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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.

Symantec offers BIGGER, FASTER NetBackup appliance

Symantec is refreshing its NetBackup 5000 series appliance line with a new model that operates faster and holds more data. The firm's 5000 Series Purpose-Built Backup Appliance (PBBA) range has expandable storage and end-to-end (both client and target sides) deduplication for physical and virtual environments. The existing 5230 …
Chris Mellor, 03 Oct 2014
X300 SSDs

SanDisk hopes to lure in enterprise clients with a little TLC (SSD)

SanDisk has launched its X300 3-bit per cell TLC SSD, which has neat-looking read performance – although the reported write endurance is less impressive. The X300 comes in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB capacity points and is classed by Sandy as a client SSD, a mainstream corporate drive, meaning it can replace business users' …
Chris Mellor, 03 Oct 2014
Samsung 60nm 1Gb DDR 2 DRAM chip and DIMM

DRAM! Speedy software upstart PernixData's caching up fast

VMware IO cacher PernixData has upped the quick access ante by caching virtual machine disk IO in DRAM — much faster for data access than flash. The startup’s FVP software runs in the ESXi hypervisor, and it's also added user-defined fault domains and adaptive network compression to its clustering technology. FVP accelerates …
Chris Mellor, 02 Oct 2014
Beans

David Goulden tosses away CFO cap, holds onto EMC II CEO crown

EMC Info Infrastructure boss David Goulden has given up the role of CFO for the whole EMC federation, belatedly discovering what most of us know already — being a chief exec is a full-time job. EMC uber-CEO Joe Tucci runs the EMC fed with three subsidiaries: VMware with CEO Pat Gelsinger; Pivotal with Paul Maritz running the …
Chris Mellor, 02 Oct 2014
VNX_VSS100

EMC quietly wheels out GIANT SPYCAM MOVIE storage box

EMC has bought out a surveillance-specific VNX array and set up pre-configured Isilon filers for spy cam centre storage. EMC reckons surveillance people need CCTV storage near the cameras and a central store for analysing all the footage. So, in a neat bit of marketing nichery, the firm has set up branded VNX systems for the …
Chris Mellor, 01 Oct 2014
Gridstore HCA

Gridstore bigs up hyper-converged box: Our storage nodes 'know' what Hyper-V needs

Gridstore has introduced hyper-converged appliances for Hyper-V, including an all-flash variant. The startup has so far produced scale-out Storage Nodes that are aware of Hyper-V VM needs. Its Hyperconverged Appliance (HCA) complements these, we're told, and take Gridstore into competition with Maxta, Nutanix, Scale Computing …
Chris Mellor, 01 Oct 2014
DataDirect Networks GS2K appliance

DataDirect Networks stuffs tricky GPFS file system into GS7K box

DataDirect Networks has bundled IBM's GPFS parallel file system, which uses GridScaler technology, into its GS7K appliance. The appliance can use its WOS object storage as a huge back-end vault, which DDN hopes will remove GPFS set-up complexity while preserving standardised NAS access. GPFS systems are known to be powerful but …
Chris Mellor, 01 Oct 2014
Oracle FS1

Oracle crashes all-flash bash: Behold, our hybrid FS1 arrays

Welcome back to SAN array land, Oracle. Larry Ellison's company has reinvented its Pillar Axiom 600 SAN array as a hybrid flash/disk array, the FS1-2, with auto-tiering and noisy neighbours sorted. It is a general-purpose hybrid array but tuned for Oracle software. Calling its new storage box the Flash Storage System (FS1), the …
Chris Mellor, 30 Sep 2014
Cray_XC40

Supercomputers: The Next Generation – Cray puts burst buffer tech, Intel Haswell inside

Cray has new XC40 and CS400 superduper computers using Haswell processors and DataWarp burst buffer tech to keep the Haswell cores crammed with data to process. The XC40 goes twice the speed of the existing XC30, courtesy of its Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 ("Haswell") processor, scaling past a million cores. The architecture …
Chris Mellor, 30 Sep 2014
Design Mobel Pause bed

Is Cleversafe the object storage of HP's affection?

