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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.

Dell inks OEM deal with Nutanix to build mutant server, storage, networking beasts

Dell has announced it will begin supplying a converged server, storage and networking appliance using Nutanix software. Nutanix is one of several startups making waves in the converged system space. Such systems are simpler to acquire, install and operate as they use integrated hardware and software components designed to …
Chris Mellor, 24 Jun 2014
Micron RealSSD

Chipper chipmaker Micron shows off boosted bottom line – gee, thanks, Elpida

Memory chipmaker Micron Technology – still riding high on the announcement that its on-package memory will bolster Intel's "Knights Landing" processor – has announced what appear to be cheery results today. Its fiscal 2014 quarter revenues were $3.98bn, 3 per cent lower than the second quarter of fiscal 2014 but a whopping 72 …
Chris Mellor, 24 Jun 2014
Apple iMac 21.5in late 2012

Backup bods Acronis extend disk-imaging support to Macs at last

Data protection house Acronis is announcing True Image for Mac (TIM - our acronym), the Apple equivalent of its True Image for Windows backup and recovery software. True Image is a full disk image backup utility. Up until now, TIM has only supported Windows. It does not run on Macs, either under Mac OS X, or with Windows running …
Chris Mellor, 24 Jun 2014
Pure Storage array

How much disruptive innovation does your flash storage rig really need?

Our technology world is fascinated by disruptive innovation. Every tech startup says its new technology is disruptive and therefore it is bound to succeed. So it is with all-flash arrays which can answer data requests in microseconds, instead of the milliseconds needed by disk drive arrays. Startups such as Pure Storage, …
Chris Mellor, 23 Jun 2014

Gartner deploys new converged-systems quadragon rankings

Gartner has produced a new and intriguing magic quadrant diagram for converged server/storage and networking systems - which it calls integrated systems. The leading supplier is VCE, the Cisco/EMC/VMware ménage-à-trois love child, closely followed by the Cisco-NetApp FlexPod system and also Oracle with its engineered systems. …
Chris Mellor, 20 Jun 2014
Blade Runner

'Any hypervisor, any cloud': Software defined data migrata Zerto cops 25m D-round dollars

Zerto, the hypervisor-based replicant - hey, this is sounding like Blade Runner - has raised $26 million in a funding D-round. The venture capital funding history looks like this: July 2011 - $6 million seed and A-round funding August 2011 - $15 million B-round April 2013 - $13 million C-round June 2014 - $25 million D-round …
Chris Mellor, 19 Jun 2014

Pure Storage buys HUNDREDS of patents from IBM in lawfare protection deal

Pure Storage, the fairly rich all-flash array startup, has spent some of its cash to buy more than a hundred storage patents from IBM and the two have signed a cross-licensing agreement. Pure’s legal VP, Joe FitzGerald, talked of how “this transaction significantly increases the number of Pure Storage’s patents, creating a more …
Chris Mellor, 19 Jun 2014
Sonos phone and tablet app

Sonos Controller app update conflict

Sonos users are a picky bunch. The latest Sonos Controller app is attracting some strongly negative reactions amongst its customers – yet more users like it than dislike it. Sonos Controller v5.0 runs on smartphones and tablets, streaming music stored on them or from internet music-streaming services like Spotify, Google Play …
Chris Mellor, 19 Jun 2014
Gondolier on Las Vegas Venetian Hotel's lagoon

You know what they say: What happens in Vegas, goes on the internet – right, HP 3PAR guys?

Hush there, 3PAR fans, and know of the rumours whispered into my ear following HP's Discover confab in Las Vegas this month. Here we go: We’ll see a better unified management console and new Remote Copy. We heard about triple data-centre replication with zero data-loss; async streaming for Remote Copy to give EMC's SRDF a …
Chris Mellor, 18 Jun 2014
Netapp

NetApp gives its FAS range a 4 MILLION IOPS dose of spit'n'polish

As we foretold in May, NetApp has completed the revamp of its unified storage FAS arrays with FAS2500s at the low-end and a monster FAS8080 EX at the top. We got the basic details, except for the FAS 8080 which has 36TB of (Virtual Storage Tier) flash and not the 18TB we thought. Apart from that it has up to 5.76PB of capacity …
Chris Mellor, 18 Jun 2014
Samsung RR82PDRS fridge

Internet of Things fridges? Pfft. So how does my milk carton know when it's empty?

