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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.

WHOMP! There it is: IBM demos 154TB tape

IBM and Fujifilm have demoed a 154TB LTO-size tape cartridge which could come to market in 10 years' time. While it falls short of the Sony 185TB development, it should, with IBM's tape partnerships, see Sony exit the field. The Sony development involved a 148Gbit/in2 tape density and its own tape design to achieve a 185TB …
Chris Mellor, 19 May 2014
gavel_judgment_channel

Customer sues Nimbus Data for 'breach of contract' over arrays

Flash array vendor Nimbus Data is being sued by a customer for breach of contract over two Gemini arrays that the purchaser alleges failed to meet "four conditions of sale". The customer is Maximus Inc, a publicly traded company headquartered in Reston, Virginia. It is an operator of government health and human services …
Chris Mellor, 19 May 2014
William Blair storage landscape May 2014

PEAK ARRAY: Cold fingers of Death stroke Big Biz disk boxes

IT depts are spending less on enterprise storage arrays, and instead considering shifting to the cloud – and away from arrays in their data centres. Or so we're told. These two changes were pointed out by Aaron Rakers, managing director of equity research outfit Stifel Nicolaus. He’s plotted the combined EMC, Hitachi, and IBM …
Chris Mellor, 19 May 2014
Amuse bouche

Reg man picks out tastiest tidbits from heaping mounds of storage announcements

Suppliers are furiously ladling out news like demented cafeteria workers attempting to feed the multitudes, so we thought we'd slice off a few of the tastier morsels and present them to you on a sideplate – all the better to prevent any storage indigestion. A3CUBE introduces RONNIEE 2S, a Network Interface Card that can transmit …
Chris Mellor, 19 May 2014

Oracle buys desktop software virtualiser GreenBytes

Oracle is buying desktop software virtualiser GreenBytes, which uses ZFS technology, for an undisclosed sum. GreenBytes VDI software is based on ZFS and includes its own, highly rated deduplication engine and replication. It can run on flash hardware and, originally, GreenBytes sold a VDI flash appliance but got out if hardware …
Chris Mellor, 16 May 2014
Sphere 3D

Overland Storage, 'miracle' flirty virty Sphere 3D jump in bed

Perennial loss-making Overland Storage will merge with Canadian company Sphere 3D. The combined companies will take the name of Sphere 3D, whose Glassware software apparently does the seemingly impossible: “Enable mobile device users the full functionality of any software program or application on any device, anywhere.” …
Chris Mellor, 16 May 2014

EMC's DSSD rack flashers snub Fibre Channel for ... PCIe

The rack-scale flash array technology EMC gained in its DSSD gobble connects to a server using PCIe. That's according to an interview by Barrons with EMC’s product ops head Jeremy Burton. A DSSD flash vault can fill a rack and hooks into a server using a PCIe connection – actually it need many, many lanes to have a rack o’ flash …
Chris Mellor, 16 May 2014
Swarm of Auklets

Caringo greases up CAStor-based software, slips out Swarm7

Object storage startup Caringo has released its new Swarm7 storage software, promising to offer object, file, block and Hadoop support “out of the box.” Caringo’s main technology is its CAStor object storage, which supports its own APIs and file access protocols. Swarm7 is built on CAStor and includes the following features, …
Chris Mellor, 15 May 2014
FA-420

Hey, who wants a 40TB all-flash Pure box? I dunno, you got $160k?

Pure Storage has given birth to two more all-flash arrays, and updated its storage software by adding data protection features. The FlashArray FA-400 line has had an FA-405 entry-level product and an FA-450 high-end model added to the existing FA-420, creating a three-model range. The FA-405 has up to 40TB of "usable capacity …
Chris Mellor, 15 May 2014

Why faff with a piddly microSD when there's a 2TB vault tempting your selfie-stuffed mobe?

