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.


Parrish has vanished: NetApp chief marketeer leaves the parish

In comes a new chief technology officer; out goes a chief marketing officer: it looks like the Kurian effect is starting to show at NetApp. The storage biz's chief marketing bod Julie Parrish has left the company, just a short while before its big Las Vegas-based Insight event. In a statement, NetApp said: "Based on a mutual …
Chris Mellor, 21 Sep 2015

NetApp gets a new CTO – after saying it wouldn't get a new CTO

NetApp has recruited an ex-Symantec CTO to be its new CTO, replacing the retired Jay Kidd. Mark Bregman was CTO and an EVP at Symantec from July 2005 to August 2011, and held the same titles at Veritas from September 2004 to July 2005, being Veritas EVP Product Operations from February 2002 to September 2004. He was with IBM …
Chris Mellor, 21 Sep 2015

Are Seagate and NetApp in denial or in de hot seat?

Comment Seagate and NetApp are telling analysts that news of their doom is somewhat premature, if not downright rubbish. They are not going to be toast, but some startups are heading that way. The scuttlebutt says performance disk drives are being replaced by flash (SSDs) and NetApp is being killed by all-flash array and hybrid array …
Chris Mellor, 21 Sep 2015

Elephant-sized Infinidat array gets calf that starts small, grows BIG

Moshe Yanai's Infinidat high-end enterprise array is getting added file support, better disaster recovery and an entry-level system. The InfiniBox F2000 entry-level box is an 18U rack enclosure with 250TB of usable capacity with 3TB disk drives or 330TB with 4TB drives. The original and ongoing InfiniBox F6000 offers up to 2PB …
Chris Mellor, 21 Sep 2015
Crossbar array schematics

D-round VC ReRAM cash comes crashing down on Crossbar

Resistive RAM memory tech startup Crossbar has snagged $35m in D-round funding to push the commercial ramp of its non-volatile memory (NVM) technology. Hong Kong-based Tyche Partners, China-based Oriza Holdings and unknown and possibly Hong Kong-based VC Cheerful Link joined all of Crossbar’s existing investors in the round, …
Chris Mellor, 18 Sep 2015
Nimble Storage array

Nimble flashes the all-flash array as ‘intense’ consolidation period approaches

Comment Hybrid array supplier Nimble is going to introduce an all-flash array, joining other hybrid vendors in riding two horses at once, against a background of coming intense supplier consolidation in the storage industry. Nimble, Tegile and Tintri are the three main new-style hybrid disk/flash array vendors taking business away …
Chris Mellor, 18 Sep 2015

Man the lifeboats! Datos IO develops tech to recover next-gen DBMS

Datos IO is a new database recovery startup which claims it's reinventing recovery for next-generation databases. It's new, being co-founded in June 2014 by CEO Tarun Thakur – who has Data Domain, Veritas and IBM Research on his CV – and Dr Prasenjit Sarkar, previously a master inventor in IBM Research. Of the 23 employees, …
Chris Mellor, 18 Sep 2015
Grain silos

Storage silo unification from file sharer ownCloud

Interview We came across what seemed like just another file sync and sharer, and sighed. Yet checking ownCloud's product out showed there was a lot more to it than that, which made us curious. So we asked Markus Rex, its CEO and co-founder, some questions to find out more. His answers certainly filled in the background and scope of …
Chris Mellor, 17 Sep 2015

Mangstor gets a nice chunk of go-to-market B-round money

NVMe flash card and fabric flash array startup Mangstor has gained $10.2m in B-round funding to build out its market-facing infrastructure worldwide, and head towards a 2016 IPO. The company has MX6300 NVMe PCIe flash cards, using its own firmware/hardware controller technology, and NX6320 flash arrays using these cards and …
Chris Mellor, 17 Sep 2015

EMC releases yet ANOTHER rack-scale server SAN

EMC's ScaleIO Node is a super-scalable server SAN that presents EMC and its users with interesting product positioning decisions compared to EVO: SDDC (EVO: RACK that was), VxRack, VMAX, VNX, VSAN, and VSPEX Blue. Joe Tucci's company, which wants to reduce internal product competition, says its ScaleIO Node scale-out server …
Chris Mellor, 17 Sep 2015

