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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.

LaCie Fuel

LaCie adds fire to Fuel: Revs Wi-Fi external storage gadget to 2TB

Seagate sub LaCie has revved its Fuel Wi-Fi external storage capacity from 1 to 2TB and claims it's the highest capacity wireless 2.5-inch drive on the market. It can provide a Wi-Fi accessed storage resource for iPads, iPhones, iPod Touch, Macs, Android mobile devices (v2.3 or later), the Kindle Fire, and Windows 8, 7, and …
Chris Mellor, 01 Apr 2014
LSI Nytro MegaRAID 8140-8e8i

LSI embiggens MegaRAID flash stash

LSI has doubled the amount of flash on its MegaRAID card to 1.6TB and quadrupled the number of ports to 16 so the mighty little beast can be used to accelerate servers in hyperscale environments. The PCIe-connected Nytro MegaRAID cards combine a RAID controller with on-board flash and caching software to provide faster access to …
Chris Mellor, 01 Apr 2014
BigFoot 4U Object chassis and rack

Scality slips its Ring around Kinetic drives

Scality is developing its RING object storage system to use Seagate’s Kinetic drives. These drives implement an on-board key/value store and are directly accessed over Ethernet using Get and Put requests. Each drive has two 1Gbit/s Ethernet ports. Scality’s RING storage uses scale-out nodes that can grow to multi-petabyte …
Chris Mellor, 01 Apr 2014
CloudSpeed product shot

SanDisk offers Cloudspeed flash options for pockets deep and shallow

SanDisk has revved its CloudSpeed SATA SSD line, adding a tad more random read speed, slowing down the random write speed and reducing the sequential read and write speeds a trifle, too. These are business/enterprise SSDs in a 2.5-inch form factor product line that SanDisk acquired when it bought SMART Storage. There were then …
Chris Mellor, 01 Apr 2014
TDK TMR hard disk drive read/write head

Spin that disk drive forecast, Gartner: Watch those desktop units dive

Gartner is forecasting that total hard disk drive shipments will grow at a leisurely 2.9 per cent CAGR from 2013 (552 million units) to 2018 (635.1 million units). But bear in mind that's an average: desktop drives unit shipments will be shrinking at a -7 per cent CAGR over the period while high-capacity business drives grow at …
Chris Mellor, 31 Mar 2014

NetApp and IBM's high fibre treat: First SPC benchmark using FCoE

NetApp and IBM have released SPC-1 benchmarks showing IBM’s 10 gig V7000 FCoE system being narrowly beaten by NetApp’s FAS8020 using 16gig FC. Let's rephrase that. A flash-assisted array using faster Fibre Channel beat an all-disk array using slower Ethernet. Quelle surprise. SPC-1 tests a storage array’s ability to perform …
Chris Mellor, 31 Mar 2014

C'mon, Commvault: You have the tech to build VM mutants...

Commvault, the arch archiver and backup biz, appears to have a virtual machine "mutation" facility, and this has prompted some speculation here at El Reg storage desk. A quick recap. Simpana 10 can back up physical and virtual servers and virtual machines (VMs) from VMware and Hyper-V. It supports cross-platform data protection …
Chris Mellor, 31 Mar 2014
Merlin Data Center Cold Aisle

How much data must you have before you need Cleversafe? If you have to ask ...

Analysis: Cleversafe is the leading object storage supplier, according to an IDC marketscape chart (see below). How did it get there? We talked to Chris Gladwin, its founder, about how and why Cleversafe was started up and how it got where it is. The story starts in 2004 when he sold his second start-up, digital music supplier …
Chris Mellor, 31 Mar 2014
WD My Passport Pro

Don't tase me Pro: WD brings out Thunderbolt external drive

WD has bought out a Thunderbolted My Passport Pro external drive with power delivered over the speedy data cable. WD My Passport Pro Wd Thunderbolt My Passport Pro It comes in 2TB and 4TB capacities using two 2.5-inch drives, with either RAID 0 (striping) or RAID 1 (mirroring) for MAC users. RAID 0 delivers up to 233MB/sec …
Chris Mellor, 31 Mar 2014
Sony X85 65-inch flat panel 4K TV

Put a 4K in it: Quantum soups up StorNext bundles for Pros

Quantum has added Pro Storage bundles to its StorNext file virtualisation and archiving range aimed at making StorNext more cost effective for digital workflows in the 4K era. These workflows deal with displays with around 4,000 pixel horizontal resolution, such as ultra-high-definition TVs. Video files for such displays will be …
Chris Mellor, 28 Mar 2014
Drobo 4-bay

