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.

Cash-happy Quantum is poised to enter the HPC market

Quantum's confirmed fourth quarter and full fiscal 2015 results were better than the prelim numbers, with full year net income the highest in more than five years, and it's aiming to move into high-performance computing storage. Q4 revenues were $147.8m (the preliminary figure was $145m) with net income of $12.9m (prelim: $12m …
Chris Mellor, 07 May 2015
Stop sign in front of a bush. Image via Shutterstock

CommVault struggles to get the wheels back on its growth engine

A hard rain's a-gonna continue to fall as CommVault's uphill struggle shows a fourth fiscal 2015 quarter revenues fall. The US sales mix-up is being corrected and the appliance business is growing, but just when they're not wanted foreign currency problems pop-up. Fourth quarter FY2015 revenues were $150.7 million, 4 per cent …
Chris Mellor, 07 May 2015
U-boat

Dive! Dive! Dive! Imation submarine barrels down toward rocky seabed

The good ship Imation is like a World War Two submarine facing attack, with the captain yelling out "Dive! Dive! Dive!" - because diving is what all its revenues are doing. First quarter 2015 revenues were $155.4 million, 13 per cent down on the year-ago's $178.9 million, and a staggering 21 per cent down on the preceding …
Chris Mellor, 06 May 2015
Photo of HP Enterprise office

Merging HP and EMC – hold on, wait, hear us out. The cap is still on the bottle of crazy pills

Comment Does an EMC-HP merger make more sense now than last year when the two titans' inability to agree on a price put a stop to the idea? HP could join the EMC Federation as a servers-and-networking business, and stand alongside EMC II (EMC Information Infrastructure, aka storage), VMware (virtual server software), and Pivotal (big- …
Chris Mellor, 05 May 2015
Copperhead

EMC to open-source ViPR - and lots of other stuff apparently

Surprise, surprise; snake-charmer EMC is open-sourcing its ViPR Controller product. ViPR is software storage controller tech that separates the control and data planes of operation, enabling different data services to be layered onto a set of storage hardware products - such as EMC's own arrays, Vblocks, selected third-party …
Chris Mellor, 05 May 2015
Atlantis_butch_bezel

Atlantis kicks its flashy upstart brethren right in the price tag

Atlantis has a software-defined, butch-bezelled, all-flash hyper-converged appliance radically cheaper than EVO:RAIL, Nutanix and SimpliVity alternatives, even the hybrid flash-disk ones. Its turnkey HyperScale product is a development of its ILIO VDI and USX VMware VM-accelerating products, which use RAM caching to speed data …
Chris Mellor, 05 May 2015
Trex skull

EMC touts X-brick's hit house: 320TB all-flash cluster and XtremIO v4

EMC World 2015 EMC has doubled the capacity of its XtremIO all-flash array X-bricks – and increased the cluster count taking it up into higher-performing application areas. X-brick raw capacity doubles from 20TB to 40TB while the cluster node limit rises from six to eight, meaning there are 16 N-way active controllers. The previous maximum raw …
Chris Mellor, 04 May 2015
SAP HANA

Pure Storage flashes SAP credentials for HANA platform

Pure Storage is flashing its SAP Credentials in the enterprise with news it’s certified for HANA, the in-memory database for SAPpers. Formally, Pure’s FlashArray 400 Series is certified by SAP as storage for its HANA platform, meaning HANA offers database, transaction, query and analytics processing in-memory, with no need to …
Chris Mellor, 01 May 2015
FAme_the_Musical

If flash storage achieves FaME, will it live forever?

Data access latency has topped the IT sin charts lately and networked flash arrays have been replacing disk drives, doing away with those drives’ rotational delays. Anything that keeps applications in multi-core virtualised servers running, and not waiting for data while somebody accessing a web commerce page gets impatient and …
Chris Mellor, 01 May 2015
NetApp_AFA_FAS8080_SPC_1

NetApp's all-flash FAS array is easily in the top, er, six SPC-1 machines

NetApp has published an all-flash FAS8080 EX SPC-1 benchmark report [PDF]: 685,281 IOPS, $2.68/IOPS, and 1.23-millisecond response at 100 per cent load. This is the fifth-fastest SPC-1 result in our files in IOPS terms. NetApp_AFA_FAS8080_SPC_1 Top SPC-1 performance (IOPS) results with NetApp's FAS8080 EX in the fifth slot ( …
Chris Mellor, 30 Apr 2015
Xeon E7 die