Avere's SwiftStack S3 hack tack

Avere can fix object storage's slow access problem, and is using Amazon's S3 to have its FXT box speed up SwiftStack. Object storage is not renowned for high performance access, not being on a par with filers and SANs. Avere's traditional schtick is to speed up filer data access. IO is supercharged with multiple levels of …
Chris Mellor, 17 Sep 2015

Synology systematically soups up filer software

Synology has radically improved DSM, the operating system of its NAS (filer) products for smaller businesses and home users, boosting virtualisation, performance, protection, and package features, and even adding Apple Watch support. V6.0 gets 64-bit support, meaning enhanced performance. Future DiskStations and RackStations …
Chris Mellor, 17 Sep 2015

Nexenta catches micro-services bug, slings its Edge into containers

Nexenta is supporting containerised servers by having its NexentaEdge product nodes run as microservices along with application microservices on any scale-out Linux server cluster. NexentaEdge is scale-out block and object storage. Containers are a more efficient form of server virtualisation, having thinner "wrappers" than …
Chris Mellor, 16 Sep 2015
Free Robot Hugs by Ben Husmann

PernixData offers dollops of free software … you’ll upgrade later, ya will, ya will

PernixData, the distributed ESXi hypervisor cacher, has announced three new developments: FVP 3, a FVP free option, and a VM management tool called Architect to optimise storage IO. FVP 3.0 provides vSphere 6.0 support, an HTML5-based user interface, and adds Pernix Plus, anonymised data collection from customers’ systems to …
Chris Mellor, 16 Sep 2015
Fritz Pfleumer with his magnetic tape recorder

LTO issues mighty seventh-generation 15TB tape format

LTO, the world’s most popular tape format, has a 15TB generation-7 Ultrium specification available for drive and media manufacturers. Linear Tape Open (LTO) represents a trio of technology provider companies: HP, IBM and Quantum. It works with them and tape suppliers like Fujifilm to develop tape media and drive specifications …
Chris Mellor, 16 Sep 2015
Cloudian Samurai

Cloudian's Samurai S3-clad object storage warriors

Japan-based object storage startup Cloudian has marched into the scale-up and scale-out storage space in a big way with Samurai – its internal name for NFS/S3-accessed HyperStore software running on seriously chunky hardware building blocks. HyperStore is a distributed object storage technology, with an on-premises element as …
Chris Mellor, 15 Sep 2015

Workforce DECIMATION: QLogic fires up its pink slip printer

Prepare for pink slips. Following lousy results and the CEO leaving, server and storage biz QLogic has announced a restructuring program – with sacked bodies seemingly being the only feature. Available here, the brief SEC filing states: On 2 September, 2015, QLogic Corporation (the “Company”) approved a restructuring plan …
Chris Mellor, 15 Sep 2015

Hazelcast and C24 waste no time, emit Hypercast after conjoining

Hazelcast has birthed Hypercast, the combined solution that "resolves the compromise between balancing query speed or data capacity", after conjoining with C24 Technologies. Hazelcast is an in-memory software supplier using a grid of servers, while C24 provides integration objects for financial services messages usimg SWIFT, …
Chris Mellor, 15 Sep 2015
Toshiba MQ03ABB300

Is Toshiba mulling asset sales? HDD, TV businesses in the frame

Comment Toshiba is in trouble and could be about to exit the PC and disk drive businesses. The company is still suffering badly from a massive accounting scam, which overstated profits for seven years, and it has just reported a lousy quarter with losses of $91m. Masashi Muromachi became Toshiba’s new president (chief executive) in …
Chris Mellor, 14 Sep 2015

DSSD hires ex-Violin player as hardware engineering veep

EMC’s flash racking developer DSSD has hired an ex-Violin Memory guy to be its veep of hardware engineering, EMC has now confirmed to The Register. The all-flash array startup has now hired Kevin Rowett, who was SVP of engineering and an advisor to Violin Memory from the beginning of 2010 to October 2013. He joined DSSD this …
Chris Mellor, 14 Sep 2015
Bang by Guian Bolisay

