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.

Files in manager's desk drawers: manila folder marked "Redundancies". Image via shutterstock

NetApp layoffs loom as biz 'operationalizes strategy', 'prioritizes investments'

NetApp is preparing to layoff employees in the wake of money troubles, The Register has learned. The numbers could run into the thousands. We understand CEO Tom Georgens sent a warning email to all employees in February suggesting redundancies may be necessary for the storage biz to hit its financial targets. NetApp's business …
Chris Mellor, 07 Apr 2015
Roughly 150kg of gold

Private equity grabs Informatica for $5.3 BEEEEEELLION

Data management software player Informatica is now in the hands of private equity overlords, after an eye-watering $5.3bn buy-out was signed and sealed. It seems company execs were listening to activist investor Elliott Management, which owned 9.4 per cent of Informatica's shares, and some months back had called for the business …
Chris Mellor, 07 Apr 2015
Deanerys Targeryen and dragon

Dell's scaly-headed file system gets bigger and bitier

Dell's scale-out NAS Fluid File System filer head software has had a major upgrade for v4.0, with more controller RAM and support for larger files in a bigger namespace. FluidFS comes with the FS8600 appliance which can scale out to four nodes. It is pitched against industry-leader Isilon, with Dell saying: "The new version of …
Chris Mellor, 07 Apr 2015
Veritas_5330_NetBackup_Appliance

Backup Exec worships VMware's spanking new ESXi appeal

Proprietary backup software Backup Exec is now in its mid-teens, with v15 eying up VMware and its distinct six appeal, as well as cosying up to Amazon. The hybrid cloud rules, OK! The soon-to-be-split Symantec, with Veritas being the storage brand and company, said BE 15 supports the latest VMware enhancements on the source data …
Chris Mellor, 07 Apr 2015
Crop of doctor with pen and clipboard

Digital pathology and the big Cs (that’s ‘cancer’ and ‘cloud’)

Comment Have I got cancer? “Maybe," says my oncologist, “so I’m going to take a biopsy and we’ll have a look.” A small piece of my body, tissue from the potentially cancerous organ, is obtained through an incision, and sent to a pathology lab. A thin, thin slice is cut off, stained with revealing chemicals, and then checked by a …
Chris Mellor, 03 Apr 2015
Impalement

Nutanix looking for a way to burst VMware's bubble

Comment Rumours are circulating about a hypervisor built by Nutanix, and Nutanix open-sourcing its software; two intriguing moves. Why would Nutanix make these moves as VMware ratchets up its attack on hyper-converged vendors with EVO:RAIL? Start-up Nutanix is a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance (HCIA) supplier, widely-regarded …
Chris Mellor, 02 Apr 2015
E8 Storage Logo 648p

Ex-XIV execs expeditiously exit to expectant E8

Say hello to E8 Storage, a stealthy Israeli start-up founded by two XIV veterans. CEO and co-founder Zivan Ori was an R&D manager at IBM-XIV for five years up until 2013. He spent 16 months as chief architect at Stratoscale – another stealthy storage start-up – then left to set up E8 in November 2014. Co-founder Alex Friedman …
Chris Mellor, 02 Apr 2015
Marconi-Stille steel tape recorder

Tape thrives at the margin as shipped capacity breaks record

Shipped tape capacity passed 6.6 exabytes in the third 2014 quarter, a record. An HP backup, recovery and archive product manager, Simon Watkins, revealed this in a blog. As a man with lots of tape libraries in his set of products, you’d expect him to be pleased. The data came from the Santa Clara Consulting Group. Watkins …
Chris Mellor, 02 Apr 2015
DRagon

Permabit OEM deal de-stealths Chinese all-flash array maker

Permabit says it has a new Albireo dedupe software OEM, and in so doing has revealed a brand new all-flash array vendor, this one from China. Sihua Technologies is an iCDN content delivery and NeuStor cloud storage product provider to the Chinese market. It is based in Shanghai and Hangzhou, with an office in Cupertino. Sihua …
Chris Mellor, 02 Apr 2015
Oracle_ZS4_4

Oracle gets ZFS filer array spun up to near-AFA speeds

Oracle's ZFS filer array has virtually matched an all-flash array in the SPC-2 streaming storage benchmark and set a new SPC-2 streaming/price/performance record [PDF]. It introduced its ZS4-4 array in December last year, as a refresh of the prior ZS3. That was rated at 17,244.22MB/sec on its SPC-2 run with a $22.53 price/ …
Chris Mellor, 01 Apr 2015
SC4020

