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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.

All-flash array fettler Pure Storage: Snowball, sueballs and... an IPO?

Out of the blue we have heard that Pure Storage is making groundwork preparations for an IPO. The information came from a Silicon Valley source and chimes with the company saying recently its annual revenue run rate is at the IPO-level, taken to mean $100 million. All-flash array fettler Pure says it is growing fast, although …
Chris Mellor, 08 Jan 2014
Imation 2-in-1 Micro USB Flash Drive

Thought the toilet camera was weird? Try actual thumb flash drives from tech's supershow

CES wouldn’t be CES without thumbdrive nonsense and it doesn’t disappoint this year, with one device modelled after a rocking toy and another whose USB stick has no cap for you to lose. LaCie Culbuto LaCie Culbuto The flash drive fussiness from French company LaCie comes in the form of Culbuto, named after a traditional …
Chris Mellor, 08 Jan 2014
Tintri

VM-herder? Tintri's hybrids '60 times' easier to manage than trad dual controller arrays

Sixty times easier to manage: that’s the Taneja Group’s judgment of Tintri hybrid arrays compared to a traditional dual-controller array. Hybrid array maker and startup Tintri relies on its system software being closely integrated with VMware to separate it out from mainstream array vendors and give it a sustainable advantage so …
Chris Mellor, 07 Jan 2014
Violinist

Can a new CEO pull Violin Memory out of its current slump?

Is flash array supplier Violin Memory a lost cause needing to look for a white knight acquisition or can it be repaired, see off the competition and return to profitability? Violin Memory is in a dreadful situation, making heavy and growing losses - $34m and counting - that dwarf its slower-growing revenues, and with impatient …
Chris Mellor, 07 Jan 2014
LaCie Sphère

Seagate's LaCie whips out bonkers posh silver-plated storage ball

You can see yourself reflected in the bright shiny, mirror-smooth surface of La Cie's Sphère - a storage ball - and you'll pay a lot of cash for the privilege. LaCie Sphère LaCie's mirrored storage ball - see the keyboard reflected in it. In this case mirroring doesn't mean data protection but the device's surface …
Chris Mellor, 06 Jan 2014
American Airlines Boeing 767

Pervy TOILET CAMERA disguised as 'flash drive' sparks BOMB SCARE on Boeing 767

Someone taped a camera disguised as a USB thumb-drive to the wall of the toilet in a Boeing 767 aircraft on a flight to New York from San Francisco and caused an emergency landing in Kansas City when it was discovered. According to KCTV, American Airlines cabin staff discovered or were alerted to the toilet's unwanted wall- …
Chris Mellor, 06 Jan 2014

Happy new year: Nimbus Data lets go of a dozen staffers in the US

A source close to the situation reports that Nimbus Data has terminated a round dozen people in various US locations, including some staffers in Austin, Texas, who had just been recruited from Dell in October and November last year. Nimbus Data is an all-flash array startup headquartered in South San Francisco. Nine of the …
Chris Mellor, 06 Jan 2014
AoE network diagram

I'm Godden outta here: Coraid's EMEA top dog joins upstart Zerto

Coraid's EMEA boss Peter Godden left the storage firm in December and has joined Zerto as its VP for EMEA. Startup Coraid, which makes storage arrays accessed via the Ethernet AoE protocol, gained a new CEO, David Kresse, in September last year. Its previous CEO, Kevin Browne, is now a board member. Godden joined Coraid in …
Chris Mellor, 06 Jan 2014
QPR Codes

'BILLION-YEAR DISK' to help FUTURE LIFEFORMS study us

Boffins have devised a storage medium that could hold data for up to one billion years and claim recent accelerated ageing tests have shown "million-year" survivability. The study's authors are Jeroen de Vries of the University of Twente MESA and Institute for Nanotechnology, and colleagues Dimitri Schellenberg, Leon Abelmann1, …
Chris Mellor, 06 Jan 2014
Plane crash

Thanks for the memories, but I'm off: Violin COO Dixon Doll hits eject

Violin Memory's chief operating officer Dixon Doll has left the storage biz just weeks after its CEO Don Basile was fired. The company terminated its chief exec in December following a disastrous quarter: Violin's financial results recorded losses outgrowing revenue and its post-IPO share price down two thirds or so. Now the COO …
Chris Mellor, 02 Jan 2014
server room