Bucks bringer-inner Box beats street, brings home bacon, makes loss

Cloud storage provider Box easily beat its estimated revenue target for its second quarter, with double-digit growth over the year, and lifted its estimated full-year revenue number. Losses also deepened however, but at a lower annual rate of 33.6 per cent, and shares rose 2.66 per cent to $14.27 as investors patted CEO Aaron …
Chris Mellor, 10 Sep 2015

Seagate layoffs SHOCKER: 1,000 heads to be laid under the axe

Disk drive maker Seagate has two per cent of its workforce destined for the exit door. It’s announced a restructuring plan which means 1,050 people are going to have a pink slip shock. Seagate expects to save $113m by doing this. It has seen two quarters of declining revenues and profits. While investors, who have seen …
Chris Mellor, 10 Sep 2015
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Atlantis: The DSSD, data centre disk killer rising from the deep

Interview Atlantis, the VM-accelerating DRAM cacher that’s moved into hyperconverged storage, has its eye on CrossPoint memory – the 3D XPoint stuff 1,000 times faster than NAND – as a way of cementing disk into a data centre coffin. It also aims to use it to pre-empt DSSD. CrossPoint memory was announced by Intel and Micron in July as …
Chris Mellor, 10 Sep 2015

Panzura plants file system atop VMware's vCloud Air

VMware's vCloud Air now has a file system layered on top of it, courtesy of cloud storage and data protection specialist Panzura. This latest cloud service from VMware is an object storage in the cloud service using either parent EMC's ViPR with the ECS object storage product underneath, or Google's cloud. Panzura provides on …
Chris Mellor, 10 Sep 2015

Caringo has a Swarm of FileFlies to carry off old files

NetApp and Windows file server users can have old files bled off to Caringo’s object storage vaults with its Filefly for Swarm product. This is a “save money” pitch with old, low-access-rate files removed from expensive primary storage, and fed to a lower-cost commodity hardware-based system running the Caringo Swarm software …
Chris Mellor, 09 Sep 2015

Third time lucky? Plucky upstart Infinidat plonks down monolithic array

Analysis Infinidat is aiming to replace VMAX/DS8000/VSP-type arrays with its Infinibox product, and it’s making good progress, having shipped more than 200PB of installed capacity in two years. An Infinidat briefing at VMworld added more information to what we have written here, here and here, about founder Moshe Yanai’s third attempt …
Chris Mellor, 09 Sep 2015

Presenting Mangstor's NVMe superfast flash storage pocket rocket

Comment The Register storage desk thinks NVMe fabric linking for storage arrays will be very big, as it's a SAN/NAS latency killer. Startup Mangstor has built an NVMe fabric-accessed array, so we've seen what such a beast looks like. We looked at its MX6300 PCIe flash card recently and thought it was a marvelously fast product. We …
Chris Mellor, 08 Sep 2015

Fujitsu sidesteps data scientists with a move toward tuned machine learning

Comment Simple questions can be difficult to answer when the predictive analysis needles being looked for are buried in a 50-million-record haystack. However, so-called Tuned Machine Learning techniques can be used to automate data scientists' work, and get answers in a couple of hours that used to take a week or more. The questions …
Chris Mellor, 08 Sep 2015

Supermicro's super Nexenta HGST superduper AFA

NexentaStor has come round the all-flash array block a second time with a Supermicro flash server box slotting underneath the SanDisk-powered 512GB InfiniFlash box. The product is based on Supermicro's 2U Ultra SuperServer hardware, fitted with HGST Ultrastar SSDs in 800GB or 1.6TB capacities. The Ultra SuperServer – will the …
Chris Mellor, 08 Sep 2015
Shop bargain sign

Oracle and low prices? You read it right – and it's rust-free flash, too

Oracle has booted out the disks in its FS1-2 hybrid flash/disk FS1 array to create the all-flash FS1, a 2-tier flash array scaling from 2TB to 912TB of capacity with "the lowest entry price of any all-flash enterprise-class storage solution." Oracle and low prices; who'd a thought it? The original FS1 1s a scale-up dual- …
Chris Mellor, 08 Sep 2015

