Brocade is adding a host bus adapter to its product offering to allow its channel partners to provide a complete end-to-end storage area network solution.
The products are available from Brocades distributor partners, including Tech Data, Bell Microproducts and Avnet.
"This host bus adapter seems to be a simple, reliable and high-performing product that really optimizes the applications and storage environment for our customers," said Cheryl Neal, director of marketing in the Enterprise Software and Storage Solutions Group for Avnet, in Tempe, Ariz. "We are really seeing a demand for our partners to be able to support the complete solution, and the HBAs are an important component of that solution."
"This announcement is really a commonsense thing," said Tony Craythorne, director of worldwide channel sales at Brocade, of San Jose, Calif. "Because of our overall market share in the network storage market, it makes sense for us to offer a complete solution to customers."
The new 4GB Fibre Channel HBAs are used to link servers to storage and other data center network resources. The adapters, which feature an industry-standard PCI-Express design, are available in both single- and dual-port versions and support multiple operating systems.
The HBAs provide a potential upside for the channel, which is hoping to cash in on a quickly growing market. "These HBAs are appropriate for anyone who needs to connect a SAN to a server," said Craythorne. "Weve done some research, and we still see only 20 to 25 percent of servers are storage area network connected, so there is a significant upside for us and our channel partners."
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Market research firm DellOro Group estimates that the worldwide market for HBAs is about $1.1 billion in 2007 and will surpass $2 billion by 2009.
The new offering provides a complete solution for customers tired of dealing with multivendor environments. "This product is developed to work very well with Brocades existing SANs," said Craythorne, adding that previously, when Brocade didnt have an HBA offering, 70 percent of the calls coming into its support hotline were related to customer questions around how to connect servers and storage using an HBA. "The obvious benefit to customers is the ability to make a single phone call when theres a problem. We are seen as the experts, and supplying the HBA gives customers a single throat to choke."
The new devices offer significant margin opportunity of 20 to 30 percent for solution providers, according to Craythorne. In addition, Brocade is offering around-the-clock telephone support to channel partners and end users.
"We know that QLogic and Emulex own that market, so we have to attract our partners on service and support, and their knowledge that we can build the right products," said Craythorne.
As early as the first half of 2008, Brocade anticipates extending its HBA offerings to include 8G-bps Fibre Channel and 10 Gigabit Ethernet products, said Craythorne.
Such products will be important in the future, said John OShea, tech data director in marketing for Advanced Infrastructure Solutions, in Clearwater, Fla. "Brocade now has the ability to provide an end-to-end solution. With this announcement, they will help push the 8 and 10 Gigabit standards forward even faster," he said.
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