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Storage 2016 news includes Dell EMC, Nutanix IPO, Broadcom-Brocade

In 2016, EMC became part of Dell, Broadcom moved to take over Brocade, Nutanix went public, data protection expanded, and more data went on flash and cloud.

While the storage world had less upheaval than U.S. politics or global affairs in 2016, it did include milestone news stories that will shape the industry for years.

Here are the top storage 2016 news stories:

Dell, EMC become one

The world's largest data storage company spent 2016 in transition, finishing the year as a different company than the one that started the year.

EMC and Dell spent most of 2016 preparing to close Dell's $60-billion-plus acquisition, the largest IT deal ever. By the time the deal closed Sept. 7, there were few surprises left. Michael Dell revealed at EMC World in May that the post-merger company would be called Dell Technologies, and Dell EMC would be the new name for the enterprise division that includes storage and servers. Much of the post-merger product news centered on Dell EMC integrating Dell PowerEdge servers with EMC storage products.

The merger failed to mask the larger overall industry change from traditional disk-based SAN and NAS arrays to flash, hyper-converged and cloud storage. EMC storage product revenue dipped from the previous year, although its emerging technology products picked up steam.

Longtime EMC CEO Joe Tucci said his goodbyes at EMC World, giving way to Dell CEO and founder Michael Dell. EMC veterans David Goulden, Dell EMC president; Jeremy Burton, Dell CMO; Howard Elias, president of Dell EMC Services and IT; and Bill Scannell, president of Dell EMC global sales are key players in Dell EMC but management change is underway.

Heads of the Core Technologies (Guy Churchward) and Emerging Technologies (CJ Desai) divisions slipped out of Dell EMC after the close. Will the revolving door keep spinning in 2017?

Related storage 2016 news stories:

Dell EMC open for business

EMC storage gets PowerEdge injection

Michael Dell ready to take over EMC

Dell EMC keeps Cisco, Nutanix options open

Nutanix IPO signals maturing of hyper-convergence

After a nine-month wait, Nutanix in September completed the most successful tech initial public offering of 2016. Nutanix went public as the hyper-converged market leader, with large server and storage vendors looking to dislodge it and hyper-converged pioneer startups seeking to emulate it.

In 2017, Nutanix will fight to hold off challenges from competitors such as Dell EMC and VMware. Meanwhile, it will try to accelerate its transformation into an enterprise cloud vendor that both rivals and emulates Amazon Web Services. It bears watching if other hyper-converged vendors go public and if the market consolidates through acquisitions.

Related storage 2016 news stories:

Nutanix goes public

EMC rides VxRail into hyper-convergence

VMware adds to vSAN with 6.5 release

Nutanix takes on VMware, AWS

Hyper-converged players, large and small, take on Nutanix

EMC paints bull's-eye on Nutanix HCI

Broadcom buys Brocade, becomes FC behemoth

Dell EMC wasn't the only multibillion-dollar storage acquisition in the news in 2016. Broadcom disclosed its intention to buy Fibre Channel switching titan Brocade for $5.9 billion in a deal expected to close in the first half of 2017. The deal makes chip vendor Broadcom a FC networking giant, as it follows a 2015 acquisition of adapter vendor Emulex.

Broadcom is trying to sell off Brocade's Ethernet business and will slug it out with Cisco in the FC switching market. But while Brocade's main business revolves around its SAN products, FC is only a small part of Broadcom's revenue. Will it put as much development and marketing muscle behind SAN connectivity as Brocade did? That is something to watch in 2017.

Related storage 2016 news stories:

Broadcom spends billions on Brocade

Brocade launches new FC director

Cisco upgrades storage networking products

All-flash storage goes mainstream

Early in the year, EMC declared 2016 "the year of all-flash" in primary data. As the year ends, most data remains on disk but flash did gain considerable market and mindshare in 2016. Most of the high-profile storage array launches were all-flash, and that trend began moving into hyper-converged systems. Dell EMC, NetApp, IBM and Hewlett Packard Enterprise said sales of all-flash arrays far outpaced hybrid and disks, and flash-only vendor Pure Storage outgrew the industry by a far pace. Even the rising all-flash tide failed to lift Violin Memory, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late 2016.

We're still a long way from an all-flash data center, but the move there has begun and is gathering momentum.

Related storage 2016 news stories:

Flash-only pushing hybrids out for primary storage?

EMC VMAX goes all-flash

Dell EMC launches Isilon all-Flash NAS

Pure: We're the flash purists

Simplivity adds all-flash HCI appliance

VMware sees all-flash vSAN adoption

IBM goes all-flash in midrange

Violin Memory goes bankrupt

Data protection expands role

The face of data protection changed in 2016 as vendors accelerated their move from traditional backup. Backup software vendors Veritas and Commvault took steps to make their applications more of a management platform than traditional backups. Others, including Veeam Software, put more emphasis on availability for disaster recovery. Other changes included more use of the cloud for backup and disaster recovery, and the expansion of convergence into data protection and the spread of copy data management.

Related storage 2016 news stories:

Veritas finds freedom outside of Symantec

Veritas shifts NetBackup to data management

Commvault focused on management

Commvault sees silver lining in cloud

EMC takes on copy data management

Catalogic gets new management

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