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SAN Switch Sales Swell in 02

Fibre Channel switch market grew 15% last year, says Dell'Oro. How will Cisco shake it up?

Here's some refreshing news from the network equipment market: Worldwide sales of SAN switches grew 15 percent year-over-year to $954 million in 2002 -- and will hit $1.1 billion this year, according to a report published today by the Dell'Oro Group (see FC Switch Sales Up 15% in '02).

"This positive growth can't be said for many segments of the networking market," says Paul Baranello, senior analyst at Dell'Oro Group and author of the report.

The major driver of growth last year appears to be the transition from 1-Gbit/s to 2-Gbit/s Fibre Channel switches. The study reveals that 2-Gbit/s FC switches accounted for more than 95 percent of fourth-quarter 2002 sales, versus less than 20 percent in the same quarter in 2001.

In addition, sales of director-class Fibre Channel products were up 48 percent year-over-year, to $418 million, pushing up the numbers for 2002, according to the report. FC fabric switches accounted for $536 million of total worldwide sales, a decline of 2 percent from the previous year.

New director switches on the market last year included Brocade Communications Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: BRCD) debut in this space with the SilkWorm 12000, McData Corp.'s (Nasdaq: MCDTA) Intrepid 6140, and Inrange Technologies Corp. (Nasdaq: INRG) 256-port FC/9000. "These are more appealing to large businesses looking to consolidate their storage environments," notes Baranello (see Inrange Ships 256-Port Director, Inrange Counts to 256, McData Hits 140 Ports, and Brocade Cashes 12000 Checks).

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