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QLogic Starts 4-Gig Quest

QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC) today announced that it plans to launch an array of Fibre Channel products that not only take the anticipated leap to 10 Gbit/s, but that also make an unexpected stop at 4 Gbit/s (see QLogic Outlines 4-Gig Strategy).

The company says it intends to introduce Fibre Channel chips, host bus adapters (HBAs), and fabric switches supporting 10-Gbit/s FC at the end of this year, with 4-Gbit/s products to follow in early 2004.

But in its push for 4-Gig SANs, QLogic stands virtually alone with Vixel Corp. (Nasdaq: VIXL). Ten-Gig Fibre Channel has long been the expected next step up from the current 2-Gbit/s generation, and that remains the roadmap for most of the major SAN vendors (see Fibre Channel SANs: 4G or Not 4G?).

Neither Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) nor McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA), the two primary FC switch suppliers, have any plans to adopt 4-Gbit/s FC today. Emulex Corp. (NYSE: ELX), QLogic's chief rival in HBAs, is also firmly committed to 10-Gbit/s Fibre Channel as the next bump in performance (see Emulex Cooks Up 10-Gig FC Demo and 10-Gig SANs).

QLogic, though, says concerns that the migration to 10-Gig will take a lot longer than initially anticipated have recently prompted discussions of moving to 4-Gbit/s FC as an interim solution.

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