HP is rumoured to be in talks with Cleversafe to sell its object storage alongside HP's own StoreAll object storage offering. HP says it might indeed resell third-party products, but it's naming no names. StoreAll is based on acquired Ibrix technology, employs ProLiant servers, scales out to 1,024 nodes and 16PB of capacity. …
Chris Mellor, 30 Sep 2014
Exalytics_X4_4

Oracle: What's the X4-4? In-memory monster slams jaws down on 3TB, for starters

Oracle can analyse up to 3TB of data in memory with its latest Exalytics In-Memory Machine, the X4-4. Announced at Larry Ellison’s OpenWorld extravaganza, this system features four Xeon E7-8895 v2 processors, up to 3TB of memory, 4.8TB of flash and a paltry 7.2TB of disk storage (6 x 1.2TB 10K 2.5-inch drives). Its X3-4 machine …
Chris Mellor, 29 Sep 2014
Spying image

Seagate embiggens its spy drive, waves it at CCTV cameras

CCTV operators can breathe sighs of relief. They won’t run out of space so fast as Seagate has upped the capacity of its 4TB Surveillance disk drive to 6TB. Seagate is using its 6TB drive technology, announced in April. Back then the company said the 6TB whopper could be used for centralised surveillance, and now here is the …
Chris Mellor, 29 Sep 2014
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket prepared fro launch in 2002. Pic: United Launch Alliance

Chip titan Micron shows off Elpida-fattened bottom line

US semiconductor chipper Micron has boosted its memory and flash business revenues with its purchase of Rexchip and Elpida, announcing record fourth quarter and fiscal 2014 year revenues. Fourth quarter revenues were $4.23bn, six per cent more than the previous quarter and, the Elpida boost kicking in, 49 per cent higher than …
Chris Mellor, 29 Sep 2014

How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?

Can people hear the difference between lossy MP3 digital music files and lossless ones? Opinions differ strongly, with much obfuscation around audio cables, mastering and hi-fi componentry muddying the waters. This article was prompted by commentard critiques of Sonos streaming Wi-Fi speaker/player reviews and audiophiles saying …
Chris Mellor, 26 Sep 2014
Parcelcopter

Cut-off North Sea island: Oh crap, ferry's been and gone. Need milk. SUMMON THE DRONE

A drone parcel delivery trial in Germany solves air traffic control problems by having nothing-but-drones airspace and no flying over buildings. The parcelcopter, a squat buggy-looking thing, is a four-engined remotely controlled helicopter with a parcel pod fixed to its belly between four curved landing struts. Parcelcopter …
Chris Mellor, 26 Sep 2014
OLd Bailey

FlashDIMM flare-up: Netlist hit by Diablo counter-sueball

It's a flash DIMM flare-up. Diablo Technologies, being sued by Netlist for FlashDIMM patent breaches, has sued right back, alleging unfair business practices. The legal tussle is about the technology used to add flash chips to memory DIMMs and so creating server flash storage that's faster to access than traditional PCIe flash …
Chris Mellor, 25 Sep 2014

Seagate cloud bod on EVault's EBA: Why of course we do dedupe

EVault took exception to some points made in a report on some recent Seagate product news, in particular the Backup and Recovery appliance (EBA). Unmesh Kulkarni, senior product management director in the EVault-containing Seagate Cloud Systems and Solutions business, contacted The Reg to provide a comment. We'll do this …
Chris Mellor, 25 Sep 2014
Samsung SM1715 3D V-NAND NVMe PCIe SSD

Samsung lays down PCIe server flash gauntlet

Faster, fatter flash cards that speed up server applications are in demand, and Samsung has announced it is mass-producing a 3.2TB NVMe PCIe SSD using its 3D V-NAND technology. It says higher capacities are coming. The SM1715 doubles the previous NVMe SSD XS1715's 1.6TB capacity maximum, and that product used standard 2D planar …
Chris Mellor, 25 Sep 2014
Doomsday clock

Federation fracture: EMC's post-Tucci future is either SALE or SPLIT

Winter has come early for EMC, with hordes of barbarian activist investors pounding at the gates as CEO Joe Tucci's long reign comes to an end. Snowdrifts are building up against the boardroom's windows, blotting out the C-suite's previous sunny vista. One immediate example of EMC's fortunes changing is the reported collapse of …
Chris Mellor, 25 Sep 2014
DElphix_Replication