In today's incredible Internet of Stuff Things world, the fridge is going to tell us we need to restock it with more milk and butter. What bunch of nutters thought this idea up? Let's take a patient walk through what a fridge would have to do to accomplish this, and then ask why it would be better than a fridge user's scan every …
Chris Mellor, 17 Jun 2014
Fight sticker

Fighting words from Asigra: Yes, backup vendors, we said it... commodity hardware

Asigra has devised a server + storage configuration for cloud providers using its backup software that it claims is cheaper than Dell or HP kit. It is essentially selling its backup software together with a promise to enable customers to buy a complete underlying software and hardware server, networking and storage stack, with …
Chris Mellor, 17 Jun 2014
Benjamin Button

HP faces down youthful tech upstarts: Don't judge us by our looks

Hewlett-Packard is a mature company operating among other declining mature firms – all of whom have to compete with new, immature rivals. So how can it equip itself to prosper in the new era? Cisco UCS Invicta racks Old-hand Cisco got wise to the disruptive game early, coming up with UCS when everyone thought Dell, HP and IBM …
Chris Mellor, 17 Jun 2014

Quick as a flash: SanDisk gobbles Fusion-io for an Instagram (that's $1.1bn)

The end-game for flash supplier consolidation is in sight: SanDisk is buying Fusion-io for a paltry $1.1bn. The bare bones are: All-cash transaction for $1.1bn, tendering $11.25 for each Fusion-io share. Both boards are in favour. Fusion’s PCIe flash card and ioControl shared flash array businesses will be integrated with …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jun 2014
OSR_schematic

Hey, VMware. You've got competition – from a Belgian upstart

Belgian startup incubator CloudFounders has an open source project to provide an networked object storage backend to VMware or KVM virtual machines using a VSAN-like Open vStorage Router (OSR). OSR is a VMware VM, or runs on bare metal in a KVM server, and it scales out by having OSR run on additional virtualised servers linked …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jun 2014
Four of EMC/XtremIO's Project X all flash arrays

It's tough at the top: Yet another hybrid startup knocks EMC

Nimble Storage is setting its sights on would-be EMC clients with competitive data tables showing that its product is better than both VNX hybrid arrays and also XtremIO all-flash arrays. This comes just days after Nutanix opened up its Nix vBlock marketing campaign against EMC-using Vblocks from VCE. It’s hard being top of the …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jun 2014
Gartner_WW_SSDs_REvenue_large

IBM officially biggest all-flash array shipper - analyst

No, it isn’t the greatly anticipated all-flash array magic quadrant, but it's great Gartner analysis nonetheless. The number-crunchers at Gartner HWQ have produced a Market Share Analysis: SSDs and Solid-State Arrays, Worldwide, 2013. Yummy. Let’s see what’s inside. The doc, available as a download from Pure Storage (guess who's …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jun 2014
IMFT 25nm Flash die

Shiny happy people holding DIMMs: Plus Facebook's data centres are going all-flash

HP's Discover conference, held over 10-12 June in Las Vegas, featured sessions from Intel, SanDisk and Toshiba as well as HP, and flash featured highly on the agenda. We've rounded up the most useful storage titbits for your reading pleasure. We’re informed that HP is not talking to Simplivity about acquired that converged …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jun 2014
Software-Defined Storage for Dummies. It's a real book!

IBM releases Software-Defined Storage For Dummies - no joke

IBM has written its own Software Defined Storage for Dummies book (PDF) focusing on – you guessed it – its home-brewed General Parallel File System Elastic Storage.* It defines software-defined storage like this: At its most basic level, software defined storage is enterprise class storage that uses standard hardware with all …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jun 2014
CS400

Nimble is as Nimble does: Mutant runs 'just like flash-only' gear

Nimble has boosted the performance of its hybrid flash and disk arrays with a CS700 model and all-flash expansion shelf. Nimble’s arrays provide disk-based capacity with flash used as a cache to accelerate data access. It claims that it now “provides the performance of flash-only arrays and the capacity of hybrid arrays” because …
Chris Mellor, 12 Jun 2014
Anchorman street fight

