Menlo Park, CALIF. — U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray Managing Director and Senior Semiconductor Analyst Ashok Kumar delivered insight into the future of the storage-networking sector in an in-depth research report. Kumar believes that while fibre channel has established an early market lead in the storage networking market, its success in the long run against such entrenched networking competitors as Gigabit Ethernet, 10 Gigabit Ethernet and Internet Protocol (IP) is highly questionable.
“We believe the storage networking technology is in the very early stages of its development and represents an enormous market opportunity,” said Kumar. “We expect IP storage products, expected to ramp in 2001, to prevail over fibre channel, as they will offer comparable levels of performance and reliability at much lower price points. As practically all network area storage (NAS) products communicate over IP, they are likely to be complementary to IP storage products.”
While fibre channel has an early lead in the storage-networking sector, Kumar believes its future is hampered by:
1) lack of skilled fibre channel talent, further precluding the technology’s adoption;
2) stiff competition from the Ethernet/IP industry;
3) schizophrenic implementation as both a shared-media loop topology and as a switched fabric topology; and
4) confusion within the fibre channel industry, leading to a lack of common industry vision being communicated.
“Considering the issues with fibre channel and the relative strength of Ethernet/IP, we believe fibre channel appears to be headed for mothballs the same way Fibre Distributed Data Interface (FDDI), Token Ring and many other networking technologies have gone,” said Kumar. “In our view, the future of fibre channel companies rests in their ability to migrate their storage area network (SAN) functionality from fibre channel to Ethernet/IP. While Ethernet and IP have not been used for storage traffic, we believe they will make a profound impact on the storage networking industry when introduced.” For more information, please go to http://www.gotoanalysts.com .
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