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.


Fresh flashery from the NANDsters

The Flash Memory Summit has seen a fresh crop of SSDs and PCIe flash cards appear from NAND fans BiTMICRO, Seagate and Toshiba as they try to wow delegates and get sales momentum started. Seagate Nytro flash cards Seagate, flush and fresh with its strategic alliance with Micron over flash, has announced three new Nytro ( …
Chris Mellor, 12 Aug 2015

Samsung barks out the orders, reveals its 3D flash lead

The top dog in the flash industry has just barked out loud and strong; emphasising its 3D flash process lead, Samsung is mass-producing 48-layer, 256Gbit 3D NAND chips, essentially tech SanDisk/Toshiba is hopeful of shipping next year. Sammy is currently shipping 32-layer 3D V-NAND chips which Dell is using in its Storage …
Chris Mellor, 11 Aug 2015

Poor Imation's revenues continue their never-ending death spiral

Imation’s board may be thinking that breaking up is hard to do. But, with the continuing decline in revenues, the only way to get any value out of the company may be to sell off the promising parts and forget the rest. It carried on plunging down the revenue slope with a 15.7 per cent annual decline in its second-quarter 2015 …
Chris Mellor, 11 Aug 2015

Sales layoffs at PernixData: Flogging or IPO on the way?

+Comment Things can get tight, tense and twisted at startups getting close to IPO or acquisition, and management can get hyper-focused on the outcome it wants as issues mount. That seems to be happening at PernixData. After news broke of layoffs at the hot clustered hypervisor-caching startup last week, we have learned more of the high …
Chris Mellor, 11 Aug 2015

Symantec palms Veritas off on private equity group in $8bn mega-sale

As suspected, Symantec has offloaded its Veritas storage business to the Carlyle Group for $8bn - way off the $13.5bn paid for the company in 2004. The Carlyle Group has contributions towards the purchase from GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and other expected co-investors. Symantec expects to receive approximately $6. …
Chris Mellor, 11 Aug 2015

HGST sets hearts aflutter with second sexy PCM demo

HGST is being a sexy beast and strutting its Phase Change Memory stuff once again, at the Flash Memory Summit. Sex sells in the flash biz and HGST thinks it has a hot little number – again – with its Phase Change Memory technology. A year on from its 3 million IOPS/1.5 microsecs latency demo of a PCIe-connected PCM SSD, it is …
Chris Mellor, 10 Aug 2015

Big operating expenses rise clobbers Dot Hill's otherwise healthy profits

Storage biz Dot Hill is back and boasting a third quarter of double-digit revenue growth – but also reports anorexic profits caused by some whopping admin expenses. Its second 2015 quarter showed revenues of $61.5m, 28 per cent up on the year-ago’s $48.2m and marginally more than the previous quarter’s $61.1m. Dot Hill …
Chris Mellor, 10 Aug 2015

Hyper-scaling multi-structured data? Let's count the ways

Comment Hyperscaling storage for unstructured data, file and object silos is conceptually straightforward. You buy yourself commodity hardware and get parallel filesystem software or object software. Hyperscale block storage generally means buying a monster SAN. But what happens if you need to have hyperscale storage across block, file …
Chris Mellor, 10 Aug 2015
Red Dwarf

Smaller EMC VNXe unit revealed, then hidden again

EMC has made a smaller VNXe array, the 1600, which slots in below the VNXe3200 and gives it a lower-priced VNXe offering. The news broke on Roy Mikes' blog on August 6 – although for some reason it is no longer there. Oops. Still, if you look in the Google cache version of his blog, there it is. And, to add to the fun …
Chris Mellor, 07 Aug 2015
Derailed train wagon. Pic: New York MTA

Teradata blots copy book with first loss in years

Teradata lost $265m in its second quarter 2015 as a $340m goodwill impairment charge hammered profits, along with continued deferrals of large transactions and longer sales cycles. Revenues in its second calendar 2015 quarter were 8 per cent down year-on-year at $623m, while net income plunged from $96m a year ago to a the $ …
Chris Mellor, 07 Aug 2015

