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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.

HGST_Active_archive_platform

Aggressive HGST hurls flashy humdingers at online archiving

Holy Moly, HGST is getting ambitious. It's building an active archive platform product in competition with some of its OEMs and its aiming to rewrite server clustering with a flash fabric - oh and develop helium-filled disk drives - and shingled drives with its own slant - and thinking of Phase Change Memory chips with DIMM …
Chris Mellor, 18 Sep 2014
Lego Monster Fighters Lord Vampyre

Micron cackles as it unveils its chameleonic FLYING DISK KILLER

Micron has a new M600 client SSD that changes flash type on the fly to accelerate writes. It's an update on the M500 series, we understand, and is made from 16nm NAND instead of the M500's 20nm. There are mSATA, M.2 and 2-5-inch SSD formats available with capacities being 128GB, 256GB and 512GB for the mSATA and M.2 formats, and …
Chris Mellor, 17 Sep 2014

NetApp's running with the big dogs: All-flash FlashRay hits the street

NetApp’s all-new FlashRay solid state array has been launched with limited availability and is not yet ready for prime time, having only a single controller, and lacking scale-out features and some ONTAP integration. These will come with future product upgrades, allowing NetApp to harden and fine-tune the product with this …
Chris Mellor, 17 Sep 2014
M-DISC profile

Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway

HDS' federal subsidiary says it has a Blu-ray optical storage platform for long term data preservation, with 1,000-year M-DISCs in prospect. The kit - we say kit although no products have been announced yet, just this "platform" - is for US federal agencies who need to "preserve and archive mission-critical data indefinitely." …
Chris Mellor, 17 Sep 2014
USS Macon above San Francisco

Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK

Pay $7,000 and you could have a 64TB desktop storage pool connected to your Mac workstation. Its a lot of money, but 64TB is a hellacious amount of storage. Say it costs $1.09/GB, which sounds sort of affordable. Who makes such a box? It's an HGST G-SPEED Studio XL box with eight 8TB helium-filled He8, 7,200rpm drives mounted …
Chris Mellor, 17 Sep 2014
Huawei logo

Huawei: Our servers are a flash in the DRAM – thanks, SanDisk

Huawei has swooped onto SanDisk for flash DIMMs to soup up its RH8100 servers. Flash DIMMs plug lumps of large NAND storage straight into a system's CPU memory bus rather than the slower PCIe bus that server flash cards typically use. The benefit, in theory, is that applications run faster because they wait less for IO – all the …
Chris Mellor, 16 Sep 2014
Airware video

Drones CAN'T deliver goods ... oh. Air traffic control system backed by NASA, you say?

Recently we wrote about how developing city delivery drones was a fool's errand. Yet Startup Airwave is working with NASA to develop an air traffic control system for drones. Who’s foolish now? Airware was founded in May 2001 by Jonathan Downey, an electrical engineering and computer science graduate from MIT, and is based in …
Chris Mellor, 16 Sep 2014
SANblox

Permabit builds shrink-your-SAN dedupe box

Permabit has built a front-end SAN box to dedupe and compress SAN data so it needs less disk capacity. The company produces Albireo deduplication and compression software, which it sells on an OEM basis. The idea is to enable disk array vendors to improve the cost/GB of their storage so that they can retain a cost advantage over …
Chris Mellor, 16 Sep 2014
POrch

Oracle slurps another storage upstart: Front Porch Digital joins Ellison's crew

The ceaseless hoovering up of small companies and startups by business behemoths has seen Oracle buy Front Porch Digital. Why did Larry Ellison latch on to this outfit? Front Porch Digital (FPD) is a content storage management (CSM) business. Its software products sit in a server between a media network on the one hand and a …
Chris Mellor, 16 Sep 2014
XtremIO upgrade video

No biggie: EMC's XtremIO firmware upgrade 'will wipe data'

There's a rumor that upgrading EMC's XtremIO firmware to v3.0 will wipe all user data from the flash array. It's mentioned here. It seems going from firmware version 2.4.x to version 3.0, expected by early October, will cause data to be lost – and customers will need to back everything up before the upgrade and restore it …
Chris Mellor, 15 Sep 2014

