Infonetics: SAN market hits $1.5 billion on increased FCoE and 16G Fibre Channel switch sales

Market research firm Infonetics Research released excerpts from its 2nd quarter 2012 (2Q12) SAN Equipment market size, market share, and forecast report, which tracks storage area network (SAN) switches and adapters.

The global SAN equipment market, including switches and adapters, grew 15% sequentially in 2Q12


  • SAN adapter revenue fell 2% in 2Q12, due to weakness in the FCoE converged network adapter (CNA) segment, a bright spot just a quarter ago
  • Cisco leads the overall SAN equipment market for the 5th consecutive quarter after posting a 31% increase in SAN revenue in 2Q12
  • Brocade essentially owns the 16G Fibre Channel segment, with an astounding 99% of global revenue market share
  • While sales of FCoE-capable switches are strong overall, adoption lags for FCoE for storage transport.


Author’s Note on FCoE:

FCoE is a transmission method used to connect storage servers in a data center.  The Fibre Channel frame is encapsulated into an Ethernet MAC frame at the server before sending them over the 10 Gigabit Ethernet LAN and de-encapsulates them when FCoE frames are received.  The Ethernet MAC frame is removed at the Ethernet edge switch to access the Fibre Channel frame, which is then transported to the SAN. Fibre Channel encapsulation requires use of 10 Gigabit Ethernet transmission electronics as well as provides for increased server to SAN connectivity.

FCoE encapsulation standards activity took place in the Fibre Channel T11.3 committee (not in IEEE 802.3).



“Skyrocketing shipments of Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE)–capable switches and 16G Fibre Channel products pushed the storage networking equipment market to new heights in the 2nd quarter, passing $1.5 billion,” notes Sam Barnett, directing analyst for data center and cloud at Infonetics Research. “And there’s no end in sight. Thanks to the popularity of social networking and video sharing, as well as advances in cloud computing and the data center, we expect a cumulative $41.7 billion to be spent on SAN switches and adapters in the 5 years from 2012 to 2016.”


Infonetics’ quarterly SAN Equipment report provides worldwide and regional market size, vendor market share, forecasts, trends and analysis for Fibre Channel host bus adapters (HBAs), iSCSI HBAs, FCoE CNAs, and chassis and fixed Fibre Channel and all FCoE-capable switches that are purpose-built for the data center (10G FCoE, FC 2G, FC 4G, FC 8G, FC 16G, iSCSI). Companies tracked include Brocade, Chelsio, Cisco, Dell, Emulex, IBM (BNT), Juniper, Mellanox, QLogic, others.  

To buy the report, contact Infonetics: