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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.

Swallow

Struggling tape bods Quantum a few quids in after good quarter

One swallow doesn’t make a summer but two certainly does indicate warmer weather is on the way. So too for Quantum, which has just made a profit – the first one after four quarters of losses. Quantum, that perennially struggling tape, disk and file management vendor, has just reported a positive second fiscal 2015 quarter ending …
Chris Mellor, 30 Oct 2014
Intel and Micron's 20nm, 128Gb NAND chip

Keep up with the fast-moving world of flash array storage

An all-flash networked array can do wonders in speeding up data accesses by applications running in connected servers. It is obviously best if the all-flash array is seamlessly integrated with your existing networked storage infrastructure. Suppliers of new integrated flash arrays say that getting the best use out of flash …
Chris Mellor, 30 Oct 2014
Hawk hits drone

SkyHawk array swoops down, 136TB claws extended

All-flash array startup and packing density expert Skyera has got itself a new version of its skyHawk array, encompassing a threefold increase in capacity. The first generation skyHawk was a 1U rack enclosure with 44TB of usable flash capacity inside it. Gen 2 skyHawk FS has 136TB (raw) and also delivers increases in data …
Chris Mellor, 30 Oct 2014
Claw hammer

Catalogic data copy sprawl smacker CEO Walsh talks to the Vulture

Joining Actifio and Delphix in the general data copy management space Catalogic has launched its ECX product which classifies and catalogs existing copies instead of creating a master copy. The idea is that you get a better idea of the copies you already have and can re-use good ones, delete unwanted ones and generally manage …
Chris Mellor, 29 Oct 2014
Memblaze

Hey - who wants 4.8 TERABYTES almost AS FAST AS MEMORY?

Chinese flash product supplier Memblaze has launched an almost memory-speed server flash card with a 14 microsecond latency - and up to 4.8TB capacity - for the hyperscale market and open compute project applications, according to a company statement. This is a variant of its existing PBlaze3 card. Speeds and feeds: 750,000 …
Chris Mellor, 29 Oct 2014
chart

Return of the disk drive bigness? Not for poor old, busted WD

Western Digital has reported mixed numbers for its latest quarter, with a small revenue rise and a larger profits drop compared with the numbers it reported a year ago. Seagate reported sparkling numbers yesterday in comparison. For its first fiscal 2015 quarter, ended 3 October, revenues of $3.9bn were up modestly year-on-year …
Chris Mellor, 29 Oct 2014
Mars

Has NetApp solved the TLC for biz puzzle? We look at its MYSTERY SSD Mars sauce

NetApp is pinning FlashRay's future on TLC flash, which everyone else says is not fit for enterprise use. We talked to NetApp to find out how and why it's apparently got hold of secret TLC sauce that no one else has. Let's reiterate that TLC NAND is a crap enterprise storage technology. It stores 3 bits per cell instead of MLC's …
Chris Mellor, 29 Oct 2014

Whoa, back up a little CommVault: ANOTHER weak quarter?

CommVault has reported a depressing set of results as sales headcount and mid-market product and pricing strategy faux pas cause a stumble – another stumble, in fact, as first quarter results were poor too. Second quarter revenues of $151.5m were up seven per cent year-on-year but down one per cent on the prior quarter, with …
Chris Mellor, 29 Oct 2014

Samsung wants a bite of flash cache, will eat Proximal Data – sources

Samsung is buying Proximal Data, a flash caching software company, people close to the situation told The Register, although no formal announcement has been made. Proximal was founded in 2011 by CEO Rory Bolt, who was involved with Avamar and heavily involved in selling it to EMC for $165m. The company provides AutoCache, which …
Chris Mellor, 29 Oct 2014

EMC wolfs down cloudy upstart Maginatics, swallows 'protection' too

EMC is buying cloud storage gateway software biz Maginatics, as predicted, but also plans to buy startup Spanning, which makes cloud-to-cloud data protection technology. Maginatics is heading for EMC's Core Technology Division and the background about its products and capabilities can be read here. Spanning is based in Austin, …
Chris Mellor, 28 Oct 2014
Spock

