has an entry-level Lustre appliance called the ES7K, EXAScaler 7000. DDN_ES7K DDN ES7000 4U enclosure The starting building block takes up 8U and uses two boxes, the 4U ES7K head unit with two controllers, 80 to 320 TB of capacity and 5GB/sec bandwidth, and a 4U StorageScaler 8460 drive drawer with 168TB - 672TB of …
Chris Mellor, 14 Jul 2015
Great_Wall_of_China

China looks to gobble Micron, acquire its own RAM and flash chipper

A WSJ report says a Chinese government owned chip-maker is bidding $23 billion to buy Micron, the USA's top DRAM and flash manufacturer. The Tsinghua Unigroup is the largest fabless semiconductor business in China. It has a somewhat opaque structure. Think if it as a branch of the Chinese Communist party, run by a party …
Chris Mellor, 14 Jul 2015

Imation's CEO races to exit door, grabs $4.8m golden goodbye

Imation CEO Mark Lucas has bowed to the inevitable after losing an activist investor proxy war, and is set to exit the company he failed to turnaround. Lucas became Imation chief in 2009 after predecessor Frank Russomanno outstayed his welcome and drove the company into a loss-making cul de sac through over reliance on tape …
Chris Mellor, 14 Jul 2015
Transamerica_tower

Gazing at the future: Taking a look at two $20m storage upstarts

Comment Startups Jut and CoreOS are each funded to the tune of twenty million dollars but spend their money differently, inhabiting different geographies in Silicon Valley's mental landscape. Both are based in the valley's new centre of startup gravity, San Francisco, where office rents are going up to – and beyond – $63 per square …
Chris Mellor, 14 Jul 2015
US_2_dollar_bill

Delphix is in a DaaS for cash after sponging up $75m

Database data virtualising startup Delphix has gained $75m in fourth round funding to scale sales, marketing, and operations across global geographies. It claims it's a DaaS company, meaning Data as a Service, and was started up in 2008 with these funding rounds: 2009 – $8.5m 2010 – $11m 2012 – $25m 2015 – $75m That's a …
Chris Mellor, 14 Jul 2015
4 arrows signs in arrow on wooden wall

Seagate bleeding sales as PC downturn starts to hit hard

Just like QLogic, Seagate sales figures have taken a dive along with the PC sales downturn, and it's had to issue preliminary results to warn the market. For its fourth fiscal 2015 quarter, instead of the expected $3.2-$3.3bn, it thinks it will make just $2.9bn. It expects to report unit shipments of approximately 45 million …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jul 2015
TAH5

Teradata Hadoop appliances now under a little Cloudera cover

Teradata has updated its Hadoop appliance with support for Cloudera Hadoop as well as Hortonworks' distribution, and given it a Haswell go-faster booster – and all this on top of a widening of the configuration options. Teradata Appliance for Hadoop v5 uses Intel Haswell CPU tech and is, Teradata said, "optimised for intensive …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jul 2015
NumaConnect’s N232 Adapter card

Benchmark bandit: Numascale unveils 10TB/sec monster

Numascale's non-universal memory architecture has been used to build a 324-CPU system with 108 Supermicro servers sharing a single system image and 20.7TB of memory – scoring a winning McCalpin STREAM benchmark. The system, with its cache-coherent shared memory, ran at 10.096TB/sec for the McCalpin Scale function. It was 53 …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jul 2015
Genus_Mustela

Hey WD. Are you killing off Arkeia? 'Solutions... contracts... burble'

Is WD killing off its Arkeia backup product? After writing about some WD community forum members who have been told the product is effectively going end-of-life, we were sent a "clear statement from WD." Here it is; see what you think. WD has been developing a full portfolio of network storage solutions for a number of years …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jul 2015
Wagyu Bull

Barracuda billings blunder: Blair bloke bullish

Barracuda boosted revenues 17.8 per cent on an annual basis to $78 million in its first fiscal 2016 quarter, but made a -$3.8 million loss. A year ago it made a $200K profit on its $66.2 million revenue, so why has it gone down the toilet profit-wise in this latest quarter? Prez and CEO BJ Jenkins didn’t say in his tinned …
Chris Mellor, 10 Jul 2015
graveyard_648

WD silently murders Arkeia backupware

WD has admitted it is killing off its Arkeia backup software product: it is no longer selling it to new customers and stopping development. Privately-owned Arkeia was bought by Western Digital in January 2013, bringing WD its deduplicating Network Backup software product and technology. It was placed inside WD’s Branded …
Chris Mellor, 10 Jul 2015