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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.

Lycurgus_Cup

4th Century GOBLET could REVIVE CORPSE of holographic storage

Cambridge boffins have discovered that thin films of silver nanoparticles can increase optical storage density and create multi-coloured holograms. The effect was first noted way back in fourth century Roman times (circa 290-325 AD) with the crafting of the Lycurgus Cup, an engraved glass goblet that has a green tint when lit …
Chris Mellor, 04 Sep 2014
EMC VNX2 line up

Somebody's nightmare? I'm a veteran VNX array with a BADGE

Lenovo has started selling VNX arrays, adding a "VNX5150" to its product line-up. The VNX5100 is an entry-level SAN product that was effectively replaced by the block and file VNX5200 array in September last year. There is still a VNX5100 page on EMC’s website but a linked VNX Hardware Data Sheet PDF omits it from the VNX line- …
Chris Mellor, 04 Sep 2014
My_Passport_Wireless

A Terabyte in my HOUSE? Got more than that in my POCKET

WD has got itself a portable wirelessly-connecting external drive, the My Passport Wireless drive. It uses WiFi to connect to “any smartphone, tablet, computer or other device.” It can use USB 3.0 as well as USB 2.0; handy for transferring large files. It broadcasts its own wireless network and allows up to eight devices to …
Chris Mellor, 04 Sep 2014
Ducati racing bike

Zoom to the clouds: EMC signs kit deal with Ducati superbike racers

Ducati is hoping to make its motorbikes go faster in races by using Isilon arrays and EMC’s Syncplicity file sync'n'share software. Ducati racing bike Speedy: Ducati are to get their hands on EMC's Isilon and Syncplicity kit The Ducati Corse racing team gets the benefit of the Isilion and Syncplicity kit from this month on, …
Chris Mellor, 03 Sep 2014
Angry old man

We're not on the Gartner Magic Quadrant? Just imagine our concern, says HDS

Facing up to exclusion from Gartner’s all-flash array Magic Quadrant, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has come out fighting. HDS ships an all-flash array (AFA) in the form of Hitachi Accelerated Flash Modules inside its VSP array, thus gaining access to all its VSP data management features. Yet this falls foul of Gartner’s AFA …
Chris Mellor, 03 Sep 2014
Tosh_TransferJet_USB_dongle

Toshiba makes play to replace NFC with own speedy short range tech

Toshiba is poised to introduce its TransferJet short-distance radio technology which will let consumers transfer content between touching smart devices “in the blink of an eye.” Tosh's Euro subsidiary, Toshiba Electronics Europe (TEE), will launch a family of TransferJet USB and microUSB adaptors for mobile phones, tablets, …
Chris Mellor, 03 Sep 2014
FlashRay video

My, what big data you have: NetApp's FlashRay to focus on databases

FlashRay, NetApp’s coming all flash array, is a going to be a database machine. That’s according to a NetApp video interview with its Flash Solutions VP. Ty McConney is said VP and at 9 minutes and 46 seconds into the video he answers a question about FlashRay. Youtube Video Ty McConney on FlashRay video He said a first and …
Chris Mellor, 03 Sep 2014
Transamerica Pyramid

Good luck with Project Wing, Google. This drone moonshot is NEVER going to happen

Google’s delivery drones in Oz have a really easy job – fly across a near desert and lower a parcel to the ground. That’s easy-peasy, matey. Try that in my Sixth Street home* in San Francisco, the one near the junction with Folsom Street, where (to make the Chocolate Drone Factory’s life easier) there is a grassed yard. …
Chris Mellor, 02 Sep 2014
Sonos_Bridge_free_set_up

Sonos burns its Bridges: Our home-grown Wi-Fi mesh will do

Until now, wireless speaker bod Sonos has required a Bridge device connected to a home wireless router to set up a mesh wireless network delivering timed audio signals to the speakers in a zone. But no longer – Sonos is going bridge-free. What it's doing is layering features of its own Sonos Net onto standard Wi-Fi as a base …
Chris Mellor, 02 Sep 2014
Roy Lichtenstein Wham! Bang!

