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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.

Simplivity drops sweet OmniCubes into channel's cup

Simplivity, the startup selling its hyper-converged server, storage and networking OmniCube, is expanding its global channel program with three membership tiers. Launched in 2013 (story here), the company's OmniCube product is called a v3.0 convergence system and Simplivity claims hundreds of customers around the globe and m0re …
Chris Mellor, 02 Jul 2014
VMware VSAN Concept

Listen bud – crud FUD flood is dud, says Dell: 'We do support VSAN'

We've been in receipt of allegations that Dell is not committed to VSAN, which Dell roundly and strongly denies, saying it's competitor FUD. The allegations included such things as: Dell is shipping ancient LSI firmware that has a queue depth of 25 instead of 600. Performance is poor with a 30ms latency before you hit 400 (yes …
Chris Mellor, 02 Jul 2014
Hitachi VSP All-flash array SPC-1 ranking

What makes a tier-1 enterprise flash array a superior beast?

Enterprise tier-1 storage arrays are a breed apart, focusing on providing fast access to vast amounts of data without either losing data or limiting access to it. This is in contrast to the broad mass of storage arrays, which have dual controllers and thus limit the amount of data they can store and the number of concurrent …
Chris Mellor, 02 Jul 2014
Hyper ISE with SSD and HDD

Seagate's bought a disk drive array firm. Déjà vu? You betcha

Seagate has tried making a go of the disk drive array business before, and failed. Now it has bought a disk array supplier for the second time. What's different, and could X-IO's technology have a role to play? In 2000 X-IO, then a five-year old startup known as Xiotech and offering virtualising SAN storage arrays, was bought by …
Chris Mellor, 02 Jul 2014
Cisco's UCS customer count over time

Cisco doesn't make hyper-converged gear, but if it did, it'd probably look like this

Cisco is big in converged systems but nowhere in hyper-converged ones. What we mean by that is that Cisco is big in converged systems, such as VCE's Vblocks and the Cisco-NetApp FlexPods, but it doesn't have systems in the Nutanix and Simplivity class, which are more integrated than the Vblock and Flexpod systems. Now that Dell …
Chris Mellor, 02 Jul 2014
X-IO Emergency VDI response

X-IO offers emergency RACK IMPLANT treatment for moaning hosted VDI users

Does your VDI performance suck? X-IO is hoping you'll call the VDI doctor and bag yourself a treatment in as little as 72 hours. The company claims its response can be implenented in as little as 72 hours after diagnosis, which itself is up to 24 hours after the customer's call. If your Citrix or VMware VDI performance is a …
Chris Mellor, 01 Jul 2014
Crossbar RRAM

New research: Flash is DEAD. Yet resistance isn't futile - it's key

Flash is at a crossroads. It cannot keep shrinking dies because, beyond a certain point, NAND cells produce too many errors, are slower to respond and have a shortened working life. Yet a University of Michigan professor's research may hold the key to the future of flash storage technology. Flash foundry suppliers are working on …
Chris Mellor, 01 Jul 2014
Disco

WANdisco plunges into the Hadoop foam party, shakes its replication booty

WANdisco is bringing continuous wide-area availability to Hadoop big data users. The joint UK and US-based WANdisco (Wide Area Network DIStributed COmputing) sells software producing active-active data centres at WAN distances, which it says is suited to the Hadoop Big Data world. Its technology uses patented algorithms invented …
Chris Mellor, 01 Jul 2014
Scality Use Cases

Los Alamos National Laboratory likes it, puts Scality's RING on it

Scality has upgrade its RING object storage software to v4.3. RING software distributes object storage across multiple server nodes and uses erasure coding to ensure its integrity. Scality claims v4.3 "improves overall performance across a broad range of applications and workloads and enhances enterprise file operations by as …
Chris Mellor, 01 Jul 2014
DDN CEO and co-founder Alex Bouzari

Alex Bouzari on his big data storage firm: First, we got rid of the VCs

DataDirect Networks is quite unusual for a storage firm. First, it operates at supercomputer and HPC levels and is neither VC-backed nor a public company, making its internal strategies a matter for its execs alone. In this respect, it’s not as predictable or understandable as either a VC-backed startup or a post-IPO business. …
Chris Mellor, 30 Jun 2014
H. K. Desai

