Chris Mellor

Contact Mail Follow Twitter RSS feed
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.

Gun and dollars

Hyperconverged IDC shamans mumble mantras over market

The MarketScape wizards at IDC have pounced on the hyperconverged systems market for their latest escapade, putting Nutanix well ahead of Simplivity. The two are in the leaders' section of the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Hyperconverged Systems 2014 Vendor Assessment which plots suppliers in a 2D space defined by strategies (low …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jan 2015

Nimble gives Mann severe kicking while he's down

Comment Nimble's w-w sales VP Eric Mann resigned abruptly a few days ago and the firm has released an unflattering statement about his departure. "Eric Mann made the personal decision to leave Nimble acknowledging that he underestimated the level of personal and professional commitment required to build and lead a high-performance sales …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jan 2015
Source: Simply Smile Photography by Georgia Stephenson

S3-lover Cloudian's hybrid object store gets Amazonian backend

Comment Object storage startup Cloudian is expanding into Big Data analytics via a tie-up with HortonWorks. Its product HyperStore uses distributed object storage technology and presents an NFS-accessed storage resource for mid-to-large enterprises and regional service providers. It has a local on-premises component with an S3- …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jan 2015

It's Friday. The pub is looming. IDC tells us 'bottoms up'. We'll drink to that headline

IDC has released a flash-based array study saying it's used a (and we quote) "bottoms-up approach." We'll raise a glass to that notion. The study, Worldwide All-Flash Array and Hybrid Flash Array 2014–2018 Forecast and 1H14 Vendor Shares, looks at revenues and raw terabytes shipped with flash-based arrays - all-flash arrays ( …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jan 2015
axe_channel_teaser

SAN upstart Coraid AXING staff, struggling to survive – sources

+Comment Multiple sources have told us that Etherdrive storage SAN startup Coraid is floundering and staffers are losing their jobs after the firm spent over $100m trying to launch itself as a viable business. The UK service office has no staffer answering calls, Coraid in Australia gives out a recorded message asking for your number. " …
Chris Mellor, 15 Jan 2015

Nimble loses sales Mann as veep exits

Four months after joining from NetApp, Nimble's worldwide sales veep, Eric Mann, has walked, citing personal reasons. Mann joined Nimble last September, coming in with fellow NetApper Mark Parrinello, veep of Americas sales. At NetApp, Mann was SVP and general manager for Americas sales. He was with EMC before NetApp, heading …
Chris Mellor, 15 Jan 2015
Super street fighter illustration - copyright Capcom

Defiant Diablo appeals FlashDIMM dam court order

Defiant Diablo Technologies is appealing* against the court order barring it from shipping any MCS flash DIMM products to customers such as SanDisk. MCS is Diablo’s Memory Channel Storage technology which enables flash memory to be fitted into dynamic memory (DRAM) sockets (DIMMs) and so provide faster-than-PCIe flash card …
Chris Mellor, 14 Jan 2015
Quantum_StorNext_Foundation_Pro

Shrinking tape, dedupe dumps... PAH! Just scale up scale-out – Quantum

StorNext scale-out storage is now a bigger business for Quantum than its deduplicating disk arrays. Quantum’s preliminary third fiscal 2015 quarter results show revenues below guidance at $142m but profits as predicted at $7m as it manages its shrinking tape automation business well. The OEM tape automation business shrank 31 …
Chris Mellor, 14 Jan 2015
Gone fishing

DDN chap throws in towel, taps on Accenture’s door

DDN EVP and CTO Jean-Luc Chatelain has left and joined Accenture as managing director for analytics. At DataDirect Networks Chatelain was responsible for Strategy and Technology, having joined in February 2011. He is a proponent of modern Big Data analytics, thinking that the old Extract-Transform-Load (ETL)-style of Business …
Chris Mellor, 14 Jan 2015

Grow, grow, Grohe, you gloat. Well done that sales team. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, profit is just a dream

Blink and you’ll miss it: Barracuda made a microscopic loss of $36,000 in its latest quarter. That's just 0.1 per cent of its $70.4m revenues. This is a company growing sales by 17 to 20 per cent in each quarter compared to the year before – nothing dramatic but more than respectable. Barracuda Networks sells data protection and …
Chris Mellor, 14 Jan 2015
channel_teaser_exit

