Chris Mellor

Contact Mail Follow Twitter RSS feed
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.

Flash_IOPS_and_latency_as_load_changes

HDS blogger names HDS flash array as latency winner

Flash array response times climb as load increases, with good ones able to delay the response time uptick for longer. HDS blogger Hu Yoshida showed a chart produced from SPC-1 benchmark data showing how different flash arrays behave in response-time terms as the SPC-1 percentage benchmark task load increases from 10 per cent up …
Chris Mellor, 02 Mar 2015
WD_MyCloud_EX4100

WD reveals NASty new boxes for home and small biz use

WD has updated its My Cloud NAS products, adding more oomph for prosumers and two boxes for small-business-filing fanatic users. WD estimates we should expect 3.3TB of data storage in every home by 2016, and NAS is the way we should store files in homes and small businesses. WD claims its Red drive has the greatest drive share …
Chris Mellor, 02 Mar 2015
wall_street

Nimble revenue diet gets fibre supplement

IPOed hybrid array market star Nimble Storage beat the street with fourth-quarter revenues of $68.3m, and lost less money than last quarter as Fibre Channel sales kicked in. Can it keep on like this? The revenue was up 64 per cent on an annual compare. Losses of $24.7m were less than the previous quarter's $28.4m, but almost …
Chris Mellor, 27 Feb 2015

Flashy upstarts facing IPO pressure. Get on with it then

Comment Conventional wisdom has it that VC-funded tech start-ups get acquired or, hopefully, go through an IPO to become successful stand-alone companies. However, such may not be the fate of the five main surviving all-flash array (AFA) vendors in the face of fast and furious mainstream supplier reaction to their success. Step back a …
Chris Mellor, 27 Feb 2015
Facebook_Samsung re 850 Pro firmware bug

Errant update borks Samsung 850 Pro SSDs

Turning social media against Samsung, a Facebook group has been set up to get the Korean company to fix a firmware update that borks the 850 Pro SSD. This SSD uses brand new 3D NAND and has a 10-year warranty. According to the Facebook group (requires log-in): "A few days ago Samsung published a new firmware update for its …
Chris Mellor, 26 Feb 2015
Funnel of cash. Credit: via SXC – http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Leonardini

SOLD: Emulex – for 34% less than shareholders were offered 6 years ago

Comment Data networking outfit Emulex, harried by activist investor Elliott Management, has given up its independence and shopped itself to Avago Technologies for $606m in cash – $8/share – giving execs and investors a nice windfall. As well as Emulex, Avago also acquires the firm's mainstay Fibre Channel HBA business, its nascent …
Chris Mellor, 26 Feb 2015
Syneto_Storage_OS

Syneto: Behold, blockheads – an all-flash array... based on ZFS

A ZFS-based all-flash array? There's a thing to note in this block-focused all-flash array world. Europe-based Syneto has developed the product and it has updated its SMB-focused, ZFS-using Extreme 220 product. The Extreme 220 is a 2U x 24 hot-swap slot box with from 2TB to 144TB of SATA or SAS SSDs. That means 6TB SSDs are used …
Chris Mellor, 26 Feb 2015
PernixData FCP

PernixData RAMs in yet more speed to FVP

PernixData, the clusterable VMware IO cacher, has added compression to its RAM caching, meaning more effective data in RAM and more caching with its FVP software. V2.5 FVP has Distributed Fault-Tolerant Memory with LZ4 compression algorithms (DFTM-Z). These algorithms are fast and lossless and DFTM-Z checks data to see if it …
Chris Mellor, 25 Feb 2015

What exchange rate blues? Our storage revs have grown – HP

Comment Despite lousy dollar exchange rates, HP storage revenues are climbing – unlike those of NetApp, which fingered those same exchange rates as the cause of its woes. In its first fiscal 2015 quarter HP’s revenue was $26.84bn, down 5 per cent on an annual compare, with net income of $1.37bn, down 4 per cent from a year ago. So far, …
Chris Mellor, 25 Feb 2015

NetApp shows hybrid love, revamps products for Amazon's cloud

NetApp is cosying up even more to Amazon in pursuit of its hybrid cloud data fabric ideas. What it’s doing is this: Adding three SteelStore cloud-native backup products as Amazon Machine Images (AMI) to backup cloud-based workloads, taking on EMC'S newly acquired cloud app firm Spanning. On-premises SteelStore physical …
Chris Mellor, 25 Feb 2015
Solidfire_front

