Enterprise storage companies are likely to feed investors a meat-and-potatoes diet of solid results in the fourth-quarter earnings season. And there just might be a serving of dessert in the form of a significant acquisition by -- or of -- McData ( MCDTA). Emulex ( ELX) kicked off the report festivities with an upside surprise on Wednesday, saying it now expects to post pro forma earnings of 19 cents to 20 cents a share in the December quarter, up from its previous guidance of 13 cents to 15 cents per share excluding items. The frothy preannouncement is also an indication that its rival in the host bus adapter market, QLogic ( QLGC), which has not yet reported or warned, is also in good shape for the quarter, analysts said. Merrill Lynch analyst Shebly Seyrafi said he believes other companies are likely to follow suit. "Major OEM customers such as EMC ( EMC) and IBM ( IBM) appear to be having a seasonally strong quarter, while we believe that Hewlett-Packard's ( HPQ) storage and servers business has stabilized," he wrote in a note to clients. Although their business is somewhat different, it's worth noting that the three major hard-drive vendors, Seagate ( STX), Maxtor ( MXO) and Western Digital ( WDC), raised guidance during the quarter. Keep in mind, however, the fourth quarter is the year's strongest for enterprise storage, as well as most other tech sectors, while the first quarter is the weakest. Seyrafi noted that stocks related to enterprise storage ran up 25% in December, while hard-drive makers appreciated by 21%. December earnings results should be good, but for now, he said, "the majority of the gains in share price are behind us." Tape storage vendors have to worry about more than seasonality. They are under increasing pressure from newer technologies. StorageTek ( STK), for example, is being pushed to cut costs as its market erodes, but because it has good cash flow it has performed well on Wall Street, said Kaushik Roy, of the Susquehanna Financial Group. However, he noted, "the slowing pace of business bodes for a stock correction."