EMC goes full Star Trek, flops out Vblock-based Federation SDDC Edition

EMC has birthed another converged system called the Federation SDDC Edition. Star Trek rules in the cloud, okay. This is based on Vblocks with public cloud links. SDDC stands for software-defined data centre. EMC is calling this its Enterprise Hybrid Cloud - we'll acronymise it to EHC - and so it is: think Vblock Plus. EMC says …
Chris Mellor, 28 Oct 2014
UCP for VMware

HDS flings cloud-in-a-box at EMC Vblock, NetApp FlexPod

HDS has started competing with EMC Vblocks and NetApp Flexpods with an offering its own managed, on-premises cloud-in-a-box. It has converged its server, storage and networking products into a Vblock-like product - Hblocks anyone? - and is using it for a managed on-prem cloud service, at a stroke providing across-the-board EMC/ …
Chris Mellor, 28 Oct 2014
Flash Gordon

Mind the product overlap gap, cloud ONTAP... make way for FlashRay – NetApp veep

Ty McConney is a NetApp corporate veep for flash solutions, handling its EF flash array, all-flash fabric-attached storage (FAS) and FlashRay. We sat down at a press meeting and grilled him about all-flash arrays (AFAs) from NetApp. NetApp does have some AFA product overlap but, in McConney's words, "we'd rather have products …
Chris Mellor, 28 Oct 2014
Whitewater

NetApp buys SteelStore from Riverbed

NetApp has extricated Riverbed from some nasty Whitewater rapids that threatened to drag it under and pummel it on the rocks below. The big blue staple rode to the rescue by buying its SteelStore product line for U$80 million in cash. SteelStore is Riverbed's re-branded Whitewater cloud storage backup appliance technology. It …
Chris Mellor, 27 Oct 2014
Cloud ONTAP

NetApp offers ONTAP as a cloud for all seasons

NetApp has updated its ONTAP operating system release into what it calls a data fabric spanning private, hybrid, and public clouds, and includes a SW-only Cloud ONTAP edition running in public clouds. NetApp is also offering new services for hybrid clouds. There's an Enterprise Transformation Workshop for Cloud, an Efficiency …
Chris Mellor, 27 Oct 2014
OpenStack: If it were only as easy as this picture makes it seem

OpenStack upstart SwiftStack slurps up $16m from backers

OpenStack-using startup SwiftStack has got itself $16m in B-round funding, raising the total cash invested amount to $23.6m. Why should we care? CEO Joe Arnold kindly told us. As a recap the business was started up in 2011 and has had a funding injection once a year since then, commencing with a seed round of $1.5m in 2012, an A …
Chris Mellor, 27 Oct 2014
server room

Recovery-ware upstart Zerto: From Hyper-V to VMware and back again

In a blow against hypervisor lock-in, Recovery-ware startup Zerto has extended its VMware hypervisor-based technology to embrace Hyper-V, providing cross-hypervisor replication from VMware to Hyper-V or vice versa. Virtual machines can now be continuously protected by Zerto's changed block-level replication to a second server or …
Chris Mellor, 27 Oct 2014
seagate 1in 12gb hdd

Disk drive BIGNESS is back: Seagate revenues and shipments surge

Growth has returned to the disk drive business if Seagate's latest quarterly results are anything to go by. The raw numbers paint the picture perfectly. First quarter fiscal 2015 revenues were $3.8bn, nine per cent up on an annual compare and 15 per cent higher than the previous quarter. Seagate shipped 59.5 million drives, up …
Chris Mellor, 27 Oct 2014
Scott Dietzen before (L) and after (R) shaving his head

Pure Storage developing converged systems

Pure Storage is set to build converged server and storage systems "to compete with commodity server hardware", said CEO Scott Dietzen, as the highly funded startup enters the next phase of its development. In a blog Dietzen wrote: The opportunity for Pure will be more about shaping the next-generation of cloud and web-scale …
Chris Mellor, 27 Oct 2014

Activist investors force Riverbed into climbdown over cash 'n' costs

Another one bites the dust as activist investor Elliott Management forces networking biz Riverbed into a strategic review of its options. Despite announcing good second and third quarter results with increasing revenues and profits, Riverbed has had to bow to activist investors' concerns about shareholder value by initiating a …
Chris Mellor, 24 Oct 2014
Killer whale

