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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.

Just how far did storage and compute converge in 2013?

Converged storage is the coming together of storage and compute in the same box. Didn't this used to be called a server, before the days of networked storage? Indeed it did but these re-invented servers often employ a logical storage pool, and are the future, we are told. So, where are we at, as glide into 2014? We're …
Chris Mellor, 29 Jan 2014
Toshiba 15K 300GB SFF HDD

Toshiba twirls its HAMR, ponders whether to smash spinning rust

Toshiba shipped 22.7 million disk drives in the last calendar 2013, with numbers bulked up by its acquisition of HGST assets in 2012. But where is it going with its disk tech? WD shipped 63.1 million spinning rust platters in the same period and Seagate managed 53.8 million. Tosh's drive type number splits were:- Enterprise ( …
Chris Mellor, 28 Jan 2014

Aer Lingus opts for Tegile arrays, snubs EMC in shock move

Aer Lingus, the Irish airline with a name that sounds like ... (don't even go there - Ed.), has equipped itself with Tegile hybrid arrays instead of upgrading its existing EMC kit. The airline will use Tegile's Zebi HA2800 arrays to store data for SQL databases, data warehousing and VDI deployment because it was unable to scale …
Chris Mellor, 28 Jan 2014
Seagate Ultra Mobile HDD

Seagate plods along steadily despite promise of Xyratex buyout

Up and down: Seagate's second fiscal 2014 quarter grew looking back one quarter, but shrank looking back a year. Revenues for the quarter ending 27 December were $3.53bn. Last quarter saw revenues of $3.5bn so we saw a little bit of growth – but a year ago revenues were $3.67bn, so we saw shrinkage. Net income was $428m; last …
Chris Mellor, 28 Jan 2014
Filling in the hole with soil

DataDirect Networks is in a hole. Can its founders pull it out?

DataDirect Networks is struggling, The Register hears, with declining revenues and departed execs. Seagate buying Xyratex is the latest competitive threat and the firm is said to be retrenching its core HPC business. DDN denies this and, coincidentally, has recently hired itself a chief marketing officer for the first time, one …
Chris Mellor, 27 Jan 2014
Tarkan Maner

OK, Wyse guy: So how do YOU think 'boosting' legacy tech is a winner?

Nexenta, the provider of hardware-independent software-defined storage with a ZFS disk-based stack, has gained 5,000-plus customers by enabling them to get EMC/NetApp-class storage functionality at much lower prices by not paying the mainstream vendors' lock-in hardware tax. It's a good game, as far as it goes, but the world is …
Chris Mellor, 27 Jan 2014
A bigger splash - Hockney painring

SPLASSHH! Tech giant IBM DIVE-BOMBS into all-flash array pool

Splash! IBM has launched its first in-house all-flash array, one of the fruits of its billion-dollar flash storage investment. The FlashSystem 840 is an impressive box but what do IBM's mainstream and startup competitors, each with their own all-flash arrays, think of it? We asked them - and we also asked IBM what it thought of …
Chris Mellor, 27 Jan 2014
Cisco Invicta diagram

Cisco quietly slips out new all-flash arrays – perhaps it doesn't want EMC, NetApp to notice

The competition gloves are almost off: Cisco has made available two Invicta solid-state arrays that integrate into the unified computing system (UCS) fabric but are not converged server-storage systems. The two systems, which had a low-key launch on Friday, will compete with Cisco partner EMC’s own XtremIO all-flash arrays. The …
Chris Mellor, 25 Jan 2014
Total War Battle: Shogun Android/iOS game screenshot

OK company, they've cleared. Storage firms: Reload and fire at will

This week has been a barrage of storage news: everything from biz results boasts, big firms swallowing upstarts and new deals to product releases and annexation of new territories by a newbie... Now that the dust has settled, let's have a look around and re-assess the landscape. Quantum announced a new DXi4701 deduplicating …
Chris Mellor, 24 Jan 2014
SanDisk 2.5in 32GB internal Flash drive

SanDisk flashes better-than-expected results. Right, let's upend our biz model

Flash card and SSD shipper SanDisk has ended a lovely-looking fiscal 2013 with four quarters of rising revenues and rising profits, contrasting well with the relative disaster that was fiscal 2012. But the company will have to move fast to address falling memory prices. SanDisk revenues and net income to fy2013 Chief …
Chris Mellor, 24 Jan 2014
WD Caviar Green 2TB