Database virtualisation outfit Delphix: Lotsa dosh, few competitors

Production data copier and virtualiser Delphix says it makes the provision of largely structured data to non-production applications a heck of a lot easier, claiming it speeds it up from days or weeks to minutes. The company's software receives a copy of production data and stores it in server engines: servers with direct- …
Chris Mellor, 25 Sep 2014

All awash in red ink, but Overland Storage is still swimming

Overland Storage, the troubled tape and low-end scale-out disk array storage vendor, is still battling on, with a swell in revenues despite increasing losses. How does CEO Eric Kelly do it? Overland's fourth quarter (Q4) and fiscal 2014 year headline numbers are, well, impressive comes to mind: Q4 revenues of $24.2m, up 100 per …
Chris Mellor, 24 Sep 2014
Tyrannosaurus rex

Texas T Rex Dell: Terabytes shipped. Count 'em and weep...

Dell sold more storage capacity than any other supplier in the first half of 2014, says analyst IDC. In IDC's worldwide Quarterly Disk Storage Systems Tracker reports Dell is singled out as having sold 4,311,728 terabytes of disk storage, 4.3 exabytes, by the mid-point of 2014 – pretty damned impressive. We're told that Dell …
Chris Mellor, 24 Sep 2014
cloud

Cloud storage bods Nasuni ram BILLION-object volume into filer

In a demonstration of “my scale-out filer is bigger than yours” storage swaggery, Nasuni has loaded up a billion-plus object volume into its Nasuni Service file system. Nasuni stores files in the cloud, with on-premises NF-series filers acting as caches and gateways, pumping files up to the cloud, Azure or Amazon for example, …
Chris Mellor, 24 Sep 2014

HP is giving away FREE* STORAGE to lucky server customers

HP is giving away a one terabyte software SAN licence to every Xeon E5 v3-based server buyer, whether they buy Dell, HP, IBM or Lenovo servers. The software is the StoreVirtual VSA (Virtual Storage Appliance), the old LeftHand iSCSI SAN software technology. It turns a server’s own direct-attached storage into a networked, block- …
Chris Mellor, 23 Sep 2014
Tree sampling in the Monteverde cloud forest. Credit: Jorge Porras

The object of the game: NetApp 'Amazon-izes' StorageGRID

NetApp has announced a new version of its object storage software, StorageGRID Webscale, and extended its hybrid public:private facilities by "Amazon-izing" it with the addition of an interface with AWS's online file storage web service S3. Geo-distributed erasure coding technology is coming. NetApp views object storage as a …
Chris Mellor, 23 Sep 2014
Joe Tucci EMC

EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper

EMC has been holding secret merger talks with HP that have since stalled, according to industry sources. The negotiations are said to have lasted almost 12 months, during which Dell executives mulled buying parts of EMC. But at the heart of the discussion was a proposed $132bn merger of the storage giant and HP, according to …
Chris Mellor, 22 Sep 2014
Ear anatomy

Soundbites: News in brief from the Wi-Fi audiophile files

Listen up! Here are some soundbites - so to speak - from Wi-FIispeaker/player suppliers. Sonos is intending to provide access to Deezer Elite streaming lossless audio for its US customers. It was announced in a Sonos blog and beta testing started on September 15 with a 30-day free trial. Deezer, it says, is only available on …
Chris Mellor, 22 Sep 2014
Clarion NX604 DVD Smart Access MUltimedia Station

Hey, what's a STORAGE company doing working on Internet-of-Cars?

It’s the coming internet of driven things; HDS is working with the Clarion car audio biz on Internet-connected cars. What’s a disk array manufacturer doing getting in bed with a car radio/satnav firm? Well, connected cars will be big biz; IHS projects that 152 million of them will be on the highways by 2020. HDS and Clarion say …
Chris Mellor, 22 Sep 2014
Hazelcast

Hazelcast trousers cash, poises open-source cutlass against Exadata belly

Another day, another bunch of VCs pour cash into a tech startup. Move along; there’s nothing to see here - or is there? The lucky recipient of $11 million in a B-round of funding is Hazelcast, an in-memory computing hopeful which claims it is the leading open source in-memory data grid and up and coming InMemory NoSQL technology …
Chris Mellor, 19 Sep 2014
IDC object storage marketscape

