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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.

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
Suitcase bulging with cash

Nimble nearly nudging $200m: Claims all-Flash grunt with partial iron

Hybrid array high-flier Nimble Storage has upped its revenues by 110 per cent annually - but deepened its losses by 109 per cent, as it eschews profits for growth. In its first fiscal 2015 quarter revenues were $46.5 million compared to $41.7 million in the previous quarter and $22.1 million a year ago. The net loss was $19.6 …
Chris Mellor, 30 May 2014
Photo of the Starship Enterprise's sick bay

PCIe flash card world reshuffled: Violin Memory flogs Velocity

Violin Memory is recovering in sickbay after the flash array company amputated its PCIe card business through a sale announced today and flagged up its drooping revenues in the second half of its fiscal year. Revenues for its first financial 2015 quarter, which finished on 30 April, were $18.1m, 27 per cent down on the same …
Chris Mellor, 30 May 2014
The HP 3PAR StorServ 7000 series arrays

What's that you say? HP's going to do WHAT to 3PAR StoreServs?

Rumours circulating today suggest HP is going to add full data deduplication to its StoreServ (3PAR) storage arrays. Deduplication identifies and removes duplicated blocks to prevent space being taken up by repetitive content. With a flash array, this also helps to reduce the amount of data written to the silicon which prolongs …
Chris Mellor, 30 May 2014
SanDisks fifth generation 128Gbit TLC die

HP breaks ranks: Foresees data ARCHIVING on Flash

An unearthed HP presentation session shows HP is envisaging cold data storage, archiving, using flash. Here’s the TB4642 - Enabling the flash transformed data centre - session description extract; What will soon further ramp the adoption of flash are the superior storage densities offered by solid state drives as they expand to …
Chris Mellor, 30 May 2014
Atlantis USX and VSAN

Atlantis hopes to sink fangs into EMC's ViPR with boosting product

VDI startup Atlantis has moved on and now reckons its ILIO USX product plus VSAN can take on EMC's all-singing, all-dancing software-defined ViPR storage abstraction layer. A slide from an Atlantis presentation deck (see below) shows the ILIO USX product providing a software abstraction layer with separate control and data …
Chris Mellor, 29 May 2014

Google's driverless car: It'll just block our roads. It's the WORST

Driverless cars will solve congestion. Driverless cars will improve road efficiency; driving along closely behind each other in platoons. Driverless cars will stop you waiting at the kerb for a taxi. Yeah, yeah; it’s all drivel. The tech is wonderful, gee-whiz-that’s-great stuff, but there’s a few things that are unbelievably …
Chris Mellor, 29 May 2014
LSI WarpDrive section

Seagate in surprise $450m LSI Flash gobble

Wow! Didn’t see that one coming; Seagate has scooped up the LSI flash business from Avago, rewriting the flash product supply business at a stroke, and speeding the concentration of flash product supply into fewer hands. Avago bought LSI in December 2013 for a cool $6.6 billion. Now Seagate will buy LSI’s flash biz, the …
Chris Mellor, 29 May 2014
School of six finger threadfin fish

BLAM! IBM drags its NetApp OEM deal horse outside, gunshot heard

IBM has formally sundered its OEM relationship with NetApp, as we earlier suggested it would. Spokesperson Michael Zimmerman provided a statement, saying: Cloud and the explosion of data associated with social and mobile are increasing the demand for flexible storage solutions. This is driving a shift towards software delivery …
Chris Mellor, 29 May 2014
Storage step 5

Loved-up shared storage silos in SHOCK SPLIT!

A previously uniform shared storage architecture is splintering apart as server virtualisation, dedupe, flash and the cloud shatter the old order – giving us five steps to heaven, or hell, depending on your viewpoint. The old shared storage order was a bunch of servers linked across a network to a storage area network (SAN) or …
Chris Mellor, 29 May 2014
Terminator 2

IBM shows off phase-shift LIQUID METAL storage tech

Attendees at last week's IBM's Edge 2014 conference in Las Vegas heard all about liquid metal storage. But don't think of Terminator 2-style shape shifting – think state shifting instead. Yes, really. It was a bit of a throw-away as it was the last bullet point in a list of storage futures presented by IBM chief storage …
Chris Mellor, 28 May 2014
Shuffling cards

X-IO shuffles senior staffers – but this isn't an IPO prelude

Storage firm X-IO has changed its CEO and made some other board-level changes as well as having some engineers working part-time. Companies don't generally do this, so what's happening here? Incoming CEO Brian Owen has, in one way of looking at it, sidelined his incumbent CFO and HR head. CFO Ed Welch still holds his position, …
Chris Mellor, 27 May 2014
John Morelli

Sphere 3D's mini microvisor: Drilling into touchy biz tech

I have just seen an Overland SnapScale DX2 scale-out filer storage array running Corel WordPerfect and serving it via the Glassware 2.0 product, also running in the DX2, to an iPad across a Wi-Fi network. What the heck's going on here? Overland Storage is merging with mobe-tech-enabling outfit Sphere 3D in an all-share …
Chris Mellor, 27 May 2014
OCP WInterfell

HP: You know what's hot right now? Cloud* storage

Cloud storage is hot, according to Meg Whitman, HP’s CEO, who spoke of her "excitement" in the Q2 results earnings call. Whitman said: I'm very excited about some of the innovations that we'll be rolling out in the second half of the year from our server, [cloud]* storage, technology services and converged systems team. We're …
Chris Mellor, 25 May 2014
DRagon