Bitcasa bins $10-a-month Infinite storage offer

One of the oddest cloud storage offers ever has just been binned as Bitcasa bumps into reality. When sprats are competing with killer whales what do you expect? Back in 2011, startup Bitcasa offered Infinite storage for consumers in Bitcasa’s remote data centre, aka the cloud, for $10/month. The business case for this appeared …
Chris Mellor, 24 Oct 2014
Transporter_Genesis_bezel

Dropbox-but-with-an-actual-box firm touts new biz appliances

Private cloud firm Connected Data has birthed a business-class, private cloud/file sync 'n' share product based on its consumer Transporter product's base. Transporter is a mini-cooling tower desktop lookalike housing a hard drive with internet connectivity. Peer-to-peer networks of Transporters can share and synchronise files …
Chris Mellor, 24 Oct 2014
Allan_Kay_and_Dynabook_prototype

Pssst. Want to buy a timeshare in the clouds?

Three questions: is baby turning into a monster? Are we desktop/notebook/tablet/smartphone users becoming the near-as-dammit slaves of social media and retail monopolists? Are these monopolists destroying jobs and impoverishing people faster than networked smart device and software technologies are creating jobs and enriching …
Chris Mellor, 24 Oct 2014
Storiant software

Upstart brags about cheaper-than-Amazon private cold data cloud

Storiant is an object storage startup which claims its customers can use its technology to store petabyte-scale data in a private cloud at a price below public cloud storage. How does it pull this trick off? It has a customer, Markley Cloud Services in New England, which it says stores 11PB of cold data in a Storiant silo – as …
Chris Mellor, 23 Oct 2014
Joe Tucci EMC

Hey, Joe. Give EMC the gun and SHOOT IT DOWN - before someone else messes 'round town

What should we do about the EMC Federation and the coming retirement of its founder and architect Joe Tucci? Activist investors want it dismantled to provide more value for shareholders. Nobody sees a replacement candidate for Joe Tucci; someone who could hold the ring while the three strong and capable CEOs that run EMC …
Chris Mellor, 23 Oct 2014
Fujitsu_CS200c

There's a lot more to backup than you thought

If backup is too often an afterthought, have you considered its even poorer relation, archive. You haven’t? What a surprise. The fact is, businesses and their infrastructure depend upon common services for general efficiency, management focus and cost control. All organisations do, and it would be a nightmare if they didn't. …
Chris Mellor, 23 Oct 2014
EMC_REvs_To_Q3fy2014

EMC profits flatline as VCE joins the storage-tastic federation

For its third quarter EMC reported good numbers but the news is overshadowed by the expected VCE announcement and the activist investor pressure on the Hopkinton firm. EMC recorded a satisfyingly chunky nine per cent uptick in consolidated quarterly revenues for its third 2014 quarter – a round $6bn compared to $5.5bn a year ago …
Chris Mellor, 22 Oct 2014

VMware, Cisco, EMC lovechild to live in Big Daddy EMC's house

As rumoured, VCE, the three-way love child of VMware, Cisco and EMC, is to be absorbed into the EMC Federation this quarter. VCE builds and sells converged Vblock systems based on VMware’s virtualisation software, Cisco servers and networking and EMC storage. It is a startup and was jointly funded (until now) by Cisco and EMC. …
Chris Mellor, 22 Oct 2014
Panzura Quicksilver cloud storage controller

Panzura's cloudy gear hits others' WAN optimisation kit for six

Cloudy firm Panzura's cloud storage gateway is saving distributed projects businesses enormous amounts of time when opening shared project files, it claims. So much so that Panzura is now focusing on the Architectural, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) market niche. Panzura FS is a global single namespace file system with …
Chris Mellor, 22 Oct 2014
The full Spanglish breakfast: mealy pudding, bacon, black pudding, sausages, fried egg, toast

Reg man has the cure for IBM storage: Just swallow 10 firms

When you are walking on the Moon, far from home and Earth's tethering gravity then giant steps are what you take. When a product set becomes low or no-growth, then its tethering product gravity effect is weakened and you need to take giant steps to rebuild it ... which brings us to IBM. Witness its results. IBM's old certainties …
Chris Mellor, 21 Oct 2014
Andrew Warfield, Coho Data CTO