Storage boxen-flinger Drobo: Our Q4 numbers were not that NASty

Glossy storage boxen flinger Drobo has "adjusted" its prices and snuggled up to partners and says it is experiencing a resurgent demand for its products. A new 4-bay product should benefit from that. Drobo founder Geoff Barrall returned to the helm at Drobo when his ConnectedData startup merged with Drobo in May 2013. While …
Chris Mellor, 27 Mar 2014
Playbar speakers

Ancient telly, check. Sonos sound system, check. OMG WOAH

Oh boy! I just turned my crap 10-year-old Sony Bravia TV into a home theatre by replacing the limited speakers inside the Bravia’s enclosure with a Sonos Playbar. I'm blown away. The Playbar is a substantial piece of kit. Sonos Playbar Sonos Playbar It weighs 11.9lbs (5.4kg) and its dimensions are 3.35” high, 35.43” long and …
Chris Mellor, 26 Mar 2014
Open Compute Frank Frankovsky

Facebook’s Open Compute papa leaves 'Friends' behind to set up optical storage firm

Facebook Open Compute guru Frank Frankovsky is leaving to found an optical storage startup focusing on cold data. Frankovsky is the man who turned Facebook into a commodity barebones box buyer of servers, which he and his team designed and made available to everybody through the Open Compute Project. The project was announced in …
Chris Mellor, 26 Mar 2014

Analyse this: Gartner eyes up EVERYONE'S mid-range arrays

Gartner has rated mid-range arrays in a report - Critical Capabilities for General-Purpose, Midrange Storage Arrays - which includes the expected mainstream vendors as well as three startups. This marks the first time a reputable independent analyst agency has compared and contrasted mainstream vendor, niche supplier and startup …
Chris Mellor, 25 Mar 2014
Athanasius Kircher's map of Atlantis c. 1669, North is at the bottom

Atlantis: That whole storage HOLY GRAIL thing? We've only gone and DONE IT

When we said that storage nirvana would be the ability to have VSAN virtualised storage containers and physical SAN array resources managed by the same policy-driven software abstraction layer, we little imagined a software supplier would pop up and say: “We can do that.” That's just about what El Reg storage desk wrote in this …
Chris Mellor, 25 Mar 2014

Entry-level HP SAN array stoops to conquer small biz bods

Once upon a time, HP had an MSA entry-level SAN array line-up with MSA 1000 (2gig FC) and MSA p2000 (8gig FC, 10gig iSCSI, 6 gig SAS) products. Now again it has two MSA array products: the MSA 1040 and 2040 dual-controller array products. Updated StoreEasy and StoreOnce product features were announced at HP's channel event in …
Chris Mellor, 24 Mar 2014
Broke - empty pockets

Miserly investors toss $11m at storage upstart Amplidata

Is this thin investment provisioning in action? Object storage startup Amplidata has had $11m chucked at it to grow the business – a relatively trifling amount. Amplidata develops and sells the AmpliStor object storage product, which is OEMed as Lattus by Quantum. It uses a component of its StorNext multi-tier file …
Chris Mellor, 24 Mar 2014
Steve Bennet, ex-Symantec CEO

Big Yellow loses its head... again: Symantec, we need to talk

Symantec recently fired Steve Bennett, its second CEO in two years. As a previous chairman of the board, Bennett was part of the team that shifted off the previous CEO. Apparently now, new blood is needed to "act aggressively to capture a growing share of this market," in the words of the new chief, Michael Brown. Steve Bennet …
Chris Mellor, 24 Mar 2014
Actifio's single protection silo and virtual copies

Storage weight-loss wonder Actifio slurps $100 million cash pot

File copy reduction startup Actifio has just been give $100m in a funding round to grow its business. Its Copy Data Storage platform product makes a master snapshot copy of production data and presents virtualised copies of it for test and dev, protection, business continuity, disaster recovery, archiving and analytics use. …
Chris Mellor, 24 Mar 2014
Joe Tucci EMC

EMC succession: You can't Tucci this

Joe Tucci’s time at the top of the EMC tree is not up for at least another two years, maybe more. Back in 2011/2012 there was a lot of attention paid to who would succeed him at the top of the EMC tree. All that has gone away. Joe Tucci Joe "Isn't life great" Tucci Stifel Nicolaus analyst Aaron Rakers reports on EMC boss Joe …
Chris Mellor, 24 Mar 2014
Cleversafe dsNet SW running on HP Servers