Stuffing the wafers: SanDisk presses on with 48-layer 3D NAND chip

32 layers is so yesterday, man. SanDisk has a 48-layer 3D NAND chip in pilot production. Yeah, you heard me, the big four-eight. This can be seen as catch-up work as Samsung is now shipping its second generation 3D V-NAND chip, with 3-bits/cell and Dell using these 128Gbit dies in the SC-Series of storage arrays to offer …
Chris Mellor, 07 Aug 2015
The really big hole for the well, with some stone at the bottom

Nutanix digs itself into a hole ... and refuses to drop the shovel

Comment Nutanix has dug itself into a hole by trying to occupy the moral high ground with regard to performance testing of hyperconverged systems, saying it's in favour of transparency, yet pulling out of an independent StorageReview test of its product following poor results. About a month ago, Nutanix (Lukas Lundell) and VMware ( …
Chris Mellor, 07 Aug 2015
Star Trek Into Darkness

EMC II, VMware and the future: Unpicking the house that Joe built

Comment Look guys, the options are pretty limited. If VMware can't leave the EMC Federation and the Federation somehow has to upvalue itself for investors and find shares priced high enough to pay off Elliott Management, then one bit of the Federation has to buy the rest or the Federation has to be acquired/merge with a white knight. …
Chris Mellor, 06 Aug 2015
storage arrays superimposed on cloudy sky

HP hikes up specs on hyperconverged offering

Days after running its EVO: Rail product off its rails, HP has landed a new hyperconverged system, updating the CS-240 product to the CS-250 by doubling RAM and using Intel Haswell CPUs to add performance punch. It's also adding software disaster recovery, a three-node configuration, and down-pricing against Nutanix. The …
Chris Mellor, 06 Aug 2015
Blade Runner (1982)

We can give servers more memory, claims Diablo. Well, sort of

Diablo Technologies has launched its Memory1 flash substitute for DRAM, which, it claims, gives servers more "memory", enabling one server do the work of ten, saving on power, cooling and rack space, and threatening to slash server sales. Its Memory1 products are all-flash DDR4 DIMMs developed from its existing MCS (Memory …
Chris Mellor, 06 Aug 2015
Funnel of cash. Credit: via SXC –

Tintri’s funding reaches $260m, but is it ready to take on EMC?

Tintri, the hybrid array start-up, has been give a whopping $125m funding boost to carry on growing the company and (hopefully) take even bigger bites out of EMC, IBM and NetApp customer bases. Its funding progress has been like standing under a waterfall of cash: $17m in 2010; $18m in 2011; $25m in 2012; $75m in 2014; and now …
Chris Mellor, 05 Aug 2015

Toshiba invites Seagate to the gun show after raising its SSD game

Toshiba's latest gen 3 enterprise SSDs show an uncanny resemblance to Seagate's 1200.2 products in model type, capacity range and endurance terms, with both suppliers topping out at 3.84TB. Odd that. The race is on for SSD suppliers to replace fast hard disk drives in the data centre, with Seagate, Micron and Toshiba all …
Chris Mellor, 05 Aug 2015
Exit sign. Pic:  Lukas Kästner

Sales veep, staff log-off from cluster-cache upstart PernixData

PernixData has lost Ted Stinson, its veep of worldwide sales, and laid off up to 16 people in its North American channel and inside sales operations. The high-flying upstart touts clustered caching technology at the VMware hypervisor level, which speeds up virtual machine execution. PernixData was founded in 2012 by CEO Poojan …
Chris Mellor, 04 Aug 2015

Seagate flaunts 4TB-ish enterprise SAS flash that can shift 1.8GB/s

Seagate has announced a not-quite 4TB, dual-port SAS SSD technology, built in an alliance with Micron: the drive giant is touting four 1200.2 products defined by their endurance. Micron is using the same tech in its S600DC SSD products. The 1200.2 is the first SSD, Seagate says, to optimize dual-port SAS capability, resulting …
Chris Mellor, 04 Aug 2015

