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IBM Flashes McData Switchblade

IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) has grasped another rung in its climb up the virtual data center ladder, using SAN connectivity to gain purchase.

At the Blade Server Summit conference in Santa Clara, Calif. today, IBM announced a Fibre Channel fabric switch module from McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA), augmented with bundled software from VMware Inc. for its eSeries BladeCenter server (see IBM Announces VMware/McData Bundle).

The news highlights growing interest in making storage networks part of virtualized data center resources collapsed into blade servers. It also throws into relief a complicated mesh of partnerships underlying the trend.

IBM's new modules use previously announced hardware from QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC), combined with software from McData and firmware from both Qlogic and McData (see McData Hops on QLogic Blades). The blades will allow BladeCenter chassis to link to all kinds of McData Fibre Channel switches, including directors like the i10K (see Anybody Want a High-Speed Director?).

IBM may be the first supplier to offer a McData switch blade, but it won't be the last. Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) and Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL) also should have a McData switch blade for their respective blade servers "in the near future," according to Jonathan Buckley, VP of software, internetworking, and blade switch business at McData.

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