QLogic exec chairman HK Desai dies aged 68

Storage firm QLogic has lost its guiding light. The company's chairman, HK Desai, died after suffering a "sudden cardiac arrest" on 10 June. CEO and president Prasad Rampalli, who became CEO just six months ago, said: "HK dedicated most of his working life to building QLogic into the company it is today. His positive spirit, …
Chris Mellor, 30 Jun 2014
Silent Brick

Rare HPC beauties unveiled: Quivering racks, Lustre clusters and the tiers of a Cray

The International Supercomputer Show in Leipzig, Germany, was full of fascinating things at the high-end grunt front of the computing business. Here's what attracted this roving hack's eye. Bull has started a world-wide reseller agreement with Seagate’s Xyratex ClusterStor business for supercomputer storage. The ClusterStor …
Chris Mellor, 30 Jun 2014

Permabit squeezes its Albireo dedupe fruit, offers juice to vendors

Permabit is still aiming to strike OEM gold from its dedupe technology and has added compression to its Albireo deduper, aiming to help disk array vendors compete better against the all-flash and hybrid array startups. The idea is to enable disk array vendors to offer reduction of primary data, generally unavailable currently, …
Chris Mellor, 27 Jun 2014
Seagate logo

Seagate's LSI flash biz buyout: Good potential, but only if followed up

Will Seagate's buyout of LSI's old flash card business, which it snapped up from Avago and Xyratex, flourish or wither away inside the Californian conglomerate? Upfront, these are smart buys by Seagate, extending its target markets. Xyratex ClusterStor arrays can use its 6TB drives and their follow-on products, and the HDD …
Chris Mellor, 27 Jun 2014
cake

Skyera, Seagate: We'll feed backup hunger with 3-way flash layer cake

You know that thing about disk-based backup and restore being so much faster than tape? Turns out disk is too slow and you need flash. Yes really – at least according to Skyera and Seagate. The two storage vendors have cobbled together, sorry, integrated, a three-way system to beat the backup (and restore) blues. It involves …
Chris Mellor, 27 Jun 2014
NASA art depicting the 'hot Jupiter' HD189733b in orbit round its parent orange dwarf

What's hot and what's not in storage this week: Your byte-sized guide

Cloud, flash and convergence are surely three of the hottest topics in storage right now. The storage sphere is facing a torrent of news announcements and here are some of the latest ones in bite size: FlexPod passes $3bn in sales since 2010, which was when Cisco and NetApp agreed and devised this converged system architecture …
Chris Mellor, 26 Jun 2014
Dell EqualLogic blade array in the M1000e chassis

Dell mashes up EqualLogic and Compellent: Eat up kids, it's Dell Storage

With the worldwide availability of the SC4020 branded as Dell Storage, the company signals the coming together of its separate EqualLogic and Compellent networked storage array lines into a single brand and product technology. Simultaneously, Dell is OEM'ing to technologies for server-attached storage. We understand that other …
Chris Mellor, 26 Jun 2014
Not_ABBA

Take a chance on EMC: Bursts of aBBa spin up cloudy HPC goodness

EMC has developed a burst buffer technology that transforms its VNX mid-range enterprise storage into an HPC-class storage resource, with the aBBa cache providing the raw speed and the VNX the capacity. High-performance computing (HPC) has such enormous computing grunt that enterprise arrays, like VNX, can't keep up with either …
Chris Mellor, 25 Jun 2014

DDN's wonderful Bridge of WOS: Cloud, meet on-premise storage

DataDirect Networks has enabled its object storage system to use both on-premises storage arrays and ones in the cloud as object storage vaults. The Web Object Scaler (WOS) Bridge platform supports both DDN Lustre and GPFS environments. Back-ends to the object serving "head" can be the company's EXAScaler and GRIDScaler arrays, …
Chris Mellor, 25 Jun 2014
management intelligence1

REAR-END my CLOUD: HDS embiggens its object storage

Cloud back-ending is becoming more and more popular with storage system vendors and HDS has added cloud as a storage tier to its HCP object storage offering. The HCP (Hitachi Content Platform) supports so-called adaptive cloud tiering which supports the automated movement of data "to and from a choice of leading public clouds …
Chris Mellor, 24 Jun 2014
Stradivarius violin reproduction

