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Fibre Channel HBAs Going Strong

Economic conditions have caused analysts at Gartner/Dataquest

to reduce their original estimates for the Fibre Channel host bus adapter (HBA) market. But even with budget reductions factored in, the market is looking good for the cards that link enterprise servers and switches to Fibre Channel networks. By the end of next year, the market research firm predicts the overall market will top $847 million.

Figure 1:

Source: Gartner/Dataquest

We will see a temporary slowdown, then growth will resume,” says Gartner/Dataquest analyst James Opfer. “Like a lot of business areas this year, you’ll see a significant decrease that’s not permanent.”

Back in May 2001, Opfer predicted that Fibre Channel HBA sales would rise from 2000’s level of $550 million to roughly $810 million in 2001 and $1.14 billion in 2002. Now, due to cutbacks and delays in order fulfillment, he’s revised his figures downward by about $200 million. But good growth is still expected: Opfer expects HBA sales to grow 10 percent in 2001 and between 30 and 50 percent in 2002.

The market for Fibre Channel HBAs grew at about 134 percent annually from 1997 through 2000 while the market was ramping up, according to Gartner/Dataquest. Now, though the rate of growth represents a more established market, Opfer says sales will stay strong across all markets. Companies that have implemented smaller SANs are likely to increase their investment now that they understand the market. And larger firms will extend the number of sites that utilize SANs.

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