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Gadzoox to sell technology behind its Fibre Channel switches

Posted: 27 Jun 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Gadzoox Networks? ASIC? core? silicon IP? Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop?

Following three years of declining sales and a change in management, switch maker Gadzoox Networks Inc. has decided to provide its core silicon intellectual property to other manufacturers. The company said it will supply ASICs, cores, firmware and technical support for its Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop and Fibre Channel switching fabric lines to chip, card and system makers beginning immediately.

Gadzoox said it has already lined up two OEMs and one semiconductor company to purchase its silicon technology under its new FabriCore Engine program. It has also struck a deal to trade its Fibre Channel intellectual property for iSCSI cores from an iSCSI chip specialist to help it get a jump start on that fast-growing segment of the storage networking market. Gadzoox declined to identify any of the four companies in those deals, which have yet to be formally announced.

The move to sell its core technology comes on the heels of losses and a dramatic decline in annual sales for the once pioneering Fibre Channel company, which saw sales dip from $48 million in the year ended March 2000 to $22 million for the fiscal year ended March 2002. The Gadzoox board appointed former vice president of engineering Steve Dalton as president and chief executive officer on May 30, replacing founding chief executive Michael Parides, who resigned.

Dalton said he was aware of the technical and marketing challenges that have thwarted other silicon intellectual property providers, but said Gadzoox would package its IP in an effective manner by supplying ASICs or cores in register transfer level code, netlists, firmware, development environments and testbenches for its IP customers.

With the unannounced deals in hand, Dalton said the company's sales have already shifted to about 15 percent silicon intellectual property. He expects Gadzoox to make about half its sales at the IP level within a year.

"We will be the only company supplying Fibre Channel switching silicon as IP," Dalton said.

Gadzoox could release iSCSI switch products as early as August based on the intellectual property it is now licensing from an unnamed iSCSI chip company, he added.

Gadzoox claimed at early market lead in the mid-1990s with its Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop products before Brocade Communications Inc. drove the market toward Fibre Channel switch fabric products. Gadzoox later developed its own switch fabric products but has only been able to eke out a distant second place to Brocade with an estimated 12 percent market share, compared to 59 percent for Brocade, which develops its own Fibre Channel switch chips.

Under Dalton's plan, Gadzoox could see "modest but realistic growth of 3 to 5 percent" in the near term, he said. He expects the storage-area networking industry targeted by Gadzoox to grow at a compound annual rate of 25 percent over the next several years, despite the general downturn in the IT market.

? Rick Merritt

EE Times

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