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HBA Sales Quicken Industry Pulse

Early returns from HBA vendors indicate storage sales were seasonally strong at the end of 2004. Analysts say if HBA sales are up overall, it follows that storage system sales also sharply increased at the end of 2004.

After all, those HBAs are hooked into something, right?

QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC) today significantly raised its revenue guidance for last quarter, following similar announcements last week by its major HBA rival Emulex Corp. (NYSE: ELX) and by LSI Logic Corp. (NYSE: LSI). (See QLogic Raises Revenue Forecast, Emulex Raises Guidance, and LSI Logic Lifts Guidance.)

Financial analysts see rosy guidance from QLogic and Emulex as a good sign for the entire storage industry, which often benefits from a year-end "budget flush." What's more, as the two vendors increasingly move toward delivering HBAs and switches aimed at the low end, their results suggest the SMB networked storage market is beginning to materialize (see HP and QLogic Aim Low and HP SMB SAN Integrates QLogic). Together, QLogic and Emulex have about 80 percent of the HBA market share.

Strong demand for storage products [last quarter] appears to have aided vendors across the board,” analyst Les Santiago of U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray wrote today in a research note. “Our checks indicate a strong demand for low-end switches, and may indicate the first ramp of lower-end SAN system storage products into the SMB market.”

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