Data rescue lifeguard Zerto surfs in on single pane of glass

Recovery-ware upstart Zerto is riding the cloud wave with improvements to its management side – with a point release that provides a single-pane-of-glass approach. The firm's VMware hypervisor-based replication enables disaster recovery for virtualised server applications, which it claims is more flexible than relegating …
Chris Mellor, 02 Jan 2014

BEAM ME UP... twice: No local storage on Transporter Sync

Users of Connected Data's new file sharing and synchronisation Transporter Sync device have been complaining about the mini-Transporter's limitation: there is no local storage. The main Transporter devices have local libraries, but their absence on the Sync means users must store two copies of every file and folder that they …
Chris Mellor, 02 Jan 2014

HP: We're axing 29,000 workers? Add another 5,000 to that

HP will lay off 5,000 more workers than the 29,000 positions earmarked for redundancy in July. The increase is mentioned in a Hewlett-Packard 10-K filing to US financial watchdog the SEC. The paperwork states on page 118: As of July 31, 2013, HP estimated that it would eliminate approximately 29,000 positions in connection with …
Chris Mellor, 31 Dec 2013
Google Lenoir datacentre with Oracle tape libraries

The year when Google made TAPE cool again...

Tape has pretty much been rescued over the past year by revelations that both Google and Amazon were using tape libraries for data archiving purposes.If these glamorous, bleeding edge online cloud service provider firms used boring old legacy tape then, hey, the stuff must still really be useful. It was a mixed picture though. …
Chris Mellor, 29 Dec 2013
ClusterStor 1500

Xyratex being bought by Seagate in $374m Xmas splurge

Christmas has come early for some: Seagate is aiming to buy HDD test equipment and HPC array maker Xyratex for $374 million in cash. The offer is $13.25 for each Xyratex share, which is 27 per cent higher than last Friday's closing Xyratex share price. There is a definitive agreement between Seagate and Xyratex to do the deal …
Chris Mellor, 23 Dec 2013
Pure Storage F320

HDDs? Array with them... All-flash pusher Pure on its plans for 2014

All-flash array startup Pure Storage claims it is now IPO-sized in revenue terms and boasts of a coming fourfold increase in array capacity. Stifel Nicolaus MD Aaron Rakers hosted a call with Scott Dietzen, Pure's CEO, and circulated the following nuggets about Pure's position in the array market. The Pure Storage roadmap …
Chris Mellor, 23 Dec 2013
Scrooge

HP: A firmware update is just for Christmas, not for EVA

Meg Whitman's HP has sent a Christmas missive to EVA customers who don't have maintenance deals with the firm explaining that their free firmware updates are now thing of the past. The EVA is HP's legacy dual-controller storage array, which is gradually being replaced by the StoreServ (3PAR) line of arrays. There are thousands …
Chris Mellor, 23 Dec 2013
A picture of a glacier

Will Amazon spin up its OWN disk-based archive in 2014?

Amazon's Glacier archive is beginning to look too slow in its data retrieval compared to disk-based services from suppliers like EVault with its LTS2 service and pretty instant retrieval. What could the Bezos behemoth do about it if LTS2 captures customers who would otherwise have chosen Glacier? Glacier costs $0.01/GB/month, …
Chris Mellor, 23 Dec 2013

Violin investor: We could have got $1 BEELLION... W-w-w-what did you say?

Floundering flash array biz Violin says people should have faith in the company while an activist investor says the board should sell the biz before it burns all its cash. It also claimed the former CEO allegedly turned down buyout offers amounting to around $1bn. Violin fired CEO Don Basile less than a week ago (background here …
Chris Mellor, 20 Dec 2013
Vulture

IBM flashy January announcement: Wanna know what's in it?