Dell’s all-flash array receives benchmark boost

An all-flash Dell Storage Center array with six 480GB SSDs has the second-best price/performance score ever recorded in the SPC-1 benchmark. This benchmark measures random IO performance from a storage array, with an SPC-1 IOPS score. Dividing that by the list price provides the price/performance measure. Dell’s SC4020 was rated …
Chris Mellor, 01 Apr 2015
Alation_data-graph

Metadata manipulation by Alation seeks needles in data haystack

A disparate bunch of Oracle, Apple and Microsoft guys have started up Alation, which makes metadata manipulations to present all of an enterprise's data to analysts and others so they can find stuff out. Alation, founded in 2012, has emerged from stealth having just gained $9 million of A-round funding, from Andreesen Horowitz …
Chris Mellor, 01 Apr 2015
Gobi_flash_flood

Samsung takes Google into third dimension of flashy storage

It's a 3D flash flood: Korean 3D flash-furtler Samsung has landed Google as a customer, according to the Korean Times. The report says Google's data centres will use Sammy's 3D NAND, which the paper has previously reported will also be used in forthcoming MacBooks from Apple, and which we understand is also utilised by Amazon, …
Chris Mellor, 01 Apr 2015
USPTO_seal

SanDisk, Netlist heading to court in patent brouhaha that won't end

After its ULLtraDIMM OEM supplier Diablo Technologies walked out of the jury trial against Netlist with a big "not guilty" stamped on its brow recently, it's now SanDisk's turn to fight a little Netlist court action. In the just-completed trade secrets theft trial, Netlist was convinced Diablo Technologies had effectively stolen …
Chris Mellor, 31 Mar 2015
Brian_Pawlowski_at_Pure_Storage

Chief architect Beepy ready to take Pure’s flash somewhere new

Pure Storage is putting ex-NetApp FlashRay engineering head Brian Pawlowski into a chief architect role. Pawlowski, known as Beepy – BP, geddit? – left NetApp when his stand-alone, revolutionary, top-of-the-AFA-pack FlashRay project was demoted. He promptly joined Pure Storage, where his new responsibilities have been revealed …
Chris Mellor, 31 Mar 2015
Roy Lichtenstein Wham! Bang!

Kaminario playing 3D flash chippery doo-dah with its arrays

Interview Twitter can be great. There we were, we storage twits, talking about 3D flash, when Kaminario CTO Shachar Fienblit got in touch to say Kaminario was using 3D flash already. That makes it the first enterprise storage supplier to go 3D NAND, as far as we know, and has an 800GB 3D NAND SSD in its set of flash media. We got in touch …
Chris Mellor, 31 Mar 2015
David Donatelli

Oracle boat picks up ex-HP hardware man Donatelli

HP exec David Donatelli has followed Mark Hurd to Oracle, and taken up an exec veep position related to hardware, according to Business Insider, citing numerous sources. Donatelli was the EVP in charge of HP's enterprise systems business when Meg Whitman appeared as HP head honcho to replace the ousted Hurd. Hurd went to Oracle …
Chris Mellor, 31 Mar 2015

Pure CEO dons cheerleader outfit, harangues world, dog

Comment Pure’s chief evangelist officer executive officer, Scott Dietzen, has blown Pure’s trumpet about its 2014 business. It’s a mighty blast: he has big lungs and he’s cheerleading his now 850-plus staff when he says the all-flash array (AFA) start-up, has: Recruited an additional 500 staff Grown revenue more than 300 per …
Chris Mellor, 30 Mar 2015
Octopus_Red_Hat

Red Hat explains its choice of scale-out storage hats

Which Red Hat scale-out storage product should you choose: Ceph or Gluster? Red Hat has brought Ceph – acquired with InkTank in May last year – up to its engineering standards and branded it Red Hat Ceph Storage, and is now touting it alongside its Red Hat Gluster Storage. Both Ceph and Gluster are open source, scale-out, …
Chris Mellor, 27 Mar 2015
Flood