Atlantis Computing: CEO left due to 'personal reasons'

Comment Atlantis CEO Jason Donahue stepped down for personal reasons with no business-related issues at all, says the firm, which adds that it has set up a partnership with Citrix using its virty storage booster software USX. Chetan Venkatesh, Atlantis’ founder and new CEO after Jason Donahue left just four months post-appointment, said …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jan 2015

Dell muscles into all-flash for small biz with $35k 4TB array

Dell is shipping a go-faster version of its $25k entry-level all-flash array for $35k. The basic SC4020 AFA single-tier configuration has six 480GB read-intensive SSDs, 2.8TB raw capacity, for an advertised street price of $25,000, $8.83/raw GB. A flash-optimised multi-tier config has faster write performance. It has six 200GB …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jan 2015

IDC on marketscape mayhem: EMC asked us to ignore Atmos

Following our comment on its marketscape on Friday, analyst IDC has explained that EMC had asked it to include its new ECS product in the object storage marketscape, thus requiring the analyst to ignore Atmos. The 2014 marketscape chart showed EMC’s relative market share much diminished compared to the 2013 chart. We said on …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jan 2015
Toshiba MQ03ABB300

Toshiba tosses out uber-slim THREE TERABYTE HDD

Toshiba has launched a 3TB small-form-factor hard drive, which must set some sort of record, surely. Its MQ03ABB300 – what sexy names these suckers have – is a 2.5-inch disk drive with four platters each holding 750GB. That makes the drive 15mm thick (high in HDD parlance) and suitable for external drive use. Tosh's latest …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jan 2015

Virtually yours: Citrix swallows Sanbolic

Server/desktop virtualisation supplier Citrix has acquired storage virtualisation software startup Sanbolic. No price was revealed. Sanbolic’s Melio software turns a set of servers’ direct-attached and network-attached storage into a virtual storage resource pool. Citrix will combine it with XenDesktop, XenApp and XenMobile …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jan 2015
Scylla_and_Charybdis

SanDisk's flash chip nightmare: How I'd escape black hole if I was in charge

Comment Apparently let down by a component supplier allegedly shipping technology it has no rights to, SanDisk now finds itself facing a FlashDIMM sales shutdown – just as the server world realizes that DIMM flash is much faster to access than PCIe flash and wants more of it. As detailed here, Netlist has won an injunction preventing …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jan 2015

Activist Elliott gets two seats on the EMC board

EMC - currently under attack by activist investor Elliott Management, which is wanting it to sell off VMware - has granted Elliott two board seats. The EMC board has been expanded from 11 to 13 seats to make room for the two, Jose Almedia (chairman, president and CEO of global healthcare company Covidien), and Donald Carty ( …
Chris Mellor, 12 Jan 2015

Lenovo, Huawei could face SanDisk FlashDIMM dam – analysts

SanDisk could be stopped from shipping its FlashDIMMs for Lenovo, Huawei and Supermicro servers if analysts' interpretations of a Netlist court-awarded injunction are correct. SanDisk’s acquired SMART business unit supplies ULLtraDIMMs, flash dies fitted to DIMM sockets - flashDIMMs - which are based on MCS (Memory Channel …
Chris Mellor, 12 Jan 2015
Alarm clock

Atlantis Computing CEO stands down

+Comment After just four months as Atlantis Technology CEO and president, Jason Donahue has left, and has been replaced by founder and now ex-chief technology officer Chetan Venkatesh. The company's management page now has Venkatesh listed as chief. Atlantis has RAM-using server and VDI virtualisation software technology products called …
Chris Mellor, 12 Jan 2015
channel_teaser_exit

Hauling DRaaS: Unitrends CEO off to consulting job

+Comment Virtual server backup and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) startup Unitrends has lost one CEO and hired a new one. Mike Coney, CEO since November 2009, has been thanked for his valued service and Unitrends wishes him well in his next endeavour. Coney now describes himself as a CEO consultant. This CEO change follows on …
Chris Mellor, 09 Jan 2015

