Brocade Earnings Call Insights: CEO Search and Storage Climate

Brocade Communications Systems (NASDAQ:BRCD) reported its fourth quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.

CEO Search

Jess Lubert – Wells Fargo Securities: Maybe just to start, I’ve got a couple, but could you provide us with an update on where you are in the search for a new CEO, how the process is going and when we should be thinking about an announcement there?

Michael Klayko – CEO: Jess, this is Mike. I will tell you that the Board is being very diligent and I will also tell you that a lot of progress has been made to the point that this will probably my last earnings call with you.

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Jess Lubert – Wells Fargo Securities: Then I had a question on the enterprise Ethernet business appeared to decline sequentially following a strong July period. As result I was hoping you could discuss what you saw from linearity perspective in that business? What was most responsible for the sequential decline? Is it the fiscal cliff, macro concerns in Europe and if you could help us understand how you are thinking about that enterprise Ethernet component heading into the January quarter that would be helpful?

Dan Fairfax – VP, Finance and CFO: Let me start with that and then maybe Dave Stevens will have a couple of comments as well. So in terms of the Federal fiscal growth I would say we had a very good Federal quarter and so from the standpoint of Federal that was quite strong. We think more general to our enterprise business certainly over the last number of quarters we have been winning significant number of larger deals and the mix in our fourth quarter of larger transactions versus our base level of business wasn’t as strong as it had been in the third quarter. So Dave maybe anything else you want to add on top.

Dave Stevens – CTO and VP, Corporate Development: Yes. I would just reiterate what Dan says that tends to be a little lumpy and we didn’t see those in Q4 where we did see them in Q3. I would say overall we have seen very good growth and a lot of strength in the ICX products. There has been very good reception to the whole HyperEdge messaging combined with the routing products in that space. So that continues to resonate very well. We are continuing to see strength and improvement in the channel programs and partners and the sales force efficiency and so I would really just attribute it to what Dan said with the lumpiness.

Jess Lubert – Wells Fargo Securities: Just the last one for me, in your presentation you mentioned that the IP router revenue was impacted by the delay of several large router projects. Can you provide us with a sense of how much business slipped down into the period, how many deals were involved and when do you expect this business to close?

Ken Cheng – VP, Routing, Application Delivery and Software Networking Group: This is Ken, Jeff. So, as you probably know that our routers sold into both enterprise and service provider markets and we have seen very healthy revenue growth on the service provider market, the softness in enterprise and it’s typically because of the timing of purchases and delay of big deal.

Jess Lubert – Wells Fargo Securities: So, is that enterprise Ethernet weakness a function of router sales?

Dave Stevens – CTO and VP, Corporate Development: Well, I think – this is Dave again. They tend to go hand-in-hand. So, (both ends) it’s not directly related to router sales, but when we go into a larger enterprise network for example, we use routing products in the core and the aggregation layer of those networks and we will tend to use the (actual) products like the ICX up in the closet. So, whether not directly tied together in larger enterprise environment, they tend to get sold at the same time into those environments. So, softness in one tends to come hand in hand with the other one.

Storage Climate

Jason Ader – William Blair: I was wondering, Mike, could you comment on why you think you’re doing so well given the weak backdrop for storage? I mean if you look across the big storage array vendors. It was a pretty brutal last quarter. So, do you think it’s just all 16 gig share gains or what else could be going on?

Michael Klayko – CEO: I think there are a lot of things going on, Jason. First off, I think great products actually can trump some of the headwinds and market conditions whether they’d be just storage related or macro and so we have some great products right now. So, we’re taking advantage of that product lead. Secondly, there’s customer refreshes that are going on. There is a huge opportunity that Jason has identified. It’s probably I think Jason will comment by $10 billion of market out there that we can go actively try to replace with new technology is because as you’re trying to build out these cloud infrastructure, said you want to call on private or public or whatever, that requires highly virtualized environments, Fibre Channel is a good technology for that and we don’t see that change into a long period of time, so you have anything else Jason.

Jason Nolet – VP, Data Center Networking Group: Just to add then maybe reinforce what Mike said, we see a fair number of customers who will do a refresh on the SAN somewhat independent of what they are doing on the storage side and in particular the latest generation of products that we’ve been delivering, what we call the 16 gig portfolio delivers a lot of value with respect to SAN consolidation and additional efficiencies and capabilities native to the SAN independent of how many servers and how storage you might add to the environment, so a fair number of that going on, and then Mike also said, a lot of legacy product out there that needs to be refreshed and again customers are motivated to do that somewhat independently of a refers on either side of the SAN server or storage, so that’s I think the explanation that we’d give you for that?

Jason Ader – William Blair: Just to follow-up on that, when Cisco comes out with their 16 gig product, I don’t know when that’s going to be, but you feel like that’s going to be a headwind for you, number one, and then just secondly, what do you think the SAN market is growing at in calendar 2012 as you put together all you data and you see how you guys have done?

Jason Nolet – VP, Data Center Networking Group: So just to address the competitive angle and then Dan could talk about the market growth. On the competitive side, candidly when Cisco comes out with their 16 gigabit gear, we’ll see that I think and the industry will as a validation that Fibre Channel continues to be the storage networking technology of choice for mission critical applications and as much as Cisco would have driven and FCoE agenda that’s just not seeing traction and they’re going to recognize with the introduction of a 16 gig portfolio that customers want to keep investing in Fiber Channel. So, while it’s good to have competition we see it as direct validation that the customer sentiment and the investment intent around Fiber Channel continue to be very strong.

Dan Fairfax – VP, Finance and CFO: Jayson to answer your question in terms of market growth rates. So, we still see this market growing at about 2% to 5% range same as what we guided to in September, we’re not kind of moving off of that. Again, we see fundamentally the strength of these products not just the bandwidth but the enhancement to the diagnostics and the manage building the operability of these really high end networks is going to continue to expand its growth, but in that kind of range 2% to 5%.

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