Solidfire offers unlimited SSD wear guarantee, punts software at market

All-flash array startup Solidfire has a new array and is selling its software, minus hardware, to hyperscalers. Solidfire, whose products feature in-line data reduction, a high degree of system automation and scale-out platform design, sees different consumption models for modern IT infrastructure. It thinks SMB and startup …
Chris Mellor, 25 Feb 2015
Dell_XC_Appliance_bezel_detail

New Dell boxes reverberate with Blue Thunder

Dell has revealed a range of new hyper-converged XC appliances, running on Nutanix software and containing 13G PowerEdge servers. The appliances converge compute, storage and networking functions and are the second wave of such machines, following Dell's announcement of an OEM deal with Nutanix in June 2014. They form part of …
Chris Mellor, 25 Feb 2015
Data storage everywhere - CD, DVD, DAT, DCC, HDD, MiniDisc, SSD, SD card, floppy, magnetic stripe, barcode

XenData’s storage Jurassic Park: PC tape backup is BAAAAACK

Back in the old days, those dim and distant ones before the millennium, before the '90s even, you could backup your PC to external tape drives. It was a nightmare mix of weird software and slow transfer speeds ... and then external disks came along to rescue us. Now XenData is bringing PC tape backup back, with USB-connect LTO6 …
Chris Mellor, 25 Feb 2015
Pawlowski_FlashRay_video

FlashRay bang, wallop: NetApp bigwigs play musical chairs

El Reg has learned that NetApp's leadership of its all-flash array project FlashRay is changing: the original engineering head is no longer involved, and the veep for flash storage is absent. NetApp engineering veteran and SVP Brian 'Beepy' Pawlowski founded the FlashRay and Mars OS effort as an internal startup inside NetApp. …
Chris Mellor, 24 Feb 2015
B2 stealth bomber

Springpath springs out of stealth with HALO-based platform

Springpath has emerged from stealth with a silo-melding storage data platform, offering a remedy which includes an annual subscription pricing scheme. Is it perhaps seemingly hoping to move in on a market that has too many (and too costly) separate storage silos? Following a $34m funding round, Springpath was founded in May 2012 …
Chris Mellor, 24 Feb 2015
Goofy

EMC learns object lesson in accuracy after ViPR death goof

An EMC blog saying ViPR Object and HDFS data services have removed from ViPR 2.2 was wrong, and has been corrected in an updated version of the source blog. EMC spokesperson Kevin Kempskie told us: "We have to take the blame on the inaccuracies. The blog you read on EMC.com – which has since been updated – made a blanket …
Chris Mellor, 23 Feb 2015
Beer taps at a pub. Via http://www.freeimages.com/

Last round, folks: Dell 'n' pals pull out wallets as Nexenta preps for IPO

Nexenta is clearly keen to be top dog of the software-defined storage world. After reportedly experiencing 100 per cent year-on-year growth from 2013 to 2014, Nexenta says it is gearing up for an IPO in the next 18 months or so – with channel and geographic expansion and a final funding round coming. Nexenta says it has reached …
Chris Mellor, 23 Feb 2015
Sad man stares glumly over boxed contents of desk. Image via shutterstock (Baranq)

Fibre Channel's looking a bit flat. Bad news for these three firms

Comment The Fibre Channel trio, Brocade, Emulex and QLogic, are seeing declining popularity in their SAN storage networking businesses and need to find growth elsewhere. As we have seen with Emulex and QLogic's results, Brocade has found growth through better business efficiencies but the basic Fibre Channel market is widely seen as a …
Chris Mellor, 23 Feb 2015
Source: Simply Smile Photography by Georgia Stephenson

FalconStor blows clouds into FreeStor software rewrite

Storage software supplier FalconStor has completely re-written its core product, hoping its new FreeStor product will revitalise its business. FalconStor's virtualising IPStor technology became widely used but began falling behind when the firm lost its guiding light CEO ReiJane Huawai in 2011. A subsequent Fed law case related …
Chris Mellor, 23 Feb 2015
IBM Headquarters, Armonk, NY

IBM's FlashSystem 900: ‘Better capacity in less rack space’