Cleversafe tweaks dsNet, broadens ClevOS support

Object storage startup Cleversafe, which updated its dsNet hardware and software in December last year, has updated its software again, and added to its certified hardware and protocol roster. It has: Certified its dsNet technology on two HP ProLiant Gen8 servers; ProLiant SL4540 Generation 8 (Gen8) server as a Slicestor …
Chris Mellor, 21 Mar 2014
Padmasree Warrior

Sync'n'sharers Box snaffle Cisco's Warrior CTO .... IPO time?

File sync'n'sharer Box has recruited a big hitter to its board: Cisco’s chief technology officer. Padmasree Warrior, the capable chief technology and strategy officer for Cisco, is becoming a director at Box, where the CEO is co-founder Aaron Levie, and the goal is, we understand, an IPO. She will be the second independent …
Chris Mellor, 21 Mar 2014

Gartner gurus: Storage array market GREW at the end of 2013

Number-crunchers Gartner's external storage market gurus reckoned it returned to year-on-year growth in the last quarter of fiscal 2013. According to Gartner: “Worldwide external controller-based (ECB) disk storage vendor revenue totalled $6.3bn in the fourth quarter of 2013, a five per cent increase from $6.0bn a year ago.” …
Chris Mellor, 21 Mar 2014
VMware's monster VM

It's storage's HOLY GRAIL: VSANs, PSANs and virtual silos

Three blog posts about VMware’s VSAN had me thinking furiously. Where is VMware going with this and where could or should it go? The first blog was Storagebod on VSANity in which he says VSAN, the ESXi hypervisor’s aggregating of server-direct attached storage (DAS) into a virtual SAN, was nice up to a point. He asks: “Why limit …
Chris Mellor, 21 Mar 2014
Gartner ECB storage trends

Gartner networked storage suppliers: Behold the Reg spaghetti-graphic

Gartner’s worldwide external controller-based disk storage numbers have come in - and we’ve graphed them for all the quarters since the start of 2011. Some caveats: These are disk storage numbers; no solid state storage is included, We calculated percentage shares and any errors are ours, Hitachi/HDS revenue excludes OEM …
Chris Mellor, 20 Mar 2014
Micron M550

Micron embiggens personal SSD for storage-hungry public

Micron has given its M500 personal SSD a kick in the pants upwards with its M550 iteration being faster and holding slightly more data courtesy of a Marvel controller. The M500 – review here – stored up to 960GB of data; this M550 moves up to a 1TB maximum capacity. It is made from the same 20nm Micron NAND but replaces the …
Chris Mellor, 20 Mar 2014
Out Run

Gartner: Array makers. Think performance counts? WRONG

A Gartner report looking at high-end enterprise storage arrays published this month has concluded that because of SSDs, an array's performance is no longer a differentiator in its own right. “Critical Capabilities for General-Purpose, High-End Storage Array” was published on 7 March. It put HDS kit out front for "Best Overall", …
Chris Mellor, 20 Mar 2014
New Sonos phone app

Sonos offers updated music controller to Fandroids for testing

Streaming Wi-Fi speaker whiz Sonos is testing an updated version of its smartphone/tablet app, with beta test software now available to Android phone users. New Sonos phone app Forthcoming phone controller app The new features in the app include: search for music tracks enabled across all services, refreshed design with “ …
Chris Mellor, 20 Mar 2014
Marc Whitten

Ex-Xbox gros fromage joins wireless speaker whizzkids Sonos

Microsoft’s chief Xbox product officer Marc Whitten has joined streaming Wi-Fi speaker biz Sonos as its chief product officer. A note on Xbox Wire said: “The Xbox team is sad to share today that Marc Whitten, Chief Product Officer (CPO) of Xbox, will be leaving the team to become Chief Product Officer of Sonos.” Whitten joined …
Chris Mellor, 19 Mar 2014
Crystal ball via http://www.manoftaste.de/

So, Mystic Joe Tucci: Is a hyper-converged tool in EMC's future?