DRAM whammer Kaminario bigs up K2 biz

Upstart Kaminario seems pleased with its position at the summit of flash array performance with its SPC benchmark-topping K2 all-flash arrays. But this mid-pack player may need to emerge from the herd to prove it has what it takes. Gartner pegs Kaminario as a visionary in the networked AFA (all-flash array) market. The startup …
Chris Mellor, 01 Sep 2014
Japanse suspension bridge

Wonderful wizard of WOS daddy DDN moves into big data

HPC and supercomputer storage company Data Direct Networks (DDN) says its move into enterprise big data is providing a bridge to profits, with 100 per cent revenue growth. The stats it quotes are these: Better than 100 per cent business increase in first half of 2014 compared to first half of 2013 for its enterprise big data …
Chris Mellor, 01 Sep 2014
Bonaparte Before The Sphinx

Siri: Helpful personal assistant or SERIAL APP KILLER?

In a world of where every mobile device contains a personal assistant, who will need mobile apps? Do you suffer from app clutter? My smartphone has lots of apps on it too. Finding the right one can be a pain, even though I have stuck some in folders to make the presentation less crowded on the screen. Then it has got to be …
Chris Mellor, 29 Aug 2014
Crystal ball via http://www.manoftaste.de/

FIRST LOOK: Gartner gurus present all-flash prognostications

Gartner's gurus have completed their prognostications and their all-flash array magic quadrant has been released upon an anticipative flash array world - and The Register has seen a copy. The diagram is the key: Gartner AFA MQ Gartner Magic Quadrant for all-flash arrays. (Apologies for the poor pic quality – it was scraped off …
Chris Mellor, 29 Aug 2014
Pigeon crapping on statue

Hyper-converged flash appliances are COMING. Here's one I dreamed up earlier...

Hyper-converged server/storage/networking systems use disks for storage. This is a temporary situation and all-flash hyper-converged appliances will come soon. We had a Vulture-ponder about how they might look and dreamed up a new Nutanix box, a high-end one in performance terms which, for the sake of convenience we'll call the …
Chris Mellor, 29 Aug 2014
Sheep muster

The A-to-Z of storage news: Your quick 'n' dirty tasting menu

The time around VMworld - which runs from 25 to 28 August in San Francisco – saw a frenetic pace of announcements which were obliterated from the main news radar screens by things like VMware’s EVO: RAIL. Here’a catch-up list of many of them. In alphabetic order of the suppliers: Brocade has extended support for its Solid State …
Chris Mellor, 29 Aug 2014
Bubble

Welcome to the HYPER-converged bubble of HYPE! Enjoy it while it's here, storage folk

The hype around hyper-converged systems is huge. Are we experiencing a hyper-converged systems bubble? Companies in the field are growing like crazy, especially Nutanix and Simplivity. Nutanix scooped a billion-dollar-plus valuation earlier this year after a $140m funding round. Meanwhile: Startups like Maxta, NIMBOXX, and …
Chris Mellor, 28 Aug 2014
Violin_to Q2_Fy2015

All-flash array shipper Violin plays concerto after re-stringing

Violin CEO Kevin DeNuccio has cut the flash array shipper's losses to a fraction of what they were in their previous results, and grown revenue over the previous quarter. It’s still lower than a year ago, but a landmark for all that. Violin is no longer on the road to perdition. Growth should also accelerate as the new products …
Chris Mellor, 28 Aug 2014
Photo of a stack of $100 bills

Hyperconverged kit is SO HOT right now. $140m sound about right, Nutanix?

The hyperconverged system iron is so hot that there will never be a better time to strike. Nutanix's backers have done just that, handing the company another $140m of E-round funding just seven months after its VC backers gave it $101m. Virty storage giant VMware's validation of the hypercvonverged server/storage/networking …
Chris Mellor, 27 Aug 2014
An Amazon Coin

Scality likes object storage, puts a RING on it... for the fifth time

Object storage software startup Scality is adding virtual machine level storage access to its existing file and object access protocols. Scality announced v4.3 of its RING object storage software just a few weeks ago in July - read about it here. Version 5.0 software adds: VMware VM-level storage access with Amazon S3 and EBS- …
Chris Mellor, 27 Aug 2014
Nimble Storage revenues Q2cy2014

Better be Nimble, tech giants, or mutant upstarts will make off with your sales

Hybrid array vendor Nimble Storage saw revenues grow strongly as storage giant incumbents were unable to deliver equivalent price/performance products. Revenues were $53.8m for its second quarter, ended, an 89 per cent increase year-on-year and beating its own guidance of $49m to $51m. There was a net loss of -$26.1m, 149 per …
Chris Mellor, 27 Aug 2014
TGV

