Infonetics: SAN Gear To Pass $6 Billion By 2014

Market research firm Infonetics Research has just released its market share and forecast report for Storage Network Equipment in Q1 2010, and the outlook, both for today and the near-term future, looks bright.

Surveying Fiber Channel, Fiber Channel over Ethernet SAN switches and various types of storage networking adapters worldwide, the report focuses on vendors such as ATO, Blade, Brocade, Chelsio, Cisco, Emulex, Intel, LSI and Mellanox, among others.

In terms of vendor positioning, Brocade continues to lead the pack in the SAN switch market, despite another strong showing from close rival Cisco for the quarter. In the SAN adapter market, QLogic and Emulex lead the way, combining to make up 87 percent of global revenue for SAN adapters. Infonetics predicts this segment will continue to grow in double digits through 2014 and possibly beyond, driven by customer demand for converged network adapters that support the technology. As for Fiber Channel over Ethernet, SAN switch sales in this space spiked 41 percent in Q1 2010 over the previous quarter.

Looking down the road, the report concludes that the emergence of 16G Fiber Channel equipment, expected to arrive in 2011, will continue to drive the Fiber Channel market growth at a brisk pace for years; and much of that growth, as with the overall SAN equipment market, will take place in North America, which already accounted for almost half of worldwide SAN equipment revenue in Q1 2010, because of its preponderance of large data center operators, media companies and content providers.

In the first quarter of 2010, Fiber Channel and Fiber Channel over Ethernet SAN switch sales were unseasonably up, thanks mainly to Cisco, while SAN adapter sales were seasonally down, creating a flat sequential quarter for the overall storage network equipment market, said Michael Howard, co-founder and principal analyst for carrier and data center networks at Infonetics Research. However, the market is up 24 percent from this quarter a year ago, and, with data and video being created at unprecedented levels and concentrated in data centers, companies will continue to invest in SAN switches to reduce complexity on the data center floor, driving strong annual growth in the overall SAN equipment market through at least 2014, when it will reach $6.5 billion.

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