DSSD says Violin's right: SSD format is WRONG for flash memory

Analysis The SSD format is wrong for flash memory storage arrays. That is the message from DSSD, EMC’s rack-scale, shared flash array development. The Register has seen pictures of DSSD’s flash modules and these are not disk bay form factor SSDs. Rather, they resemble Violin Memory VIMM – Violin In-Line Memory Modules – instead. Pure …
Chris Mellor, 07 Sep 2015

We asked a maker of PCIe storage switches to prove the tech is more interesting than soggy cardboard

Q&A PCIe switching sounds like a mundane topic, but it’s actually a key part of the revolution that’s blurring the boundaries between servers and storage arrays, with vastly faster data access the result. Vancouver's PMC-Sierra has launched its Switchtec switches, and we asked product marketing manager Ray Jang some questions …
Chris Mellor, 07 Sep 2015
San Andreas fault

Dog walkers, the San Andreas fault ... and the storage industry

Comment Mainstream storage arrays are being harassed by a wolf-pack of sleeker competitors. Looking at storage is like looking at a dog walker on the beach with a hundred howling dogs of all sizes and breeds on the leashes. Some are puppies, some young and sleek, some old and fat. They bark and growl and run in all directions …
Chris Mellor, 07 Sep 2015
Are you being served?

IDC says server-based storage sales are soaring – and Dell's pwning the market

IDC’s latest quarterly storage tracker shows EMC clawing back some lost ground, HP growing, IBM overtaking NetApp – and Dell selling the most storage capacity of all. IDC_storage_tracker_Q2_2015 IDC Storage Tracker, Q2, 2015 The research house tracks vendor and original design manufacturer (ODM) storage market shares based …
Chris Mellor, 07 Sep 2015

Seagate promises to HAMR us all with spinning rust next year

Comment Seagate has revealed fresh data on how it will increase areal density as well as a disk's IO rate from next year onwards. Analyst haus Stifel Nicolaus' MD, Aaron Rakers, attended an analysts' day at which Seagate said it is learning about potential caching techniques to ameliorate the write performance disadvantage of shingled …
Chris Mellor, 07 Sep 2015
Projected PCM

Drifting phases and noise in phase-change memory

Phase change memory cells can, well, change, over time. Once set in their crystalline or amorphous phases the material can drift towards the other state rendering the cell's resistance level less clear and weakening its ability to story a binary one or zero. PCM (Phase-Change Memory) is one of the candidate persistent storage …
Chris Mellor, 04 Sep 2015

Is SanDisk becoming an acquisition target as the market consolidates?

Rumors and speculations are mounting that SanDisk might be an acquisition target, with reports indicating it's been chatted up by two suitors wanting to buy it, with Western Digital (WD) in the frame. There is strong logic for such a deal, as SanDisk is a hugely hot flash product supplier, and partners Toshiba in the flash …
Chris Mellor, 04 Sep 2015

Nexenta, SanDisk hop into bed, one thing leads to another – now they've got a 512TB flash brat

Nexenta and SanDisk are integrating the latter's dense InfiniFlash JBOF with the former's NexentaStor to build a half-petabyte-in-3U all-flash array starting at $1.5/GB raw. At these prices disk may not be dead, but it's heading for the mortician's parlor. Tegile has an IntelliFlash product using the same hardware, and says it …
Chris Mellor, 02 Sep 2015

Damn well knew it! Seagate has helium drives in its labs

Seagate told analysts on Wednesday it is crafting its own helium-filled drives in its development labs, and is months away from shipping them as products. Helium gas has lower friction than air, and HGST is using this gas inside its sealed He8 and He10 disk drive enclosures to provide 7-platter drives. The platters can be …
Chris Mellor, 02 Sep 2015
Flash Gordon

Tegile looking at some really flashy fabric

Tegile, which has just launched a 2-tier IntelliFlash HD all-flash array, has plans to ramp up its capabilities dramatically. The system provides 512TB of flash in a 3U enclosure. Tegile chief marketing officer Narayan Venkat said that the system will be at the 1PB level in a year's time, meaning a rack could hold 20PB in …
Chris Mellor, 02 Sep 2015