HDS turns its back to ASICs: Storage vaults to rely on x86 sans magic

With its greatly expanded VSP G-line of products, Hitachi Data Systems has opened a path to a single converged enterprise storage array platform – and has done so by eliminating proprietary hardware dependencies. The high-end VSP G1000 has a handful of ASICs for hardware acceleration and a PCIe backplane with similar custom …
Chris Mellor, 29 Apr 2015
Umbrellas

Oh, hey, look – it's the hardware storing all your medical records

Hitachi has whipped out a data-center outage tool, a health data storage product, and an analytics center of excellence – and put them under a social innovation umbrella. What gives? Hitachi and HDS is turning itself into a kind of amalgam of GE (General Electric) and EMC. The three new products are: Hitachi Live Insight for IT …
Chris Mellor, 29 Apr 2015

Zoom in on HDS' Hyper Scale-out Platform kit

The Hitachi Hyper Scale-Out Platform – announced on Tuesday – is a single system for ingesting, accessing and analyzing big data-type information. Its architecture differs from typical Hadoop systems in that it avoids NameNode resource contention. The hardware in the 2U rack-enclosure HSP 400 node is this: Two Intel Xeon E5- …
Chris Mellor, 29 Apr 2015

NetApp CTO Jay Kidd resigns and retires from the industry

NetApp CTO Jay Kidd has decided to finish his corporate career and is retiring. Kidd said in a yet-to-go-live blog that "NetApp is a company that has world-class innovation, great people, impeccable ethics, and a culture that suits my personality and values exceptionally well". He wanted to complete his corporate career there …
Chris Mellor, 29 Apr 2015
UNicorn

Infinidat decloaks, bulging with a BILLION greenbacks

Symmetrix inventor and serial startup whiz Moshe Yanai has another startup exiting stealth; Inifinidat, which has a funding round and high-enough VC valuation for it to be a unicorn. Infinidata was started up in 2010 by ex-XIV vets with Yanai as a board member and, we’d guess, angel investor. It is kind of re-inventing XIV, both …
Chris Mellor, 29 Apr 2015

Tax shouldn't be taxing – unless you're Barracuda Networks

Barracuda Networks reported a satisfyingly chunky revenue rise for its final 2015 quarter and full year, ended February 28, but losses dove unexpectedly deep due to taxation manipulations. Revenues for the fourth fiscal 2015 quarter were US$72.2m, up 19.7 per cent on the year-ago's $60.3m, and 2.6 per cent higher sequentially. …
Chris Mellor, 29 Apr 2015

How do you sell fewer hard drives but make more profit? Let's ask ... Western Digital

Western Digital's third quarter of fiscal 2015, ended April 3, raked in sales of US$3.55bn – that's 4.1 per cent down on the year-ago quarter, and 8.7 per cent less than the previous quarter. It banked a profit of US$384m; that figure was US$375m a year ago, so that's a 2.4 per cent gain. WD recorded a profit of US$460m in the …
Chris Mellor, 29 Apr 2015

How do you really know if a storage array will perform for you?

When you have an existing storage array infrastructure with a variety of server apps about to hit the array, how do you know if array technology upgrades or even a new array will work as well or better than the existing kit? Do you trust your vendor and generalised performance data: It does 450,000 IOPS? This version is 1.3 …
Chris Mellor, 28 Apr 2015
wheat_harvest_648

HDS conference product splurge sees it lining up for data harvest

With a cornucopia of announcements, HDS is extending its VSP high-end technology down range, as well as introducing new UCP models, a Hyper Scale-Out Platform and infrastructure management software tools. This full house of news was announced during the HDS Connect conference at the Wynn Casino in Las Vegas, with an ITaaS meme: …
Chris Mellor, 28 Apr 2015
Panic button

Imation board and CEO get desperate ahead of May 20 AGM

Fearing the worst – that they might get booted off the board in a proxy vote war – Imation's CEO and board have written a second letter to shareholders, appealing for their support in a vote at the company's AGM on May 20. They criticised the Clinton Group and its ideas strongly, declaring: Clinton is seeking to remove three of …
Chris Mellor, 28 Apr 2015
schoolchildren_kids_victorian_cropped

