IDC: Storage Looking Chipper

The storage semiconductor market is set to grow, thanks to competition and help from serial disk

October 19, 2004

2 Min Read
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The storage semiconductor market will maintain its steady growth, thanks to the adoption of serial-disk technologies and some serious competition from networking-chip heavyweights, according to a new study just released by IDC.

The study says the total market for storage semiconductors will reach $847 million in 2004, an 11 percent rise from 2003. Further gains will push that total past $1 billion in 2005 and $1.2 billion by 2008.

The study, "Worldwide Enterprise Storage Semiconductor Market 2004-2008," covers application-specific semiconductor standard products (ASSPs), ASICs, programmable logic devices (PLDs), and processors shipped into a variety of storage devices such as controllers, HBAs, switches, and arrays.

IDC sees the low end of the market driving much of the growth, as SAS and SATA disk drives become more available and adopted by SMBs.

"The migration to SAS and SATA is in its early stages, but the writing is on the wall," says Sean Lavey, program manager for semiconductor research at IDC. "It's really being enabled by chip vendors behind the scenes."This growth is bound to change the storage-chip landscape. Semiconductors for the parallel SCSI world have been dominated by LSI Logic Corp. (NYSE: LSI) and Adaptec Inc. (Nasdaq: ADPT). Now, they're being joined by the likes of Applied Micro Circuits Corp. (AMCC) (Nasdaq: AMCC), Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (Nasdaq: MRVL), and Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. (Nasdaq: VTSS). The burgeoning army of players will test the strength of the market and no doubt shift segment share.

The new entrants aren't starting from scratch, either. "These vendors already have experience in datacom and telecom, and they're porting their products over to storage," says Lavey. "They're seeing a lot of synergy with serial technology."

The battle could boil down to whose design approach gains more acceptance. Traditional storage-chip vendors have invested heavily in the software that runs on their platforms, while the networking vendors have focused on low-cost chips, says Lavey. However, that could change: Broadcom and AMCC have acquired software startups that could beef up their offerings.

Brett Mendel, Senior Analyst, Byte and Switch Insider

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