Seagate's triple-headed Cerberus could SAVE the DISK WORLD

Seagate is thinking of doubling up - or possibly even tripling - disk read heads to get a stronger signal from disk platters with more and narrower data tracks. TDK TDK disk read:write head Currently a disk read:write head has a single read head and a single write head. If the tracks on a disk platter are placed closer …
Chris Mellor, 15 Sep 2014
Intel Grantley Xeon

Maxta goes gung-ho for Grantley, cuddles up to big daddy Intel

Hyper-converged software startup Maxta has repaid Intel’s faith and investment with updated software featuring Grantley support and an Intel-flavoured reference architecture – eat this and you will have lots of Intel inside. Maxta (background here) has added stuff to its MxSP storage software platform: MaxDeploy pre-validated …
Chris Mellor, 15 Sep 2014
Seagate hybrid drives

Seagate's BUMPER State of the Storage Nation announcement

Positioning itself as a data steward, Seagate has presented its storage state of the nation pitch, announcing: three new disk drives; LaCie Thunderbolt external storage; two server flash cards and a controller; an HPC array; a new backup appliance; and a bright and shiny cloud and enterprise business unit. Seagate is continuing …
Chris Mellor, 15 Sep 2014
chart

Big Blue bludgeons its way to top of software-defined storage kingdom

IDC has ranked IBM as the top supplier of Software-Defined Storage Platforms (SDS-P) in its second quarter 2014 Worldwide Storage Software Qview survey. IDC says SDS-P is ”a new functional market added to the total storage software market that covers block, file, object, and/or hyper-converged software offerings that enable the …
Chris Mellor, 15 Sep 2014
Gartner SSA CC Overall Scores

Gartner ranks upstart trio ahead of EMC, HP and IBM in battle for flash array dominance

Gartner’s thrilling solid-state appliance critical capabilities report ranks three startups ahead of EMC, HP and IBM: SolidFire, Pure Storage and Kaminario. This assessment is not reflected in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for solid-state arrays. While the MQ looks at a company’s overall ability to execute, and its vision, the …
Chris Mellor, 13 Sep 2014
Joe Tucci EMC

Tech starfleet: Will EMC Federation survive a Tucci departure?

Will the tripartite EMC federation set up by Joe Tucci survive his retirement in six months' time? He is the chairman and overall CEO of EMC. The three federated businesses are: EMC Information Infrastructure (EMC II) led by David Goulden who is also overall EMC CFO VMware led by Pat Gelsinger Pivotal led by Paul Maritz Joe …
Chris Mellor, 12 Sep 2014
LTO Generations

No TKO for LTO: Tape format spawns another 2 generations, sports 120TB bigness

The LTO consortium has added two more generations to its tape format roadmap, extending it out to LTO-10 and a 120TB compressed capacity. The roadmap used to finish at LTO-8, and that version of the LTO tape format future was announced in April 2010. Now, four-and-a-half years later, it has been extended again. LTO Generations …
Chris Mellor, 11 Sep 2014
WD Ae

Behold our SPINNING DATA GRAVE: WD carts out 6.3TB cold storage drive

Western Digital’s WD has paralleled its HGST sibling and introduced an archive drive – but with just 6.3TB of capacity compared to HGST’s 10TB, 8TB and 6TB drives. Er, what? WD is branding its new drive the Ae, standing for, we think A(rchiv)e, and so moving away from its colours-focussed branding with Red, Green, Blue and Black …
Chris Mellor, 10 Sep 2014
Flape HW costs

Flash data storage: Knocking TAPE off the archiving top spot

It was a bombshell when Facebook's Jason Taylor said he would like to use flash solid-state storage as an archive medium, but his reasons made perfect sense. Facebook users had lots of photos stored in their albums and rarely accessed them. But when they did want to look at them they wanted them to come up straight away, whether …
Chris Mellor, 10 Sep 2014
AetherStore_intro_vid

SAN-free, NAS-free? Scottish PHDs lift kilt on how they'll pull storage out of the aether

Two years back, The Reg took a look at a New York startup developing a tech it claimed would change the storage game for networked workstation shops that don't want to buy a SAN or filer. Now the three graduates of Scotland's University of St Andrews who run AetherStore say they are nearing product delivery. The product provides …
Chris Mellor, 10 Sep 2014