Reg man pulls out telescope: Thar be magic quadragons... and lo, a new vendor

There is dissent in the flash array vendor ranks over Gartner gurus' magic quadrant. The all-flash array ranking quadragon has reared its head and breathed fire from its nostrils all over us puny Reg hacks. Thanks to a tipoff, we can now update our earlier list to add another vendor: Cisco Invicta EMC XtremIO HP 3PAR <——— …
Chris Mellor, 23 May 2014
frustration_anger_irritation_annoyance pain

Oof! Brocade posts a loss after taking $81m kick in the profits

After four quarters of profits Brocade has posted a $14m loss, due to a costly goodwill write-off as it exits a hardware business. Revenues for the quarter were $537m, down five per cent from the prior quarter’s $565m and the year-ago quarter’s $539m (down one per cent). Three months ago it made a profit of $81m; this time it …
Chris Mellor, 23 May 2014
Cirrus clouds

Toshiba pushes out 5TB spinner for cloudy types

Toshiba has produced a 5TB 3.5-inch disk drive for bulk storage and cloud-based workloads, its second 5TB drive (the first came out in February). The MC series drive seems to be based on its 5TB MG04 and shares the same 6Gbit/s SATA interface, 7,200rpm spin speed and 2TB, 3TB, 4BH and 5TB capacity points, using 1TB platters. It …
Chris Mellor, 23 May 2014

Hang on, lads. I've got a great idea, says NetApp as it teeters on the edge

NetApp revenues are not exactly flourishing, and the storage biz admits it's facing a decline. As the company reveals its end-of-year figures, will the cloud finish off NetApp, or give it a chance to really boost sales? Here are the figures [PDF] for fiscal 2014, ended 25 April: NetApp quarterly revenues 4th quarter, fiscal …
Chris Mellor, 22 May 2014
Cygnus constellation position

Permabit: Our flashy dedupe is everywhere, heh heh. Thanks Pure!

It's been a long haul but Permabit, which licenses its Albireo deduplication technology to storage-related suppliers, is finally seeing its fortunes rise. Wayne Salpietro, Permabit's marketing director, said: "We are seeing significant upswing in our activities, particularly with Tier 1 customers and prospects. We believe this …
Chris Mellor, 22 May 2014
Sonos phone and tablet app

Sonos turns up volume, slips out new Wi-Fi speaker control app

Streaming Wi-Fi speaker supplier Sonos has updated its speaker app so that it looks a little nicer and does more. Screen appeal on tablets is not so good, however, and it doesn't solve an existing Playbar surround sound issue. This software, known as the Sonos controller (v5.0), runs in iOS v6.0 or higher, as well as on Android …
Chris Mellor, 21 May 2014
X-IO ISE Station X

It's musical chairs at ISE bricks house as X-IO looks to 'post-nerd' future

X-IO, the perennially not-quite-making-it supplier of fantastically reliable HyperISE storage enclosures, has promoted its CEO to chairman, and appointed its vice chairman as the new CEO, in a move away from being a "nerdy storage supplier" towards a more profitable future. CEO John Beletic came on the scene in late 2011 and has …
Chris Mellor, 20 May 2014
Kaminario K-Blocks

Kaminario shovels RAM, shiny new processors onto K2's peaks

Kaminario has updated its K2 all-flash array with new processors, more RAM, higher capacity SSDs and data reduction technology, claiming K2 is more efficient, scalable and cost-effective than either EMC's XtremIO or Pure Storage's FA-400 all-flash arrays. The fourth generation K2 product topped the SPC-1 random IO and SPC-2 …
Chris Mellor, 20 May 2014

Storage faithful tremble as Gartner mages prep flashy array quadrant

Gartner's unveiling of all-flash array rankings in its Magic Quadrant – expected in July this year – has been eagerly anticipated. Which supplier is in which box? Who is included? Now sources who've seen a possible version of the flash MQ have shared their insight with El Reg – revealing some suppliers are in and others ( …
Chris Mellor, 20 May 2014
Tornado sucks data

Your mainframe's pegs not fitting in Amazon's elastic holes? Syncsort has a hammer for that

Syncsort wants to make life easier for Amazon cloud compute users who use data stored in mainframe storage silos and similar kit. Its solution? ETLaaS – or Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) as a Service. ETL products take data from a source, convert it as required, and then transfer it into the target system for processing. …
Chris Mellor, 20 May 2014

Pure Storage's latest arrays cost DOUBLE what it claimed earlier

Our Pure Storage range expansion story about the firm's FlashArray 400 series arrays prompted a missive from Pure saying that we'd got the price wrong. Which is strange given that we were quoting Pure's own figures. According to Pure Storage's marketing bods, low-end model pricing for the FA-405 and FA-450 arrays was $6 to $8/GB …
Chris Mellor, 20 May 2014
Giant impact, common at the end of planet formation

Pure Storage sets out stall: We want to rule the storage world

Storage industry lore has it that NetApp has been the only stand-alone storage company after EMC to establish its technology as a storage platform. Now Pure Storage, the energised all-flash array (AFA) startup, says it wants to be the next storage platform company. NetApp's offering comprises a long-lived storage system with a …
Chris Mellor, 19 May 2014

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