All the flash world needs is more TLC, suggests report

Triple-level cell (TLC) flash is heading towards being nearly half of all flash shipments. A report from DRAMeXchange says TLC NAND flash will account for nearly half of the total NAND flash output in the fourth 2015 quarter. DRAMeXchange_TLC_chart The report author, Sean Yang, says TLC NAND is shifting from memory card and …
Chris Mellor, 27 Mar 2015
IMTF_3D_NAND_die

Everyone's getting flashy: Intel and Micron want to feed you their wafers

Four months after revealing their 3D NAND flash tech, Intel and Micron say they are now sampling product - the day after beleaguered SanDisk announced its 48-layer tech would enter pilot production in the second half of the year. As our IMTF (Intel Micron Flash Technologies) pair, the boys from Boise, said last November their …
Chris Mellor, 27 Mar 2015

SanDisk slashes sales outlook as growth shudders to a stop

SanDisk expects the current quarter's revenues to be about $1.3bn, 14 per cent less than a year ago, with the flash business supposed to be a growth area. The execs must have been horrified when they heard. At the end of the poorly performing previous quarter it expected $1.40bn to $1.45bn, still down on the $1.51bn earned a …
Chris Mellor, 27 Mar 2015
Solidfire_front

Hey, you just picked up a Solidfire flash box? Dude, you bought a Dell

Dell is selling Solidfire's all-flash arrays to service providers. Although Dell flogs its own all-flash Storage Centre arrays, it has an agreement with Colorado startup Solidfire to push the latter's scale-out all-solid-state-drive arrays. Dell spokesperson Lon Levitan told The Register: Yes, it’s true. The SolidFire …
Chris Mellor, 27 Mar 2015
Tintri

This just in from our Chief SATA Officer: Tintri trio takes off to mystery startup

Hybrid storage array startup Tintri has lost three executives in one fell swoop to another upstart. The trio of leavers are: Edward Lee, who has been an architect at Tintri since Jan 2010 from being technical director and a principal systems analyst at Data Domain. Pratik Wadher, who was executive veep for engineering and …
Chris Mellor, 26 Mar 2015

Hedvig all set to Google-ise that enterprise storage

Start-up Hedvig aims to bring Google/Amazon cloud-style storage to enterprises, with a virtualised pool of storage aggregated from distributed silos. It’s just won seed and A-round funding to the tune of $12.5m and has a Distributed Storage Platform technology that early customers – like Intuit, Dovilo, Van Dijk and Paul …
Chris Mellor, 26 Mar 2015
George_Kurian

NetApp veep: 'We've shifted 750,000 all-flash arrays'. Er, really?

UPDATED Interview There has been a sea change in the FlashRay project, NetApp's ground-up all-flash array product development, with execs leaving and the project being absorbed into the overall ONTAP organisation. So we interviewed George Kurian, NetApp's product operations EVP, to find out about FlashRay's status and positioning, and NetApp's …
Chris Mellor, 26 Mar 2015
Kinetic_4TB_drive

SNIA examines standardised access to object-based disk drives

The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) has a tech workgroup looking at object-based disk drives, such as Seagate’s Kinetic product, and is aiming to standardise access. Seagate’s Kinetic disk drive has object-style Get and Put interfaces access over a direct Ethernet connection to the drive. HGST is developing its …
Chris Mellor, 26 Mar 2015
Whiptail XLR8r appliance

Invicta saddles up for another tilt at the 'acceleration' market

After having withdrawn its Invicta all-flash array (AFA) from sale last year, Cisco is trying to crack the AFA market again Cisco bought Whiptail and its Invicta flash array technology for $415 million in 2013, and wants to build it into a $1bn business. However, it withdrew it from sale in September 2014 after scaling problems …
Chris Mellor, 25 Mar 2015
Intel DC P3700

Coho: Hi ho, hi ho, let's go to Intel's dev chateau

Coho Data has bounced up into view again, joining an Intel development partnership focused on lashing together CPUs, SSDs and Ethernet switches. What gives? We talked about Coho’s scale-out DataStream platform, with its MicroArrays and bare-metal object store, here, in 2013. Although Coho may not like the term, these are hyper- …
Chris Mellor, 25 Mar 2015
Bees

Data Deposit Box shrinks the farm before the SWARM

An SMB backup-to-the-cloud biz has shrunk its rack real estate by 82 per cent, moving from paired Dell storage server boxes to a swarm of object storage boxes. Data Deposit Box, which started operations in 2002, has more than 60,000 customers for its service. An OEM deal meant that customer base could increase markedly, which …
Chris Mellor, 25 Mar 2015
HGST_He8_heads