Whopping 10TB disks spin out of HGST – plus 3.2TB flash slabs

HGST today launched a full frontal assault on the market with a shedload of disk and flash announcements – including a 10TB hard drive. The background scene set is the notion that the rate of data growth is doubling every two years and the spread of internet connectivity to non-IT devices (aka Internet of Things) will fuel …
Chris Mellor, 09 Sep 2014

Backup bruiser Barracuda bares teeth, gulps down C2C

BJ Jenkins' Barracuda has made its first acquisitive bite, buying mail archiver and manager C2C for an undisclosed mix of cash and stock. It's part of a comprehensive product revamp called Data Protection Plus. Barracuda is a backup, file sync and share and content/application security business, which went through an IPO in …
Chris Mellor, 09 Sep 2014
Tangled magnetic tape

WD punts cash at ... no, it couldn't be... another 'tape library killer'?

WD Capital has invested $10m in object storage startup Amplidata and has put its HGST unit to work developing a set of high-capacity storage systems with Amplidata, using the latter's Himalaya software. El Reg storage desk believes the end game is intended as a tape library killer. Verizon is building a Himalaya-based cloud …
Chris Mellor, 09 Sep 2014
Dell logo

Dell PowerEdge hooks up with SanDisk, stuffs servers with DAS Cache

Dell's next-generation PowerEdge servers are going to use DAS Cache SSD caching software from SanDisk. The R730, R730XD, R630, T630, and R920 servers fitted with direct-attached disk storage will have the DAS Cache software. It complements Dell's existing Fluid Cache for SAN, network-attached block storage. An R730-XD saw a 37 …
Chris Mellor, 08 Sep 2014
MartinFinkmemristor

'Software-defined' IS just a passing fad: HP techie Fink Tank lays down law

HP reckons this software-designed fad sweeping the storage world is just a swing of the fashion pendulum and we'll go back to hardware soon enough. Commodity public clouds haven't attracted much enterprise work and HP's Helion is well-placed for that. Martin Fink, the company's chief technology officer, presented HP's views at …
Chris Mellor, 08 Sep 2014
Facebook data center - interior

Is the all-flash data centre just a tantalising dream?

An all-flash data centre? It’s an intriguing idea. The hardware and software components may be there, but what about the business case, including the overall price/performance and total cost of ownership? Yes, such a data centre will be free of power-gobbling and rack space-consuming spinning disk enclosures, bringing consequent …
Chris Mellor, 08 Sep 2014
Nervous girl bites nails

It's official: Vendors are NOT shifting that networked storage

IDC's second 2014 quarter storage tracker shows networked storage array revenues fell for the second quarter in a row, with both high-end and mid-range array sales affected. It marks 12 months of high-end storage revenue decline. The tracker looks at networked arrays (external-controller-based storage) and also the total disk …
Chris Mellor, 08 Sep 2014
Vulture with white rump

You know what Cisco needs? A server SAN strategy

Cisco has no SAN/filer legacy to escape from and, in a storage world where the hyper-converged server/storage/networking system is only getting trendier, it has a major opportunity on its hands. Consider the mainstream storage vendors – Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, HDS, HP, IBM and NetApp – their storage product line heartland is the …
Chris Mellor, 05 Sep 2014
DCIG

DCIG releases mid range array report... and all the apples from the cart

Tech analyst DCIG has released the 2014 refresh of its Mid-Range Array report and there are a few surprises. NetApp tops the list and the landscape is full of upset apple carts. Arrays are ranked into basic, good, excellent, recommended and best-in-class and there are 28 arrays listed above the Basic category. Here are the ones …
Chris Mellor, 05 Sep 2014
Intel_helmet

Finally, a USEFUL smart device: Intel boffins cook up gyro-magneto-'puter bike helmet

Five Intel interns from Oregon State University have devised an Atom-powered bike helmet that calls home if the rider crashes. The smart helmet protects the bike rider, plays music and receives calls from a smartphone if there is a crash. A silent, unresponsive cyclist? An emergency number gets automatically called to get help …
Chris Mellor, 05 Sep 2014
Cisco_UCS_video_sep_2014

