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Emulex: HBAs Rule

During a fourth-quarter earnings announcement today Emulex Corp. (Nasdaq: EMLX) executives said host bus adapters will be key to the future of storage networking, which in turn will dominate the entire storage market within the next few years (see Emulex Posts Q4 Earnings).

"There is no question that storage networking is one of the key technological shifts over the next decade," CEO Paul Folino told analysts during a conference call today.

Folino said that host bus adapters (HBAs) will play a key role in linking NAS and SAN islands in larger storage networks. HBAs at the network edge will increasingly be outfitted with software that enables them to support applications that manage and virtualize storage, he said.

While the market will remain difficult for the foreseeable future, Emulex hopes to stay on top by providing easy-to-use, common software interfaces and application program interfaces (APIs) across all product lines for OEM customers. The vendor says these interfaces will enable customers to develop products based on newly released Emulex HBAs that support 2-Gbit/s Fibre Channel, iSCSI, and VI/IP (Virtual Interface over IP). VI/IP is a relatively new technique for speeding up the linkage between storage devices and IP networks.

When prodded by analysts, the Emulex execs also vowed support for Infiniband, the computer bus designed to replace PCIbus in servers. But they claimed Infiniband will account for less than 7 percent of all storage network interconnections by 2005.