Nutanix vs VCE: Battle of the converged upstarts rages on

Which is better for VDI: Vblocks or Nutanix’s converged appliances? Nutanix has a test that it claims proves its own kit is best. Unsurprisingly, VCE strongly disputes this. Nutanix is currently on an anti-VCE drive which it has dubbed nixVblock, and which recently included a controversial campaign reportedly likening VBlock to …
Chris Mellor, 12 Jun 2014
Verizon

Verizon: Only a CROWD of storage tech firms can hold up our hefty cloud

While Verizon has adopted Amplidata’s Himalaya object technology for its Cloud Storage service, it told The Register that this does not mean it has given up on HDS’s Content Platform (HCP) – which is also object-based. We suggested this might be the case yesterday, but Kevin King, Verizon Enterprise Solutions’ corporate comms …
Chris Mellor, 12 Jun 2014
PAS16 enclosure

Panasas: Avoid lengthy RAID re-builds - use our dodgy-file tart-up tech

Storage biz Panasas has unveiled boosted hardware and software – and attacked the RAID rebuild problem by rebuilding damaged files instead of complete disks. The company is an HPC storage system supplier which is moving into technical computing/big data use cases in enterprises. It has more than 450 customers in 50+ countries …
Chris Mellor, 12 Jun 2014
Everest

US telco titan Verizon floats storage clouds over Himalaya

It looks like Verizon is parking its storage atop the cloudy peaks of Amplidata’s Himalaya object storage architecture. Amplidata, an object storage startup, says: “With Himalaya, users can easily store and manage zettabytes of data and trillions of stored objects, all under one global namespace using Intel-based commercial off …
Chris Mellor, 11 Jun 2014
CS400

Networked mutant flash-disk beast Nimble to smack flashy rivals with 'high-end' boxen

Nimble Storage is going to do a Tegile and have all-flash shelves in a new high-end product that will also undercut its main rival, fellow all-flash array startup Pure Storage, or so it claims. Tegile and Nimble both supply networked hybrid flash/disk arrays using operating software expressly designed to use flash optimally, as …
Chris Mellor, 11 Jun 2014
StoreOnce 6500

HP unveils federated backup that won't get your back up ... it hopes

Meg Whitman's mega firm is federating backup appliances to ease the pain of managing multiple silos and claims management overhead is reduced by 75 per cent through no more "physical mapping of backup jobs to individual backup appliances". The news came at HP’s Discover bash in Las Vegas, where it unveiled StoreOnce Federated …
Chris Mellor, 10 Jun 2014

HP Simplivity buyout rumours: Could it be worth HALF a BILLION?

HP is said to be in talks to buy Simplivity, a startup whose main offering is the Omnicube converged server/storage/networking systems. The Omnicube is a so-called hyper-converged system, designed from the ground up to eliminate the data centre chaos of independent server, storage and networking products that have to be …
Chris Mellor, 10 Jun 2014
Comparison between ThruChip Communications' ThruChip Interface (TCI) and through-silicon via (TSV)

Semiconductor boffin: 3D NAND don't need NO STEENKIN' TSVs

Chip analyst Jim Handy of Objective Analysis took exception to several issues raised in a recent 3D NAND story, and El Reg storage desk asked him a few short questions for clarification. He provided a few short answers that did just that - and here they are. El Reg: Are there TSVs (through-silicon vias – vertical electrical …
Chris Mellor, 10 Jun 2014
StoreServ_7450

HP unveils enlarged 460TB 7450 all-flash array

HP has added deduplication to its 3PAR 7450 all-flash arrays. That means Hewlett-Packard – keen to not waste a byte, and provide deduplication for 3PAR file operations – is now at last able to reclaim duplicated bytes of information from chunks of 3PAR block storage. It calls this Thin Deduplication. Dedupe is just for the all- …
Chris Mellor, 09 Jun 2014
Stock ticker board

sTec flash founder cleared of insider trading charges

The wheels of SEC justice in the US grind exceedingly slowly and sometimes uselessly. Manouche Moshayedi, the founder and CEO of sTec, has just been cleared of insider trading charges filed almost four years ago. Since then sTec’s business has tumbled and it was bought by Western Digital for $340m – which was characterised as a …
Chris Mellor, 09 Jun 2014
LaCie Rugged