There's been a storm of storage developments this week, so here's a round up of what you may have missed. Mobe, slab selfie vault capacity boosted Seagate's Wireless Plus devices for mobile gadgets now have three capacity points: 500GB, 1TB and 2TB – there was just a 1TB model before. These drives are meant to store media …
Chris Mellor, 15 May 2014
Openstack log

HGST and Seagate go head-to-head with Ethernet disk drives

Seagate’s Kinetic disk drive has had its open source program expanded with APIs and libraries. The Kinetic drive is a disk drive with a direct Ethernet interface. It operates through key/value, object style GET and PUT IO operations instead of relying on the usual POSIX stack. (More here.) The first updated Kinetic drive will …
Chris Mellor, 14 May 2014
Fox

Foxy investor ruffles feathers in Quantum’s hen house – fresh claim

Activist investor Starboard Value wants board-level changes at troubled storage gear maker Quantum, it's claimed. Quantum’s latest results showed falls on an annual basis in both its fourth quarter and full-year revenues. The company has been cutting its costs as tape-based revenues – 65 per cent of its business – continue a …
Chris Mellor, 14 May 2014

C'mon... lower the drawbridge, NetApp: You could explore Amazon – and Azure

NetApp has a closed cloud strategy – no OpenStack opening and limited third-party array support. But there is a way its engineers could remedy this – providing its product and corporate marketing strategists and CTO concurred – and that would be to use FlexArray technology as an on-ramp. NetApp had a diskless head product, the V …
Chris Mellor, 13 May 2014
IBM Elastic Storage Vid

IBM intros Elastic Storage ... as used by human-crushing HPC brain Watson

BM has announced Elastic Storage as a component of its software-defined storage portfolio, and it's actually a repackaging and renaming of the venerable GPFS product. GPFS is IBM’s General Parallel File System for parallel access to massive numbers of files. The IBM announcement says Elastic Storage “offers unprecedented …
Chris Mellor, 13 May 2014
4 racks of V7000 boxes

Storwize embiggened: Nearly 4PB of raw capacity, croons IBM's Barry Whyte

IBM has substantially refreshed its SVC (SAN Volume Controller) and Storwize storage array products, providing doubled processing power, boosting compression power as well as increasing Storwize capacity to around 4PB, it claims. There are two detailed blogs about the new hardware and software: one from Master Inventor Barry …
Chris Mellor, 12 May 2014
Beached whale

Beached whale Symantec watches revenues recede 7%

Symantec’s latest results show that you can wring more profit out of declining revenues by slashing costs but its not enough to bring you back to growth. Revenues in its fourth fiscal quarter of 2014 ended 28 March were $1.63bn, seven per cent down year-on-year, but net profit jumped 14 per cent to $217m. The full year numbers …
Chris Mellor, 09 May 2014
FlashRay slide 1

Psst, keep this under your hat, but NetApp's new flash wunderkind will be unveiled on...

NetApp is holding an Insight event in Las Vegas in October – and its new all-flash box FlashRay is set to steal the show. FlashRay is a designed-from-scratch solid-state storage array, and we’ve written about it here. Now it's likely to be fully unveiled before or in time for the Vegas event on 28 October, The Reg storage desk …
Chris Mellor, 09 May 2014

Quantum dedupe sales droop: But you can't say it didn't TRY

Quantum's latest results show that all the tape firm's sweat, gritted teeth and dogged determination hasn't come good - yet. In the fourth fiscal 2014 quarter, ended 31 March, revenue was $128.0 million, down nine per cent year-on-year, primarily due to lower tape automation and DXi (deduplicating backup appliance) sales. There …
Chris Mellor, 09 May 2014
NetApp product range

Life in the FAS lane: We reveal NetApp's four new flash-disk arrays

NetApp is replacing the top and bottom of its FAS array range with new boxes – and getting rid the separate FAS3000 class mid-range product. When the FAS8000 series was launched in February, this was the FAS array family photo: FAS Range with FAS8000 The models are roughly positioned in a 2-dimensional space; the vertical …
Chris Mellor, 09 May 2014
Maxta scheme

Server SAN software upstart Maxta gets Intel's cash inside

Server SAN software startup Maxta has gained $25m in a B-round of funding led by Intel's investment arm and Tenaya Capital just as the software-defined and converged storage trends are taking off. The upstart swallowed $10m in an A-round in October last year. With converged compute/storage hardware-software competitors Nutanix …
Chris Mellor, 08 May 2014
OpenStack Summit

Disks with Ethernet ports? Throw in some flash and you've got yourself a HGST p-a-r-t-y

Western Digital Corp subsidiary HGST is developing Ethernet-connected drives for OpenStack users – and they won't require any application software changes, apparently. The architecture of such a product will be demonstrated by HGST at the OpenStack Summit, to take place between 12 and 16 May in Atlanta, GA. The presentation …
Chris Mellor, 08 May 2014
PSS PCIe card