Growing revenues, profits on the up: WD sails on serenely

WD’s latest quarter shows untroubled growth as the disk drive business sails serenely on, untroubled by any flash storm. For its second fiscal 2014 quarter, ended Dec 27, 2013, revenues were a clean $4bn, nicely up from the first quarter’s $3.8bn and the year-ago quarter’s $3.8bn. Net income was $430m, lower than the previous …
Chris Mellor, 23 Jan 2014
Footing

Fusion-io posts another loss-making quarter but execs remain bullish

For flash fettlers Fusion-io's finances, it isn’t spring yet – but nor is it the bleak mid-winter. Revenues are starting to look as if they are on a solid footing with sequential growth and reduced losses. Fusion-io makes PCIe flash cards and has suffered wrenching senior management changes, including the departure of the …
Chris Mellor, 23 Jan 2014
Icelandic chasm

Did object storage come of age in 2013?

Object storage entered 2013 pretty much as a niche technology but exited the year headed towards mainstream status, with ViPR, Black Pearl and EVault leading the way. Others, though, held back. As of the year end, we saw IBM doing nothing much with objects, NetApp apparently standing still with its StorageGRID, and Dell exiting …
Chris Mellor, 23 Jan 2014
IBMStorage Revenues by quarter

IBM needs to sell its stuttering storage biz lines

IBM’s storage results are down in the dumps and we’re sure it’s in talks to sell off its server business to Lenovo. Should it sell off its storage business too? Big Blue’s fourth quarter FY2013 results gave it the blues, with the Systems and Technology Group revenues for the quarter down 26 per cent compared to a year ago. The …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jan 2014

Coraid gets $29m VC cash boost. It's too early for an IPO: what gives?

Ethernet storage startup Coraid has got itself $29.3m in fresh funding after appointing a new CEO, David Kresse, in September last year. The funding history is illustrative of a top-up needed to continue growth: Feb 2010 - $10m A-round Nov 2010 - $25m B-round Nov 2011 - $50m C-round Dec 2013 - $29.3m D-round That's a total …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jan 2014
BizNAS

98.8% of Overland shareclutchers say OMG, YES to Tandberg takeover

Overland Storage shareholders have overwhelmingly voted in favour of the Tandberg Data takeover by Overland. There was a 98.8 per cent vote in favour of the takeover at a 16 January meeting. But, then, there was no other option on the table except the virtual certainty of an eventual Overland collapse and a total wipeout of …
Chris Mellor, 21 Jan 2014
money_yen_dollar_pound

Nimble set to conquer Japan after sealing Toshiba distie deal

Hybrid flash/disk drive array flogger Nimble Storage has won Toshiba as its master distie for Japan, virtually assuring it of success there. Toshiba Cloud and Solutions Company has a group of distributors and resellers across Japan that will pump the Nimble gear out to their customers, with Toshiba IT Services Corporation …
Chris Mellor, 21 Jan 2014
TDK TMR hard disk drive read/write head

The future of storage: disk-based or just discombobulated?

The disk drive industry went bananas in 2013, driven hard by cloud storage and flash, both sending the problems of bulk, nearline data storage disks' way. The three big HDD tech issues? SMR technology seems a near-term bust except for big cloud users Helium drive technology arrived with HGST's 6TB offering Seagate announced …
Chris Mellor, 21 Jan 2014
ULLtradIMM Latency

Sandisk's future is far from ULLtraDIMM: Diablo tie-up holds promise

SanDisk has an excellent chance of making it as an enterprise flash storage supply because it’s pursuing a SMART strategy that is (wait for it, wait for it) ULL-tra bright. What it’s managed to do is corner an area of the server application acceleration market that looks to be brand new and full of potential. And it’s done it …
Chris Mellor, 20 Jan 2014
Dropbox IOS

VCs drop cash on DropBox, bestow $10 BEELLLION valuation

Ten billion greenbacks. That’s what venture capital firms (and Dropbox’s board and execs) think the file sync'n'share pioneer is worth. Dropbox started offering its sync'n'share services to consumers using a freemium business model, and has latterly moved into offering business syncing and sharing services. It’s competing with …
Chris Mellor, 20 Jan 2014

Brocade flogs adapter biz to QLogic: Are they cutting losses or pleasing investors?