The storage jungle drums are beating and Vulture Central's storage desk thinks it may know a thing or two about an IBM announcement due on 16 January. The event, a virtual one, is one of many in IBM's Infrastructure Matters series and you can register for it here. Let's do this in the order in which the drums started beating. …
Chris Mellor, 19 Dec 2013
Toshiba MK6465GSX

We love a flashy MODEL who's a KEEN READER – Toshiba

Toshiba has a new mid-range SSD built for medium spec read-intensive work that widens its 19nm NAND product range. The HK3R comes hot on the heels of the PX03SN and Tosh says it is optimised for read-intensive applications such as read-caching, error logging, boot, and low-duty storage applications requiring power-loss- …
Chris Mellor, 19 Dec 2013

EVault takes on Amazon with faster-than-Glacier cloud archive

Seagate's EVault cloud backup sub has launched a Glacier cloud archive competitor, priced at $15 per TB per month with instant data access and data preserved intact for decades. It will use Seagate Kinetic drives in the future. Amazon started the cloud archive ball rolling big time with its Glacier service costing $0.01/GB/month …
Chris Mellor, 18 Dec 2013
Cleversafe Slicestors

Cleversafe stirs up dsNet with guts+software overhaul

Dispersed storage bods Cleversafe have accelerated their object storage access with a mix of faster processors, solid state storage, and memory caching in a new software release. This report. Its dsNet technology has Accesser 2100 and 3100 nodes handling object access requests with Slicestor nodes providing the object storage, …
Chris Mellor, 18 Dec 2013
Drobo MIni hand-held

Drobo tarts up storage boxen: Now they're APP SERVER platforms

External storage box-maker Drobo has turned its 5N desktop filer/shared network storage array into an app platform, with supported apps running on the 5N's controller. Drobo makes simple-to-use, stylish and scalable file storage and sharing boxes which protect the data within and require little management by consumers, pro- …
Chris Mellor, 17 Dec 2013

Fusion-io polishes up ioTurbine: Let them eat 1-click app cache

Flashy app acceleration firm Fusion-io has updated its ioTurbine flash caching software to make it slicker, simpler and easier to use and manage. The software, which was updated six months ago to improve its VMware citizenship credentials, caches hot disk data in server flash caches, using Fusion's PCIe flash cards. The result …
Chris Mellor, 17 Dec 2013
Don Basile

Violin cuts strings with CEO: Don Basile axed post-IPOcalypse

Violin Memory has fired its CEO Don Basile as the company's shares slumped more than 60 per cent following its IPO and horrendous quarterly financial results. According to a blunt statement from the storage biz, its board, led by chairman Howard Bain, decided "to terminate Donald Basile as chief executive officer". Bain is now …
Chris Mellor, 16 Dec 2013

Avago Technologies chomps up LSI for BEELLLIONS - in CASH

Christmas has come early for LSI investors. Avago Technologies is buying LSI for $6.6bn – and they're paying cash. Avago; who they? A former HP spin-out, Avago is jointly headquartered in Singapore and San Jose. Avago Technologies was once the semiconductor products part of HP, which was separated out as Agilent Technologies and …
Chris Mellor, 16 Dec 2013
ULLtraDIMM

Netlist sues Diablo and SMART Storage after whistleblower reveals alleged IP theft

Hi-performance memory biz Netlist says it has a whistleblower's letter from inside Diablo Technologies claiming that Diablo stole Netlist's most valuable proprietary technology, HyperCloud, developed over six years at a cost of $65m. NetList is a maker of memory virtualisation firmware and ASIC tech that lets servers handle more …
Chris Mellor, 16 Dec 2013
CS400

How did hybrid flashy bods Nimble Storage's IPO go so smoothly?

Nimble Storage provided an object lesson in IPO pricing and pricing on Friday, showing that investors love flash/disk hybrid storage startups even while disliking pure flash storage plays. The hopeful startup entered the IPO process on 15 December with starting prices of $19 - $21 per share on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE …
Chris Mellor, 16 Dec 2013

Symantec gives three-year-old Storage Foundation a taste of flashy cache

Symantec has updated its long-lived Storage Foundation software to make use of a server’s SSDs and speed up app and data access times by up to 400 per cent. Storage Foundation, once the Veritas Foundation Suite, provides online storage management and includes a file system, deduplication, compression, thin provisioning, and …
Chris Mellor, 13 Dec 2013

Want to know about Seagate's tech specs? Ask a BEANCOUNTER

You have to smile when the financial guy rather than the techie is the one giving the talk on what a vendor's product is going to look like next year. But this is not uncommon in the disk drive and SSD industry, especially among its Big Three: Seagate, Toshiba and WD. Their respective chief financial officers want investors to …
Chris Mellor, 13 Dec 2013
IBM's InterCloud Store

