That Was the Year That Was: 2016

Image of "2016" on chalkboard, crossed out
Goodbye 2016

After the end of a year, we often pause and reflect to celebrate our successes and to try and gain closure for our failures and tragedies. For many, 2016 has been a horrible year. I am not going to talk about politics, as that is far too contentious, but the world seems a little darker today than it did in January of 2016. We lost music icons like David Bowie, Prince, Rick Parfitt from Status Quo, and George Michael. Comedians Victoria Wood, Caroline Aherne, and Gene Wilder passed away. For the fantasy and science fiction geeks, we lost Alan Rickman (Harry Potter and Galaxy Quest), Carrie Fisher (Star Wars) on Christmas day, and Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) in June. The sporting world lost Muhammad Ali, Arnold Palmer, Johann Cruyff (the founder of Sexy Football—the proper sort with a round ball that is kicked by a foot). We also lost John Glenn, former US senator and astronaut. In the technology world, we lost Intel founding father Andy Grove, email inventor Ray Tomlinson, and AOL co-founder Jim Kimsey.

This year has been a roller coaster of a year. Dell and EMC finally merged in what was at the time the biggest technology deal ever ($65 billion). This has been beaten by the upcoming nuptials of AOL/Time Warner and AT&T at $85 billion. Microsoft paid $26 billion for LinkedIn. Oracle mopped up NetSuite ($9.3 billion) and Dyn. Broadcom acquired Brocade ($5.9 billion). Symantec, fresh from divesting Veritas, spent $4.5 billion on Blue Coat and later LifeLock. ARM got acquired by SoftBank for $32 billion. HPE made itself smaller by selling off its consulting arm, Technical Services, to CSC (well 50% of it); large swaths of its software division to Micro Focus; and its OpenStack and Linux interests to SUSE, which, incidentally, is owned by Micro Focus.

Former virtualization startup darling PernixData, after failing to live up to the hype, ended up being bought in a fire sale by Nutanix. This was a particularly sad demise for me personally, as I knew so many at that company. Another company I have had a long association with, AppSense, was acquired by LANDESK. And finally, after a long and protracted illness that involved several reverse stock splits (in which a number of shares are merged into a new single share) in a vain attempt to retain Nasdaq status, Violin Memory has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

On the whole, things were quiet on the IPO front. The main event of the year was Nutanix, the darling of the HCI industry. It has finally grown up and shucked off its startup status, undergoing IPO in September. On December 30 ($26.60), it was still trading above its opening price of $26.00. It appears to have suffered the fate of other tech IPOs in having a massive initial surge taking its price to over $45 a share followed by a slow slide back. It did not help when its first quarter report post-IPO showed increased losses.

On the personal side, The Virtualization Practice underwent a total rebrand in July to become TVP Strategy. This was long overdue. The rebrand has allowed us to refocus our messaging. We were seen as a purely virtualization-focused analyst company, and it was hurting our attempts to remain relevant. We are now more aligned in terms of industry pillars.

Well, that is enough looking back over the shoulders at what has gone. It has been a busy year in our little corner of technology, and this is only a small part of what has happened. What about 2017? What might be in store? Well, that is a post for another day. Today was about reflection. Please comment below on your best or worst part of 2016, and remember, no politics.