EMC could be getting into hyper-converged systems via VMware and software-defined hardware components, though the storage firm is yet to confirm industry rumours. So far neither the parent company nor virtualisation juggernaut VMware has substantiated reports by CRN on "Project Mystic", supposedly a more converged appliance than …
Chris Mellor, 19 Mar 2014
SolidFIre QOS

SolidFire brings out new Carbon, says it'll make data centres more like clouds

Cloud all-flash array startup SolidFire has announced Carbon, v6.0 of its Elements operating system - claiming it is the "most feature-rich, enterprise-class all-flash storage on the market." For a quick review of SolidFire features read this previous Reg story and this one about its SF 9010 array. With the new v6.0 release, …
Chris Mellor, 19 Mar 2014

Spinning rust woes: NetApp bumps along bottom while EMC soars

IDC’s quarterly disk storage factory shipments tracker shows NetApp losing ground for three quarters in a row while EMC powers on to storage glory. Dell is down too. What’s up? The impressive growth performance of NetApp has stopped according to IDC, whose tracker looks at external disk and total disk storage factory revenues …
Chris Mellor, 13 Mar 2014
X-IO ISE positioning

X-IO to heat up ISE storage bricks with iSCSI access

Sealed disk/flash array supplier X-IO is growing at 30 per cent a year and intending to widen its market by adding iSCSI later this year to the existing Fibre Channel access. ISE and Hyper ISE products are 3U sealed rack enclosures requiring no maintenance access for five years as the smart software inside copes with any …
Chris Mellor, 13 Mar 2014
Harleys

Object Storage suppliers: Bikers? Dentists? Or Biker Dentists?

Do the object storage suppliers need to band together and collectively educate potential customers so that sales rise? Well, do they? The general perception at the Next Generation Object Storage Summit (NGOSS) in Los Angeles, March 4-5, was that people in general did not understand or appreciate what object storage could do and …
Chris Mellor, 13 Mar 2014
Violin Market fit

Orchestral manoeuvres in the dark: Violin restrings its instrument

We can see the intended shape of Violin as it emerges fresh and shining from its refit, but we've yet to hear it played. What will be the next move of Violin's brand new CEO, Kevin DeNuccio? DeNuccio has been restringing Violin, cutting and restructuring the organisation's engineering and go-to-market, with more emphasis on …
Chris Mellor, 13 Mar 2014
Bald Diesen

Pure Storage CEO goes BALD after losing bet on firm's results

Pure Storage CEO has made good on his bet and shaved his head in response to Pure Storage’s results. The all-flash array startup boss said he’d shave his head if Pure’s sales, sales order management and shipping folks managed to double the firm’s business in the fourth quarter. They did and so Scott Dietzen’s cranial follicles …
Chris Mellor, 11 Mar 2014
Toshiba OCZ Z-Drive 4500

Toshiba baby OCZ flings open coat, bares PCIe flasher to world

New Toshiba subsidiary OCZ has a new PCIe flash card, the Z-Drive 4500, complete with solid enterprise credentials - and none of the Ryan Petersen era hype. That era produced the Z-Drive R5 with a notional 3 million IOPS and 12TB of capacity. That product has disappeared from the OCZ roster and we now have the new Z-Drive 4500 …
Chris Mellor, 11 Mar 2014
Tegile Zebi chassis

Tegile's tech trajectory: All-flash function in hybrid mutant body

Hybrid array startup Tegile has a new system coming that will provide all-flash array functionality within its hybrid architecture. CTO Rajesh Nair said two new systems were coming: one in a couple of months and a second one by the end of 2014. He provided some details. The first one will be a companion to the existing high-end …
Chris Mellor, 11 Mar 2014
Kinetic Terascale

Seagate links hands with German BOSS, stomps its BigFoot

Seagate has joined forces with a German storage firm to produce the BigFoot Object Storage Solution, aimed at scale-out cloud customers. BOSS, produced jointly by Seagate and Rausch Netzwerktechnik GmbH, uses Seagate's Kinetic drives. The two say BigFoot "offers data centres increased packing density - providing more storage in …
Chris Mellor, 11 Mar 2014
Toshiba MK6465GSX

Toshiba: Our 2.5-incher does the same job as a 3.5-incher

Toshiba sees life in fast 2.5-inch drives yet, and has followed close on HGST's heels by announcing a 600GB model spinning at 15,000rpm. There are also 300GB and 450GB capacity points in this 24 x7 operation enterprise drive product set. The two drives are pretty similar. Toshiba's AL13SXB has a 15mm z-height, meaning we …
Chris Mellor, 10 Mar 2014
Joe Tucci EMC

