Fibre Channel SAN business is down and that is visible from the recently announced revenue figures of the FC trio- Brocade, Emulex and QLogic. As we have seen with Emulex and Qlogic’s results, Brocade has found growth through better business efficiencies, but the basic FC market is widely seen as a maturing one with little or no growth prospects.
Brocade’s first fiscal 2015 quarter netted in $576 m in revenue, but was just two percent higher than the previous quarter. Profits were $87m, in the same area as last quarters $83 m and the year-ago quarter’s $81m.
Sources from Brocade quote that this is still a health stand in the storage world. However, storage analysts predict the repeal.
Two years ago Brocade’s revenue was $589m. In the last four years, their revenue was bound between $540m and $590m and has been declining slowly on an annual basis. Growth in its Ethernet based business has not rescued the situation.
Though, the other two companies i.e. Emulex and Qlogic are smaller than Brocade’s FC and switch business, all three show revenue growth as flattish or declining since 2011.
Analysts feel that while a major chunk of the market is being occupied by iSCSI SAN vendors, the residue is being shared by Virtual SANs pooling server direct attached storage resources as well as by the public cloud storage.
Ironically speaking, FCoE, once seen as a great threat to FC, has not materialized as per the industry expectations with regards to market growth share.
The storage debate these days is not about how you access a single shared storage source, but about which of the several shared storage sources you need to best fit each workload.
To conclude, unless FC SANs show something better than scale-out filers, virtual SANs, cloud storage, HDFS and object storage, their growth is said to face stagnation.