'IDC, why did you play down EMC?' IDC: WAAAAHHHH

Comment When IDC produced its new object storage marketscape there were significant changes compared to the year-ago marketscape chart. Notably EMC’s presence was much reduced, which we pointed out, mentioning “the fading presence of EMC, where ViPR and Isilon object storage has not, apparently, built on the surge established by Atmos …
Chris Mellor, 09 Jan 2015

BOOM! Seagate attacks storage array hardware market

Analysis Remember Dot Hill, LSI/Engenio, and Xyratex when they were all independent? They made storage array hardware for the storage system suppliers such as Dell, EMC, HP, IBM, NetApp, Sun and others. Yes, it was that long ago. The business was hard because storage system suppliers could use contract manufacturers to make their own …
Chris Mellor, 09 Jan 2015
Wolverine in a cage - X-Men publicity pic

SanDisk opens its cages, sets its mutants FREE

SanDisk - owners of Fusion-io, who bought Nexgen and its hybrid flash/disk array business in April 2013 - has decided it doesn’t want Nexgen and is spinning it off as an independent business. Why? Sumit Sadana, SanDisk EVP and chief strategy officer, said in a canned quote: "Hybrid systems incorporating hard-disk drives are not …
Chris Mellor, 08 Jan 2015
RDX_QuikStor

Sphere 3D: Our pop-out 2TB disk product? Of COURSE it's rugged

Forget Overland Storage – that company has merged with Sphere 3D, which added its software virtualisation technologies, like Glassware, to the Overland line of SnapServer, SnapScale, SnapSAN, NEO and RDX disk array, tape library and removable disk products. And now it has got itself an RDX QuikStor removable disk product –r …
Chris Mellor, 08 Jan 2015

Samsung’s SUPER-speedy SSD is a real power-sipper

Samsung’s latest small form factor PCIe flash drive shunts data at up to 2.15GB/sec, making it a right speedy little critter. It’s also much more power-efficient, using its “L1.2 low power standby mode (which allows all high-speed circuits to be turned off when a PC is on sleeping or in hibernation) as defined by PCI-SIG (the …
Chris Mellor, 08 Jan 2015
Lamb Stew

Cloud Backup stew in Docker container? Check – Asigra

Quick as a flash, Asigra has added Docker container support to its Cloud Backup product. Traditional virtualised servers have applications running in a virtual machine (VM or virtual server) with a guest operating system. Multiple VMs have multiple copies of guest VMs, which is wasteful of server memory and processor resources …
Chris Mellor, 07 Jan 2015

IBM hastens END OF HUMANITY with teachable AI 'brain'

IBM researchers in Almaden have built a brain-like system capable of recognising hand-written numbers, essentially by using phase-change memory chips instead of flash. Neuromorphic computing is a variant of artificial intelligence research, which has a computer’s memory configured in a rudimentary brain-like way, as quasi- …
Chris Mellor, 07 Jan 2015
G-DRIVE_ev_ATC_Thunderblt

G-Tech goes full lumberjack with drive for hard storage heroes

CES 2015 HGST’s G-Technology external drive biz has gone all rugged and takes on Seagate’s LaCie with a bright blue bumper case for tough-look G-DRIVE. The G-DRIVE ev RaW - get that fancy capitalisation - has a removable bright blue wrap-around case giving this 500GB/1TB external drive, spinning at 7,200rpm, the ability to withstand a 1. …
Chris Mellor, 07 Jan 2015

DRAM-firm-fattened flash bods double last year's profits

Memory/flash chip maker Micron, fattened with Japanese DRAM firm Elpida, has recorded record revenues of $4.57bn. Its first quarter of fiscal 2015 finished with a bang on December 4, 2014, delivering revenues 13 per cent higher than a year ago and eight per cent up on the fourth fiscal 2014 quarter. Profits of a round billion …
Chris Mellor, 07 Jan 2015

Watch out Seagate: Here comes WD with a hybrid flash/disk drive launch

WD is demonstrating a faster-than-Seagate 4TB hybrid flash/disk drive at Storage Visions 2015. It is built with 3.5-inch disk drive, an up to 128GB SSD, and the SATA Express PCIe interface with the flash and disk components presented as a single volume. The demos include commercially available ASRock and Gigabyte motherboards …
Chris Mellor, 07 Jan 2015
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Samsung revs flashy 1TB road warrior (then crawls away)

