The recent acquisiton of one privately-held fibre channel company by another at the end of last month attracted little attention. But Vixel Corp’s acquisition of fibre channel switch start-up Arcxel Technologies Inc, on undisclosed terms, adds a significant new player to the exclusive group of gigabit switch companies that has until now consisted of only […]
The recent acquisiton of one privately-held fibre channel company by another at the end of last month attracted little attention. But Vixel Corp’s acquisition of fibre channel switch start-up Arcxel Technologies Inc, on undisclosed terms, adds a significant new player to the exclusive group of gigabit switch companies that has until now consisted of only two players: Brocade Communications Systems Inc and Ancor Communications Inc. Vixel, a seven year-old Bothell, Washington-based company, which acquired the fibre channel business of Western Digital Corp back in 1996 (CI No 2,847) has in fact been in the fibre channel hub market for some time, and has agreed to acquire Arcxel so it can expand its product line into high-end switches. Vixel, which has concentrated on the storage area network market, has some significant OEM customers: it signed up Sun Microsystems Inc in 1994, and provided some of the technology behind Sun’s original SparcStorage Array, and the more recent Enterprise Network Array A5000 (CI No 3,276), for which Sun is using the Vixel Rapport 1000 FC storage interconnect hubs and optic tranceivers. And last year it signed an OEM deal with Compaq Computer Corp, thought to be worth around $50m over three years. It also has an OEM deal with NEC Corp, and has worked with Hewlett-Packard Co. As a result of the partnerships, Vixel claims to have shipped over 50,000 gigabit hub ports for the Unix and NT marketplaces. Arcxel, from Irvine, California, is a start-up founded by refugees from Emulex Corp and Storage Technology Inc. At the end of last year it introduced its first product, the eight port AGS/8 Fibre Channel Fabric, providing simultaneous support for both Fibre Channel arbitrated loop and point-to-point networking topographies. It also provides support for heterogeneous computing setups and is said to offer seamless migration from hubs to switches. Vitel says it intends to ramp up the manufacturing, service and support for companies who have evaluated and expressed an interest in the Arcxel product. The combination of Vixel and Arcxel could affect Brocade’s deal with Digital Equipment Corp to integrate the Brocade Silkworm switch into DEC’s StorageWorks (CI No 3,282), given the fact that Compaq already uses Vixel products for its fibre channel storage area networking. Following the deal, Vixel announced that it would sell off the assets of its gigabit transceiver design and engineering fabrication arm, based in Broomfield, Colorado, to a newly formed company called Cielo Communications Inc, in order to concentrate on fibre channel systems. Cielo will offer gigabit- per-second physical layer technology to the data communications and telecommunications market.