Object Storage Alliance launched. Problem: 3 vendors haven't joined

After complaining for some time that its message is not understood, the object storage industry has set up an Object Storage Alliance – only to have three suppliers refuse to join. The OSA “is a vendor-neutral industry alliance organised to promote the business value of object addressable storage,” organised by and hosted on a …
Chris Mellor, 19 Sep 2014
Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Who's that at the door, storage box flingers? It's the hard drive makers. No, they are not smiling

Hard drive makers are, metaphorically speaking, shifting from being gunsmiths to arms dealers. In other words, their customers, who take the drives and put them in boxes, better watch out. Let's take a look at where the industry is heading: Seagate acquires Xyratex and sells its ClusterStor HPC and enterprise big data arrays. …
Chris Mellor, 19 Sep 2014
HGST_Active_archive_platform

Aggressive HGST hurls flashy humdingers at online archiving

Holy Moly, HGST is getting ambitious. It's building an active archive platform product in competition with some of its OEMs and its aiming to rewrite server clustering with a flash fabric - oh and develop helium-filled disk drives - and shingled drives with its own slant - and thinking of Phase Change Memory chips with DIMM …
Chris Mellor, 18 Sep 2014
Lego Monster Fighters Lord Vampyre

Micron cackles as it unveils its chameleonic FLYING DISK KILLER

Micron has a new M600 client SSD that changes flash type on the fly to accelerate writes. It's an update on the M500 series, we understand, and is made from 16nm NAND instead of the M500's 20nm. There are mSATA, M.2 and 2-5-inch SSD formats available with capacities being 128GB, 256GB and 512GB for the mSATA and M.2 formats, and …
Chris Mellor, 17 Sep 2014

NetApp's running with the big dogs: All-flash FlashRay hits the street

NetApp’s all-new FlashRay solid state array has been launched with limited availability and is not yet ready for prime time, having only a single controller, and lacking scale-out features and some ONTAP integration. These will come with future product upgrades, allowing NetApp to harden and fine-tune the product with this …
Chris Mellor, 17 Sep 2014
M-DISC profile

Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway

HDS' federal subsidiary says it has a Blu-ray optical storage platform for long term data preservation, with 1,000-year M-DISCs in prospect. The kit - we say kit although no products have been announced yet, just this "platform" - is for US federal agencies who need to "preserve and archive mission-critical data indefinitely." …
Chris Mellor, 17 Sep 2014
USS Macon above San Francisco

Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK

Pay $7,000 and you could have a 64TB desktop storage pool connected to your Mac workstation. Its a lot of money, but 64TB is a hellacious amount of storage. Say it costs $1.09/GB, which sounds sort of affordable. Who makes such a box? It's an HGST G-SPEED Studio XL box with eight 8TB helium-filled He8, 7,200rpm drives mounted …
Chris Mellor, 17 Sep 2014
Huawei logo

Huawei: Our servers are a flash in the DRAM – thanks, SanDisk

Huawei has swooped onto SanDisk for flash DIMMs to soup up its RH8100 servers. Flash DIMMs plug lumps of large NAND storage straight into a system's CPU memory bus rather than the slower PCIe bus that server flash cards typically use. The benefit, in theory, is that applications run faster because they wait less for IO – all the …
Chris Mellor, 16 Sep 2014
Airware video

Drones CAN'T deliver goods ... oh. Air traffic control system backed by NASA, you say?

Recently we wrote about how developing city delivery drones was a fool's errand. Yet Startup Airwave is working with NASA to develop an air traffic control system for drones. Who’s foolish now? Airware was founded in May 2001 by Jonathan Downey, an electrical engineering and computer science graduate from MIT, and is based in …
Chris Mellor, 16 Sep 2014
SANblox

Permabit builds shrink-your-SAN dedupe box

Permabit has built a front-end SAN box to dedupe and compress SAN data so it needs less disk capacity. The company produces Albireo deduplication and compression software, which it sells on an OEM basis. The idea is to enable disk array vendors to improve the cost/GB of their storage so that they can retain a cost advantage over …
Chris Mellor, 16 Sep 2014
POrch

Oracle slurps another storage upstart: Front Porch Digital joins Ellison's crew

The ceaseless hoovering up of small companies and startups by business behemoths has seen Oracle buy Front Porch Digital. Why did Larry Ellison latch on to this outfit? Front Porch Digital (FPD) is a content storage management (CSM) business. Its software products sit in a server between a media network on the one hand and a …
Chris Mellor, 16 Sep 2014
XtremIO upgrade video

