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HBA Guys Switch Gears

Dont expect Emulex Corp. (NYSE: ELX) and QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC) to quit their day jobs selling HBAs anytime soon, but they’re increasingly moonlighting as switch vendors.

Emulex today announced that NEC is using the entry-level SAN switch it launched last week; and QLogic revealed it expanded its blade server switch relationship with IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM).
(See NEC Uses Emulex Switches and QLogic Unveils IBM Blade Switch.)

Both HBA vendors have been active in the switch area recently. Emulex unveiled four design wins over the past week with its entry-level SAN and InSpeed embedded switches, while QLogic has been pushing to score OEM deals with Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) and Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL) for its entry-level SANbox switch family (see QLogic Pulls a Switch Deal).

It makes sense for the HBA vendors to try and broaden their base. According to market research firm Dell'Oro Group, overall HBA revenue slipped 7 percent from the first to the second quarter of this year, while switch revenue remained flat (see SAN Market Revenues Slip).

For the most part, Emulex and QLogic have gone after the underserved SMB and blade server switch markets. Only Brocade has made much progress in either of those emerging storage markets among the Fibre Channel switch vendors (see Brocade Dazzler Starts Low, HP Aims to Dazzle SMBs, and IBM Plugs Brocade Into Blades).

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