Reg Vulture grills Xen hypervisor daddy on latest storage upstart

Like other storage startups, Coho Data has had to swim upstream* against prevailing storage orthodoxy. Its CTO and co-founder, Andrew Warfield, was one of the original authors of the Xen hypervisor, and we recently took the opportunity to ask him some questions about the firm's technology, product positioning and progress. Some …
Chris Mellor, 21 Oct 2014

Will EMC swallow cloudy upstart? These analysts seem to think so

Any move by EMC to acquire Maginatics — and the latter’s software-only cloud storage gateway — would be a “very smart buy”, according to analyst Ben Woo at technical consultancy Neuralytics, following speculation the storage giant is closing in on the startup. “Software defined storage is not just about on-premise [developments …
Chris Mellor, 21 Oct 2014
Menage_a_TRois

Two-timing HP snubs Scality's RING, organises object threesome

It’s a laugh a minute in the object storage business. Not content with reselling Scality’s RING object storage software alongside its own StoreAll product, HP is now two-timing Scality by reselling Cleversafe’s object storage software as well. It’s best to be sure – to be sure. Once again it’s HP’s hyperscale server group making …
Chris Mellor, 20 Oct 2014
Photo of a stack of $100 bills

IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO

IBM's storage revenues are continuing to slump, with the latest overall IBM results causing the abandonment of a long-term earnings/share goal. IBM's overall revenues for its third 2014 quarter were $22.4bn, down six per cent year-on-year and down 8.2 per cent sequentially. Net income was $3.5bn; it was $4.1bn in the previous …
Chris Mellor, 20 Oct 2014

Violin: Don't weep for Tier 1 storage... it'll soon be flashtastic

Flash will replace all enterprise tier 1 storage, and shared arrays will prevail over server-side SANs, while network latency remains a solvable computer science problem, argues Violin Memory CEO Kevin DeNuccio. The market and technology shocks waves of cloud, virtualisation and flash are coming Violin's way, with the all-flash …
Chris Mellor, 20 Oct 2014
FabricCache from QLogic

QLogic: Healthy fibre boosted our bottom line

QLogic has reported second quarter revenues of $127.5m, up 7 per cent on the previous quarter, and 13 per cent on the year-ago period. The server storage and Ethernet interconnect business also reported flat year-on-year profits of $11m, but up a whacking 83 per cent from the first quarter. Second quarter growth was attributed …
Chris Mellor, 20 Oct 2014

IBM: Please, take our chip unit. We'll give you $1.5 billion

Big Blue is going to become slightly less Big and Blue by paying Global Foundries $1.5bn to take on its chip-making business, according to multiple media reports. The giant's retreat from hardware continues following the transfer of the X86 server business to Lenovo. Bloomberg and others reported an IBM statement saying it is …
Chris Mellor, 20 Oct 2014
Walter Isaacson, The Innovators book cover

Steve Jobs' bio man tackles geeks who 'created the digital revolution'

This is an enthralling but slightly flawed read written by Walter Isaacson – of Steve Jobs' authorised biography fame. Computers first entered human consciousness just over 170 years ago, when Charles Babbage was working on his mechanical difference engine and Ada Lovelace described programming. Since that seminal time, the …
Chris Mellor, 19 Oct 2014

Flash daddy SanDisk: Revenues up, but Wall St unimpressed

SanDisk's third 2013 quarter showed a healthy annual and quarterly increase but subdued profits, while Fusion-io integration costs and mis-met Wall Street expectations sent the shares down a tad. Revenues were $1.75bn – a record. They were $1.63bn a year ago, meaning a seven per cent increase, and the same in the second 2014 …
Chris Mellor, 17 Oct 2014
Rails

Let the SAN shine: Supermicro inks EVO: RAIL deal with Nexenta

Tarkan Maner's Nexenta has snagged another server vendor to use its software for file access to VMware's EVO: RAIL. A couple of days ago it was Dell, today it's Supermicro. Supermicro's EVO: RAIL and VMware Virtual SAN offerings will come with NexentaConnect for Virtual SAN product, and so provide file services to the base SAN …
Chris Mellor, 17 Oct 2014

