The combined SAN market grew by 15% in 2010, to US$2.76 billion worldwide, Infonetics said on Monday. Revenue growth was driven mainly by Cisco Systems, which posted a 60% increase in SAN switch revenue in 2010, according to Infonetics’ calculations.
Brocade is still the biggest vendor, but its market share dropped by 6% points in 2010, while arch rival Cisco saw its chunk of the market grow by 7% points.
Going forward, Cisco is in a good position because of its lead in the Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) switch segment, widely seen as the future networking technology of the data center, according to Infonetics. Worldwide revenue from the technology jumped by more than 200 percent in 2010, but that was from a small base, it said.
FCoE is used to encapsulate Fibre Channel frames in Ethernet packets. Today’s data centres typically run multiple separate networks: an Ethernet-based network for client and server communications and a Fibre Channel-based SAN for just storage traffic. By consolidating the two, companies can lower costs, improve flexibility and simplify management, according to proponents of FCoE.