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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.

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

SPLITTERS! Symantec cleft in twain

The reports have been confirmed: Symantec CEO Michael Brown will split the unwieldy business into separate security and information management concerns, thus undoing the 2004 Veritas acquisition. Brown has moved quickly after his confirmation in the role to lift the cleaver. The San Andreas-style fault running through the heart …
Chris Mellor, 10 Oct 2014
Ciscoblood

Cisco denies plans to pull its cash out of VCE

Cisco has denied it will stop investing in VCE – the converged systems company financed by itself, EMC, and EMC sub VMware – following a report that appeared across the pond, citing unnamed sources. “Cisco is not pulling out of VCE,” the company’s senior PR manager, Gareth Pettigrew, said. “VCE customers and partners can be …
Chris Mellor, 09 Oct 2014
DX4200

I want to TRANSPLANT your storage BRAINS: WD desktop NAS refresh

WD has updated its small office Sentinel desktop filer range, adding Windows Storage Server 2012 with its Storage Spaces facility. The Sentinel storage servers are for small and medium businesses that don’t want or need a full-blown racked NAS system running on X86 processors. The DX4200 is basically the same as the 4-bay, 2 or …
Chris Mellor, 09 Oct 2014
Vulture

Activist investors DESTROY COMPANIES. Don't get me started on share dealings...

Public companies have four groups of stakeholders: shareholders; execs paid with share performance in mind; other workers; and their customers. Shareholders and share value-incentivised execs are ripping the heart out of many public companies, siphoning off their wealth, going for short-term in favour of long-term interests, and …
Chris Mellor, 09 Oct 2014
Beached-Whale

Splitters! First HP's cut in two, now it's Symantec’s turn – report

Multiple reports say Symantec is thinking of splitting itself up into separate security and storage businesses. Symantec bought Veritas for a massive $13.5bn in 2004, promising synergies between its existing security business and Veritas’ backup and storage management software. The synergies didn’t appear and Symantec's storage …
Chris Mellor, 09 Oct 2014
Oculus Rift VR system prototype

Audio playground: How does an Oculus Rift with surround sound sound?

Wi-Fi music streaming and virtual reality both just received audio boosts, with news from Bose, DTS and Oculus. Bose has done a music streaming supply deal, like Sonos, with Deezer, but for Deezer's Premium Plus service, not the higher-rated lossless Elite service Sonos is involved with. It's a US region-specific deal and marks …
Chris Mellor, 09 Oct 2014
IBM RTP Data Center

IBM leaps aboard the software-defined stuff bandwagon

IBM storage is getting software-defined, with IBM seeing that concept as a way of better integrating its storage hardware and software assets. Big Blue's Storage and Software-defined Systems general manager Jamie Thomas outlined a new storage deal at IBM's Enterprise event in Las Vegas, claiming the "new model will provide …
Chris Mellor, 09 Oct 2014

Shouty investor Elliott makes PUBLIC CALL for VMware sale

Activist investor Elliott Management, the holder of a billion dollars' worth of Hopkinton shares, has publicly called for a VMware sale in a letter to EMC's CEO and board. Its release has been nicely timed to closely follow on from HP's decision to split itself into an printer and PC company on the one hand (HP Inc) and a …
Chris Mellor, 08 Oct 2014

Analytics pusher Interana: Why tweak your seeks when you can scan your DRAM?

