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Fibre Channel SAN Shows New Life says Infonetics Research

January 08, 2015

As the old Bob Dylan song says, “The times they are a changin.”  This is true across the Information and Communications (ICT) landscape in general, and as Infonetics Research points out in the release of its third quarter “2014 (3Q14) SAN and Converged Data Center Network Equipment” report, these markets are representative of just how much.  And, at least when it comes to the Fibre Channel Storage Area Network (SAN) market this is good news.

What is good news for Cisco, and probably not so good for others, is that it is gaining SAN market share. What is also good news and not surprising given the momentum for data center transformations to next generation capabilities is that the converged data center equipment market is experience rather robust growth.

 Cliff Grossner, Ph. D., directing analyst for data center, cloud, and SDN at Infonetics Research in comments regarding the latest market analysis notes that: “The long-term downward streak for Fibre Channel SAN equipment was broken in the third quarter of 2014 (3Q14), driven by high performance requirements for flash storage and Cisco’s customers finishing their SAN product evaluation cycles and beginning to scale deployments.” 

He continued saying, “The question remains, however, whether the growth expected from solid-state drive storage and Gen 6 Fibre Channel that’s expected in the coming year will be enough to return the market to increased growth,” continues Grossner. “We believe the answer is yes for the short term, but do not see any evidence that double-digit growth will return to Fibre Channel market.”

At this point it is at least a nice piece of analysis for Fibre Channel SAN providers that the market has stabilized. After all, double-digit growth typically is not achievable in is now considered a mature market but reasonable growth is nothing to snivel at. 

Here are a few of the report highlights:

  • In 3Q14, the global storage area network (SAN) equipment market, including Fibre Channel switches and host bus adapters (HBAs), grew 10 percent from 2Q14 to $654 million, and was up 15 percent from 3Q13.
  • Worldwide converged data center network adapter revenue was up 13 percent sequentially in 3Q14, with converged network adapters (CNAs) in the lead, followed by internet small computer system interface (iSCSI) adapters.
  • Another transformation in the converged data center network adapter market is on the horizon: the introduction of 25GE, expected in 2015 targeting large cloud service providers (CSPs).
  • Brocade dominates the SAN switch and adapter market, while Intel leads the converged data center network adapter space

Along with analysis of the fortunes of various vendors, the Infonetics report contains significant granularity of both markets. Coverage includes: worldwide and regional market size, vendor market share, forecasts, analysis, and trends for chassis and fixed Fibre Channel switches; Fibre Channel HBAs; converged data center switch ports-in-use for storage (iSCSI, FCoE, FC-to-FCoE); and converged data center network adapters (iSCSI, CNAs, universal).  

Yes, for data centers thanks in large measure to a number of innovations that are propelling network infrastructure transformations the times really are changing and rather quickly as both inter and intra-data center traffic continues to explode and having high-performance access to all of that structured and unstructured stored data becomes truly mission critical.  

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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