Chris Mellor on data storage management

Chris Mellor provides UK data storage professionals with the insight on data storage management and data management software. Find out his thoughts on solid-state drives, FCoE, virtualisation, data deduplication and more.

Chris Mellor provides UK data storage professionals with insight on data management software and information they need to better run their data centres. We've compiled a listing of Mellor's recent contributions to so readers can quickly reference his unique outlook on solid-state drives (SSDs), Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), virtualisation, data deduplication, cloud storage, and other storage trends and technologies.


Will 2.5-inch drives supplant 3.5-inch drives in storage arrays?
Although 3.5-inch drives are faster than 2.5-inch drives, we may be starting to see the end of 3.5-inch drives in storage arrays for several reasons. First, you can pack more drive spindles into a drive enclosure using 2.5-inch drives. Second, you can have more drives in a cabinet, which means your data centre space is used more efficiently. And third, 2.5-inch drives use less electricity, saving you energy. Furthermore, once 2.5-inch drives can achieve 1 TB of capacity, there might be even more incentive to move away from 3.5-inch drives. Find out more about the move away from 3.5-inch drives in storage arrays.

How the Vblock message could rebound on EMC
Integrated IT stacks are generally accepted as a good thing, and EMC is pushing its Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) Vblock as hard as it can. Although Vblock is gaining steam in the UK, EMC's rivals -- Dell, HP, IBM and Oracle -- are building stronger marketing positions against it. Ultimately, this could hurt EMC. Read how the Vblock message could rebound on EMC instead of helping it.

Fibre Channel and Fibre Channel over Ethernet are in balance for Brocade
Fibre Channel and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) are both well-balanced in Brocade's corporate roadmap. It has a secure FC base and a strong Ethernet vision, putting it in a decent position against its main rival, Cisco. Read about the differences in these two companies' strategies and how well Brocade can compete with Cisco.

Is EMC's VMware virtualisation juggernaut unstoppable?
Before VMware was around, companies offered disk and tape storage systems hooked up to servers, creating server supplier concerns until the server boundary was reached. But the VMware virtualisation revolution has redefined what data storage means, and EMC's acquisition of VMware is pushing the storage world deeper into virtualisation and the cloud. Catch up on Mellor's assessment of whether EMC's VMware virtualisation juggernaut is unstoppable.

Enterprise flash drives spell doom for tier 1 storage
Mellor makes the case that in the next one to three years, enterprise flash drives will dominate tier 1 storage with 15,000 rpm Fibre Channel drives replaced by NAND enterprise flash drives. Find out what informs his argument about enterprise flash drives.


Storage array supplier shakeout could be sparked by virtualisation and the cloud
While the evolution of hard drives is easy to predict, the evolution of storage arrays is much more dynamic and unpredictable. Most vendors in this space are betting on a shared storage array to support server virtualisation, but some – including HP, Xiotech and NetApp – are making motions in different directions. Find out what these vendors are planning -- and why.

Cloud storage success depends on trust
Cloud storage is an attractive option for many organizations, especially when their on-site storage becomes too much to handle, too expensive or too complex. However, no matter how appealing it may sound, many people don't want their data in the hands of an offsite provider -- and with good reason, says Mellor. Find out whether you fit the profile of storage pros who can afford to take the cloud storage risk.

Will RainStor data deduplication change the database game?
RainStor's eponymously named deduplication technology can perform dedupe on database records and structured information, with space savings ranging from 20:1 to 60:1, the company says. RainStor also has multi-tenancy features that make it suited for cloud storage, according to the company. Find out how RainStor's data deduplication technology functions and whether it can change the database game.

Server virtualisation and data growth changing storage area network, network-attached storage
Server virtualisation, commodity hardware and ballooning data growth represent a triple onslaught to the SANs and NAS systems of old. Chris Mellor says storage infrastructure needs to evolve toward easier scalability and logical component boundaries instead of physical boundaries. Read more about the impact of virtualization, commodity drives and data growth on  storage area networks and network-attached storage storage systems, as well as what the storage infrastructure of the future should look like.

Virtual Computing Environment, other alliances could mean data storage industry conflict
More and more IT vendors are forming coalitions to sell the IT infrastructure stack as a complete package, including the storage, servers and networking components. But vendors that aren't aligned with a coalition may be left behind in the dust. Read more about how alliances like the Virtual Computing Environment can create conflict in the storage industry.

Cloud storage poses awkward questions for data storage
With cloud storage, should data be stored as a file or as an object? There are advocates on both sides of the question, and they raise valid points. For example, storing data as an object brings space advantages over file storage because similar files can have the same or nearly the same data but different names and therefore use more space. On the other hand, file systems' hierarchical structure means slower navigation than with blocks. Read more about the issues cloud storage presents for data storage.

Solid-state drives, disk poised to change data storage market
Is storage driven by disruptive technology innovations? Largely, no. Mellor says there's little chance of disruption in most storage product categories and with the exception of solid-state drives (SSDs) and disk as a replacement for tape, storage is driven mostly by sustaining innovations. Read this story to learn why cloud storage could be the next disruptive technology on the market.

Solid-state drives, 2.5-inch drives boost IOPS without wasting capacity
While the capacities of 3.5-inch hard disk drives continue to rise, rates of I/Os per second (IOPS) stay constant. The end result is that the 3.5-inch hard drive I/O channel is becoming a bottleneck, and 2.5-inch drives and solid-state drives are becoming attractive ways companies can boost IOPS without wasting capacity. Read this story to learn how to leverage solid-state drives to get around IOPS trouble.

Will Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) bring a fabric switch product shakedown?
Blade Network Technologies, an Ethernet switch vendor, doesn't intend to support Fibre Channel over Ethernet. To be clear, Blade Network Technologies will support the transport of FCoE frames over Ethernet to and from its switches. What this actually means is that it will support the Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) standard necessary to carry those FCoE frames -- not that it will understand FCoE frame contents. Find out what changes FCoE could bring to the storage arena.

Tape suppliers struggle with disk for recession revenue
Organisations always need to get the most out of their data storage budgets. But during the current recession, tape suppliers find themselves struggling for revenue against disk's decreasing cost per gigabyte. Tape drive and tape library vendors know they have to transition their tape protection expertise to data belonging to virtual machines stored on disk. Find out how tape vendors are differentiating their offerings so they can improve on the general-purpose data storage array with a virtual tape library (VTL) wrapping and set themselves apart from deduplicating disk array vendors.

Inside the minds of storage CEOs
The CEOs at storage companies tend to be a breed apart. They hold the professional futures of thousands of people in their hands, as well as the hopes and fears of investors. Most of us only get glimpses of the corporate issues a storage company CEO faces. So while it's tricky to draw a picture of a whole elephant from looking at only a few parts, here's an attempt to draw an image of one of the biggest beasts in the corporate storage jungle: the man with the monogrammed shirts, bonuses and stock options we covet. Find out the characteristics of successful storage company CEOs.

Virtualisation, SSD, dedupe surviving recession
It's 2009, the recession is upon us and the world of storage is changing. It's not an economic apocalypse yet, but this recession could become a depression. Virtualisation, solid-state drives, data deduplication and refreshed modular arrays are technologies storage vendors are looking at to help them ride out the storm.

Solid-state cache set to speed up server data access
Server processors regularly have to make the equivalent of a pit stop. A server CPU with its many cores has to scream through its workload and then head into the pits where its data is dumped to disk and it's refueled with fresh data from disk. For a CPU tearing through workloads at gigahertz clock speeds, waiting for disk is an embarrassingly slow interruption. Discover why Sun is leading the flash data cache battle.

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