If VMware is a sun, here are the storage worlds we've spotted orbiting it

VMworld 2015 Behold the storage sun king – VMware is the center of a storage solar system with planets and asteroids orbiting around it in belts: the EVO, VSAN, and VVOL orbital zones. Fresh activity has been detected by telescopes on planet Register using its snark-o-scope. In the VSAN zone we find Nexenta doing a deal with VMware whereby …
Chris Mellor, 02 Sep 2015
server room

Snap out of the snapshot habit, says mutant upstart Reduxio

Surprise! Freshly uncloaked hybrid flash/disk array startup Reduxio says backup snapshots are a problem and its BackDating technology solves that problem. Admit it; you are surprised, aren't you? Reduxio is an Israeli startup, in the sense that its research and development is based there, although it is headquartered in …
Chris Mellor, 01 Sep 2015

Seagate births 8TB triplets and a 2TB mobile nipper

Who says spinning rust is finished? Seagate has rolled out 8TB triplets and a 2TB mobile nipper, using shingled recording on its 8TB Kinetic. The three 8TB disks use ninth generation perpendicular magnetic recording, and represent a 33.3 per cent capacity uplift on the existing 6TB technology that Seagate uses in its 3.5-inch …
Chris Mellor, 01 Sep 2015

What sounds like a silly yoga-fitness-dance craze, and lost $325m in value in 8 years? Zimbra

Email and collaboration biz Zimbra has lost 93 per cent of its value in eight years, and has been bought by Synacor for just seven per cent of the price Yahoo! paid for the company in 2007. Scott Dietzen, currently the CEO of Pure Storage, was the president and chief technical officer at Zimbra from March 2005 to October 2007 …
Chris Mellor, 31 Aug 2015

Hedvig, Druva, IBM, Catalogic, Nutanix, Arcserve bang storage drums at VMware's rave

VMworld 2015 There's been a whirlwind of supplier announcements in the run-up to VMworld, which takes place between August 29 and September 3 in San Francisco. We've covered the main storage ones already, but a backlog of others built up. So here, for your delectation, is what the sexy sextet of Arcserve, Catalogic, Druva, Hedvig, IBM, and …
Chris Mellor, 31 Aug 2015
Claw hammer

Muted HAMR blow from Seagate: damp squib drive coming in 2016

Analysis Seagate R&D bigwig Jan-Ulrich Thiele says the first Seagate prototype drives built with heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) will arrive in late 2016 and have just 4TB capacity, according to This is not quite right as what Seagate says is: "Seagate anticipates shipping a small number of HAMR qualification units to …
Chris Mellor, 31 Aug 2015
Google Cloud logo

VMware unleashes vCAOS on the world

VMworld 2015 VMware is launching a cloud object storage service based on either the public Google cloud, or EMC ViPR for a private cloud alternative. It's called vCloud Air Object Storage, which amusingly acronymizes to vCAOS, not to VMware's liking we would think, and is intended for multi-petabytes of unstructured data. …
Chris Mellor, 31 Aug 2015

SolidFire's flash boxes pull into Platform9

Has the OpenStack loco got enough of a head of steam to leave the station? No one knows yet, but here is more evidence of suppliers rushing to support it: SolidFire's all-flash arrays can be integrated into Platform9's Managed OpenStack OSaaS – OpenStack-as-a-Service – offering. With Platform9's software, virtual servers can …
Chris Mellor, 31 Aug 2015

Startup BlueData in the green after pocketing millions from Intel et al

Big data startup BlueData has to get bigger pockets; it’s just trousered $20m in C-round funding from Intel Capital, existing investors and a secret strategic investor. That takes total funding to a modest far-from-unicorn-status $38m and the cash will be used to “accelerate our momentum in the Big Data market.” The company …
Chris Mellor, 28 Aug 2015
Miss Piggy

Violin's breakeven within reach, but revenues still falling

It's like looking at a drawing of an iceberg when you know the bulk of it is under water; Violin Memory's revenues and net income I mean. Look at all that red ink below the profit waterline! Violin_revs_to_Q2_fy2016 Violin Memory's revenue and net income history In its latest, second, fiscal 2016 quarter Violin's revenues …
Chris Mellor, 28 Aug 2015