Don't want to get LOCKED INTO IBM's cloud? Um... IBM has a toolkit for you

IBM Labs software researchers have devised technology that moves your data between different clouds, public and private - including IBM’s own Softlayer product. It’s called InterCloud Storage (ICStore) and moves data securely. IBM says storing data on multiple clouds, private and/or public, helps guarantee cloud storage service …
Chris Mellor, 12 Dec 2013
Don Basile CEO of Violin Memory

Jumping pack flash: Violin Memory's software CTO ducks out

Enterprise flash storage bigwig Violin Memory’s chief software technical officer Jonathan Goldick is now its ex-CTO. Not only does the company have to look for a replacement, it also has its hands full batting away sueballs from investors in the wake of a stock plunge on news of its $34m loss. They claim that they were not …
Chris Mellor, 12 Dec 2013
ICBM simulating rocket

When Symantec's away... 28-year-old Asigra becomes 'overnight' cloud backup success

There are dozens of backup system and software providers and it’s easy enough for the ones not in the front rank to fade into the background, until you read something like this: “Asigra … has reached the one million customer site deployment milestone with nearly half of new instalments produced in the past 12 months.” There has …
Chris Mellor, 12 Dec 2013
IDC WW disk systems revenues to Q3 2013

UNSTOPPABLE data GROWTH in storage has ... er, stopped

The global disk storage market shrank 5.6 per cent from the third quarter last year to the third quarter this year, the third quarter of decline in a row. IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Disk Storage Systems Tracker says the third 2014 quarter saw total disk storage systems revenue of $7.44bn, compared to $7.88bn a year ago, and down …
Chris Mellor, 11 Dec 2013
Dell EqualLogic PS6210

Dell bundles data mgmt AND flash into 1.2m IOPS flashy array

Dell has produced an all-flash array within the EqualLogic environment, thinking customers need existing data management capabilities on top of flash speeds, and not a binary either-or choice. It has revved up its mid-range iSCSI SAN array with the PS6210, following on from the PS6110, a 64-bit version of the EqualLogic …
Chris Mellor, 11 Dec 2013

StoreOnce and StoreAll get ProLiant push

HP has pumped up the power of its StoreOnce deduping backup to disk array and StoreAll store-everything-as-objects array with Gen 8 ProLiant servers. The StoreOnce 6500 slots in to the StoreOnce range, above the 4500, 4700 and 4900 Series (and VSA of course). It replaces the previous top-end B6200 system. HP’s information pages …
Chris Mellor, 10 Dec 2013
HP 3PAR StoreServ 7450

HP fleshes out faster, flashier 3PAR storage gear

HP is opening its Discover Conference in Barcelona today with a revved-up deduping backup array; a faster-searching array; and a faster flash 3PAR array: a StoreOnce, StoreAll and StoreQuicker, if you like. We’ll look at the 3PAR arrays first with a second article looking at the updated StoreAll and StoreOnce products. …
Chris Mellor, 09 Dec 2013
Cloudy sky

Spinning rust and tape are DEAD. The future's flash, cache and cloud

FCC. That’s the way storage could be going in data centres in the next few years. FCC; flash, cache and the cloud. Amazon’s physical cloud storage gateway development – well, the supposed development – caused little ripples, echoes in my mind, and the many confusing pieces in the constantly developing storage technology jigsaw …
Chris Mellor, 09 Dec 2013
Vulture

SGI flutters onto corpse of Starboard Storage, pecks away at assets

The Register is hearing that HPC bods SGI have bought the assets of the failed unified file/block access and hybrid array startup Starboard Storage, which crashed and burned in October. Some Starboard employees are now back at work and the product line technology is set to continue. What's SGI about here? Their CEO is Jorge …
Chris Mellor, 09 Dec 2013

'Leaked Intel roadmap' promises... er, gear that could die after 7 months

Storage community website Myce has posted copies of what it claims are leaked Intel SSD roadmap slides, which show two data centre and one professional user SSD products coming in spring 2014. Fultondale, or the DC P3700, is a data centre-class SSD built from high endurance (HET) 20nm MLC flash an with capacities of 200GB, 400GB …
Chris Mellor, 09 Dec 2013
Hurrican Dean, as seem from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Bring us your baffled Backup Exec biz bods, beg Axcient, Zetta