Late last week data networking gear firm Brocade announced it was selling its Ethernet and Fibre Channel adapter business to QLogic for an undisclosed sum. The storage networking host bus adapter (HBA) market was entered by Brocade in May 2007 with both iSCSI adapters and HBA products. The HBAs were marketed with messages …
Chris Mellor, 20 Jan 2014
FlashSystem 840 rear view

Array with you: IBM takes on upstarts with new RamSan flash cram

Big Blue has burst onto the all-flash array scene afresh with a million-plus IOPS box; its first in-house FlashSystem since buying TMS a year and a half ago The FlashSystem 840 is IBM's latest iteration of its FlashSystem 720, 810 and 820 product range. It has up to 48TB of eMLC NAND capacity in its 2U rack enclosure (not a lot …
Chris Mellor, 17 Jan 2014
Fast and furious combat

How flash storage raced from glory to despair in 2013

Flash dramas abounded in 2013, from triumphant IPOs, disastrous IPO after-effects, profound strategy changes, and firms crashing out in flames. Two CEOs went. Two companies crashed. Several were bought. All in all it was a hell of a year. Let's start with all-flash arrays. All-flash arrays Here's where a lot of the flash …
Chris Mellor, 17 Jan 2014
Siege

Riverbed: We don't want your steenkin' $3.1 BEELLION

Jerry Kenelly's Riverbed board has declined billionaire activist investor Paul Singer's Elliott Management's unsolicited bid for Riverbed. A Riverbed statement said: "After consideration with independent legal and financial advisors, [the firm] has unanimously determined not to pursue the unsolicited proposal from Elliott …
Chris Mellor, 17 Jan 2014
Magnum Force

9,000 heads to roll at Dell? Tosh. It'll all go down in Feb and it's THOUSANDS more - insiders

We’re being told that the 9,000 heads redundancy figure at Dell is wrong - it could be 17,000 or more. Dell disputes this strongly, saying our sources' numbers are "inaccurate", but refused to give us a figure. Across the whole Dell worldwide organisation, a figure of 15 to 20 per cent across-the-board cuts has come to us from …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jan 2014

Switch VMs from NetApp to us and we'll give you extra storage, says Tintri

Flashy upstart Tintri says its customers can run servers with more VMs using its storage instead of NetApp - and it's putting its money where its mouth is. The startup claims VMware-using customers can "cut their storage capacity and rackspace requirements by 50per cent or more" by moving from NetApp FAS storage arrays to its …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jan 2014
Bursting out of a box

We wuz right: Big Blue ARE stuffing System x boxen with ULLtraDIMMs

Confirming our story about IBM stuffing ULLtraDIMMs into its an X-series servers, storage news upstart EnterpriseTech*reports that Big Blue's coming X6 servers, supporting Xeon E7 v2 processors, will have eXFlash memory channel storage: flash memory on a DDR3 module running on the memory bus. A SanDisker confirmed it was …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jan 2014
Quantum CEO Jon Gacek

Quantum expects to see Q3 revenue hike, sheds 60 extra bodies

Quantum expects to report a seasonal third quarter revenue hike in its third 2014 fiscal quarter ended 31 December, with lower costs helped by manufacturing outsourcing and several additional redundancies. El Reg storage desk has received several emails about the latter and they were also confirmed by the company. Revenues for …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jan 2014
Stock ticker board

Two new C-suite bods kiss the Scality ring as IPO rumours gather

Object storage upstart Scality has hired two C-level execs and more senior hires are on the way. Ewan Menard, who was DataDirect Networks’ chief operating officer (COO) up to July last year, becomes Scality’s COO, reporting to CEO Jérôme Lecat. Before DDN he was with HP. He is object storage-aware, DDN having its own object …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jan 2014
Nimbus Data cup cakes

All-flash array flogger Nimbus Data: We COINED IT in 2013

All-flash array firm Nimbus Data released results from the year to date, saying it had had a great 2013. It claimed: Revenue more than doubled compared to 2012, Net income grew more than 4 times compared to 2012, Headcount grew 125 per cent compared 2012, More than 500 Nimbus Data storage arrays are now in production …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jan 2014
Verizon Wireless 4G LTE 2010 Launch Markets