Blade runner: Cisco ups its UCS server game

Cisco has refreshed its UCS server line, updating existing blade and rack products and adding in modular servers for scale-out servers and mini-servers for enterprise-edge situations like remote and branch offices. It quotes a May 2014 Server Tracker report by IDC, which declared Cisco the leading provider of X86 blade servers …
Chris Mellor, 04 Sep 2014
Lycurgus_Cup

4th Century GOBLET could REVIVE CORPSE of holographic storage

Cambridge boffins have discovered that thin films of silver nanoparticles can increase optical storage density and create multi-coloured holograms. The effect was first noted way back in fourth century Roman times (circa 290-325 AD) with the crafting of the Lycurgus Cup, an engraved glass goblet that has a green tint when lit …
Chris Mellor, 04 Sep 2014
EMC VNX2 line up

Somebody's nightmare? I'm a veteran VNX array with a BADGE

Lenovo has started selling VNX arrays, adding a "VNX5150" to its product line-up. The VNX5100 is an entry-level SAN product that was effectively replaced by the block and file VNX5200 array in September last year. There is still a VNX5100 page on EMC’s website but a linked VNX Hardware Data Sheet PDF omits it from the VNX line- …
Chris Mellor, 04 Sep 2014
My_Passport_Wireless

A Terabyte in my HOUSE? Got more than that in my POCKET

WD has got itself a portable wirelessly-connecting external drive, the My Passport Wireless drive. It uses WiFi to connect to “any smartphone, tablet, computer or other device.” It can use USB 3.0 as well as USB 2.0; handy for transferring large files. It broadcasts its own wireless network and allows up to eight devices to …
Chris Mellor, 04 Sep 2014
Ducati racing bike

Zoom to the clouds: EMC signs kit deal with Ducati superbike racers

Ducati is hoping to make its motorbikes go faster in races by using Isilon arrays and EMC’s Syncplicity file sync'n'share software. Ducati racing bike Speedy: Ducati are to get their hands on EMC's Isilon and Syncplicity kit The Ducati Corse racing team gets the benefit of the Isilion and Syncplicity kit from this month on, …
Chris Mellor, 03 Sep 2014
Angry old man

We're not on the Gartner Magic Quadrant? Just imagine our concern, says HDS

Facing up to exclusion from Gartner’s all-flash array Magic Quadrant, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has come out fighting. HDS ships an all-flash array (AFA) in the form of Hitachi Accelerated Flash Modules inside its VSP array, thus gaining access to all its VSP data management features. Yet this falls foul of Gartner’s AFA …
Chris Mellor, 03 Sep 2014
Tosh_TransferJet_USB_dongle

Toshiba makes play to replace NFC with own speedy short range tech

Toshiba is poised to introduce its TransferJet short-distance radio technology which will let consumers transfer content between touching smart devices “in the blink of an eye.” Tosh's Euro subsidiary, Toshiba Electronics Europe (TEE), will launch a family of TransferJet USB and microUSB adaptors for mobile phones, tablets, …
Chris Mellor, 03 Sep 2014
FlashRay video

My, what big data you have: NetApp's FlashRay to focus on databases

FlashRay, NetApp’s coming all flash array, is a going to be a database machine. That’s according to a NetApp video interview with its Flash Solutions VP. Ty McConney is said VP and at 9 minutes and 46 seconds into the video he answers a question about FlashRay. Youtube Video Ty McConney on FlashRay video He said a first and …
Chris Mellor, 03 Sep 2014
Transamerica Pyramid

Good luck with Project Wing, Google. This drone moonshot is NEVER going to happen

Google’s delivery drones in Oz have a really easy job – fly across a near desert and lower a parcel to the ground. That’s easy-peasy, matey. Try that in my Sixth Street home* in San Francisco, the one near the junction with Folsom Street, where (to make the Chocolate Drone Factory’s life easier) there is a grassed yard. …
Chris Mellor, 02 Sep 2014
Sonos_Bridge_free_set_up

Sonos burns its Bridges: Our home-grown Wi-Fi mesh will do

Until now, wireless speaker bod Sonos has required a Bridge device connected to a home wireless router to set up a mesh wireless network delivering timed audio signals to the speakers in a zone. But no longer – Sonos is going bridge-free. What it's doing is layering features of its own Sonos Net onto standard Wi-Fi as a base …
Chris Mellor, 02 Sep 2014
Roy Lichtenstein Wham! Bang!