Compare Apple's and oranges: LaCie's hi-vis jacket-wearing disk is not for hipsters

Fancy a drive in a high-visibility jacket so it never gets lost and can withstand knocks, scrapes and drops of two metres? Then LaCie’s latest Rugged disk should be on your radar. This is the first update of the Rugged line since Seagate bought the French hardware biz. The new drive was designed by Neil Poulton; minimalist Apple …
Chris Mellor, 09 Jun 2014

Enterprise storage vendors cosy up to small businesses

The storage landscape is changing. The storage products and skills needed for a small firm have so far been very different from those needed in large enterprises. Yet we now have some storage vendors delivering enterprise-class products aimed at workgroups, while some enterprise buyers choose mid-range products to save money. …
Chris Mellor, 09 Jun 2014
IDC total storage Q1 cy2014

Is it THE END OF BIG DATA? Quarta Horribilis for high-end storage

IDC has just revealed one of the worst storage quarters for a couple of years as buyers went on a high-end storage strike. There's been a quite spectacular slump in the storage business in the first 2014 quarter, according to the beancounters' Storage Tracker. Notwithstanding the digital-universe-drowning-us-in-Big-Data …
Chris Mellor, 06 Jun 2014
Irista

Canon offers a cloud just for still photos, not anything else. Weird

Japanese camera and printer behemoth Canon has started up a cloud photo storage service called irista. We wrote about the service's pre-beta instantiation here. You can upload any size photo file, within the limits of your capacity entitlement obviously. You don’t get any editing tools and only stills are supported, not videos, …
Chris Mellor, 06 Jun 2014
CloudONTAP

Snooping on a NetApp event: New cloudy OS on its way

Social media can deliver multiple micro-glimpses of previously closed events, like a NetApp analysts event in San Francisco yesterday which revealed a new OS - Cloud ONTAP - and a coming Connect product for mobile access. Here’s what we discovered by mining a blizzard of tweets from attendees with the hashtag; #NetAppIAS14. It’s …
Chris Mellor, 06 Jun 2014
Dogs

Server-storage halfblood newbie Nutanix: We're taking on big dog VCE

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight that matters, it’s the size of the fight in the dog - which brings us to converged server/storage system vendor rivals Nutanix and VCE. VCE is a bulging giant backed by Cisco, EMC and VMware, with annual revenues running at more than $1bn and more than 1,750 systems sold to more than 800 …
Chris Mellor, 06 Jun 2014
DataDirect SS8460 drive enclosure

We present to you: 840 fine, upstanding young disks stuffed into a rack cabinet – DDN

For maximum big data density, you basically need a rack full of disk drives and little else, and DataDirect has moved in that direction by stuffing up to 840 disks into a standard rack cabinet. The idea is that HPC and big data environments need as much capacity in a storage rack as they can get. DDN reckons it offers up to 40 …
Chris Mellor, 05 Jun 2014
Nuke blast

Facebook, are you listening? Fusion-io chucks 6.4TB 'Atomic' flash kit at world

PCIe-card flasher Fusion-io has a new piece of ioMemory hardware and is calling it the Atomic Series. This third-generation architecture product stores up to 6.4TB. The existing ioScale card stores 3.2TB of data. That’s made using 2Xnm class MLC NAND (29-20nm). Fusion says the new card is faster, maybe twice as fast as the …
Chris Mellor, 05 Jun 2014
Tegile

A night with Tegile’s flashy twins will set you back $1.6 MILLION

Hybrid array start-up Tegile has come out with a T3000 product twinset; a high-end flash/disk hybrid and an all-flash array, equipping it to compete with both hybrid and all-flash array products. It’s done this by upgrading the controller processors from four 4-core Xeon E5620s to four 8-core Xeon E5-2450s. This is a serious …
Chris Mellor, 05 Jun 2014

Good news for gamers who don't leave the house: SanDisk debuts 24/7 Extreme PRO SSD

Gamers are told to take note: SanDisk has souped its Extreme line of SATA interface consumer SSDs to the Extreme PRO – which has doubled capacity, slightly increased speed and an eye-catching 10-year warranty. Last year's Extreme II featured a maximum of 480GB of capacity, random read/write speeds of 95,000/75,000 IOPS (4K), …
Chris Mellor, 04 Jun 2014
FalconStor CEO Gary Quinn

