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Host Adapters: Market Leaders, Broad & Niche

Technology companies know one benchmark for survival is being No. 1 or No. 2 in a market segment. The reasons for that is that those leadership positions reflect a vendor's ability to develop leading technology, get products to market first, and to effectively market and sell the products -- all necessary ingredients for consistent top-line and bottom-line growth. If a vendor cannot execute well in all of those areas across a broad market and become No. 1 or No. 2, that company needs to implement a different strategy -- define a niche where it can focus on doing all those things on a smaller scale and become a niche market Leader.

Broadcom's proposed acquisition of Emulex reflects the strategy of many controller/adapter vendors to become broad market leaders. But there's room for only No. 1 and No. 2. The other vendors must be happy to succeed as niche market leaders. Here's my take on the prospects of the leading NIC and HBA vendors:

Broadulex -- Broad CNA Adapter Market Leader

A technology leader for Ethernet NICs and Fibre Channel HBAs. The combination of Broadcom and Emulex is also a brand leader in both segments. According to the April 2009 IT Brand Pulse Leader surveys, Broadcom is perceived by IT professionals as No. 2 market leader for 10-Gbit/s and Emulex is perceived as No. 2 market leader for 8-Gbit/s Fibre Channel HBAs. Broadulex is the only adapter company well positioned today to be a broad CNA market leader.

Brocade -- End-to-End Niche Adapter Market Leader

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