DRAM whammer Kaminario bigs up K2 biz

Upstart Kaminario seems pleased with its position at the summit of flash array performance with its SPC benchmark-topping K2 all-flash arrays. But this mid-pack player may need to emerge from the herd to prove it has what it takes. Gartner pegs Kaminario as a visionary in the networked AFA (all-flash array) market. The startup …
Chris Mellor, 01 Sep 2014
Japanse suspension bridge

Wonderful wizard of WOS daddy DDN moves into big data

HPC and supercomputer storage company Data Direct Networks (DDN) says its move into enterprise big data is providing a bridge to profits, with 100 per cent revenue growth. The stats it quotes are these: Better than 100 per cent business increase in first half of 2014 compared to first half of 2013 for its enterprise big data …
Chris Mellor, 01 Sep 2014
Bonaparte Before The Sphinx

Siri: Helpful personal assistant or SERIAL APP KILLER?

In a world of where every mobile device contains a personal assistant, who will need mobile apps? Do you suffer from app clutter? My smartphone has lots of apps on it too. Finding the right one can be a pain, even though I have stuck some in folders to make the presentation less crowded on the screen. Then it has got to be …
Chris Mellor, 29 Aug 2014
Crystal ball via http://www.manoftaste.de/

FIRST LOOK: Gartner gurus present all-flash prognostications

Gartner's gurus have completed their prognostications and their all-flash array magic quadrant has been released upon an anticipative flash array world - and The Register has seen a copy. The diagram is the key: Gartner AFA MQ Gartner Magic Quadrant for all-flash arrays. (Apologies for the poor pic quality – it was scraped off …
Chris Mellor, 29 Aug 2014
Pigeon crapping on statue

Hyper-converged flash appliances are COMING. Here's one I dreamed up earlier...

Hyper-converged server/storage/networking systems use disks for storage. This is a temporary situation and all-flash hyper-converged appliances will come soon. We had a Vulture-ponder about how they might look and dreamed up a new Nutanix box, a high-end one in performance terms which, for the sake of convenience we'll call the …
Chris Mellor, 29 Aug 2014
Sheep muster

The A-to-Z of storage news: Your quick 'n' dirty tasting menu

The time around VMworld - which runs from 25 to 28 August in San Francisco – saw a frenetic pace of announcements which were obliterated from the main news radar screens by things like VMware’s EVO: RAIL. Here’a catch-up list of many of them. In alphabetic order of the suppliers: Brocade has extended support for its Solid State …
Chris Mellor, 29 Aug 2014
Bubble

Welcome to the HYPER-converged bubble of HYPE! Enjoy it while it's here, storage folk

The hype around hyper-converged systems is huge. Are we experiencing a hyper-converged systems bubble? Companies in the field are growing like crazy, especially Nutanix and Simplivity. Nutanix scooped a billion-dollar-plus valuation earlier this year after a $140m funding round. Meanwhile: Startups like Maxta, NIMBOXX, and …
Chris Mellor, 28 Aug 2014
Violin_to Q2_Fy2015

All-flash array shipper Violin plays concerto after re-stringing

Violin CEO Kevin DeNuccio has cut the flash array shipper's losses to a fraction of what they were in their previous results, and grown revenue over the previous quarter. It’s still lower than a year ago, but a landmark for all that. Violin is no longer on the road to perdition. Growth should also accelerate as the new products …
Chris Mellor, 28 Aug 2014
Photo of a stack of $100 bills

Hyperconverged kit is SO HOT right now. $140m sound about right, Nutanix?

The hyperconverged system iron is so hot that there will never be a better time to strike. Nutanix's backers have done just that, handing the company another $140m of E-round funding just seven months after its VC backers gave it $101m. Virty storage giant VMware's validation of the hypercvonverged server/storage/networking …
Chris Mellor, 27 Aug 2014
An Amazon Coin

Scality likes object storage, puts a RING on it... for the fifth time

Object storage software startup Scality is adding virtual machine level storage access to its existing file and object access protocols. Scality announced v4.3 of its RING object storage software just a few weeks ago in July - read about it here. Version 5.0 software adds: VMware VM-level storage access with Amazon S3 and EBS- …
Chris Mellor, 27 Aug 2014