Violin's arrays play in Concerto - but they can't hit the dedupe notes yet

In a major architectural extension Violin Memory has revealed its new Concerto 7000 array. This uses Violin's existing 6200 hardware and gives it a separate high-availability controller front end, with software to provide business continuity, data management and protection features - but not deduplication. Let’s just recap …
Chris Mellor, 24 Jun 2014

Dell inks OEM deal with Nutanix to build mutant server, storage, networking beasts

Dell has announced it will begin supplying a converged server, storage and networking appliance using Nutanix software. Nutanix is one of several startups making waves in the converged system space. Such systems are simpler to acquire, install and operate as they use integrated hardware and software components designed to …
Chris Mellor, 24 Jun 2014
Micron RealSSD

Chipper chipmaker Micron shows off boosted bottom line – gee, thanks, Elpida

Memory chipmaker Micron Technology – still riding high on the announcement that its on-package memory will bolster Intel's "Knights Landing" processor – has announced what appear to be cheery results today. Its fiscal 2014 quarter revenues were $3.98bn, 3 per cent lower than the second quarter of fiscal 2014 but a whopping 72 …
Chris Mellor, 24 Jun 2014
Apple iMac 21.5in late 2012

Backup bods Acronis extend disk-imaging support to Macs at last

Data protection house Acronis is announcing True Image for Mac (TIM - our acronym), the Apple equivalent of its True Image for Windows backup and recovery software. True Image is a full disk image backup utility. Up until now, TIM has only supported Windows. It does not run on Macs, either under Mac OS X, or with Windows running …
Chris Mellor, 24 Jun 2014
Pure Storage array

How much disruptive innovation does your flash storage rig really need?

Our technology world is fascinated by disruptive innovation. Every tech startup says its new technology is disruptive and therefore it is bound to succeed. So it is with all-flash arrays which can answer data requests in microseconds, instead of the milliseconds needed by disk drive arrays. Startups such as Pure Storage, …
Chris Mellor, 23 Jun 2014

Gartner deploys new converged-systems quadragon rankings

Gartner has produced a new and intriguing magic quadrant diagram for converged server/storage and networking systems - which it calls integrated systems. The leading supplier is VCE, the Cisco/EMC/VMware ménage-à-trois love child, closely followed by the Cisco-NetApp FlexPod system and also Oracle with its engineered systems. …
Chris Mellor, 20 Jun 2014
Blade Runner

'Any hypervisor, any cloud': Software defined data migrata Zerto cops 25m D-round dollars

Zerto, the hypervisor-based replicant - hey, this is sounding like Blade Runner - has raised $26 million in a funding D-round. The venture capital funding history looks like this: July 2011 - $6 million seed and A-round funding August 2011 - $15 million B-round April 2013 - $13 million C-round June 2014 - $25 million D-round …
Chris Mellor, 19 Jun 2014

Pure Storage buys HUNDREDS of patents from IBM in lawfare protection deal

Pure Storage, the fairly rich all-flash array startup, has spent some of its cash to buy more than a hundred storage patents from IBM and the two have signed a cross-licensing agreement. Pure’s legal VP, Joe FitzGerald, talked of how “this transaction significantly increases the number of Pure Storage’s patents, creating a more …
Chris Mellor, 19 Jun 2014
Sonos phone and tablet app

Sonos Controller app update conflict

Sonos users are a picky bunch. The latest Sonos Controller app is attracting some strongly negative reactions amongst its customers – yet more users like it than dislike it. Sonos Controller v5.0 runs on smartphones and tablets, streaming music stored on them or from internet music-streaming services like Spotify, Google Play …
Chris Mellor, 19 Jun 2014
Gondolier on Las Vegas Venetian Hotel's lagoon

You know what they say: What happens in Vegas, goes on the internet – right, HP 3PAR guys?