IBM has upgraded its FlashSystem 840/V840 to the 900/V9000 all-flash array products, using MLC flash in a close collaboration with Micron to prevent any performance or reliability drop-off. The V9000 is as we described here and the 9000 product that we thought should exist but couldn't find, the upgraded 840, does actually exist …
Chris Mellor, 20 Feb 2015

EMC pulls the ViPR’s fangs, eases internal competition

EMC is now stopping ViPR controller support for Object and HDFS data services, and no longer supports object storage on file or commodity storage. The upshot of all of this is that ViPR cannot provide these services on storage arrays that don’t provide them natively. This means that individual EMC II product teams building …
Chris Mellor, 20 Feb 2015
DNA Helix

Want a MEEELLION-year data storage? Use DNA of course

Swiss boffins have used their weird wizardry to devised a way to store data for a million years using DNA, or so they claim. Perhaps DNA should be changed and adopt a new acronymic meaning: Digital Nucleotide Archive. The researchers were led by boss boffin Robert Grass (Die Haupt Boffiner – think that’s the translation, Ed), a …
Chris Mellor, 20 Feb 2015
Diver peers through sub window. credit: Alexander Rist  http://www.sxc.hu/profile/OwnMoment

Isilon dives into data lake with HD400

In order to help its customers dive into their data lakes and go insight fishing, EMC has updated its Isilon OneFS software and added a 60-slot high storage density box. The Isilon range of scale-out filers run the OneFS operating system and comprises A100 accelerator nodes, S200 and S210 performance-optimised primary storage …
Chris Mellor, 20 Feb 2015
Hadoop in the enterprise

NetApp brings Hadoop functionality to its ONTAP customers

Doing what it's so so good at, NetApp has added a connector product, enabling its Data ONTAP customers to run Hadoop analytics on their NFS data store without having to copy data from WAFL into HDFS. Its NFS Connector for Hadoop enables Hadoop analytics to be run on the incoming Big Data from its various sources, and then …
Chris Mellor, 19 Feb 2015
A smashing time. Art by Don Davis

Hitachi smashes SPC-1 benchmark, boasts: We HAF ways of crushing 2 million IOPs

Hitachi has pushed past the two-million IOPS barrier in the SPC-1 benchmark, with a flash-accelerated VSP claimed to be the fastest-performing storage array ever. The all-flash VSP G1000 array used HAF (Hitachi Accelerated Flash) modules to score 2,004,941.89 SPC-1 IOPS, 62 per cent faster than the previous fastest system, a …
Chris Mellor, 19 Feb 2015
Violin

3D TLC VIMMs could play Violin's music

Comment Before we talk about 3D TLC VIMMs possibly coming to Violin Memory, let’s talk about network storage. It developed for a reason you know, I was reminded by Violin Memory CTO and co-founder Jon Bennet. Servers and storage develop at different rates and people (naturally) don’t want to get stuck with new servers hobbled by slow …
Chris Mellor, 19 Feb 2015
management cloud4

Axcient gets $25m injection, promises channel cash splurge

Cloud recovery service startup Axcient has new funding and aims to fully compensate its SaaS-selling channel partners up front. Axcient offers Recovery-as-a-Service (RaaS) from the cloud and has completed a $25m E-round funding exercise, taking total funding to $89.2m. Silver Lake Partners provided significant debt financing in …
Chris Mellor, 18 Feb 2015
Openstack log

Fujitsu: We're flinging all our internal gumble onto OpenStack

Fujitsu is going to migrate its internal IT to an OpenStack cloud platform to save 35 billion yen and get world-leading creds for OpenStack expertise and commitment. The new group-wide cloud platform will involve about 640 large-scale and complex systems across 13,000 servers globally. The staged transition starts this month and …
Chris Mellor, 18 Feb 2015
Flying pig

Big Blue drops a billion dollars to refresh its pig herd's lipstick

Comment Confirming earlier leaks, IBM has decided storage needs to be sold under the software-defined rubric and has given various existing products a Spectrum wash and brush-up; like green-wash but think software-defined. It also plans to invest more than $1bn in its storage software portfolio over the next five years. IBM Systems SVP …
Chris Mellor, 17 Feb 2015
1980 olympics weight-lifting champs. By RIA Novosti archive, image #484445 / Dmitryi Donskoy / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Get ready for the El Reg Storage Winners-n-Losers super chart

