Cisco Gains in Storage Switch Space

Cisco continued to steal market share from its storage switch rivals in the first quarter, but high-end switch leader McData showed signs of stabilizing, according to a new report from the Dell’Oro Group.

The storage area network (SAN) Fibre Channel market grew 10 percent year-over-year in the quarter, and port shipments grew 38 percent, “indicating healthy demand from companies to network their storage resources,” Dell’Oro said. Both the SAN switch and host bus adapter segments of the market benefited from the strength, the research firm said.

The total SAN switch market grew 11 percent to $336.4 million in the first quarter. Cisco continued its strong growth in the space a little more than two years after entering it with the acquisition of Andiamo Systems, with 79 percent year-over-year growth to $65.7 million, up 8.6 percent sequentially from the fourth quarter.

Brocade remained the overall leader with $150.3 million in sales, up 3.4 percent year-over-year but down 6.9 percent sequentially. McData remained number two with $91.1 million in sales, down 6.4 percent year-over-year but up 1 percent sequentially — the third straight sequential sales gain for McData.

McData’s strength is coming from a surprising place — not high-end director sales, but fabric switch sales driven by the company’s FlexPort technology embedded in its Sphereon fabric switch product, according to McData.

QLogic posted both sequential and year-over-year growth to $17.1 million, and CNT — which as of today is now part of McData — came in fifth with $10 million in sales, down both sequentially and year-over-year.

In the high-end modular switch space, McData continued to lead with $57.9 million in sales, but that was down both from the fourth quarter’s $60 million and the previous year’s $70.3 million. Brocade fared worse, falling to third place with an 18.2 percent sequential slide to $42.8 million, but still up 10.3 percent from the year-ago quarter.

Cisco snuck into second place with $51.2 million in revenues, up 8.5 percent sequentially and 93.2 percent year-over-year.

“In the modular switch market segment, Cisco has continued its string of sequential quarterly revenue growth as customers continue to adopt its MDS 9500,” John Carvell, principal analyst for SAN research at Dell’Oro Group, said in a statement. “During the quarter, some of the other major vendors in this segment were plagued with one-time issues, such as consumers delaying purchasing decisions in light of uncertainty regarding product plans for McData, the leading vendor in this segment, and CNT, due to their pending merger.”

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