Fibre Channel Switch Sales Up In Q4

Fibre Channel

Fibre Channel switch revenue jumped from $464 million in the fourth quarter of 2007 to $483 million in the fourth quarter of 2008, Dell'Oro Group found, chalking that growth up to price appreciation as users opt for higher-priced and higher-featured new-generation platforms.

And while Fibre Channel switch sales were up, Dell'Oro Group found that sales of Fibre Channel host bus adapters dropped to $195 million in the fourth quarter of 2008, compared to $228 million in the fourth quarter of 2007. That decline, Dell'Oro Group said, is "in sympathy with the declines in the server market."

That mixed bag of ups and downs pushed the overall SAN market, combining Fibre Channel switch and host bus adapter sales, down to $678 million in the fourth quarter from $692 million in the fourth quarter a year prior.

"The Fibre Channel adapter market is not feeling the reward of users migrating to the higher-priced, higher-featured products," Dell'Oro Group founder and President Tam Dell'Oro said in a statement. "Instead, this market is characterized by an increasing portion of lower-priced blade server adapters."

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Despite the adapter market slowing, dragging down the overall SAN market, Dell'Oro said there are two silver linings on the horizon.

"First, the only thing slowing down users' appetite for bandwidth are layoffs, and ultimately, demand from the remaining employees must be serviced," Dell'Oro wrote. "Second, users will have a great choice to fulfill this pent-up demand: 8-Gbps Fibre Channel or Fibre Channel over Ethernet [FCoE]."

In the fourth quarter, Dell'Oro said, users started trialing Cisco Systems' Nexus 5000 switch enabled with FCoE software and the adapters from Emulex LP21000 and QLogic QLE 8000.