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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.

StorSimple_8000

Who's that new kid making hybrid SAN kit? Yes, it's MICROSOFT

Microsoft's StorSimple is getting more Azurified with an 8000 series and tighter Azure integration and we can now report more about the two arrays. These 8100 and 8600 rackmount boxes are 2U and 4U high respectively and accessed using iSCSI over 10 and 1GbitE. They have inline deduplication, compression and thin provisioning. …
Chris Mellor, 10 Jul 2014

Backers stump up 'Amazon' $20m to fund Avere's cloud ascension

Go-faster filer front-end box startup Avere wants to be a cloud storage gateway as well and has landed $20m in fourth rounding funding to grow its sales, marketing and international ops. The public cloud back-ending of storage arrays is becoming more prominent, with NetApp extending its ONTAP software to control data access for …
Chris Mellor, 10 Jul 2014
Redefine

EMC gives up the goods at storage shindig: VMAX3 speeds, feeds

EMC's been keeping quiet on the whole "how fast can this baby go" front when it comes to the VMAX3 range. But the storage vendor used its megalaunch – with its "Redefine Possible" tagline and futuristic look – to break its silence. So what's under the hood? EMC has extended VMAX to run more and different workloads. Each of “Gen …
Chris Mellor, 10 Jul 2014
Tegile Zebi chassis

Tegile boots Dell array out of chemical biz. Dell responds: Tegile, who?

Hybrid array maker Tegile has kicked a Dell box out of chemical distributor Hawkins, the storage upstart claims, by replacing a Compellent array with one of its own systems. Tegile says this indicates the power of modern hybrid flash-disk arrays over traditional SANs. Tegile has also replaced a slow FlexPod system at another …
Chris Mellor, 10 Jul 2014
Isilon 3-node S200

EMC's new Isilon models are great little performers – but why no capacity increase?

EMC's Isilon has introduced two new go-faster products and a refresh release of its OneFS operating system, increasing performance and extending access protocol support – but not increasing capacity. The new models from the scale-out filer business offer a twofold performance increase, and there are two of them. In the high- …
Chris Mellor, 09 Jul 2014
ECX

Catalogic swaps CEO for buyout veteran

Syncsort data protection spin-off Catalogic Software has changed its CEO less than 10 months after appointing Flavio Santoni as its first CEO. What lies behind this? Syncsort spun-off its data protection business in October, leaving behind a data integration business focussed on Hadoop and big data, and saying that was now its …
Chris Mellor, 09 Jul 2014
C10K1800

HGST's tiny whopper: Just 2.5 inches, but we've packed in 1.8TB

HGST has gone and increased its 1.2TB Ultrastar drive’s capacity to 1.8TB, making it the highest capacity 2.5-inch drive available. The Ultrastar C10K1800 spins at 10,520rpm and has a 12Gbit/s SAS interface (the C10K1200 model had a slower 6Gbit/s one). HGST says the new drive writes random data 2.5 times quicker than the old …
Chris Mellor, 09 Jul 2014
CA Technologies logo

Software giant CA Technologies dumps arcserve biz

CA Technologies has sold its arcserve data protection business to Marlin Equity Partners for an undisclosed sum. This is meant to enable CA to focus on its core technologies and get back to growth with software-as-a-service products. The arcserve product is possibly being discontinued because it will cost too much to develop, …
Chris Mellor, 09 Jul 2014
XtremIO array and 4 X-Brick nodes

EMC huffs, gives XtremIO a polish, shows off shiny data services

EMC's XtremIO all-flash array will benefit from new data services and models as the company spools up to take on Pure Storage, IBM and other flash array competitors. There is a new 5TB Starter X-Brick, lowering starter costs, and X-Brick clusters can scale out to six nodes with 12 active controllers. The Starter X-Brick can …
Chris Mellor, 08 Jul 2014
VMAX3

EMC gobbles cloud upstart TwinStrata

EMC is buying startup TwinStrata and its cloud storage gateway technology, CloudArray. And the storage giant intends to provide public cloud access as an embedded data service for VMAX3 users. EMC's Information Infrastructure division – its core storage biz – has also announced new products for its flash, high-end enterprise …
Chris Mellor, 08 Jul 2014
NIMBOXX intro video

A Google-style hyper-scale data centre... but WITHOUT the Google

Another startup has emerged on the hyperconverged system block: Austin-based NIMBOXX, which claims its customers can increase IO performance by up to 500 per cent. All and any companies can enjoy a Google-style hyper-scale data centre now, it claims. NIMBOXX_box NIMBOXX box The box, which it dubs “the atomic unit of the …
Chris Mellor, 08 Jul 2014
Wayne Lam

Let the SAN shine: Cirrus Data Solutions plugs speedy solution

A startup founded in 2010 reckons it can speed up SAN data access tenfold using its in-fabric Data Caching Server appliance. Cirrus Data Solutions (CDS) is based in Jericho, NY, and its CEO is Wayne Lam, who co-founded FalconStor. The founding funding amount was $480,000. Paul Bjorndahl, VP of sales and marketing at CDS, said …
Chris Mellor, 07 Jul 2014

IDC busts out new converged systems charts, crowns Oracle as Platform King

IDC's numerical navel-gazers have delved into integrated systems and found out that Oracle's engineered systems are crapping all over everybody else and FlexPod is winning out over VCE. The IDC quants separate out Integrated platforms, like Oracle's engineered systems, from Integrated infrastructures, like VCE's Vblocks. Here's …
Chris Mellor, 07 Jul 2014
WD TV bix

WD adds Miracast support to feed-slinging tellybox gizmo

WD has updated its “sling your media to the TV” box and brought out the WD TV Personal Edition, adding Miracast support. It's a media player that, according to the bumf, "plays virtually any media file stored on USB and network storage devices or any computer on the home network." It supports file formats like MKV, MP4, AVI, …
Chris Mellor, 07 Jul 2014
A person measuring her waistline

Kiss my DRaaS: Actifio reckons its virty gear will shrink your storage

Actifio is using its copy data virtualisation technology to provide application recovery and test environment creation in a data centre or up in the cloud, and management at VM-level instead of storage LUN level. The Resiliency Director works with Activio's CDS and Sky products to do this. Actifio's CDS product makes a “golden …
Chris Mellor, 04 Jul 2014
cloud

Terror in Cloudland? CTERA trousers $25m investment

Cloud storage gateway hopeful CTERA Networks has closed a $25 million funding round. The cash will go towards building out its world-wide go-to-market organisation. The round was led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from existing CTERA investors Benchmark Capital, Cisco, and Venrock. CTERA calls it a C-round but …
Chris Mellor, 03 Jul 2014

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