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Brocade & HP: Blade Brothers

Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) have announced a partnership based on blade server switching.

Brocade is planning to embed its 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel switches into HP BladeSystem enclosures by the second quarter of next year. The switch will be built on the same architecture as the Silkworm 4100 that Brocade announced last week (see Brocade First With 4-Gig, Last With CUP).

This is the first design win for the new ASIC on which Brocade has built its 4-Gbit/s switch. Also, Brocade's will be the first switch HP integrates into its blade server chassis.

The deal appears to be as much about jockeying for position in the blade computing arena as it is about technology. Indeed, for both Brocade and HP, it represents a counterpunch against rivals in the emerging blade server market (see On the Edge of a Blade).

Brocade is looking to grab the lions share of the blade switch market, which it forecasts will reach more than $150 million by 2006 (see Brocade Outlines Market Plans). Brocade also is striking back at QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC), which has made inroads at HP at Brocade’s expense.

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