Hush there, 3PAR fans, and know of the rumours whispered into my ear following HP's Discover confab in Las Vegas this month. Here we go: We’ll see a better unified management console and new Remote Copy. We heard about triple data-centre replication with zero data-loss; async streaming for Remote Copy to give EMC's SRDF a …
Chris Mellor, 18 Jun 2014
Netapp

NetApp gives its FAS range a 4 MILLION IOPS dose of spit'n'polish

As we foretold in May, NetApp has completed the revamp of its unified storage FAS arrays with FAS2500s at the low-end and a monster FAS8080 EX at the top. We got the basic details, except for the FAS 8080 which has 36TB of (Virtual Storage Tier) flash and not the 18TB we thought. Apart from that it has up to 5.76PB of capacity …
Chris Mellor, 18 Jun 2014
Samsung RR82PDRS fridge

Internet of Things fridges? Pfft. So how does my milk carton know when it's empty?

In today's incredible Internet of Stuff Things world, the fridge is going to tell us we need to restock it with more milk and butter. What bunch of nutters thought this idea up? Let's take a patient walk through what a fridge would have to do to accomplish this, and then ask why it would be better than a fridge user's scan every …
Chris Mellor, 17 Jun 2014
Fight sticker

Fighting words from Asigra: Yes, backup vendors, we said it... commodity hardware

Asigra has devised a server + storage configuration for cloud providers using its backup software that it claims is cheaper than Dell or HP kit. It is essentially selling its backup software together with a promise to enable customers to buy a complete underlying software and hardware server, networking and storage stack, with …
Chris Mellor, 17 Jun 2014
Benjamin Button

HP faces down youthful tech upstarts: Don't judge us by our looks

Hewlett-Packard is a mature company operating among other declining mature firms – all of whom have to compete with new, immature rivals. So how can it equip itself to prosper in the new era? Cisco UCS Invicta racks Old-hand Cisco got wise to the disruptive game early, coming up with UCS when everyone thought Dell, HP and IBM …
Chris Mellor, 17 Jun 2014

Quick as a flash: SanDisk gobbles Fusion-io for an Instagram (that's $1.1bn)

The end-game for flash supplier consolidation is in sight: SanDisk is buying Fusion-io for a paltry $1.1bn. The bare bones are: All-cash transaction for $1.1bn, tendering $11.25 for each Fusion-io share. Both boards are in favour. Fusion’s PCIe flash card and ioControl shared flash array businesses will be integrated with …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jun 2014
OSR_schematic

Hey, VMware. You've got competition – from a Belgian upstart

Belgian startup incubator CloudFounders has an open source project to provide an networked object storage backend to VMware or KVM virtual machines using a VSAN-like Open vStorage Router (OSR). OSR is a VMware VM, or runs on bare metal in a KVM server, and it scales out by having OSR run on additional virtualised servers linked …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jun 2014
Four of EMC/XtremIO's Project X all flash arrays

It's tough at the top: Yet another hybrid startup knocks EMC

Nimble Storage is setting its sights on would-be EMC clients with competitive data tables showing that its product is better than both VNX hybrid arrays and also XtremIO all-flash arrays. This comes just days after Nutanix opened up its Nix vBlock marketing campaign against EMC-using Vblocks from VCE. It’s hard being top of the …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jun 2014
Gartner_WW_SSDs_REvenue_large

IBM officially biggest all-flash array shipper - analyst

No, it isn’t the greatly anticipated all-flash array magic quadrant, but it's great Gartner analysis nonetheless. The number-crunchers at Gartner HWQ have produced a Market Share Analysis: SSDs and Solid-State Arrays, Worldwide, 2013. Yummy. Let’s see what’s inside. The doc, available as a download from Pure Storage (guess who's …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jun 2014
IMFT 25nm Flash die

Shiny happy people holding DIMMs: Plus Facebook's data centres are going all-flash

HP's Discover conference, held over 10-12 June in Las Vegas, featured sessions from Intel, SanDisk and Toshiba as well as HP, and flash featured highly on the agenda. We've rounded up the most useful storage titbits for your reading pleasure. We’re informed that HP is not talking to Simplivity about acquired that converged …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jun 2014
Software-Defined Storage for Dummies. It's a real book!