A look at four years' worth of storage supplier revenues shows us which suppliers are winning, losing or standing still. The chart shows annual revenues for storage suppliers, or the storage business of larger suppliers, insofar as it can be identified, from 2010 to 2014. All_Storage_supplier_revenues It's crude as suppliers …
Chris Mellor, 17 Feb 2015
Octopus

Brother from another: SUSE releases software-defined Ceph

The other Linux distro, SUSE, has made good its Ceph promise. Ceph is an open source, unified, scale-out block, object store and file system, and is used for big data workloads. It competes with Gluster and IBM's proprietary GPFS and is thought to be the most popular open source distributed storage software. Red Hat has made …
Chris Mellor, 17 Feb 2015
Violin_7700

Violin fiddlings revealed: Two new flashy boxen, but what's this chart?

Violin Memory is back on a level playing field with all other all-flash array suppliers. It's launching two new flash array systems with integrated data services through its Concerto operating system and Symphony management software upgrades. It's also adding 40Gbit Ethernet connectivity. The pitch is that Violin now has the …
Chris Mellor, 17 Feb 2015
The fantastical Francesinha

Storage snippets slither forth from San Fran analyst shindig

Western Digital is making more than five times as much money from flash than Seagate: $590m/quarter compared to $100m. This came out at a Stifel Nicolaus Tech, Internet and Media conference held last week in San Francisco, where vendors gave presentations and answered questions. Other highlights were: Seagate thinks there …
Chris Mellor, 17 Feb 2015
Video

IBM pushes the Accelerate, makes one Big Blue storage family

Much ado in Big Blue land today; it is making XIV available as Spectrum Accelerate software-defined storage, while also rebranding GPFS as Spectrum Scale in Linux mainframe environments. There's also a Spectrum Storage family coming. Based on IBM website information we've seen it looks as if the giant is developing its software- …
Chris Mellor, 17 Feb 2015
Dunce

NetApp: Don’t know about the hybrid cloud? Then you’re a dummy

Comment This storage Vulture confesses to never having understood the appeal of writing books specifically for dummies, for example NetApp's not-very-magnum opus, Hybrid Cloud for Dummies. Maybe it's just US humour and we just don't get it this side of the pond. NetApp dummies hybrid cloud It's a special edition for NetApp and not to …
Chris Mellor, 16 Feb 2015
FlashSystem event

Yo, Kanye, Imma let you finish, but this IBM FlashSystem...

Never mind the elaborate countdown to a chance to glance at Kanye West's new trainers, it's storage insiders who know an important timer when they see one. Information about an unknown IBM FlashSystem has popped up on an Italian website, appearing to show that the NAND modules have been upgraded. IBM has a FlashSystem event …
Chris Mellor, 16 Feb 2015

Hortonworks dishes out Hadoop for HDS: Mmmm, open source with big vendor gravy

HDS will offer open-source data muncher Hadoop to the enterprise after doing a deal with Hortonworks. Hadoop distributor Hortonworks has signed an agreement with HDS to jointly promote and support the software. HDS can now deliver Hortonworks' Data Platform (HDP), Hadoop in other words, to its enterprise customers. Hortonworks …
Chris Mellor, 13 Feb 2015
Exablox node stack

Exablox is pretty sweet - but not great for restore applications

Comment One of the best places to find business storage products reviewed is Storage Review, which has just reviewed the Exablox NAS-headed object storage system for small and medium businesses. We wrote about Exablox and its RAID-less, deduping, highly scalable OneBlox technology here, saying the product looks like an Isilon cluster on …
Chris Mellor, 13 Feb 2015
earth view of the wind over the North Atlantic at sea level

Flash die supply dry? Not us. We've got a deal with Micron - Seagate

+Comment The winds of flash change are gusting strong - Seagate and Micron have signed a strategic agreement concerning next-generation SAS SSDs and strategic NAND supply, initially. Seagate's EVP for electronic solutions, Phil Brace, issued a quote saying: “This agreement enables Seagate to secure a strategic supply of NAND flash memory …
Chris Mellor, 13 Feb 2015
IBM 'through-silicon via' stacked chips

DDN purrs, rubs itself around Big Blue's legs, snuggles up to POWER

Intel CPU-using DDN has joined the OpenPOWER Foundation, which is focussed on the use of IBM's competing POWER processor design. DDN, which supplies storage arrays for HPC, big data and enterprise use, says that, by working with the foundation it will help partners and customers drive HPC infrastructure technologies further into …
Chris Mellor, 13 Feb 2015

