Ethernet sales slump punches Brocade in the wallet
Business not so good
Ethernet sales slumped a bit and caused Brocade's second 2012 quarter results to stumble.
Its fiscal Q2 revenues were $543.4m, down 3 per cent sequentially and 1 per cent annually. Half a billion dollars plus revenue is nothing to sneeze at – startups would kill to be in this territory – but it's disappointing if you are Brocade and hungry to become a billion dollar a year corporation.
Profits looked poor as well, at $39m. That was well up on the year-ago quarter's $26m but $20m shy of last quarter's $59m – ouch!
Fibre Channel was okay, down seasonally but okay, with 16Gbit/s product taking the biggest share of sales. Why Cisco isn't doing better here is a standing question. Possibly it has 16 gig FC macular degeneration in its strategic eye. All Brocade can do is say: "Thank you Uncle John," and hope it continues.
Brocade's Ethernet business was down 10 per cent on an annual compare, with Brocade saying Uncle Sam's federal business was a significant cause of that, being down 12 per cent year-on-year and 20 per cent compared to the previous quarter. The company is repurchasing shares to keep investors sweet.
CEO Mike Klayko issued reassuring words about the results: "The Company remains diligent in its efforts to refine and enhance its strategies to appropriately evolve the business while driving growth and consistent profitability." Bet he was a lot less calm and reassuring in private. Brocade's quarterly results have been essentially flat for six quarters in a row and profits have been patchy. Come on Brocade, get your company motoring; Fibre Channel isn't going to last for ever. ®
weak portfolio outside of FCoE?
I keep track of what Brocade does from time to time going back to the Foundry days, was just browsing their products again to see what they offer at the moment and can't help but think their 10GbE offering outside of the "converged" lineup seems quite weak, really no products for that market for the past couple years at least. I am told the VDX line up carries a significant price premium over other 10GbE(assuming others typically are not "converged"), so people are probably not going to buy into VDX unless this pricing strategy has changed or unless they are confident they are going to need the converged stuff.
On the Chassis side the have the FastIron SX and BigIron RX seem to be older technology and not as competitive as they should be. Foundry(from what I recall) always seemed to release innovative platforms for quite a while, has Brocade taken too much resources away from non converged ethernet and put them on the VDX line up? Since their non converged offerings seem to have suffered since the converged stuff came about.
Also it seems that their VDX line up still does not support layer 3. I asked one network engineer last year who was proposing VDX for my company - how do I do layer 3, and he said you'll have to get a NetIron to do that. I went to another manufacturer instead. Foundry seemed to me at one time to really never release a product w/o layer 3 support. I'm not talking about needing to run a routing protocol internally, this is simply routing between VLANs, something every switch should be able to do (short of the really dirt cheap low cost ones of course). Also provide a feature like VRRP or something at least.
Brocade's entry into the 10GbE space on the small end was the TurboIron 24X, another product which lacked layer 3 support from the get go, they eventually added it but like some of the other products it's at least two generations behind the competition. If I recall right it took more than two years to get layer 3 on TurboIron. And VDX has said Layer 3 is coming in a "future release" - how hard can it be? Foundry has more than a decade of experience doing Layer 3 on switches.
They recently released some innovative low cost 1GbE options, but I guess that wasn't enough.