HDS and Verizon pair up to take on Rackspace, Amazon in the clouds

Verizon’s public cloud, which we've already heard is to use Oracle's Database, is going to offer a storage service based on HDS’s Content Platform. The two suppliers have announced an agreement to develop a software-defined storage solution using HCP and HCP Anywhere. Verizon is huge, with, for example, 100 million retail …
Chris Mellor, 15 Jan 2014
HGST SSD1000MR

Why Flash storage will be fast and furious in 2014

Flash had a fantastic year in 2013 with an enormous number of developments. It was a year of generally positive flash transitions, with cell geometry shrinking, all-flash arrays springing up, flash companies being bought, flash companies crashing back to earth after inflated IPOs or just crashing, and happiness spraying out …
Chris Mellor, 15 Jan 2014
Larry Ellison, photo by Oracle Corporate Communications

Explained: How LSI and Oracle cooked up magical flash-embiggening sauce

Oracle and LSI have magicked up a way for LSI’s Nytro server flash cards to hold more data than they’re seemingly physically capable of holding and called it Dynamic Logical Capacity (DLC). How does it work? We thought it might be a paging mechanism – but we were dead wrong. The card compresses the data it is sent and can reach …
Chris Mellor, 15 Jan 2014
New EMC VNX range

EMC: We've stomped out VNX2 reboot issue

We've been hearing about a bug in EMC's VNX2 software which causes it to reboot every 80 days. Tweets like this one have been appearing like canaries in a coalmine: @TheJasonNash I just bought a Vnx28000 and expect another one coming soon... Anyways, looking for info on the vnx reboot issue? New to EMC — Nathan Daggett (@ …
Chris Mellor, 15 Jan 2014
Nutanix cloud appliance

KER-CHING: Backers hand Nutanix $101m

Converged server/storage startup Nutanix has shown it has the product and business execution goods, prompting its backers to give it $101m to light the rocket fuel and get company lifting off. Nutanix has been a Harvard Business School textbook example so far in how to start up and grow a company to the point where it has a …
Chris Mellor, 14 Jan 2014
Aegis One rack room

Health Sec opens new data centre: Biz not Surrey to be in Godalming

The first phase of the colo data centre set up by new operator Aegis Data in leafy Surrey commute hotspot Goldalming was formally opened by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Friday. The London data centre market, according to the firm's CEO, accounts for over half of the entire European data centre market. Most of the region's …
Chris Mellor, 14 Jan 2014
PCM Schematic

Micron: Hot DRAM. We don't need no steenkin' PCM

Micron has reportedly withdrawn Phase Change Memory (PCM) products from its portfolio. Electronics360 says Micron has removed “128-Mbit 90nm serial and parallel NOR pin-out PCM devices from the products listed on its website". Sure enough we couldn’t find them there. Micron once supplied 45nm 1-Gbit PCM chips to Nokia for use …
Chris Mellor, 14 Jan 2014
LSI_WarpDrive

Oracle picks PCIe flash from LSI for flashy next-gen Exadata box

Oracle, a minor database and enterprise software interest of yachtsman Larry Ellison, has picked LSI to supply PCIe flash acceleration cards. LSI’s Nytro-branded cards will be used in Oracle’s Exadata X4 engineered system, what it calls its next-generation Database Machine. The cards have a jointly-developed Oracle LSI software …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jan 2014
VMware logo

Could Joe Tucci's parting shot at EMC be to SELL OFF VMware?

