Brocade, IBM Could Cross Blades

It looks as if IBM is about to unveil a new blade buddy: Sources say it's Brocade

May 8, 2004

2 Min Read
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IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) is expected to reveal the latest piece of its blade server jigsaw at NetWorld + Interop next week, announcing a new partnership with storage vendor Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD).

Details are fuzzy at the moment, but a number of industry sources have told NDCF that IBM and Brocade will announce that they're cooperating on a specialized SAN switch for IBM's blade server products.

In many ways, this makes sense. A Brocade Fibre Channel switch could make blade servers an increasingly attractive option for those firms keen to integrate blade server farms and SANs. In addition, the SAN switch could be equipped with sofware to help virtualize the data center -- and thereby overcome some of the limitations of running virtualization software on incompatible server operating systems and multi-vendor storage arrays.

Longer term, teaming up with Brocade could help support IBMs current virtualization push. Last month, IBM unveiled its new Virtualization Engine, which extends mainframe virtualization capabilities its servers and to its FastT and Shark storage systems (see IBM Revs Virtualization Engine).

The deal would also make perfect sense for Brocade. Blades are big news at the moment, and there is growing interest in the technology from IT managers who see them as a high-density solution to the restricted space found in many data centers.IBM, which currently leads the blade server market, has been frantically working to forge new alliances around blade technology. Its rationale, quite sensibly, is to target other market leaders.

Last month the company focused on networking by announcing a wide-ranging alliance with Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) centered on blade servers and on-demand computing (see Unknown Document 52422 and Cisco, IBM Bless Blades).

As part of that deal, Cisco announced that it's building a switch for IBM’s BladeCenter product, as well as joining forces with IBM in on-demand computing.

Both IBM and Brocade refused to comment on this story when they were approached by NDCF, so watch this space for more blade server news from N+I next week.

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-gen Data Center Forum0

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