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LSI Logic's Hidden Storage Gem: Page 2 of 4

The company's storage networking division, however, has become a bright spot amidst the gloom. To a historically strong storage chip-and-subsytem OEM business -- which includes clients like IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HWP), and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) -- LSI has recently added its own branded line of storage systems, as well as hardware and software for SAN and NAS implementations. The potential for growth in the storage markets has, in part, led several analysts covering the company to project a long-term per-share price of $30 or more.

According to Flavio Santoni, vice president of marketing for LSI's Storage System division, the company realizes that it has a perception problem when it comes to its storage assets.

"Many people don't even know the storage division exists," Santoni says. "We are now taking a more proactive stance to make sure the world understands our business."

According to LSI, the storage division actually came into the world in 1972, initially as a division of NCR (NYSE: NCR). Long a leader in storage technology innovation (the company claims to have developed the first SCSI chip and the first Fibre Channel RAID system), the storage division became a company called Symbios Logic, which was acquired by Hyundai Electronics America in 1995. In 1998, LSI Logic bought Symbios from Hyundai for $760 million.

As part of LSI, the storage division has become acquisitive itself -- snapping up two firms last year, Ark Research and Syntax, which, added software smarts in, respectively, the areas of virtualization and network-attached storage management.