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Emulex heads for the Rockies

While it's no surprise that staffing is high on the list of difficult tasks these days, Emulex Corp. has taken the jobs to the talent and opened a new Research and Development center in Longmont, Colorado's High Tech corridor.

"We plan to embrace the wealth of technical talent in the Boulder/Longmont area and actively recruit engineers with diverse and leading-edge skill sets," commented Ron Quagliara, senior vice president of research and development and CTO at Emulex.

"Emulex will also work closely with the local technical colleges and universities in an effort to broaden the company's talent pool. Additionally, the new site is closer to many of our key customers and both current and potential strategic partners."

The new center will play host to a number of development projects aimed at designing connectivity solutions for Fibre Channel SANs and, in the longer term, other technologies like Infiniband.

Gartner Group analyst James Opfer thinks the timing is right. "Emulex is the market leader in revenue in a rapidly expanding market for Fibre Channel host bus adapters (HBAs). The rapid growth of this market makes expansion of necessary staffing a challenge. The new Emulex location will allow them to draw from existing talent in Colorado to supplement their ongoing expansion in California."

But the talent pool wasn't the only draw for Costa Mesa, Calif., based Emulex. The company is strategically placing its new facility within minutes of some of its larger companies, including Compaq Corp.'s StorageWorks, and McData Corp. "In addition to drawing on existing storage-related talent, location in Colorado facilitates interaction with Compaq, a key customer, and McData, a key customer/partner," Opfer said.

The company attributes its expansion and the need for a new R&D facility to the booming Fibre Channel market. Emulex took the gold in the host bus adapter (HBA) arena. "Fibre Channel is 94% of our $119 million total revenue," said Mike Smith, vice president of worldwide marketing, Emulex Corp.

Prior to the investment in the new facility Emulex had a small, six-person lab in Dallas. Today, that's just not big enough to support the company's longer-term business goals. "You have to spend a lot of engineering costs to get a design Win. We're accelerating growth on a technical side," says Smith.

Opfer says that the while Emulex has good market position, it will take smart investments to stay on top of the mountain. "We expect continued growth of Fibre Channel components at least out to 2004 with the HBA market in 2004 expected to be 4X that in 2000. Emulex must invest effectively now to maintain its position."


Smith said that Emulex will be pumping a minimum of $5 to $6 million per year into the new effort.

Down the road, Smith said, the expected staff of 20 engineers will be given projects involving technologies other than Fibre Channel. "We see Infiniband as a key enabling technology. Our goal is to bridge the FC SANs (storage area networks) with Infiniband."

Smith said that Emulex announced it would support Infiniband development and we should see the company's first-generation Infiniband products rolled out in approximately 18 months.

Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor

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