Nutanix tacks Cloud Connect onto Amazon's cloudy back-end

Nutanix claims its new hyperconverged appliance is like a high-speed train compared to the narrow gauge railway run by its competitors. It can also take you to the cloud. The company’s hyper-converged appliances feature four nodes in a scale-out appliance, just like VMware’s basic EVO: RAIL hardware design. They also provide a …
Chris Mellor, 27 Aug 2014
Bikers

Atlantis furtles furious flash-DIMM VDI scorcher

Atlantis reckons it can make servers fly faster than anybody else when running virtual desktops. All you need is its USX software and SanDisk flash DIMMs running in an x86 server, an IBM xSeries one in this case. Combine all that and you get Atlantis's first all-flash, server-based hyper-converged architecture. USX DIMM charts …
Chris Mellor, 26 Aug 2014
Isilon 3-node S200

EMC slings Isilon onto a forklift, shifts it into Emerging Technologies

EMC is moving its Isilon scale-out storage systems into its Emerging Technologies division, alongside its DSSD, XtremIO and ViPR gear. ViPR was in the Advanced Software wing until that division's president Amitabh Srivastava was promoted to technical advisor to EMC II CEO David Goulden. Jeremy Burton, EMC president for products …
Chris Mellor, 26 Aug 2014

Cleversafe CEO: We would tell you about the 8TB drive, but...

Hot on the heels of the light-on-details announcement about Seagate's 8TB hard disk drive, The Register pressed Cleversafe CEO John Morris on whether his firm would be using the enormo capacity drives. Morris answered: "We are happy to help you whenever it’s possible, but we can’t comment on this subject.” Seagate spokesperson …
Chris Mellor, 26 Aug 2014
Seagate logo

That 8TB Seagate MONSTER? It's HERE... (You'll have to squint, 'cos there are no specs)

Seagate is shipping an 8TB disk drive to selected OEM customers including object data-storing CleverSafe, with general availability next quarter. Tech details are sparse, however. We know the data devouring beast fits in a standard 3.5-inch drive slot and has a 6Gbit/s SATA interface. Seagate says it has “enterprise reliability …
Chris Mellor, 26 Aug 2014
Exocet anti-ship missile

VMware EMC partner Cisco inks reselling deal... with Simplivity

Cisco has fired a ship-killer of an Exocet missile at VMware’s EVO:RAIL by doing a server reselling deal with Simplivity. There are two hyper-converged server/storage/networking system leaders, both startups – Simplivity and Nutanix. VMware's EVO: RAIL is hyper-converged system software running on the hardware of certified …
Chris Mellor, 26 Aug 2014

VMware's high-wire balancing act: EVO might drag us ALL down

In the battle for the software-defined data centre, one of VMware's challenges is how to deliver software-defined/controlled storage without screwing up parent EMC's hardware-based storage revenues. VMware is an overall EMC Federation member along with Pivotal and the EMC Information Infrastructure (EMC II) unit. The three are …
Chris Mellor, 26 Aug 2014
Swiss Cow

Street-beating Brocade bounces back

Storage networking biz Brocade has bounced back from its disappointing and loss-making second quarter results with third quarter profits and a revenue rise. The quarter finished on 2 August and revenues of $545m were 2 per cent up on the previous quarter and the year-ago one – not dramatic but nice and steady. Net income (profit …
Chris Mellor, 22 Aug 2014
Racehorse

Fujitsu flasher pleases data-intensive divas – SPC-1 benchmark

If you need cheap storage array IOPS and lots of them, Fujitsu's DX600 S3 array can deliver those goods – at least according to an SPC-1 benchmark. The Storage Performance Council (SPC) is an industry group dedicated to producing objective and vendor-neutral benchmarks to enable meaningful performance comparisons to be made …
Chris Mellor, 22 Aug 2014
Micron 128-gigabit multi-level cell NAND Flash memory device

HP lets the SAN shine: StoreVirtual now bigger, flashier, OpenStack-ier

HP has added lots of features to its StoreVirtual software SAN, announced a lower-cost all-flash 3PAR array and provided cheaper backup for remote offices. Here's how the StoreVirtual virtual storage appliance (software SAN) has been enhanced: The StoreVirtual VSA is a fully integrated storage option for Helion OpenStack and …
Chris Mellor, 22 Aug 2014
Clouds_and_sun