IBM chip boffins mix phase-change-flash cocktail: Voila! SUPER fast memory card

IBM has gone and surprised us all with a pretty good Phase Change Memory product research and demo effort: a hybrid PCM/NAND server flash card that has at least 12 times lower latency than an enterprise PCIe flash card. The hybrid card, Big Blue claims, completed 99.9 per cent of 32-sector write requests each within 240 …
Chris Mellor, 08 May 2014
Open-mouthed Burmese python

ViPR 2.0 sinks EMC's fangs DEEPER into software-defined storage

EMC has added a few sharp fangs to its ViPR product: file services; integration of ScaleIO’s block storage; support for OpenStack and therefore OpenStack-supporting arrays; native HDS array compatibility; and the ability to run on HP’s surprise commodity server hit SL4540. ViPR 2.0 completes the basic promises made by EMC about …
Chris Mellor, 07 May 2014
CommVault

Analyst confirms: CommVault's sales stumble WAS down to staffing blunder

CommVault’s lousy results for its latest quarter, ended 31 March, were due to screw-ups in its North America HR and sales wings, those in the know have claimed. William Blair analyst Jason Ader was at a meeting with CommVault management in late April, and has drawn up a report for the storage software biz. In that assessment, …
Chris Mellor, 07 May 2014
Photo of a stack of $100 bills

EMC: We'll give you a MEELLLION dollars if our inline dedupe gear's not actually inline

EMC says its XtremIO deduplication is inline all the time – and is offering a million bucks to anyone who can prove otherwise. The storage giant will give $1m "to the first customer that can prove their XtremIO system's inline data services have switched off, been throttled back or defaulted to a 'system garbage collection' …
Chris Mellor, 07 May 2014

EMC aims Elastic Cloud Storage band at Amazon, Google

EMC is in Vegas to gamble, and had all of its software-defined storage bets on show at its EMC World storagefest – everything from Project Nile and ViPR 2.0 to its massively scale-out ScaleIO server SAN. First up is its Amazon-attacking Project Nile, embodied as an Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) appliance. It was previewed in …
Chris Mellor, 06 May 2014
Belly Button

Oi, EMC users! HALVE your weight with this WEIRD OLD TIP

HP has released a product to import data from ENC VNX and CLARiiON CX4 arrays into its 3PAR storage, allowing customers to move to Meg W's StoreServ arrays – and, at least according to HP, dealing with storage obesity en route. It's called HP 3PAR Online Import (HP3OI?) and HP claims it allows users to perform self-directed …
Chris Mellor, 06 May 2014
CTERA_ViPR_video

CTERA gets bitten by EMC's snake, develops ViPR compatibility

Deep breath: cloud storage gateway and cloud services platform product startup CTERA has gone and got itself snake-bitten – it’s now ViPR compatible. ViPR is EMC’s software layer to provide separate control plane orchestration functions and data plane services – such as file, block and object access – across its own and third- …
Chris Mellor, 06 May 2014
Emulex losses to Q3 fy2014

Emulex racks up fifth loss-making quarter as FIVE-YEAR Broadcom broadside ends

It's Emulex's fifth loss-making quarter in a row and a whopping loss at that. For its third financial 2014 quarter, ended 30 March, Emulex made a loss of $7.2m on revenues of $109.7m. Let's put that in context. A year ago its revenues were $116.8m and its loss was $6.7m. In the previous fy2014 quarter revenues were $123.2m and …
Chris Mellor, 06 May 2014
VNXe3200

EMC embarks on all-singing, all-dancing VNX jamboree

EMC has had a VNXgasm and announced future software for VNX, plus a buffed up VNXe box, a VSPEX addition, and the company is also making more encryption options available. The VNX software is coming via Project Liberty and thus includes freedom from hardware lock-in presumably, and is virtualised storage software that is based …
Chris Mellor, 05 May 2014
Hitachi Accelerated Flash detail

EMC ships '17PB' of biz flash, brags it's NAND numero uno ... That's cute, grins HDS

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest flash shipper of them all? Well, never mind fairer – EMC says it's the fattest enterprise flash slinger of all. The storage giant's CEO David Goulden said in its latest earnings call: "Over 70 per cent of VMAX and VNX2 systems shipped with some flash capacity. EMC sold more than 17 …
Chris Mellor, 05 May 2014

Oh Sony. Have we learned NOTHING from SuperAIT?

