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Cisco Distracted?

1:15 PM -- As is usually the case, Cisco didnt say enough about its storage revenues during its earnings call to give a full picture of how its Fibre Channel switch business is doing.

But Cisco did disclose that its storage revenue rose 9 percent year over year, giving Wall Street analysts enough insight to realize this represented a steep decline from the previous quarter. A decline in a quarter where storage systems partners EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, and IBM all reported double-digit sequential growth suggests that Cisco lost share to rivals Brocade and McData. We’ll know more when Brocade reports earnings Feb. 16 and McData on March 9.

According to analyst Aaron Rakers of A.G. Edwards, Cisco’s storage revenue for last quarter was $77 million, down 29 percent from $107 million the previous quarter. The slip may be temporary -- Cisco’s storage numbers often vary sharply from one quarter to another, and the $107 million quarter it was coming off of was by far its best ever for storage.

Still, the sequential drop comes at a time when people in the storage industry whisper that Cisco is losing interest in Fibre Channel switching. FUD perhaps, but we’ve already seen several interesting tidbits regarding Cisco storage this year that suggest all is not well:

  • Cisco’s 4-Gbit/s director probably won’t be out before April, which would put it more than six months behind Brocade in 4-Gbit/s directors. (See Cisco 4-Gbit Director MIA).
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