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Top 10 storage stories of 2015

The year 2015 in storage was dominated by the continued rise of flash and Dell’s purchase of EMC, but there were steady upticks in trends such as hyper-converged and software-defined storage

The world of storage in 2015 saw the continued rapid rise of flash, with predictions that solid state storage will dominate European datacentres by 2020. There were also key developments towards faster and longer lasting chips.

When it came to storage industry news stories, none was bigger than the Dell's proposed purchase of EMC. That move spoke volumes about the importance of storage to the small constellation of giant suppliers that supply the world's datacentres.

But despite Dell's huge ($67bn) bet, the fact remains that revenues for traditional disk-based storage hardware are declining.

And so any wide sweep of the year's key developments has to take account of the continued progress of other key trends in storage.

These include hyper-converged storage, which sees the traditional array replaced by storage directly attached to compute and networking resources, often on commodity hardware, as pioneered by the webscale giants of our age, Google, Facebook et al.

Closely linked to this is the rise of software-defined storage, which rejects the pre-packaged storage hardware model in favour of storage software as a product that can be deployed on standard x86 servers.

And of course there is cloud storage, which is trending upwards in importance – but still seems to need to overcome perceived and real limitations on performance and security.

1. Flash storage set to dominate Europe's datacentres by 2020

A rapid shift among European enterprises towards flash storage – with 80% of all arrays set to contain flash by 2019 – could be a surprise positive outcome from the economic woes that have afflicted the continent.

2. Dell and EMC's Big Splash points to hyper-convergence

Dell's proposed $67 billion purchase of EMC seems to be driven by hyper-convergence in the datacentre but could result in a lot of casualties as the merged entity creates overlapped storage product lines.

3. Dell gets to market first with TLC drives for flash arrays

Dell SC series storage customers were able to use TLC flash drives – suited to read-intensive workloads – from August 2015 in arrays with MLC, SLC and/or spinning disk.

4. Will 3D XPoint kill flash and leave disk standing?

The emergence of 3D Xpoint, with claimed speeds 1,000 time faster than flash, could deal it a death blow but leave disk and tape with a useful role.

5. Sussex college dumps EMC for hyper-converged Scale Computing HC3

St Richard's Catholic College deploys Scale Computing hyper-converged HC3 clusters to get login times down from more than two minutes to 30 seconds and saves £200,000 in the bargain.

6. Hedvig promises raft of advanced software-defined storage features

Startup comes out of stealth with multi-protocol, software-defined storage with Docker deployment and policy assignment to virtual drives on commodity hardware.

7. Enterprise storage performance a mystery to most IT chiefs

Survey finds more than two thirds of storage leaders at large enterprises just don’t know the impact of I/O from core applications on their storage infrastructure.

8. PCIe SSD vs all-flash for enterprise storage

We run the rule over PCIe SSD and assess its potential as a server-side alternative to all-flash storage, as cache in conjunction with shared storage and in hyperscale environments.

9. Ad agency that rejected cloud boosts Cleversafe object storage

Ad content agency Hogarth rejected cloud storage as too expensive and unreliable, opting for in-house object storage from Cleversafe, with nearly 5PB deployed.

10. Avere launches CloudFusion NAS appliance in Amazon cloud

NAS specialist Avere launches 1.5TB tiered storage cloud NAS appliance in the Amazon cloud with data held in RAM, flash and SATA media according to frequency of use.

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