Radian ready to replace the flash translation layer

Stealthy startup Radian Memory System's Symphonic software replaces an SSD's Flash Translation Layer software to accelerate performance up to 80 per cent and extend endurance. It's selling its own RMS-250 SSDs with this software for data centre use Flash Translation Layer (FTL) software enables a block-based SSD to be …
Chris Mellor, 04 Aug 2015
Atmospheric snap of vultures silhouetted against a sunset on a wooden structure on the shore of a lake. (C) Jerry Rogers

Diving for pearls of data just got easier, thanks to EMC/Hadoop deal

Customers can now buy Cloudera Hadoop from EMC to run on their Isilon arrays, diving into data lakes for those pearls of insight; essentially running on Isilon's scale-out NAS boxes (with their native HDFS support), rather than building a separate Hadoop storage silo using cheapo DIY nodes. Hadoop-distributing Cloudera is the …
Chris Mellor, 04 Aug 2015

China and the cloud sink their teeth into server sales

China and the cloud are wreaking havoc on Dell, HP and Lenovo server sales, with Chinese and Taiwan ODMs benefitting. Why should this change? Gartner says second quarter 2015 server shipments rose 8 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) but only Cisco among the tier-1 vendors benefitted from the rise, with the others seeing falling …
Chris Mellor, 04 Aug 2015

HDS storage is faring better than EMC's trad arrays, reckons analyst

Comment HDS storage revenues are declining, but not as much as EMC's core storage business. Joe Tucci's business is doing better in its move to add business outside its trad arrays and HDS is mounting an Internet of Things catch-up, looking to store and analyse the hoped-for IoT data deluge. According to Stifel MD Aaron Rakers, …
Chris Mellor, 03 Aug 2015

Will flash save the data centre? Don't spread your wings yet, Vultan

Analysis The all-flash data centre: does it exist? Will it ever? Can we really imagine a data centre with no spinning disks and all the executing apps relying on solid-state storage? Such is the vision put forward by Violin Memory in its "Disk is Dead" campaign. But is this the future of the data centre? Violin chief marketeer Amy …
Chris Mellor, 03 Aug 2015

Quantum's StorNext isn't storing up revenues fast enough

Quantum swung into loss-making territory with its latest quarterly results as reduced revenues couldn't cover existing costs. The StorNext ejector seat, as tape revenues crash and burn, maybe didn't operate fast enough. As its forewarning indicated, revenues in the quarter ending 30 June were down 13 per cent to $110.9m, from …
Chris Mellor, 03 Aug 2015
Grand Canyon

Is Nexenta exposing a vast core storage market vulnerability?

Comment Nexenta CEO and evangelist Tarkan Maner has talked about potentially displacing double-digit petabytes of NetApp storage at a global net giant. He mentions that SAP has an RFP (a "request for proposal"; essentially a solicitation from a body interested in buying something) out to move 74PB of secondary storage off EMC and …
Chris Mellor, 03 Aug 2015

'We fell short' says QLogic CEO in August's understatement-of-the-month contender

As expected from its earlier warning shot, QLogic's first quarter fiscal 2016 results were pretty bad. Revenues of $113.4 million were 5 per cent lower than a year ago, with net income of $2.6 million being 57 per cent down on last year's Q1. Within the revenue number, Advanced Connectivity Platforms (Fibre Channel and …
Chris Mellor, 03 Aug 2015
London buses, photo: Transport for London

VMAX flashes its virtues for all to see

You wait for a bus forever, then two come along at once. So it is with EMC and SPC benchmarks, and all of a sudden we have both SPC-1 VNX8000 and SPC-2 VMAX 400K. The Storage Performance Council lists industry-standard random block IO performance (SPC-1) and streaming storage performance benchmark results (SPC-2). Each one …
Chris Mellor, 03 Aug 2015

It's Friday! Had a good week? It was probably better than Seagate's

In keeping with its warning, Seagate confirmed a revenue and profits decline as its mainstay desktop and notebook drive shipments tumbled for the third straight quarter. Enterprise drive shipments also declined in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015, as did branded (consumer drives), although consumer electronics shipments rose …
Chris Mellor, 31 Jul 2015

Oh Jeez, not now! Activist investor threatens Violin Memory

Violin Memory’s board is under attack from the Clinton Group, an activist investor wanting to have talks about “a number of topics germane to creating shareholder value”, meaning an asset or company sale. Apparently it’s been a shareholder for almost two years and has been pushing for talks for some time. Violin’s board has …
Chris Mellor, 31 Jul 2015

Obama endorses 3D TLC flash. How else can you do exaflop computing?