CES 2015 Samsung has used its 32-layer, 40nm V-NAND flash dies to produce its Portable SSD T1, a USB 3.0-connected drive for fast access to 250GB, 500GB or 1TB of flash capacity. As you would expect with a USB interface, the performance is dreadfully slow compared with an internal drive using SATA (or SAS) interfaces. Random read/write …
Chris Mellor, 06 Jan 2015
Tokyo Skytree world's tallest tower

Micron stacks its 3D NAND high in 2015

Intel recently made a splash about its 3D NAND intentions. Knowing that Intel basically works with Micron on flash through the joint IMFT business, we asked Micron NAND marketing head Kevin Kilbuck about Micron's 3D NAND activities. El Reg: Why is 3D NAND needed? Kevin Kilbuck: Micron has been working on 3D NAND technology for …
Chris Mellor, 06 Jan 2015
Crystal ball via http://www.manoftaste.de/

IDC: Who's HOT and who's NOT (in object storage) in 2014

IDC’s latest object-storage "marketscape" shows 18 active players and significant changes in EMC’s and HDS’ status. The chart, IDC’s sort-of answer to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, positions rivals in a 2-dimensional box, using capabilities and strategies as axes. There are four bands inside the square, one for the "participants", …
Chris Mellor, 06 Jan 2015
LaCie Mirror

Mirror, mirror: Seagate shows off 1TB data shiny at HDD beauty contest

CES 2015 For those of us who like to sport Rolex watches and Montblanc pens Seagate’s LaCie unit has a swanky, sexy new desktop drive - the Mirror portable. Inside is a bog-standard 1TB HDD with a USB 3.0 connection. So what right? Yada yada yada. However, outside is an enclosure encased in Corning Gorilla glass resting on a polished …
Chris Mellor, 05 Jan 2015

VMware: Storage data functions can and WILL migrate to flash media

Comment VMware's CTO has revealed his belief that array and VSAN-level storage data service functions can, and will, move into flash media. He made the point on a recent blog that it is logical for physical block addressing to be dynamic rather than static. A disk drive's firmware maps logical block addresses (LBAs) to physical block …
Chris Mellor, 05 Jan 2015
Seagate_living_logo

Seagate makes CES splash with $99 drive, 'personal' cloud offerings

CES 2015 Seagate's arriving at CES 2015 with all guns blazing, with a new "living" logo and personal cloud, wireless, and anorexic hard drives to store the data of tomorrow. Thin, portable, $99... The first of the new products is a 7mm thick, 500GB portable external drive called the Seagate Seven - as in 7mm. It has a bare drive look …
Chris Mellor, 05 Jan 2015
StoreServ_7450

Bringing AFA SAN orphans in house

All-flash arrays are SAN orphans, typically operating outside the existing SAN infrastructure and having a hard time of it from the data services angle as a result. Wouldn’t it be much better if they lived inside the existing SAN house rather than being out in the cold, so to speak? Existing enterprise SAN arrays are robust, …
Chris Mellor, 29 Dec 2014
LG HS6 and sub-woofer

LG Flow punches Sonos right in its portable battery speaker hole

Aiming to compete more strongly with Sonos, LG Electronics is updating its streaming Wi-Fi loudspeaker/music-player product line with something that Sonos users have (so far fruitlessly) requested; a portable, battery-powered job. Sonos speakers all need tethering to a power outlet, restricting where they can be placed. Unless …
Chris Mellor, 26 Dec 2014
Core memory

We can change a bit from 0 to 1 WITHOUT CURRENT, say boffins

There could be some iron in the non-volatile soul. A team of Cornell university boffins using bismuth ferrite have discovered a way to store bits on magnets without needing electric current-based switching. Their room-temperature magnetoelectric memory device has 2-step magnetic switchability "with nothing but an electric field …
Chris Mellor, 24 Dec 2014
Rear_view_mirror

2014 AD: A year in storage. STILL not enough nails for the disk coffin lid

Beard Stroke Spending some of the festive season in San Francisco has given me a chance to look back at the wonderful world of storage and to ponder which may have been the biggest overall storage stories over the past twelve months or so. Here's what I think are the strongest contenders: Splintering of SAN/NAS Cloud storage in public and …
Chris Mellor, 24 Dec 2014
Brueghel_Leapfrog

