Last Thursday, data-center hardware and services provider Brocade Communications Systems (Nasdaq: BRCD) reported first-quarter GAAP earnings of $0.05 per share, down from $0.12 per share a year ago. Revenues came in a bit light at $348 million, up 55% over last year. Such a hefty year-over-year increase would usually be a good sign, but most of that growth was of the disappointing organic variety.

In particular, that boost comes from the fat acquisition of McDATA that closed exactly one year before the end of the just-reported quarter. To give you a sense of scale, Brocade came up with $224 million in revenues in its first quarter of 2007. McDATA's last quarterly report, which ended in October 2006, produced $156 million in revenue. At least from here on out, you should be able to compare year-ago data on a kumquats-to-kumquats basis, rather than guess at the contribution from McDATA.

For the next quarter, management sees between $340 million and $355 million in sales, which is relatively flat compared with this quarter and year over year. GAAP earnings per share should stay about the same as this quarter, at $0.04 to $0.05 per share. An inspiring growth story this ain't.

That's a stark contrast to major competitor Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO), where storage network systems saw a 30% year-over-year sales boost this past quarter. Emulex (NYSE: ELX) is growing its trailing sales at 20% a year. Only QLogic (Nasdaq: QLGC) among the main rivals appears as stuck in the mud as Brocade over the past year.

Management is talking up growth opportunities fueled by server virtualization and "the quest for efficiency in the data center." Networked storage plays well to both of those demands, so Brocade clearly wants the likes of VMware (NYSE: VMW) and Citrix (Nasdaq: CTXS) to succeed and drive demand for network-attached storage (NAS), storage area networks (SAN), and other acronymous data-access technologies.

Looking at these results and the near-term outlook, I'd say those growth drivers haven't quite kicked in yet. And Brocade's management would agree, noting that only about 5% of all enterprise servers are virtualized right now, with plenty of growth left to achieve.

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Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure doesn't really miss being on call 24/7 for server support.