'Member when we were running out of cash? Whew... thank goodness that's over – FalconStor

FalconStor is moving on from its near-death experience last year, when, according to CEO Gary Quinn, it had just six months of cash left. The new chief now plans to build on its recovery by returning the firm to its roots with a unified software product. He also spoke of the firm taking on EMC's VPlex and IBM's SVC with its …
Chris Mellor, 04 Jun 2014
Intel DC P3700

My my, Intel, that's one speedy NVMe flash card you have there

Intel has produced three blazing fast PCIe flash cards using NVMe – and that should upset the PCIe flash applecart nicely. Intel DC P3700 Intel DC P3700 NVMe is a standard way of accessing non-volatile memory, meaning host operating systems need only have a single standard driver instead of specific drivers for each supported …
Chris Mellor, 03 Jun 2014
hitahi t7k500 hard disk drive

PCIe hard drives? You read that right, says WD

WD will demo PCIe-connected disk drives at the Computex tech conference in Taipei, using a SATA Express interface. SATA Express has been enabled with partners, and is offered on Intel series-9 chipset motherboards. WD says it provides a route to faster speeds and lower power consumption. SATA revision 3.2 delivers 16Gbit/s. PCIe …
Chris Mellor, 03 Jun 2014
Musaic video

Kickstarter cup-rattling, light-dimming Internet of Stuff upstart takes on Sonos, Bose

Kickstarter-funded Musaic hopes to outsmart Sonos and beat Bose with speakers that play higher fidelity music across normal Wi-Fi, support Bluetooth and integrate with home automation lighting and security products. Wi-Fi is becoming the smart home network. Sonos, the streaming speaker king, takes advantage of that but …
Chris Mellor, 03 Jun 2014

Security stock slinger Symantec speeds up with latest Backup Exec

Symantec has announced the latest version of its Backup Exec software, with a newer product that's apparently "up to 100 per cent" quicker than its "challenging" older brother. The last major release was Backup Exec 2012 back in ... 2012. It was a controversial release, with many new and changed features and it has taken over 18 …
Chris Mellor, 02 Jun 2014
Endurance by Frank Hurley

No spinning rust here: Supermicro's cold data fridge is FROZEN

Fancy storing data until hell freezes over? Server house Supermicro has a cold storage product aimed at data that must be kept, can't be thrown away but is accessed only rarely: its SuperStorage Server with spun-down disks. According to Supermicro, the product "minimizes power consumption and reduces cooling requirements by …
Chris Mellor, 02 Jun 2014
Samsung gen 2 3D V-NAND SSD

Samsung, with this new 3D NAND SSD, you're really spoiling us ... or perhaps a rival?

We’re making it, but we’re not going to tell you much about it. That's more or less what Samsung has to say about its second-generation 3D V-NAND and the flash drives the tech is going into. As the name suggests, 3D V-NAND is made up of layers of flash cells stacked one on the other to increase storage capacity without …
Chris Mellor, 02 Jun 2014
Dell EqualLogic blade array in the M1000e chassis

Dell planning to blend Compellent and EqualLogic arrays

Privately-owned Dell plans to unify its separate Compellent and EqualLogic storage array lines within the next twelve months. This was revealed at a Dell analyst event attended by Stifel Nicolaus MD Aaron Rakers. Marius Haas, Dell’s chief commercial officer and Enterprise Solutions president reportedly said having both …
Chris Mellor, 02 Jun 2014
Rattlesnake

How to grill an EMC division chief

Just the other day we managed to get an email interview with EMC’s president of Data Protection and Availability, Guy Churchward, so El Reg's storage desk took the opportunity to ask him some of the questions about Data Domain that had been bugging us. El Reg: Why has EMC never provided global deduplication across Data Domain …
Chris Mellor, 02 Jun 2014
A class enjoying the early stages of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training.

'Failure is not an option... Never give up.' Not in Silicon Valley, mate

Consider these two things: "Failure is not an option," the famous words of the Apollo 13 mission controller in Houston, and a college speech by a US Navy SEAL commander in which he recommended that people never, ever give up. Yet Admiral McRaven would say that, wouldn't he – it worked for him. But he appeared to forget that it …
Chris Mellor, 31 May 2014