Look who's SAP happy: HDS eyes up French techies at Oxya for lunch

Hitachi Data Systems intends to acquire Oxya, a SAP technical services and hosting outfit. Oxya, founded in 1998, is an international business headquartered in Paris, France, and has operations in Belgium, China, the UK and the US. It offers technical SAP services, hosting and outsourcing, and has had a relationship with HDS …
Chris Mellor, 12 Feb 2015

ONTAP isn't putting NetApp ONTOP

Opinion NetApp's third quarter results were poor but NetApp revenues have been flat or falling for a couple of years now. Management doesn't seem to view this as a deep-set problem requiring deep-set answers. In the earnings webcast, NetApp's management said the Q3 revenue fall was due to foreign exchange (FX) and sales execution issues …
Chris Mellor, 12 Feb 2015

What goes up but must come down? NetApp's customer invoices

Analysis Decline is setting in: NetApp's revenues are showing a distinctive downturn – and the latest quarterly numbers confirm the trend. Sales in the third quarter of 2015, which finished January 23, added up to US$1.55bn, which was 3.73 per cent down on the year-ago quarter's US$1.61bn. It was just half a per cent higher than Q2's $1 …
Chris Mellor, 12 Feb 2015
QXS_5600_bezel

Quantum stuffs disks in a StorNext box, says: Go ahead – stick a 4K in it

Quantum, having obtained fast file access for its video workflow customers with StorNext metadata controllers, now needs to keep on giving them gobs and gobs of online file capacity as workloads get bigger and bigger. Users in the media and entertainment business are coping with 4K and 8K video workflows with projects involving …
Chris Mellor, 11 Feb 2015
US_Iowa_firing

Storage firms drop 'A bombs' on the backup biz

The backup battleship product news blitz continues with broadsides from Actifio, Arcserve, Asigra and Avere, all involving the cloud. How the hell does anybody keep up with this barrage of backup news? Actifio Actifio is a file copy reduction startup which has been getting involved in disaster recovery. The technology involves …
Chris Mellor, 11 Feb 2015
Bloody Serial Killer Shower Curtain

For EMC, it’s all about the rack-scale flash

Comment EMC has two big engineering projects on the go, incorporating flash-based DSSD and virtual SAN ScaleIO, both looking to provide rack-scale storage. DSSD is an acquisition EMC made in May last year, and is working on a design using PCIe-accessed flash as the persistent storage tier. The idea is to have racks full of flash for …
Chris Mellor, 11 Feb 2015

Big data, come to BIG DADDY: HDS gobbles upstart Pentaho

Hitachi Data Systems is snapping up Pentaho for its big data integration and predictive analysis technology. Here's a quick look at Pentaho's history: Oct 2004: Founded by Doug Moran, James Dixon (CTO), Richard Daley (chief strategy officer) and Marc Batchelor (chief engineer) 2005: $5m A-round 2006: $8m B-round 2008: $12m C …
Chris Mellor, 10 Feb 2015

Not just Imation's imagination: That sinking feeling is real

+Comment Imation has turned in another quarter of revenue decline and losses and a full year of shrinking revenues. Its management is talking about strategic options and unlocking value with a financial advisor – which sometimes means selling off non-performing assets, though we couldn't say it does in this case. Let's get the numbers …
Chris Mellor, 10 Feb 2015
Kaminario K-Blocks

Hey channel dudes, says Kaminario, we REALLY want to flog more kit

Kaminario, needing to enlarge its sales, is launching its first channel programme to increase its market points of presence. With its iSPC-1 benchmark-topping K2 all-flash array, Kaminario is facing steadily increasing competition selling to enterprises as EMC (XtremIO), Pure Storage, Solidfire and IBM (FlashSystem) chip away at …
Chris Mellor, 10 Feb 2015

Seagate’s EVault joins the backup providers swarm

+Comment Seagate has a new backup target appliance (BTA) that can shoot data to a private, public or partner cloud, as well as having 65TB of usable storage capacity. Why in a mature market are there so very many suppliers? It announced 50TB (3U) and 100TB (4U) EBA (Enterprise Backup and recovery Appliances) appliances last September and …
Chris Mellor, 10 Feb 2015