Helium-filled drive tech floats to top of HGST heap

HGST has announced second-generation helium drive tech after shipping a million gen-1 Helium drives and upping field reliability by 15 per cent. These drives have enclosures filled with helium instead of air. This is only 14 per cent of the density of air, so platters spin with less friction, vibrating less and needing less …
Chris Mellor, 25 Mar 2015
Bubble ring in sunlight

Scality proffers its RING to the Land of the Rising Sun

V5 of Scality's RING object storage software is now generally available, and has automated installation to ease the construction of petabyte rings with hundreds of nodes. The software was first discussed six months ago, with the top-level items being Amazon S3 and EBS-like storage for files, objects and VMware and KVM virtual …
Chris Mellor, 25 Mar 2015
Electricity_Pylon

Cleversafe attempts to infiltrate the storage laws of power

Cleversafe founder and vice chairman Chris Gladwin says his company's software is much more power-efficient than other scale-out disk drive array software or all-flash arrays. Object erasure coding can stop RAID crippling the power budget. The object storage software Cleversafe sells uses erasure coding for data protection and …
Chris Mellor, 24 Mar 2015

EMC grabs tutu, slips on ballet shoes, performs Tchaikovsky's SAN Lake

EMC is getting into big data hydraulic engineering with its Federation Business Data Lake, calling it an engineered system integrating components from EMC II, Pivotal, VCE and VMware. This is not an appliance – the 1PB version takes at least seven days* to implement – so you can assume it’s not cheap either. It combines big data …
Chris Mellor, 24 Mar 2015
Rubik_cubes

Rubrik back-up killer emerges into daylight with $10m in funding

Rubrik, the enterprise data management start-up, has come out of stealth with $10 million funding – including Silicon Valley elite cash contributions – and an intention to knock over Symantec, EMC, CommVault and Veeam in the back-up space. Angel investors include: John Thompson, ex-Symantec CEO and current Microsoft chairman; …
Chris Mellor, 24 Mar 2015
Audio Bomb

Quorum appoints rock guitarist to play CEO lead

Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) start-up Quorum has appointed John Newsom as its fifth CEO – the fifth in the eight years since it was founded. He is a guitarist in a rock tribute band in his spare time, so lets hope his lead as CEO is as good as his rock soloing. Quorum has one-click disaster recovery and hybrid cloud …
Chris Mellor, 24 Mar 2015

Tachyon Nexus theorises on ultra fast storage

Any in-memory-focussed clustered system has to deal with failure at some point, and learn how to recover from, or tolerate, it. Replication is a common method but it slows down processing, especially in sequences of jobs in a pipeline. However, upstart Tachyon Nexus thinks it has found a way round that problem, and can go a …
Chris Mellor, 24 Mar 2015
Fluffy grey ragdoll cat relaxes next to laptop.

Distribution of cream among EMC executive fat cats revealed

Fancy finding out how much EMC fat cats earn? Read on. Total compensation – meaning share options, salary and bonuses – for the top execs at EMC Information Infrastructure (EMC II) in 2014 looked like this: Joe Tucci (EMC Chairman & CEO) – $11,203,318 David Goulden (EMC II CEO) – $10,531,257 Howard Elias (President & COO …
Chris Mellor, 23 Mar 2015
Pawlowski_and_Puritans

Mr FlashRay's QUIT: Brian Pawlowski joins flashy upstart Pure Storage

Pure Storage has pulled off the storage recruitment coup of the year and hired Mr FlashRay, NetApp SVP Brian Pawlowski. News broke on March 19 of Pawlowski’s departure, after 20 years at NetApp, with a business networking profile in his name saying he was becoming a VP at a new venture. According to The Register's sources, that …
Chris Mellor, 20 Mar 2015
management regulation1

Diablo-Netlist IP dispute set for jury showdown next week

Next week is decision time in the Netlist-Diablo trial. A jury will rule whether Diablo unlawfully used Netlist's IP in developing technology includedin SanDisk ULLtraDIMM faster-than-PCIe-flash storage products. ULLtraDIMM tech, which speeds server processing of data by lowering access latency, has been licensed to Lenovo, …
Chris Mellor, 20 Mar 2015
OceanStor_9000

