QLogic sues Emulex, but not over technology

February 16, 2010 – The two Orange County, CA archrivals are at it again. QLogic has filed a lawsuit against Emulex, claiming false advertising, unfair competition and trade libel relating to a blog post, a video posted on YouTube, and public statements made by Emulex.

I debated long and hard about blogging about this but, hey, it’s a storage story (and a good one) and thanks to TheStreet.com it’s public knowledge.

James Rogers, a writer for TheStreet.com, broke the story. See “QLogic Sues Emulex Over Ads.”

According to QLogic’s complaint filed in the Superior Court of California, County of Orange, an Emulex executive allegedly made false comments when he stated in a public conference call:

“First, we have the only . . . CNA design wins in the market that are being used to service both the Ethernet NIC requirements, as well as the storage networking needs of the OEMs. Other competitors that are shipping FCoE CNAs are only able to address the storage connectivity requirements, because they lack a complete certified and hardened Ethernet stack to support demanding server requirements.”

According to QLogic’s complaint, “These statements were untrue and the defendants knew they were untrue.” The complaint goes on to claim that QLogic’s 8100 series of CNAs do in fact have a “complete certified and hardened Ethernet stack to support demanding server requirements” and that the CNAs have been qualified by a variety of IBM divisions, as well as Dell. [They’ve also been qualified by Cisco, EMC, NetApp and other OEMs.]

QLogic’s complaint also states that Emulex’s video “purporting to show an egg frying on a QLogic semiconductor chip is intentionally misleading and intended to deceive potential customers of QLogic products.”

In partial summary, the complaint states: “Defendants advertising and public proclamations were untrue or misleading, and likely to deceive the public in that: (i) they falsely state that QLogic’s products are not able to address both the Ethernet NIC requirements and the storage networking requirements of potential customers; and (ii) they falsely suggest that QLogic’s products create a greater potential for datacenter failure than Emulex’s products [due to heat issues].”

I’m not taking sides here, but it would appear as though QLogic has a legitimate complaint. If its CNAs could not fully support network and storage traffic, and/or had any serious liabilities on the heat side (as alleged in Emulex’s video), I doubt that those CNAs would have been certified by virtually all of the leading storage/server OEMs. After all, Cisco, Dell, EMC, IBM, NetApp, etc. aren’t exactly slouches when it comes to testing and certifying products.

Instead of putting out a disingenuous (albeit humorous) video and making what seem to be false, or at least misleading, public statements, Emulex should have leaned on whatever verifiable facts it has to make its competitive case.

This certainly isn’t the first time these two companies (which used to be the same company) have gone after each other, and it certainly won’t be the last as the CNA battles heat up and the war for dominance in the converged data center becomes fully engaged.

Related blog post:

FCoE CNAs: The battle lines are being drawn

For an interesting comparison of the QLogic and Emulex CNAs (which I don’t necessarily agree with), see “Deep Dive: Assessing Virtual CNAs for 2010 Installation,” by Wikibon.org member David Floyer.

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posted by: Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson, Editor-in-Chief
by Dave Simpson
Editor-in-Chief

Dave Simpson has been the Editor-in-Chief of InfoStor since its inception in 1997. He previously held editorial positions at publications such as Datamation, Systems Integration, and Digital News and Review. He can be contacted at dsimpson@quinstreet.com

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