No biggie: EMC's XtremIO firmware upgrade 'will wipe data'

There's a rumor that upgrading EMC's XtremIO firmware to v3.0 will wipe all user data from the flash array. It's mentioned here. It seems going from firmware version 2.4.x to version 3.0, expected by early October, will cause data to be lost – and customers will need to back everything up before the upgrade and restore it …
Chris Mellor, 15 Sep 2014

Seagate's triple-headed Cerberus could SAVE the DISK WORLD

Seagate is thinking of doubling up - or possibly even tripling - disk read heads to get a stronger signal from disk platters with more and narrower data tracks. TDK TDK disk read:write head Currently a disk read:write head has a single read head and a single write head. If the tracks on a disk platter are placed closer …
Chris Mellor, 15 Sep 2014
Intel Grantley Xeon

Maxta goes gung-ho for Grantley, cuddles up to big daddy Intel

Hyper-converged software startup Maxta has repaid Intel’s faith and investment with updated software featuring Grantley support and an Intel-flavoured reference architecture – eat this and you will have lots of Intel inside. Maxta (background here) has added stuff to its MxSP storage software platform: MaxDeploy pre-validated …
Chris Mellor, 15 Sep 2014
Seagate hybrid drives

Seagate's BUMPER State of the Storage Nation announcement

Positioning itself as a data steward, Seagate has presented its storage state of the nation pitch, announcing: three new disk drives; LaCie Thunderbolt external storage; two server flash cards and a controller; an HPC array; a new backup appliance; and a bright and shiny cloud and enterprise business unit. Seagate is continuing …
Chris Mellor, 15 Sep 2014
chart

Big Blue bludgeons its way to top of software-defined storage kingdom

IDC has ranked IBM as the top supplier of Software-Defined Storage Platforms (SDS-P) in its second quarter 2014 Worldwide Storage Software Qview survey. IDC says SDS-P is ”a new functional market added to the total storage software market that covers block, file, object, and/or hyper-converged software offerings that enable the …
Chris Mellor, 15 Sep 2014
Gartner SSA CC Overall Scores

Gartner ranks upstart trio ahead of EMC, HP and IBM in battle for flash array dominance

Gartner’s thrilling solid-state appliance critical capabilities report ranks three startups ahead of EMC, HP and IBM: SolidFire, Pure Storage and Kaminario. This assessment is not reflected in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for solid-state arrays. While the MQ looks at a company’s overall ability to execute, and its vision, the …
Chris Mellor, 13 Sep 2014
Joe Tucci EMC

Tech starfleet: Will EMC Federation survive a Tucci departure?

Will the tripartite EMC federation set up by Joe Tucci survive his retirement in six months' time? He is the chairman and overall CEO of EMC. The three federated businesses are: EMC Information Infrastructure (EMC II) led by David Goulden who is also overall EMC CFO VMware led by Pat Gelsinger Pivotal led by Paul Maritz Joe …
Chris Mellor, 12 Sep 2014
LTO Generations

No TKO for LTO: Tape format spawns another 2 generations, sports 120TB bigness

The LTO consortium has added two more generations to its tape format roadmap, extending it out to LTO-10 and a 120TB compressed capacity. The roadmap used to finish at LTO-8, and that version of the LTO tape format future was announced in April 2010. Now, four-and-a-half years later, it has been extended again. LTO Generations …
Chris Mellor, 11 Sep 2014
WD Ae

Behold our SPINNING DATA GRAVE: WD carts out 6.3TB cold storage drive

Western Digital’s WD has paralleled its HGST sibling and introduced an archive drive – but with just 6.3TB of capacity compared to HGST’s 10TB, 8TB and 6TB drives. Er, what? WD is branding its new drive the Ae, standing for, we think A(rchiv)e, and so moving away from its colours-focussed branding with Red, Green, Blue and Black …
Chris Mellor, 10 Sep 2014
Flape HW costs

Flash data storage: Knocking TAPE off the archiving top spot

It was a bombshell when Facebook's Jason Taylor said he would like to use flash solid-state storage as an archive medium, but his reasons made perfect sense. Facebook users had lots of photos stored in their albums and rarely accessed them. But when they did want to look at them they wanted them to come up straight away, whether …
Chris Mellor, 10 Sep 2014