Hey small biz: You know what you need? A tape library – Overland

Overland has got itself a new NEO tape library (cue jokes about the Matrix Reloaded) called the NEOxl, and it's packed a huge amount of capacity inside it. The two models in the product line both support LTO5 and LTO6 tape formats and come in 6U enclosures: NEOxl 60 To 3 drives and 60 slots 90TB-375TB capacity (90TB is …
Chris Mellor, 17 Oct 2014
Archimedes

'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster

Big data analytics people are constantly panning for nuggets of gold, and Cray has just the machine for them — its Urika-XA. Said to be a single-platform entity, consolidating a wide range of analytics workloads previously needing separate systems, its design has been optimised for compute- and memory-intensive and latency- …
Chris Mellor, 16 Oct 2014
Australian_painted_lady_feeding

HP slips on Scality's RING, plans to flog it with ProLiant servers

HP is going to resell Scality's RING object storage software, despite having its own scale-out StoreAll object storage technology. Scality hopes this is a break-out deal and twins with a market move to unstructured data and server-side storage – as this would help object storage emerge from its chrysalis and float like a …
Chris Mellor, 16 Oct 2014
EVO: RAIL

Is HP riding the EVO: RAILs to oblivion?

HP is set to launch a VMware EVO: RAIL hyper-converged appliance that threatens to kill off its StoreVirtual product. HP's StoreVirtual 200-HC hyper-converged system, combines server, networking, storage, and virtualisation and management software for mid-size businesses, remote offices and branch office locations. It is …
Chris Mellor, 15 Oct 2014
EVO: RAIL

What the Dell? Big Mike and co join Nexenta for EVO: RAIL file access

Dell is using Nexenta's software to bring file access to VMware's EVO: RAIL virtual SAN. It is shipping NexentaConnect and NexentaStor software with its EVO: RAIL kit, its pre-configured, fully integrated, hyper-converged appliance. NexentaStor is Nexenta's ZFS-based storage software which runs on certified server/storage …
Chris Mellor, 15 Oct 2014

Lure of OpenStack overwhelms EMC: Must ... SLURP... startup

EMC is reportedly buying the Cloudscaling Group, a software startup helping to manage clouds of OpenStack-using servers, with the deal worth less than $50m. Could EMC be following in Cisco's footsteps? Bloomberg reports the intent is for EMC's cloud strategy to integrate better with OpenStack-using systems. EMC spokesperson …
Chris Mellor, 14 Oct 2014
Mr BLOBby

Facebook storage techies: We sift through your family snaps to find 'warm BLOBs'

Facebook has ditched RAID and replication for its nearline storage, using distributed erasure coding to isolate what it calls "warm BLOBs" instead. Translation please: BLOB — Binary Large OBject — Facebook user’s photos, videos, etc. Warm — data that has to be kept and is accessed at a lower rate than hot data, but more than …
Chris Mellor, 13 Oct 2014

Nimbus Data sues over unpaid bill: 'Kit didn't work', says customer

Flash array firm Nimbus Data is suing a customer, insurance telemetry firm Modus LLC, because it did not complete payments for an E-Class array flash array it ordered from Nimbus. The case is being dealt with in Northern California, with Nimbus suing for a breach of contract and recovery of debt. According to documents filed …
Chris Mellor, 13 Oct 2014
Nutanix NX-9000

Nutanix goes all-flash, will rescue dying data from imploding cities

Converged system startup Nutanix has topped out its range with an all-flash appliance, and added protection at inter-city distances. Its clusterable appliances combine servers, storage and networking to provide a single converged data centre that, it says, replaces racks of disparate servers, storage arrays and network gear. …
Chris Mellor, 13 Oct 2014
Nutanix NX-3000 server-storage node

Iron out the kinks and all-flash servers just might have a future

Nutanix's NX-9000 is an all-flash, scale-out, hyperconverged server/storage/networking system, with a single logical pool of SAN storage aggregated from the NX nodes in a cluster. In other words, it's a clustered, disk-less server. It's disk-less, and so less prone to mechanical and electro-mechanical errors and needs less power …
Chris Mellor, 10 Oct 2014