I am pleased to report that love still blossoms eternal for the SAN market. I just returned from Las Vegas where I made the annual pilgrimage to EMC World 2011 along with 8,000 or so customers to participate in EMC's launch of their latest storage technologies that enable customers to build their own roadmap to the cloud. In three days we conducted over 100 customer meetings in a "revolving door" fashion. So while it did remind me a little of speed dating, I didn't hear expressions such as "So what's your sign?" (My wife says using an example like that is dating myself to which I respond...."that's because no one else will date me".) But the "line" I heard over and over from real IT people running real IT shops was that they are being told: “Do more with less, faster.”
We understand that particular challenge and received a lot of great feedback when we showcased our 16Gbps Fiber Channel technology to customers. With our 16Gbps announcement and EMC’s launch under the Connectrix brand later this year we will have at least an 18 month time-to-market advantage ahead of the other guys. That means we will be walking down the aisle of SAN-wedded bliss before the competition even gets a phone number.
Along with the full customer meeting schedule, the Brocade team once again ensured that we stole the show with an eye-catching booth presence and technical breakouts with standing room only. As a side benefit, all of this activity left very little time to donate large sums of cash to the Black Jack table (I think I finally learned my lesson that the house always wins).
After three days of meetings I left more assured than ever that the SAN market is in for some healthy growth in 2011 and next year. Customers are voting for FC SAN big time and we are in the middle of a very positive technology cycle. There was zero talk of FCoE – and I mean zero. The Ethernet market is heating up for us, however, and EMC showcased a number of very elegant solutions based on new core EMC technology (VPLEX, Greenplum, Isilon and VNXe) with packaged and integrated Brocade 10GB Ethernet products. This opens up a whole new and exciting chapter in our long-standing and very successful partnership with EMC.
The highlight of EMC World for many visitors was the annual Brocade Party where we invited 1500 or so customers (and our favorite EMCers) to join us for night of relaxation, cocktails, great music and lots of “networking”. This year’s event was another huge hit with highly sought-after tickets (well actually they were pink wrist bands) exchanging hands in return for all sorts of favors.
Two other bits of big news this week – one good and one very bad. Good news is I learned there is a sequel coming up to the cult movie “The Hangover” – possibly one of the funniest “guy” movies ever made. The bad news is the Sharks lost again to the Red Wings in Motor City (Stanley Cup Western Conference semi-final) and are now tied 3-3 and going into the deciding game 7 tonight. OK - I have seen this movie before and I didn't like the ending. Of course, I will be there to cheer them on and I am remaining optimistic but here's hoping that this year's sequel is better than last year's. Go Sharks!