It's deja freakin' vu all over again, as the grim spectres of AIT and Super AIT tape are coming alive again. Meanwhile the good ship Sony is sinking in the west, the crew distracted by a tape technology sideshow. Consider these two recent stories: Sony reckons it will make a $1.3bn loss after selling off its failing PC business …
Chris Mellor, 02 May 2014
Amusement park slide

WD results confirm it: Disk buyers ARE spending less

Is there a disk drive sales slump? Seagate's latest quarterly results suggested it and now WD's results confirm it. Enterprise disk drive buyers are spending less money. Despite all the marketing/analyst guffery about data bloat driving storage sales, both Seagate and Western Digital have seen lower sales in the last three …
Chris Mellor, 01 May 2014
Hewlett's desk

Nexenta beats off rivals as Citrix testlab rates its VDI offering 'cheapest'

Nexenta provides the cheapest VDI, according to data collected in a Citrix testlab by Gartner. Gartner research director and blogger Gunnar Berger has written an article - The real cost of VDI storage – in which he sorts suppliers on their costs. The data comes from a Citrix Ready VDI Capacity Validation Program for Storage …
Chris Mellor, 01 May 2014

WAN-furtling pays off for app-happy Riverbed

There were contrasting results yesterday from Riverbed, which has a spring in its step, and Imation, which does not, but hopes to have, eventually. Riverbed's first 2014 quarter showed revenues of $265m, 8 per cent higher than a year ago. Profits of $3.3m were low, just 1.2 per cent of the revenues, but they were a welcome about …
Chris Mellor, 01 May 2014
Claw hammer

6TB - big? Pah! Seagate plans to put out 8TB and 10TB MONSTERS

We got all excited about Seagate's latest 6TB drive but, really, we haven't seen anything yet. It has been revealed that the spinning rust company is anticipating 8TB and 10TB drives later this year. This info came out in the company's third quarter results earnings call, where chairman, president and CEO Steve Luczo was talking …
Chris Mellor, 30 Apr 2014
A US Army M1A1 Abrams tank heads out on a mission from Forward Operating Base MacKenzie in Iraq on October 27, 2004

Fusion-io takes DIMM view of flash cards ... Diablo goes for broke

Fusion-io's chief operating officer Lance Smith is going around lancing the boil that is the flash DIMM – flash memory interfaced to a server's memory bus instead of its slower PCIe interface – but he's facing a challenge from Diablo Technologies. Flash DIMM technology is provided by Diablo Technology to SanDisk, which has used …
Chris Mellor, 30 Apr 2014

Cash slump a Seagate problem, or a hard disk industry problem?

Seagate revenues and profits have slumped in its third fiscal 2014 quarter, reflecting ongoing difficulties in the disk drive market and product transitions. Revenues of $3.4bn were reported in the quarter ending 28 March, and these were 4 per cent down year-on-year. Net profits were $395m, 5 per cent lower than a year ago. …
Chris Mellor, 30 Apr 2014
Confused computer keyboard

OK Virtual Instruments, you've made a thing. Must you fill our ears with PR gobbledegook?

Virtual Instruments has launched an "entity-centric solution" amid an unparalleled display of marketing verbiage. The product is called VirtualWisdom, version 4.0. It's basically a network fabric sniffer with analysis smarts to help get networks working better. Originally it did Fibre Channel and then FCoE, but is branching out …
Chris Mellor, 30 Apr 2014
Samsung PM835T TLC SSD

Hey, Samsung: Why so shy about your 960GB flash drive's endurance?

