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Cisco Rattles Storage Sabre

Cisco posted strong storage results in its fourth-quarter report last night, the same day its main switch rivals, Brocade and McData, morphed into a single entity. (See Cisco Reports Q4, Brocade Bags McData For $713M, and Users Mull Merger.)

The vendor's Q4 storage revenues were up more than 65 percent year over year -- a gain credited to Cisco's latest storage product release, at least by one analyst. (See Cisco Goes 4-Gig & Big and EMC Certifies Cisco Director.) "We believe this reflects the first full quarter of contributions from the company's new 4-Gbit/s 528-port MDS 9513 Director, as well as some traction in the fabric switching market," states Aaron Rakers, enterprise storage analyst at A.G. Edwards, in a note this morning.

At the same time, Cisco's putting its own spin on the Brocade/McData merger. "We're beginning to encourage an industry consolidation of many of our peers in many areas of communications and IT," said Cisco CEO John Chambers on last night's conference call with analysts.

Cisco now has only one major competitor in the switching space, prompting speculation that the vendor may snap up QLogic to corner the low-end switch and HBA market -- a move that may not be great for consumers. One Cisco customer expressed concern on the Byte and Switch message board this morning: "Although I'm a Cisco user, this is not something that excites me. Lack of competition is never a good thing."

Another reader echoed that sentiment: "While I have always thought that a Cisco/QLogic merger would be a good matchup, I would like to see even more competition out there in the FC switch arena."

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