Comment New storage technologies are needed for exabyte-munching exaflop supercomputers. The same-old-same-old disk tech used for supercomputers won’t do for the exaflop generation promised by President Obama’s US leadership supercomputing order. This is Obama’s moonshot, the equivalent of President Kennedy’s man on the moon vision …
Chris Mellor, 30 Jul 2015

Will the PC glory days ever return, WD asks as its finances slip

Are the glory days gone for good? Will the PC market ever come back? AS WD rues the damage that declining PC disk sales have done to its revenues, that’s a question that will be exercising its product strategists as they ponder its latest results. Revenues for its fourth fiscal 2015 quarter were 14 per cent down from a year …
Chris Mellor, 30 Jul 2015

Feeding the XPoint cuckoo and finding it a place in the storage nest

XPoint memory is a spectrum-invading cuckoo. Spectrums are great ways to describe a range including different items with differing characteristics. Everyone gets used to the range, then something comes along and forces its way into the spectrum, making existing items shuffle up and down. There is a memory-storage spectrum with …
Chris Mellor, 30 Jul 2015

Beyond virty boxen and hyperconvergence: Regard the mighty data centres of the future

SANs and filers are facing decline because of the sudden rise of hyper-converged systems and enterprises seeking IT silo simplification. This isn’t because of a wish to get rid of networked storage per se. Rather, it’s a manifestation of enterprises recoiling from the burdensome complexity of being IT system component …
Chris Mellor, 30 Jul 2015

CommVault mired in losses. Will activist investors move in?

Data management specialist CommVault could be open to activist investor activity, said an analyst, after reporting a loss and seeing yearly revenues down on Americas sales inadequacies and foreign currency headwinds. First, fiscal 2016 revenues were down nine per cent on the year, at $139.1m, and down eight per cent …
Chris Mellor, 29 Jul 2015

Peering closer at 3D XPoint memory: What are Intel, Micron up to?

Analysis Asking what we know about Intel/Micron's XPoint memory announced yesterday is maybe the wrong question. What don't we know about it? Here are a few mysteries: Is the technology patented? Have developers kept quiet for 10 years? What is the memory cell material? What is their selector material? What is the process used to …
Chris Mellor, 29 Jul 2015
Grand Fromages at Reggio Parmagiano

Moshe's Infinidat happy to SHOUT about its progress

Moshe Yanai's Infinidat startup, which came out of stealth in April with its InfiniBox array, is bragging about its growth. It recently revealed figures including: 300 per cent sales growth in the second quarter compared with Q1 2015 500 per cent growth in channel sales 53 per cent of global sales came through resellers …
Chris Mellor, 29 Jul 2015

Just ONE THOUSAND times BETTER than FLASH! Intel, Micron's amazing claim

Next year, the world will start using products with an amazing new type of memory in them - or so say Intel and Micron, allied to produce the 3D XPoint chippery. This is, we're told, a radical resistive-RAM technology that is bit-addressable, non-volatile, and forms a new memory tier between DRAM and NAND. That means software …
Chris Mellor, 28 Jul 2015

All change at NetApp: One veep joins as another goes fishing

Five sales people have left NetApp simultaneously, including VP Americas channels sales Regina Kunkle. What gives? The background is one of exec changes. Bill Lipsin became NetApp's VP for worldwide channels in May this year, coming to NetApp from Brocade where he was VP for global channels and system integrators from August …
Chris Mellor, 28 Jul 2015
Marconi-Stille steel tape recorder

So what exactly sits behind Google’s Nearline storage service?

