Infonetics: 16G Fibre Channel leads high-performance interconnect market

July 1, 2013
Market research firm Infonetics Research forecasts that the SAN and high-performance interconnect market will top $9 billion by 2017, with the high-performance interconnect segment gaining ground as 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GE), 40GE and 100GE transport become the norm for networking within the data center.

Market research firm Infonetics Research forecasts that the SAN and high-performance interconnect market will top $9 billion by 2017, with the high-performance interconnect segment gaining ground as 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GE), 40GE and 100GE transport become the norm for networking within the data center.

Nevertheless, the leading manufacturers in the SAN and high-performance interconnect markets all had a down quarter in 1Q13, according to Infonetics.

Following massive growth in 2012, the market for storage area network (SAN) and high-performance interconnect equipment, including converged FCoE/Ethernet switches and converged network adapters, slumped 13% sequentially in 1Q13, but is up 45% from the year-ago quarter.

Worldwide revenues for SAN equipment, including Fibre Channel switches and iSCSI and Fibre Channel host bus adapters, also declined to $604 million in 1Q13, an 8% drop from 4Q12.

"While most SAN equipment languished in the first quarter of 2013, 16G Fibre Channel switches put up a very strong showing," said Michael Howard, Infonetics Research's co-founder and principal analyst for carrier networks. "Sales of chassis 16G Fibre Channel switches grew 45%, and fixed switches more than doubled from the previous quarter."

Howard adds, "The bulk of 16G Fibre Channel deployments continue to be inter-switch link applications, but with server input/output capabilities rising with the introduction of Intel's Romley, and with Emulex's and QLogic's first 16G Fibre Channel adapter shipments, we expect a more meaningful adoption of 16G for server connections to begin in 2013."

The initial pent-up demand that provided a jump start for 16G Fibre Channel switches is still in motion, but Infonetics believes it will soon slow and settle into a growth pattern more in line with the 8G segment of the market.

Infonetics' quarterly SAN report provides worldwide and regional market size, vendor market share, forecasts through 2017, trends and analysis for chassis and fixed Fibre Channel switches; Fibre Channel and iSCSI host bus adapters; chassis and fixed converged FCoE and Ethernet switches; and converged network adapters. Companies tracked: Alcatel-Lucent, Brocade, Chelsio, Cisco, Dell, Emulex, IBM (BNT), Juniper, Mellanox, QLogic and others.

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