Biz data botherer CommVault slips out fresh do-it-all bundle

CommVault has added additional AWS and Azure support and reveals easier, more targeted ways to buy its all-singing, all-dancing backup/archive/data management product Simpana 10. The AWS and Azure facilities include cloud reporting, end-user self-service provisioning, recovery, software snapshots and virtual machine resource …
Chris Mellor, 22 Aug 2014
Light at the end of the tunnel. Credit: Smabs Sputzer

HP Storage results: Gloomy, but there's light at the end of the tunnel

HP storage emulated HP's latest overall quarterly results, with both good news and bad news, but the gloom overwhelmed the gleam. Within HP's $27.6bn third fiscal 2014 quarterly revenue report, storage contributed $796m (just 3.6 per cent) of HP's earnings for the quarter and 11.5 per cent of the Enterprise Group's revenue. EG …
Chris Mellor, 21 Aug 2014

Death by 1,000 cuts: Mainstream storage array suppliers are bleeding

Great beasts can be killed by a 1,000 cuts, bleeding to death from the myriad slashes in their bodies – none of which, on their own, is a killer. And this, it seems, is the way things are going for big-brand storage arrays, as upstarts slice away at the market with converged systems, virtual SANs, all-flash kit, hybrid devices, …
Chris Mellor, 21 Aug 2014
Bones, Kirk and Spock prepare to transport in Star Trek

TELEPORTABLE storage? Atlantis Computing's PR bods jump the shark

Altantis Computing has come up with a rather neat marketing hook for its new USX device. Fancy getting your hands on teleport-enabled storage? In Atlantis' latest vision of the storage world you would teleport your VM storage between DAS, NAS, SAN and the cloud, with VVOL support covering all storage. With Atlantis USX you …
Chris Mellor, 21 Aug 2014

It's ALIVE: Unstructured data upstart whips out data-AWARE array

Stealth exit startup DataGravity has introduced a hybrid flash/disk array with rich metadata recording and reporting functions for file creation, keyword content, content change and access, as well as data protection functions and collaboration help. DataGravity was founded by CEO Paula Long, co-founder of EqualLogic, which was …
Chris Mellor, 21 Aug 2014
MICA aurora borealis probe small1

Speedy software upstart PernixData showered in gold by expectant VCs

VMware hypervisor-caching software startup PernixData is gorging on cash from VCs as it ramps up development and its go-to-market efforts. PernixData's FVP product transparently virtualises server flash and RAM as an ESXi cache across multiple servers to enable scale-out storage performance and accelerate applications in virtual …
Chris Mellor, 20 Aug 2014
Carpenters_workbench

Can it be true? A BIG DATA benchmark? Yes, says TPC

Up until now there hasn't been an objective or standard way of comparing different suppliers' big data systems performance. The Transaction Processing Council (TPC) is remedying that with its TPCx-HS benchmark. The TPC provides objective, vendor-neutral benchmarks for things like virtual servers and transaction processing. The …
Chris Mellor, 20 Aug 2014
SanDisk_Ultra_II

Creaky PC? SanDisk gives users a NAND with speedy '3-bitter' SSD

SanDisk has pushed out an Ultra II SSD for retrofitting to PCs that uses lower cost 3-bits-per-cell NAND technology. TLC or 3 bits per cell flash stores 50 per cent more information in each cell than MLC (2 bits per cell) and is cheaper to make on a cost/bit basis. But the number of times TLC flash can be rewritten, the P/E …
Chris Mellor, 20 Aug 2014
Skyera Skyhawk all-flash array

Super-dense flasher Skyera gets new CEO, fills pockets

Skyera, the super-dense all-flash array startup, has acquired a new CEO at the same time as it scored an additional funding round from its strategic investors. Former chief operating officer Frankie Roohparvar will be taking up the reins from today. Skyera was co-founded in July 2010 by Radoslav Danilak, who was also the …
Chris Mellor, 19 Aug 2014
Stradivarius violin reproduction

Violin Memory FINALLY writes dedupe and compression into its latest Concerto

Violin Memory has fixed a gaping hole in its data management feature set by adding deduplication and compression to its Concerto memory array controller product. This will cut its effective cost/GB figures to new lows, and strengthens its competitive hand against other all-flash array vendors – such as EMX XtremIO, IBM …
Chris Mellor, 19 Aug 2014
AMD_R7_Series_SSD

AMD slaps 'Radeon' label on Tosh flash: >Beard stroke< Hmm, cunning ...

