Switch Logic Favors QLogic

When McData goes, the door opens for QLogic as Fibre Channel switch player

January 11, 2007

2 Min Read
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5:25 PM -- Customers, storage vendors, and regulators looking into the viability of Brocade's acquisition of rival McData would no doubt agree the time is ripe for a third Fibre Channel switch player. That is, assuming Brocade gets the go-ahead to consume McData. (See Brocade-McData Draws Extra Scrutiny.)

Well, the only way another switch player can emerge is to secure OEM deals with major storage vendors. That leaves QLogic as the only candidate to step in.

QLogic has Fibre Channel switch products ranging from entry level to director, and it has strong OEM relationships with storage vendors because of its role as the leading HBA provider.

"The key for us is to get qualification of OEMs," QLogic CEO H.K. Desai said today at Needham & Co. investor's conference when asked about his company's switching business. "We look forward to that happening over the next six months."

According to analyst Tom Curlin of RBC Capital Markets, the qualification process is about to start with EMC. Curlin wrote in a research note today an OEM announcement with EMC is "forthcoming" for QLogic's SANbox 9000 128-port director switch. (See QLogic Grabs Director's Chair.) "We believe this announcement serves to effectively rebalance the supplier landscape at EMC in anticipation of the Brocade-McData transaction," Curlin wrote.Brocade, which doesn't see why the supplier landscape needs to be rebalanced any more after McData is gone, plays down QLogic's claims to having a director-class product. Although the SANbox 9000 can be stacked to form a 256-port switch for a base price of $322,300, while Brocade's SilkWorm 48000 director costs more than $400,000 for 256 ports, the SANbox 9000 does not include FICON support for mainframes and features such as non-disruptive failovers and hot-swappable controllers.

"There's some debate as to the characteristics of that product," Brocade marketing VP Tom Buiocchi says of the SANbox 9000.

Right now, QLogic is happy to be part of the debate.

Dave Raffo, News Editor, Byte and Switch

  • Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD)

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA)

  • Needham & Co.

  • QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC)

  • RBC Capital Markets0

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