Cisco Catches McData

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Just three years after entering the storage switch market, Cisco Systems has caught high-end market leader McData, according to Dell’Oro Group.

Thanks to 50% sequential sales growth in the third quarter, Cisco’s $70 million in modular switch sales places the company “neck-to-neck with McData as the number one supplier of the high-end modular segment,” Dell’Oro said in its SAN Quarterly Report.

McData had modular switch sales of $71.3 million in the third quarter, followed by Cisco with $69.7, Brocade with $49 million, and QLogic with $1 million.

Sales of Fibre Channel storage area network (SAN) switches enjoyed healthy 13 percent sequential growth in the third quarter, paced by 25% growth in high-end modular switches.

Pricing remains aggressive in the sector, with modular switch prices falling by 6 percent in the quarter and Cisco’s average selling prices declining by 10 percent, Dell’Oro said. Brocade’s modular switch business swelled by 30% in the quarter, thanks to aggressive pricing of its 4Gbps platform.

“Brocade’s aggressive low price on their new 4Gbps platform, the 48000, has also resulted in extraordinary sales growth,” said Tam Dell’Oro, president of Dell’Oro Group. “Brocade’s average price per port on 4Gbps is about $100 below the 2Gbps systems offered by their competitors.”

McData grew more modestly, plagued by ASIC supply constraints and EMC’s lengthy qualification of its Intrepid 10K modular switch. EMC has said little about the delay in qualifying McData’s high-end switch, but Dell’Oro wondered if EMC was once again playing hardball with its offspring, is it did two years ago.

“We wonder whether EMC’s slow approval of McData’s new flagship product is also an act of punishment,” the report said.

Fixed SAN switch revenue was flat, meanwhile, with Brocade maintaining its lead both in the fixed and in the overall market.

Dell’Oro thinks demand for blade servers bodes well for FC SAN sales, noting that the FC SAN attach rate for blade servers is nearly 40 percent, twice the overall server market.

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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