X86 CPU and Radeon graphics chipper AMD has come out with an SSD line using Toshiba/OCZ componentry. It's called the Radeon R7-Series, which us a sideways extension of existing graphics processor branding. The SSD uses 19nm Toshibs MLC flash and has been designed, we understand, for balanced read and write workloads. The speeds …
Chris Mellor, 19 Aug 2014
Cliffs_of_Moher_Ireland

Nexenta reckons it has Edge in squeezing your object storage BLOB

Nexenta says its latest NexentaEdge software product delivers petabyte-scale block and object storage with inline deduplication. NexentaStor, the existing product, is a ZFS-based software SAN product which Nexenta partners and customers can install on commodity storage array hardware – a mainstream SAN/filer replacement product …
Chris Mellor, 19 Aug 2014
Exablox_vid

Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead

Object storage supplier Exablox has provided a file interface to its OneBlox object store, which is basically a Drobo-style BYOD store - Bring Your Own Disks. El Storage asked Sean Derrington, senior director of products at Exablox, some questions about the company. Some of the answers have been edited for brevity. El Storage: …
Chris Mellor, 19 Aug 2014

Oh SNAP, here comes Amazon: EMC drops prices for Syncplicity

EMC has made dramatic pricing and capacity changes to its Syncplicity product after Amazon has entered the market with its Zocalo services. The news was announced in an EMC blog. Syncplicity has an Enterprise Edition ($150/user/year or $12.50/user/month) which now has unlimited storage in the cloud and unlimited storage on- …
Chris Mellor, 18 Aug 2014
Red Hat Enterprise Linux

VM herder Tintri tries on Red Hat, plans support for Microsoft Hyper-V

Hybrid startup Tintri, whose hybrid arrays are VMware virtual machine-centric in their operation and management, now supports Red Hat's KVM as well. Tintri OS 3.0 has the KVM support and customers can deploy multiple hypervisors on a single VMstore. This version also has RBAC and Active Directory and LDAP integration enabling …
Chris Mellor, 14 Aug 2014
Scale Computing HC3 boxes

Scale Computing scales up sales – but can its HC3 kit take on Marvin?

Start-up Scale Computing is selling lots more of its HC3 converged virtualised server and storage nodes. These – like generally equivalent converged systems from upstart NIMBOXX, Nutanix and Simplivity – provide a simple way for IT to provide compute and storage resources to applications from a single system. Not just any old …
Chris Mellor, 14 Aug 2014
No Sale

NetApp: Revenues are down – but own brand kit wasn't to blame

Revenues down, profits up and no growth for three years: that's the picture from NetApp's first fiscal 2015 quarter results. The quarter finished on 25 July, and revenues were $1.49bn. They were $1.52bn a year ago, a 2 per cent fall, and $1.65bn in the previous quarter, 10 per cent less and a seasonal pattern. Net income for …
Chris Mellor, 14 Aug 2014
Sepaton S2100-ES3

Spell Sepaton backwards three times ... Puff! It just vanished into HDS

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has bought Sepaton, the highest of the high-end enterprise deduping backup targets. Sepaton used to have a rewarding deal with HP until the StoreOnce came long. The news was announced in a blog post by Sean Moser, a senior veep for HDS' global portfolio and product management. Sepaton will be run as …
Chris Mellor, 13 Aug 2014

Meet the Flockers... and please, do try to contain yourself

What on Earth is a Flocker? It's a piece of open source software that lets you run databases, key-value stores and queues inside Docker containers, and comes from ClusterHQ. Any wiser? Docker is an open-source Linux container technology that runs multiple apps under a single OS inside a containing structure instead of each …
Chris Mellor, 13 Aug 2014
NEC_Express5800_server

Flash to the Max: HGST, NEC ink SQL Server appliance deal

Japanese server maker NEC's Express5800 servers will soon use HGST FlashMax PCIe flash cards via a reference architecture deal. HGST, a WD company, obtained this product line and technology when Western Digital bought Virident in 2013 for $685m. The servers, said to be intended for the enterprise scale-out server market, will …
Chris Mellor, 13 Aug 2014