Humdrum Documentum momentum makes EMC glum? Off alone into the scrum it should be spun

An analyst at 451 Research has suggested EMC set its Information Intelligence Group and its Documentum software free by spinning them off or selling them. Documentum and its parent Information Intelligence Group (IIG) have regularly underperformed business-results-wise compared to EMC's other divisions. 451 analyst Alan Pelz- …
Chris Mellor, 07 Mar 2014

High-end SAN peddler Dot Hill delivers profit – market says 'meh'

Three consecutive quarters of profit and a full year profit after seven years of losses: Dot Hill is looking good and CEO Dana Kammersgard can breathe more easily. Fourth quarter 2013 revenues were $58.8m, up sequentially from the prior quarter's $52.6m and even more than the year-ago quarter's $44.1m; it's up 29 per cent, in …
Chris Mellor, 07 Mar 2014

Violin CEO gazes at red-smeared accounts: Firm posts $149m loss

Incoming CEO Kevin DeNuccio has presided over Violin Memory's first quarterly results since assuming the hot seat and painted a real poor picture. The only way is up, right? It's traditional; an incoming CEO rescuing a troubled firm clears out all the lousy items on the first earnings call to help make subsequent ones look good …
Chris Mellor, 07 Mar 2014
Avere schematic diagram

Avere gets edgy, speeds up flash flier filer

Avere produces clusterable FXT filer accelerators using tiering across RAM, Flash/SSD, fast SAS disk, and nearline SATA/SAS disks to accelerate access to file data from a filer behind it. Edge filers take this model further – making traditional filers look like slow, high-capacity data stores. Edge filers can store files up in …
Chris Mellor, 07 Mar 2014
WOS7000 Archive Node

DDN unveils Wizard of WOS: Not beardy Steve – object storage, silly

DataDirect Networks has extended its WOS object storage product with a global data protection facility and an archival node, claiming WOS now supports the entire unstructured data lifecycle. The new release is called WOS 360 and it builds on the WOS 3.0 ObjectAssure erasure coding technology to provide Global ObjectAssure. The …
Chris Mellor, 06 Mar 2014

Floating mutant, hidden profit: Nimble reveals first post-IPO results

Mutant flash-disk arrays are apparently continuing to disrupt the storage market, judging by hybrid array-slinger Nimble Storage's business in the period to the end of January this year. It recently revealed both the quarter which included its IPO and its full year results. Hybrid arrays juice cheap disk capacity with a dash of …
Chris Mellor, 04 Mar 2014
Violin Memory 3200 Memory Array

Violin Memory gets flash new marketeer... from EMC of all places

There's faith for you: an EMC marketing veep, Eric Herzog, has jumped ship to join recovering/struggling flash array Violin Memory as its chief marketing officer. Herzog reports to brand shining new CEO Kevin DeNuccio, who is reshaping the company after a tumultuous period which included the ousting of CEO Don Basile, what's …
Chris Mellor, 04 Mar 2014
Gemini X-series

Hey, Nimbus Data. What you doin' with those 4TB flash slabs? Making a 96TB box? We KNEW it!

Nimbus Data has announced a 10-node clustered all-flash array that can store up to 96TB in a single box. The Gemini X-series all-flash arrays build on the current Gemini F-series arrays, which come in F610/F620 variants with 56/40/20 Gbit/s InfiniBand and 40/10/1 Gbit/s Ethernet, and the F410/F420 which lack InfiniBand and use …
Chris Mellor, 04 Mar 2014
Darren Thomas in Top Gun jacket

Dell storage vet Darren Thomas mosies into Micron

Ex-Dell top storage gun Darren Thomas has joined Micron to run its storage business unit. Thomas was VP enterprise storage at Dell but resigned in December 2012. He now becomes the Storage business unit VP at Micron, looking after disk drive-replacing SSDs and "enterprise-class storage solutions." Darren Thomas in Top Gun …
Chris Mellor, 04 Mar 2014
HGSTS's C15K600

In spinning rust we TRUST: HGST slips out screamingly fast ... HDD

Western Digital sub HGST has decided there's life in small fast pure spinning disks yet, and launched a 600GB, 15,000 rpm drive for enterprise data centres: the Ultrastar C15K600. Is this the last hurrah of the fast and pure disk drive? This is not a hybrid drive, one with a slug of caching flash, such as is used by Seagate's …
Chris Mellor, 03 Mar 2014