CLOUD-to-CLOUD backup: A chasm-Spanning leap

Comment Cloud storage company Spanning's story is simple enough; you back up your apps and on-premises data, don't you? (everyone say "yes"...) You should back up your public cloud apps and their in-cloud data, shouldn't you? (let me hear you say "yeah!") Your existing backup software won't work there, will it? (everyone look down and …
Chris Mellor, 23 Dec 2014
Pro Laser III speed gun

Nimble lives up to name after eating flashy DIMM brekkie

Analysis FlashDIMMs can turn Nimble Storage arrays into supercharged systems, shortening IO latencies and speeding overall IO. These commodity-based systems use flash as an extension of memory with lower-than-PCIe-flash card latencies, due to them having DIMM-level access to the CPU-memory bus inside their server/controllers. It …
Chris Mellor, 23 Dec 2014

Elasticsearch tells us all about its weighty Big Data tool

Blink and you'll miss it. Big Data analytics is a huge focus of startup activity with young and new companies getting a green light from blue-chip customers and VCs almost all the time. Well, that’s an exaggeration, but take your eye off the ball in this area and the landscape can change in fairly short order. Elasticsearch, …
Chris Mellor, 23 Dec 2014
Toshiba p-BiCS technology

Flash breaks free from the storage flat earth society

NAND used to be the sole prerogative of a two-dimensional flat earth society obsessed with shrinkage, but that approach is running into a technological dead end. To get more capacity the only feasible escape is upwards, using the third dimension and stacking layers of 2D flash to build multi-layered chips. The dead end is …
Chris Mellor, 22 Dec 2014
Dragster

Big Blue stuffs data into backup at GIGABYTES/sec

IBM's TSM backup product goes super-fast when backing up to the Elastic Storage parallel file system, according to company trials. TSM stands for Tivoli Storage Manager, with Elastic Storage being the re-branded GPFS. Servers running TSM were linked to an Elastic Storage array in a proof-of-concept test by IBM engineers in …
Chris Mellor, 22 Dec 2014
SAmba

Fujitsu’s customers come big data samba dancing

Fujitsu is helping its customers get up (and down again) on the big data dance floor and do the analytics samba with an integrated bundle of HW and SW and services called PRIMEFLEX for Hadoop (PfH - our initials) to save customers from any DIY aggro. Fujitsu's PRIMEFLEX - the company loves all-caps product names - is an …
Chris Mellor, 19 Dec 2014

Rivals feel power of EMC's storage software bite

IDC's latest storage software (SW) tracker numbers show top dog EMC is continuing to rule the kennels, with a chunkier market share than both its nearest rivals combined. The Worldwide Storage Software View says total sector revenues bounced 6.1 per cent on the same period last year to nearly $3.8bn. EMC had 27.2 per cent of …
Chris Mellor, 18 Dec 2014
Monty Python and the Holy Grail Blu-ray disc

Toshiba joins the exclusive, three-member 6TB disk drive club

Toshiba has joined Seagate and WD/HGST in the 6TB disk drive club, still so exclusive that it only has three members. The MG04, with capacities of 2, 4, 5 and 6TB, spins at 7200rpm, making it a nearline drive. Toshiba claims it is good for 24/7 usage. It has 12Gbit/s SAS or 6GBit/s SATA interfaces and a secure instant erase …
Chris Mellor, 18 Dec 2014
Spooky angel doll

Crossbar says it's 'one step' from delivering miracle RRAM

Crossbar has jumped a hurdle limiting the readability if its resistive RAM non-volatile memory tech and says commercialisation is getting closer. Crossbar's resistive RAM (RRAM) tech is a 3D semi-conductor structure promising higher densities and faster access than NAND; closer to the fabled uniform memory that's as fast as DRAM …
Chris Mellor, 18 Dec 2014
Old_disk_tech_with_head_crash

Disk areal density: Not a constant, consistent platter

Comment A disk's areal density varies according to where you look on a platter. This writer had thought it was constant cross a platter but, wouldn't you know it, it's not. The data recording technology can provide a uniformly dense layer of potential bits across a disk platter's surface but differing track lengths and radii, and head: …
Chris Mellor, 18 Dec 2014