Axcient and Zetta have seized the moment and are offering migration services to Backup Exec Cloud users facing being left out in the unprotected cold by Symantec's withdrawal from the Backup Exec Cloud offering. Symantec has announced it is shuttering its Backup Exec Cloud service, leaving users to make alternative arrangements …
Chris Mellor, 06 Dec 2013

In the cloud storage gateway game? Prepare to be AMAZONED

Jeff Bezos’s big biffing business is building its own cloud storage gateway hardware to get data into Amazon's S3, striking fear and loathing into the hearts of existing storage gateway suppliers. Amazon’s existing Storage Gateway is software-only, and runs in a VM in a customer’s own data centre server and moves data back and …
Chris Mellor, 05 Dec 2013
Tegile Zebi chassis

Hybrid flash mutant Tegile: ARRAY with Dell, we say... 100 times

Hybrid flash-disk array tin-meister Tegile claims its hardware has replaced more than a 100 Dell Compellent arrays at customer sites. The Zebi array, given analyst firm DCIG’s top “Best in Class” accolade in its 2013 Hybrid Storage Array Buyer’s Guide, uses flash for performance data and disk for less performance sensitive data …
Chris Mellor, 05 Dec 2013
Four of EMC/XtremIO's Project X all flash arrays

EMC on XtremIO SSD brickup ballsup: Its LIFETIME downtime is under 3 minutes

No DOAs here: EMC’s XTremIO arrays are expected to have less than three minutes downtime in their rated life, with X-Brick component SSDs failing once every five years or so. We have reported that the DOA rate was too high and the co-founder and general manager of EMC's acquired XtremIO business, Ehud Rokach, has written blog …
Chris Mellor, 04 Dec 2013
Evan Powell

Evan Powell exits Nexenta as Wyse guy strides in

"Wyse guy" Tarkan Maner now rules the Nexenta roost, with Evan Powell, the previous and hugely influential founding CEO, walking away. The former chief of the ZFS-based storage software startup stepped back to become chief strategy officer in February. At the time, Mark Lockareff was the incoming CEO, a big company guy held …
Chris Mellor, 04 Dec 2013

Digital GIANTS in BLOODY battle to put your EYEBALLS in a JAR

As consumers become ever-more attached to their gadgets - variously glued to PCs and tablets, and, after-hours, laptops, game consoles and mobiles – the gigantic digital businesses are competing with each other to capture and monopolise users' screen time on internet-connected devices. And all of the contenders are using many …
Chris Mellor, 04 Dec 2013
Ray Harryhausen's skeleton army from "Jason and the Argonauts"

Nimble took a sueball to the knee, still rates itself with $1.2bn valuation

Hybrid array hypergrowth startup Nimble Storage, currently facing a lawsuit from rival NetApp, has put numerical flesh on its IPO bones and says it wants to raise $166m. Nimble made an amended IPO filing, saying it was registering 9.2 million shares priced from $16.00 to $18.00 each – with a maximum offering price of $165.6M. …
Chris Mellor, 04 Dec 2013
Toshiba PX03SN SSD

Toshiba tweaks SSD model: She's flashy, but she's not dense ENOUGH

Toshiba has rebuilt a 1.6TB SSD originally made with 24nm flash cells and used denser 19nm flash, generating better read performance at the expense of write speed – it wasn't quite made of the write stuff, so to speak. The PX02SM is - was - a 200GB - 1.6TB SSD for enterprise read-intensive applications made from the aforesaid …
Chris Mellor, 03 Dec 2013
Fusion-io ioFX cards

Whiting drags himself out of Riverbed, moves to head up global Fusion-io's sales team

Flash furtler Fusion-io has a new sales boss, Ian Whiting, who replaces the retiring company's chief sales officer, Jim Dawson. Whiting comes to Fusion-io from Riverbed, where he was the senior veep for Americas sales and, before that, Brocade, where he was SVP worldwide sales until ex-CEO Michael Klayko took over the job …
Chris Mellor, 03 Dec 2013