HDS gets busy, finds itself in the VSP family way

We've learnt that HDS' high-end VSP G1000 storage array is sprouting siblings, with G200, G400, G600 and G800 products popping up under the high-end G1000 in the line up. The G1000 high-end system was announced 11 months ago, in May 2014. Now we have four more members which could be seen to be affecting the entry-level US 100 …
Chris Mellor, 28 Apr 2015
SanDisk_updated_PCIe_flash_range_video

SanDisk goes nuclear with its Fusion flash card range

SanDisk has announced third-generation ioDrive PCIe and mezzanine flash cards, claiming up to a fourfold price performance improvement, with up to a 61 per cent list price reduction over the previous generation Fusion ioDrive 2/Atomic product. Fusion-io and its ioMemory technology was bought by SanDisk for $1.1bn in June last …
Chris Mellor, 28 Apr 2015
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft is BEATING Amazon's cloud revenues. Er, how?

Microsoft's cloud revenues are beating those of Amazon's AWS. That's if analyst-haus Stifel Nicolaus's data is correct. Back in 2012's third quarter Microsoft commercial cloud revenue was $254m, with Amazon Web Services (AWS) ahead at $530m. In the first quarter of 2015 AWS revenues totaled $1.566bn, with Microsoft nudging ahead …
Chris Mellor, 27 Apr 2015
Monty Python foot UHDTV

Wikibon takes Fusion-io founder's FaME to logical conclusion

The Wikibon consultancy has taken an idea put forward by Fusion-io founder David Flynn and formulated a flash-as-memory-extension concept (FaME). The concept involves getting rid of external IO for IO-bound applications by running them and their data entirely in logical memory. Instead of having data stored on disk, which is …
Chris Mellor, 27 Apr 2015

Hadoop ODP: No thanks says MapR, and Cloudera isn't impressed either

Hadoop disty MapR has kicked the Open Data Platform into touch, saying it only benefits competitor Hortonworks and provides a way for Pivotal to get out of a hole. The ODP was set up in February, with the aim of Linux-ising Hadoop with a tested reference core for the software. Cloudera, one of the three leading Hadoop …
Chris Mellor, 24 Apr 2015
Violins

Violin playing marketing Love songs with new CMO

All-flash array maker Violin has finally got over chief marketeer Eric Herzog's abrupt departure on the eve of a massive product announcement, and has appointed a new CMO, Amy Love. According to her LinkedIn entry, she comes to Violin via BizEthos, with a spell at NetApp prior to that, joining in May 2011. At NetApp she was VP …
Chris Mellor, 24 Apr 2015
POwered_Wheelchair

Revenue jumps, but FalconStor still wobbly on its feet

The sickly software-defined storage child that was FalconStor is not yet a strapping adolescent, but is at least on the way back to full health. First quarter 2015 revenues were a startlingly high $19.9 million, coming from a quarterly revenue band of $12-$15 million over the previous eight quarters. The year-ago quarter’s …
Chris Mellor, 24 Apr 2015
disk head crash

Disk drive shipment numbers set to spin down

Disk drive shipments have a negative CAGR, and will fall by 3.7 per cent between 2013 and 2020, said spindle motor maker Nidec. Within that, traditional enterprise drive shipments will decrease by 17.6 per cent, PC drives will drop 8.1 per cent, consumer electronics drives by 6.9 per cent and external drives by 0.4 per cent, but …
Chris Mellor, 24 Apr 2015
Mountain. Pic: Henry Hemming

EMC dives into Iron Mountain's cloudy backup lair

Backup, replication and DR services are being offered to EMC customers by backup bods Iron Mountain, thanks to it hosting Data Domain and Avamar replication targets in its data centres. Iron Mountain is a tape and paper archival storage service based in an old iron mine in Livingston, New York, used for growing mushrooms when …
Chris Mellor, 23 Apr 2015
NCI_Report

NetApp’s Raijin deal was driven by simple value for money

Comment NetApp is supplying Data ONTAP storage for use on an Aussie supercomputer (Raijin), which already uses DDN storage, and we wondered about the whys and wherefores of adding three new hardware platforms and two new operating systems. ”The DDN storage in Raijin is used for fast scratch space, and our global data file system (gdata …
Chris Mellor, 23 Apr 2015
True humility - the Curate's egg

