The current storage area networking market is unusually open to private companies and startups, according to a recently published survey from Heavy Reading, the market research division of Light Reading Inc., Byte and Switch's parent company.
Results from Heavy Reading's Fall 2003 Storage Networking Market Perception Study show that prospective buyers of SAN products are more aware of smaller suppliers than purchasers in other technology markets tracked by Heavy Reading, such as the telecom equipment markets.
Market perceptions toward makers of Fibre Channel SAN systems illustrate the openness that SAN buyers have toward smaller vendors. In a market segment peppered with some of the biggest names in the computing and technology industries, private company XIOtech Corp. was recognized by nearly 30 percent of the 199 respondents to this product category, according to Heavy Reading. Another private company, Chaparral Network Storage Inc., registered on the radar screens of nearly 20 percent of those respondents.
Those results stand in sharp contrast to Heavy Reading's Fall 2003 survey of prospective buyers of core routers. In that survey, the leading startup vendor, Caspian Networks Inc., was recognized by only 14.6 percent of that survey's 212 respondents, while fellow startup Procket Networks Inc. was named as a supplier by less than 10 percent of prospective buyers.
In general, vendor brand recognition among prospective buyers in the SAN market is much more evenly distributed than in other technology markets surveyed by Heavy Reading. In the Fibre Channel SAN survey, nine vendors registered on the radar screens of at least 50 percent of the respondents, with the three most recognized suppliers -- EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) -- all topping the 80 percent mark.