Startup Interana has an analytics tool that processes data in scans rather than seeks, claiming it’s designed to be great at analysing time-based streams of event data. The software is a proprietary database that organises data by time and user to allow for single-pass queries with no intermediate sorts. It runs on clustered …
Chris Mellor, 08 Oct 2014

An EMC-HP Borg cube will totally ANNIHILATE its storage worlds

Suppose EMC and HP merged: the result would be an outrageous nightmare of overlapping storage products. Managers would run screaming into the darkness, and bean counters would spend millions converging products. It’s a no-go area, really. Quick and dirty look at HP and EMC storage products A quick and dirty look at HP and EMC …
Chris Mellor, 08 Oct 2014
Bored girl

NetList returns Diablo's ULLtraDIMM sueball with counter-injunction

Diablo Technologies and Netlist continue their flashy patent fight to the death as Netlist today applied for an injunction to prohibit Diablo and SanDisk from making the disputed ULLtraDIMM module. Years ago Diablo and Netlist signed a non-disclosure agreement giving Diablo access to Netlist information about its way of hooking …
Chris Mellor, 07 Oct 2014
DTI scans of male and female brains, showing pathways

Big racks? Pah. Storage boffins have made a BIONIC BRAIN material

Research boffins at RMIT university in Melbourne have demonstrated a non-volatile memory at nanometer scale using memristive effects – and suggest it could help build a bionic brain. The team, led by Dr Sharath Sriram, built a stacked structure using perovskite oxide with designed-in defects in its chemistry to demonstrate a …
Chris Mellor, 07 Oct 2014
SolidFire Range

Flash storage upstart SolidFire slurps $82m, intros Mini-Me arrays

Solidfire has introduced two smaller arrays that, over time, will replace their existing entry-level and mid-range offering. It's also picked up an extra $82m of funding. The SF2405 and 4805 are two new products with smaller capacities and a lower starting price point so that customers can scale their storage at a more granular …
Chris Mellor, 07 Oct 2014
Brueghel_Leapfrog

Hopeful hybrideer Reduxio grabs more cash for disk+flash

A late-coming hybrid flash/disk array startup, Reduxio, has acquired $15m in additional funding to build a better box. Three hybrid array companies are going gang-busters. Post-IPO Nimble Storage and pre-IPO Tegile and Tintri are all growing at triple-digit rates, as they tear into the mainstream array suppliers' customer bases …
Chris Mellor, 07 Oct 2014

Storage startups: Hey VCs, it's not just the size, it's the frequency

The funding pattern for storage startups has radically changed as newer young companies in hotly contested marts race for growth. The chart shows the various funding events we have recorded for 32 individual storage startups. These may be declared VC funding rounds or strategic investments. The units are millions of dollars, …
Chris Mellor, 07 Oct 2014
Suitcase bulging with cash

Hot DRAM! Samsung splurges $15 BILLION on Korean chip fab

Samsung Electronics has decided to spend a massive $15bn building a memory fab in South Korea. Samsung is the world’s largest DRAM chip maker, followed by Micron and SK Hynix. It also leads the NAND chip market, being ahead of Toshiba, SanDisk, Micron and SK Hynix. Toshiba and SanDisk are partners in flash fabrication. The new …
Chris Mellor, 06 Oct 2014
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Moneymen dash to hand cash to storage upstarts

There has been a sudden rush of venture capital cash to storage startups as mainstream vendors respond to the upstarts' products and squeeze their growth window. The backing VCs want fast growth to IPO level run rate revenues so they can get their exit before the startup's growth fizzles out. Only last year, storage startups …
Chris Mellor, 06 Oct 2014
Billy_Connolly

Bring your spade: The BIG DATA Gold Rush has begun

The forty-niners rushed to California in search of gold. Some even found it. But most stayed poor and the only people who got reliably rich were people who made and sold the picks and shovels the miners needed. Is that the way it is with big data? Will the only people to get rich be the suppliers of big data computer software, …
Chris Mellor, 03 Oct 2014
RHSS_on_Premises

Scale out sister: Open sorcerer pulls v3 Gluster cluster out of Red Hat

Open sorcery evangelist Red Hat has updated its Gluster clustering Red Hat Storage Server to v3, adding capacity and cluster nodes. RHSS v 3.0 is based on the GlusterFS 3.6 file system with RHEL 6.0. It is designed for scale-out file storage and is built from, of course, open source software. A datasheet (PDF) says: “Red Hat …
Chris Mellor, 03 Oct 2014

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