EMC's curate's egg sees revenues waiting for new product take-offs

EMC’s first quarter results were like the curate's egg; good in parts, but hit by currency problems, job cuts and unsatisfactory core storage revenues in others. First-quarter 2015 revenues were up 2 per cent to $5.6bn, compared to $5.5bn a year ago, with EMC II (the core storage biz) revenues disappointing. The top-line number …
Chris Mellor, 23 Apr 2015
Aster_fraud_Detection_Sphere

Teradata's Aster shows how the flowers of fraud bloom

Comment Teradata’s Aster Data software is a lens through which data scientists can create visualisations of Big Data. Sounds dull, right? Not when you see the beautiful flowery images it creates. The images are simply astounding and you can drill down through them, clicking on points and paths, to get at the underlying raw data. Here’s …
Chris Mellor, 23 Apr 2015

ExaGrid giving rivals plenty of jaw-jaw

Harken to this, deduping back-up-to-disk system users: "ExaGrid’s largest system can take in a full backup that is 40 per cent larger and has an ingest rate that is six times faster than the EMC Data Domain 990, at half the price." That's ExaGrid CEO (and virtual chief marketing officer) Bill Andrews talking, and he's got a …
Chris Mellor, 22 Apr 2015
WD floods 1

Teradata bulks up its universe, joins data warehouse to data lake

Teradata is widening the use of its data warehouse and analytics by orchestrating access to more data silos and logically combining them, joining data lakes to data warehouses, so to speak. Teradata_Unified_Data_Architecture This is all part of Teradata's Unified Data Architecture push Teradata is the leading data warehouse …
Chris Mellor, 22 Apr 2015
Playground_slide

Whee! IBM storage hardware revenues just keep sliding and sliding

IBM's storage hardware revenue decline has continued, according to its 2015 first quarter results. IBM's earnings statement said: "Revenues from System Storage decreased eight per cent (down two per cent, adjusting for currency)." Remember, this is just the storage hardware business, ignoring storage software products, and if …
Chris Mellor, 21 Apr 2015
UK_Met_Office

Seagate rides on Cray's tails as supercomputer sales spike

Seagate supercomputer storage sales are rising, as Cray has won four supercomputer deals where the Sonexion 2000 storage is actually OEM'd ClusterStor arrays from Seagate's acquired Xyratex business. Seagate's overall business results may be lacking some lustre, but the Lustre-using ClusterStor side of its business is shining …
Chris Mellor, 21 Apr 2015
Two dollars

Netlist gets derisory $2 award following Diablo IP theft trial kerfuffle

Despite Netlist showing that Diablo had a vulgar joke internally at Netlist's expense, it has lost its IP theft jury trial against Diablo and now seems to be in a bit of a mess. The background to this flash-on-DIMM-socket brouhaha is here and we can now add a little more to it. First of all, Netlist did win something: an award …
Chris Mellor, 21 Apr 2015
Virtual machine servers. Pic: Bob Mical

Want to super scale-out? You'll be hungry for flash

Scale-out flash arrays sound excessive but they are really not. After all, we can understand scale-out filers, adding node after node to store rapidly growing file populations. Use cheap and deep disk for the data, with flash stashes used to hold the metadata and locate files fast. When the files are large then sequential access …
Chris Mellor, 21 Apr 2015
USB flash drive with NAND chip and controller chip

Flash dead end is deferred by TLC and 3D

Comment The arrival of a flash dead-end is being delayed by two technologies, both involving the number three – three-level cell (TLC) flash and three-dimensional (3D) flash – with the combination promising much higher flash chip capacities. As ever with semi-conductor technology, users want more data in the same space and faster access …
Chris Mellor, 21 Apr 2015
Raijin supercomputer

NetApp nails 11PB Oz supercomputer storage deal

NetApp is supplying ONTAP FAS, E-Series and EF-Series arrays to boost data capacity and access for Australia's NCI Raijin supercomputer. NCI is Australia's National Computing Infrastructure organisation and the Raijin system "is a Fujitsu Primergy high-performance, distributed-memory cluster." It comprises: 57,472 cores (Intel …
Chris Mellor, 20 Apr 2015