Comment How is Google’s retrieval service for non-essential data, Nearline, with its three-second retrieval latency, viable at the same cost as Amazon’s Glacier, when it uses tape with a 3-5 hour retrieval latency? Tape is cheap – but slow – and Google can't be using the stuff for Nearline. We think Nearline uses either Blu-ray …
Chris Mellor, 28 Jul 2015

X-IO erects its iglu over the data management market

X-IO, the supplier of just-won't-fail ISE storage boxes, has added a data management services head unit which can support up to 11 ISE blocks, calling it an iglu. ISE, the Integrated Storage Elements, come in disk (100 and 200), all-flash (800) and hybrid flash/disk (700) variants, have a five-year sealed box warranty and …
Chris Mellor, 28 Jul 2015

Plexistor's latest box sounds a lot like flash memory as virtual DRAM

Comment It's all about speed; the faster apps run the better, which means they can access and process data faster. In that vein, Plexistor, born in Israel's tech startup hot-house, claims it can turn commodity servers into data munchers running at incandescent speed. We’re talking more than seven million 4KB write IOPS at 1.7 …
Chris Mellor, 27 Jul 2015

Violin Memory thinks it'll boost sales by copying face cream giants

Comment The Grateful Dead concert was only the start to a sustained, brand-led marketing effort by Violin Memory, which aims to rewrite the rules of tech product marketing. Techy speeds and feeds and flashy tactical positioning statements will be subsumed into a disciplined, co-ordinated and orchestrated marketing campaign led by Amy …
Chris Mellor, 27 Jul 2015
The Hindenburg disaster

How to waste two years and lose $415m: Cisco's now-dead Whiptail deal

Exclusive + analysis Cisco has confirmed that the Invicta all-flash array line is no more, telling The Register: "As part of product lifecycle management, we withdraw technology from the marketplace when necessary to focus our efforts on what is critical for the future of our customers' business as well as our own." The networking goliath added: …
Chris Mellor, 24 Jul 2015

Plummeting SanDisk snaps awake, pulls hard on the control stick

After a terrible first quarter of the year, SanDisk revenues continued to fall in its second quarter, which has just ended. However, profits went up sharply, giving hope that a turnaround at the wannabe enterprise flash storage supplier is under way. SanDisk_Q2_2015 SanDisk financials ... Click image to increase its size …
Chris Mellor, 23 Jul 2015

The green salamander is OUT: Cisco gives up on Invicta flash arrays

That’s that then: it was a $415m mistake. We have heard from several sources that Cisco has laid off virtually the entire Invicta all-flash array engineering and development team. If true, Cisco – still led by John Chambers – has admitted the 2013 Whiptail acquisition was a complete cock-up. Timing-wise, this has happened at …
Chris Mellor, 23 Jul 2015

EMC's turbulent trifecta temporarily ties Tucci to top table

Comment Succession, transformation and a customer buying pattern sea-change are simultaneously embroiling EMC’s top management and board in a perfect storm, according to CEO Joe Tucci in the quarterly results earnings call. Six months after Joe Tucci’s last – and deferred – retirement date from running the EMC Federation, where he is …
Chris Mellor, 23 Jul 2015

Storage unicorns and their hyped-up horns

Comment A venture-capitalist-tracking website has revealed a list of unicorns, which are startups valued at a billion dollars or more. Eight storage companies are in the list; does this mean a glorious outcome for them? The CB Insights’ list contained these familiar names: Dropbox at $10bn (£6.4bn), and hence a “decacorn” Cloudera …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jul 2015

ATTOboy, says Nexenta as it lets you HA-ve a FibreBridge or two

NexentaStor MetroHA provides high-availability at city-wide distances for NexentaStor shared storage arrays, making it viable for high-availability needs. NexentaStor's open source storage software involves controllers (heads) linking to the storage enclosures by ATTO FibreBridge 6500 rackmount controllers by 8Gbit/s Fibre …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jul 2015

Storage slump? Dunno what you're talking about, beams EMC

EMC basically saw off most signs of a storage slump with a two per cent revenue rise in its second quarter 2015, although with revenue being reduced after paying $75m in a VMware pricing settlement with the US government. Revenues of $5.98bn generated profits of $487m, 17 per cent down on profits a year ago, but still well …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jul 2015