IBM releases Software-Defined Storage For Dummies - no joke

IBM has written its own Software Defined Storage for Dummies book (PDF) focusing on – you guessed it – its home-brewed General Parallel File System Elastic Storage.* It defines software-defined storage like this: At its most basic level, software defined storage is enterprise class storage that uses standard hardware with all …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jun 2014
CS400

Nimble is as Nimble does: Mutant runs 'just like flash-only' gear

Nimble has boosted the performance of its hybrid flash and disk arrays with a CS700 model and all-flash expansion shelf. Nimble’s arrays provide disk-based capacity with flash used as a cache to accelerate data access. It claims that it now “provides the performance of flash-only arrays and the capacity of hybrid arrays” because …
Chris Mellor, 12 Jun 2014
Anchorman street fight

Nutanix vs VCE: Battle of the converged upstarts rages on

Which is better for VDI: Vblocks or Nutanix’s converged appliances? Nutanix has a test that it claims proves its own kit is best. Unsurprisingly, VCE strongly disputes this. Nutanix is currently on an anti-VCE drive which it has dubbed nixVblock, and which recently included a controversial campaign reportedly likening VBlock to …
Chris Mellor, 12 Jun 2014
Verizon

Verizon: Only a CROWD of storage tech firms can hold up our hefty cloud

While Verizon has adopted Amplidata’s Himalaya object technology for its Cloud Storage service, it told The Register that this does not mean it has given up on HDS’s Content Platform (HCP) – which is also object-based. We suggested this might be the case yesterday, but Kevin King, Verizon Enterprise Solutions’ corporate comms …
Chris Mellor, 12 Jun 2014
PAS16 enclosure

Panasas: Avoid lengthy RAID re-builds - use our dodgy-file tart-up tech

Storage biz Panasas has unveiled boosted hardware and software – and attacked the RAID rebuild problem by rebuilding damaged files instead of complete disks. The company is an HPC storage system supplier which is moving into technical computing/big data use cases in enterprises. It has more than 450 customers in 50+ countries …
Chris Mellor, 12 Jun 2014
Everest

US telco titan Verizon floats storage clouds over Himalaya

It looks like Verizon is parking its storage atop the cloudy peaks of Amplidata’s Himalaya object storage architecture. Amplidata, an object storage startup, says: “With Himalaya, users can easily store and manage zettabytes of data and trillions of stored objects, all under one global namespace using Intel-based commercial off …
Chris Mellor, 11 Jun 2014
CS400

Networked mutant flash-disk beast Nimble to smack flashy rivals with 'high-end' boxen

Nimble Storage is going to do a Tegile and have all-flash shelves in a new high-end product that will also undercut its main rival, fellow all-flash array startup Pure Storage, or so it claims. Tegile and Nimble both supply networked hybrid flash/disk arrays using operating software expressly designed to use flash optimally, as …
Chris Mellor, 11 Jun 2014
StoreOnce 6500

HP unveils federated backup that won't get your back up ... it hopes

Meg Whitman's mega firm is federating backup appliances to ease the pain of managing multiple silos and claims management overhead is reduced by 75 per cent through no more "physical mapping of backup jobs to individual backup appliances". The news came at HP’s Discover bash in Las Vegas, where it unveiled StoreOnce Federated …
Chris Mellor, 10 Jun 2014

HP Simplivity buyout rumours: Could it be worth HALF a BILLION?

HP is said to be in talks to buy Simplivity, a startup whose main offering is the Omnicube converged server/storage/networking systems. The Omnicube is a so-called hyper-converged system, designed from the ground up to eliminate the data centre chaos of independent server, storage and networking products that have to be …
Chris Mellor, 10 Jun 2014
Comparison between ThruChip Communications' ThruChip Interface (TCI) and through-silicon via (TSV)

Semiconductor boffin: 3D NAND don't need NO STEENKIN' TSVs

Chip analyst Jim Handy of Objective Analysis took exception to several issues raised in a recent 3D NAND story, and El Reg storage desk asked him a few short questions for clarification. He provided a few short answers that did just that - and here they are. El Reg: Are there TSVs (through-silicon vias – vertical electrical …
Chris Mellor, 10 Jun 2014
StoreServ_7450

HP unveils enlarged 460TB 7450 all-flash array

HP has added deduplication to its 3PAR 7450 all-flash arrays. That means Hewlett-Packard – keen to not waste a byte, and provide deduplication for 3PAR file operations – is now at last able to reclaim duplicated bytes of information from chunks of 3PAR block storage. It calls this Thin Deduplication. Dedupe is just for the all- …
Chris Mellor, 09 Jun 2014