Seagate's third quarter results looking lacklustre as profits tumble

Seagate has reported year-on-year declines in third-quarter revenue and profit, as notebook enhancements went unnoticed. Third fiscal 2015 quarter revenues were $3.3bn, 3 per cent down on the $3.4bn recorded a year ago and 11 per cent lower than the second full-year 2015 quarter's $3.7bn. Profits were $291m, 26 per cent down on …
Chris Mellor, 20 Apr 2015
Qumulo QC208

Qumulo gets fat appliance alongside skinny fast one

Qumulo – the start-up building a better-than-Isilon scale-out NAS and staffed by Isilon vets – has launched a capacity-focused hardware product to complement its fast skinny one. Qumulo’s QC24 is a 1U appliance focused on performance, with 24TB of raw disk and 1.6TB of raw flash capacity (2 x 800GB eMLC SSDs) per node with the …
Chris Mellor, 20 Apr 2015

EMC buys cloudy Canuck security company CloudLink

EMC has bought CloudLink – a 20-person Canadian firm specialising in cloud data security software – for an undisclosed price. The software is SecureVM, which provides end-to-end data encryption for hybrid clouds, covering both at-rest and in-flight data for virtualised servers. It’s been an EMC Select Partner since 2013 and …
Chris Mellor, 17 Apr 2015
MICA aurora borealis probe small1

What's that coming over the Dot Hill, is it is a monster? Is it a sales monster?

SAN maker Dot Hill is lifting its revenue forecast for the quarter. Why’s that interesting? Because it confirms Dot Hill is climbing out of a deep ditch where it has spent the past four years hiding, and that the previous quarter’s sales increase wasn’t a one-off stunt. Summer really has arrived for Dot Hill. For the first …
Chris Mellor, 16 Apr 2015

Pure Storage shoves channel growth ahead of IPO dream bid

All-flash array start-up and IPO’er-in-waiting (we think) Pure Storage has got itself a new channel programme and two channel-focused exec hires, to get partners selling more tier-1 storage replacing Pure product. It is implementing a two-tier pan-regional distribution model, an expanded technology alliance ecosystem for …
Chris Mellor, 16 Apr 2015
Bloody Serial Killer Shower Curtain

Bloodied SanDisk preps for job cuts after market reading mis-steps

Comment SanDisk said its Q1 numbers were going to be bad, and bad they were, with revenue and profits drops due to an embedded component material screw-up and execs not seeing where the market was going. Job cuts are coming. What’s happened is that SanDisk fell short in the enterprise market, mis-read trends, and then discovered it …
Chris Mellor, 16 Apr 2015
Roadrunner and Wile E Coyote

Samsung's PCIe flash card: Slim, speedy, and just nibbling power

Samsung has tweaked its SM951 PCIe flash card to give it an NVMe interface as well as a low-power standby mode. The NVMe SM951 features faster speeds than the AHCI-based version; 300,000 random read 4K IOPS vs 130,000 100,000 random write 4K IOPS (we believe) vs 85,000 2.26GB/sec sequential read bandwidth vs 2.15GB/sec 1.6GB …
Chris Mellor, 16 Apr 2015
Fast_Ethernet_speeds_ADoption_650

2550100 ... An Illuminati codeword or name of new alliance demanding faster Ethernet faster?

An alliance called 2550100 has been announced by QLogic and others to deliver faster Ethernet faster – starting with 25GbitE to deliver better-than-10gig speed without jumping all the way to 40gig. There is a 2550100.com website, which lists 13 members, including DataCore, Finisar, HDS, Huawei, Lenovo, SuSE, QLogic (of course), …
Chris Mellor, 15 Apr 2015
Log jam

Startups face logjam as the trickle towards the exit turns into flood

Comment The mass of storage start-ups is threatening to overwhelm the exit routes into the great, wide post-start-up world, dooming many to lingering deaths or outright failure. Remember Attrato, Copan, Coraid, Exafile, Nirvanix, Parascale, Starboard Storage and TrueSAN? Hopeful storage start-ups that failed to make it from the start-up …
Chris Mellor, 15 Apr 2015
Delia Derbyshire edits on a Philips EL3503

DDN unveils filer boxes for all occasions at NAB 2015

DDN has launched two new filers: the MEDIAScaler for media workflows and a refreshed GRIDScaler for HPC-style workloads. Both were launched at NAB 2015, the National Association of Broadcasting Show in Las Vegas, where user attendees will typically work with large sets of often multi-component video files and need fast access to …
Chris Mellor, 15 Apr 2015