Huawei releases scaly NAS. Rival's Isilon sales increase. Oh dear

Wannabe Isilon-beater Huawei is showing its scale-out NAS product, the OceanStor 9000, at CeBit, saying it's the first scale-out filer designed for six-layer 4K UHD program production and editing. This system was announced in August 2013 at Interop in Las Vegas and has made, it appears, little progress since then. On paper it …
Chris Mellor, 19 Mar 2015
channel_teaser_exit

FlashRay founder Pawlowski flees NetApp

Brian Pawlowski, the founding and lead tech head for NetApp’s wannabee high-flying FlashRay all-flash array, has left the company after a 20-year stint, and become a VP in a new venture. Beepy, as he is known, was an SVP and member of NetApp’s technical staff, and NetApp’s chief technology officer from August 2006 to May 2012. …
Chris Mellor, 19 Mar 2015
True 3D Technology

A day may come when flash memory is USELESS. But today is not that day

The era of flash memory is anticipated to run out of road in the 2020s and newer technologies involving resistance and electron spin are poised to take over, delivering higher capacities, greater speed and DRAM-style addressability. Some people ask if one of these new technologies could actually unify dynamic memory (RAM) and …
Chris Mellor, 18 Mar 2015
Samsung 850 EVO 1TB SSD

MacBooks slimming down with Sammy's new 3D NAND diet pills

The 3D NAND revolution starts here. According to reports, Apple has signed a deal with Samsung to use its 3D V-NAND SSDs in future MacBooks, expected some time in 2016. The Korean Times estimates the deal is worth billions of dollars. Instead of having a single 2D or planar layer (as most current MLC flash dies do) 3D NAND has …
Chris Mellor, 18 Mar 2015

China's make-your-own DRAM ambitions growing all the time

Comment The People's Republic of China is getting heavily into the DRAM foundry business, giving it its own semi-conductor manufacturing fabs and raising the prospect of NAND flash being the next technology to move inside the Great Wall. A bunch of Chinese investors, led by Summitview Capital, have bought Integrated Silicon Solution ( …
Chris Mellor, 17 Mar 2015
Illustration of an atom

CERN turns to Seagate’s Kinetic system and says ‘it’s storage time’

Comment CERN, with its extremely high-tech, bleeding-edge Big Data wizardry, is waved around like a trophy by IT suppliers these days. Now Seagate has stepped up onto the CERN stage, wanting to get its Kinetic disk drives used to store Large Hadron Collider (LHC) data. Seagate has gone and signed a three-year deal with CERN to scoop …
Chris Mellor, 17 Mar 2015
Rubrik_web_page

Stealthy upstart Rubrik: We'll make enterprise data 'beautiful'

We here at The Reg have come across Rubrik, an early-stage Californian storage startup still in stealth. The website talks about “the world's data management platform". Headquartered in Palo Alto, it defines itself as "the new standard for data management," and claims: "Rubrik is built by the same people who built Google File …
Chris Mellor, 17 Mar 2015
EMC_Big_Data_Event

EMC pitches a total DATA LAKE immersion

Fancy monetising your Big Data assets? EMC is flagging up a Big Data event on 23 March dealing with "scaling Big Data across an enterprise", whatever that means. If you attend you will “learn to work with Big Data, monetise your Big Data assets and see a fast and flexible Big Data solution”. The invite video includes the logos …
Chris Mellor, 17 Mar 2015
Drobo_B1200i

Drobo releases range-topping fatter, faster 12-bay bruiser

Drobo – the data robot company that almost two years ago merged with Connected Data – has updated its rack-mounted B1200i product, making it both fatter and faster. Drobos data storage robots are remarkably easy-to-use storage devices which you can self-populate with disks, and which protect data with a BeyondRAID scheme, said …
Chris Mellor, 17 Mar 2015
Veritas_5330_NetBackup_Appliance

Storage biz gets down with da kidz, announces new update on Reddit

Comment A NetBackup update is coming from Veritas, according to a Reddit forum. Veritas hosted an AMA (ask me anything) discussion on 13 March which has been posted to Reddit. According to the postings, NetBackup 7.7 will feature more capabilities in these following areas: Cloud storage, with Google Cloud Storage Nearline mentioned …
Chris Mellor, 17 Mar 2015