Samsung has gone and used cheap-to-make triple-level cell NAND chippery to make an SSD for data centre use. Will it catch on? Triple-level cell (TLC) flash chips mean fabs can extract more flash capacity from a silicon wafer, and so production costs are lower than for two-level cell MLC technology. Samsung says it gets "a 30 per …
Chris Mellor, 29 Apr 2014

GULP. Veeam adds thousands of accounts. It must be eating SOMEONE'S lunch

Growing virtual server backup biz Veeam continues to spread like an out-of-control viral infection. The firm recently claimed to have surpassed the 100,000 customer mark by the end of its first 2014 quarter. To put that in perspective, it says it went past the 91,500 customer mark just three months ago, the 80,000 level three …
Chris Mellor, 29 Apr 2014
Optimus Prime Transformer toy

It's here, the 4TB FLASH drive: SanDisk rips sheet from the Optimus MAX

SanDisk has announced a new 4TB flash drive, double the capacity of the biggest solid-state drive available today. The 4TB Optimus MAX – which sounds like the big bad brother of an Optimus Prime toy – follows the 2TB Optimus Eco, a technology SanDisk acquired when it bought SMART Storage. The new SSD can take three full drive …
Chris Mellor, 29 Apr 2014
LSI Nytro MegaRAID 8140-8e8i

Hit the Nytro: LSI's PCIe cards now even faster with SQL Server 2014, says firm after upgrade

Chip-making chappies LSI have added some go-faster SQL 2014 juice to their Nytro PCIe server flash cards. SQL Server 2014 can run in-memory; LSI's updated Nytro cards provide a server with PCIe-connected flash. SQL 2014 has a Buffer Pool Extension feature which puts an, erm, buffer pool extension into flash memory where it …
Chris Mellor, 29 Apr 2014
big droplets falling from rain cloud

Backup biz CommVault to Wall St: Cheer up, lads. We just need MORE SALES REPS

Results are in for CommVault, whose final 2014 quarter showed a revenue rise and a slight drop in profits, missing Wall St's estimates. But the biggest surprise to analysts was its concession that it had "under-hired" in Q4. The Simpana data protection and archiving software shipper found analysts were not sympatico when it …
Chris Mellor, 28 Apr 2014
Singapore Condos

Silicon bungalow? Nah, I'll have SK Hynix's 4-storey flash condo

DRAM and flash fabber SK Hynix is set to mass produce 3D NAND by the end of this year, while Micron Technology sees its own 3D mass production kicking in during the second half of 2015. By building NAND chips with layers of current planar cells (known as 2D NAND) the amount of capacity in a chip's footprint can be raised without …
Chris Mellor, 28 Apr 2014
Fisheye camera shot of MICA rocket shot into aurora borealis

Let them eat cache: PernixData crams RAM in virtual flash platform

PernixData has added RAM as a cache and Network File System support to its FVP clustered flash cache product with the aim of making virtual machines go even faster. FVP is a VMware kernel module that aggregates flash (PCIe or SSD) across a set of clustered VMware ESXi servers and provides read and write caching to ESXi such that …
Chris Mellor, 28 Apr 2014
Barracuda

Hungry Barracuda Networks gobbles a profitable quarter at last

After several quarters of losses, Barracuda Networks has made a profit in its final three months of fiscal 2014, ended 28 February, paving the way for a profitable 2015. Revenues were $60m in the quarter, up 15 per cent year on year, and a sliver up on the third quarter’s $59.4m. Net income for Q4 2014 was $3m, which compares to …
Chris Mellor, 25 Apr 2014
M500DC_MIcron_SSD

Have you heard the one about Goldilocks and the Micron hardwares?

Micron has brought out a middle-of-the-road flash drive for data centres – a Goldilocks product in other words: neither too hot, not too cold, too big, too small. You get the picture. The M500DC uses 20nm MLC NAND, and comes in 120GB, 240GB, 480GB and 800GB capacities. It seems to be a reworked version of the M500 and M550 …
Chris Mellor, 25 Apr 2014

Top dog EMC’s dilemma: Seasonal dip or long-term problem?

One swallow doesn’t make a summer nor one frost a winter. Does the dramatic drop in EMC’s VMAX revenues represent a long-term change or just a product transition blip? While other parts of EMC Information Infrastructure – the non-VMware and non-Pivotal storage core of EMC’s federation – grew strongly in its first 2014 quarter, …
Chris Mellor, 24 Apr 2014
SanDisk_SSD_detail

Shocking new low for SanDisk – 15nm flash chips rolling out its fabs

SanDisk has powered up the smallest NAND process in the industry, 15nm, meaning it should be able to get more working flash chips from each silicon wafer – and thus lower its costs. It's calling this technology "1Z", as 1X is below 20nm, and 1Y is between that and 15nm. These alphabetic suffix boundaries are not standard, and …
Chris Mellor, 24 Apr 2014