A sharp-eyed industry analyst has spotted that cloudy virtualisation biz VMware's SEC filings mention the words “spin-off”. What's going on here? Aaron Rakers, the MD of analyst house Stifel Nicolaus, picked up the following sentence in VMware’s November 2013 SEC Form 10-Q filing: …that for as long as EMC or its successor-in- …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jan 2014

Dell staffers react to news of 1-in-3 axe dangling overhead

Our readers at Dell have responded to the New Year Dell redundancy stories. They make worrying reading, illustrating the pressures people are under. Here’s a comment from a Dell Asia Pacific Japan staffer: In APJ no one knows what the new org is or what is happening to their roles. We are all guessing or we can try for VR ( …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jan 2014
Don Basile CEO of Violin Memory

We're not talking, so PAH: Violin Memory's big dogs blank sacked CEO

Violin Memory’s terminated CEO and unwanted board member Don Basile cannot be dismissed from the board – but has been excluded from all operational matters concerning Violin. He’s in a form of internal exile, as it were, because the board has created an executive committee formed of all the board members except Basile, The …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jan 2014
Phoenix

We told you so: SGI steers Starboard into its port after stormy times

Starboard Storage is now in SGI's port: the word is that SGI has actually bought the crashed remains of Starboard Storage and its hybrid storage array technology. Starboard was started up by ex-Lefthand Storage (iSCSI array startup bought by HP) personnel. The firm regrettably failed and went under in October last year. An SGI …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jan 2014

OCZ and Toshiba drive out new RETAIL SSD line with Barefoot controller

Bankrupt hardware maker OCZ, whose assets are being bought by Toshiba, has a Vertex 460 enterprise SSD device in the pipeline, with a preview of it being shown at CES in Las Vegas. According to The SSD Review the Vertex 460 features: 120, 240 and 480GB capacity points Up to 95,000 random read IOPS Up to 550MB/sec sequential …
Chris Mellor, 10 Jan 2014

Forget selfies. 'Server SAN' is storage world's 2014 TWERKNADO

The Wikibon consultancy says a developing Server SAN form of storage needs to be tracked by IT people. The authors bring together the concepts of virtual SANs and converged server/storage hardware and software systems with a server SAN being a collection of servers whose direct-attached storage (DAS) is virtualised by software …
Chris Mellor, 10 Jan 2014
Sheep

Barracuda announces BaaS - Backup as a Service - range of boxen

Barracuda Networks has announced BaaS - Backup-as-a-Service - which is based upon its 190 and 390 series backup appliances. The backup appliance range has seven models: 190; 390; 490; 690; 890; 990; and 1090. These vary by, amongst other things, their usable internal capacity. The 190 has 500GB and the 390 1TB. At the top of the …
Chris Mellor, 10 Jan 2014

Dell will AXE up to ONE IN THREE workers in its US & EMEA sales teams

We're hearing from two sources that Dell is making 30 per cent of its sales and marketing staff in Europe, the Middle East and Africa redundant while cutting 20 per cent of its US-based sales staffers. One source said: "Precisely 30 per cent, across EMEA." There is no word on what's happening on the sales floor in the Asia …
Chris Mellor, 09 Jan 2014
Don Basile

What is Violin Memory's sacked CEO still doing on their board?

Don Basile, the terminated CEO of Violin Memory, still sits on Violin's board of directors. Unlike Dixon Doll who resigned from his COO position and vacated the board as well, Basile has decided not to resign from the board. A Violin statement said: "Violin can confirm that Don Basile is still on the board.” According to …
Chris Mellor, 09 Jan 2014
money notes lifted up

Indecent proposal: Hedge fund makes 'unsolicited' bid for Riverbed

An unwanted bid to take over WAN optimiser Riverbed for $3.1bn has been mounted by hedge fund Elliott Associates. Reg readers may be aware of Elliott from its activist, management-agitating attacks against incumbent management at Emulex, Compuware, Brocade and NetApp. Elliott, run by billionaire Paul Singer, looks for companies …
Chris Mellor, 09 Jan 2014
Top brass at EMC:

Goulden FINALLY bags EMC's storage CEO spot

David Goulden has got the EMC storage CEO job title at last, putting him on a level footing with Paul Maritz, platform-as-a-service outfit Pivotal's CEO, and Pat Gelsinger, VMware's CEO. We're told the 54 year old Goulden is an 11-year EMC veteran, who was EMC’s chief financial officer for seven years and then, when Gelsinger …
Chris Mellor, 09 Jan 2014
younity logo

No more syncing feeling with file portability service Younity

Younity bills itself as syncless file sharing software spread across all your Apple and Windows devices. What's this private cloud-style offering all about? It is provided by Entangled Media, whose co-founders are Erik Caso and Mike Abraham. The younity website says: “younity is about being able to spontaneously access any file …
Chris Mellor, 09 Jan 2014