IBM took another crack at the blade server market today, unveiling a 10-Gbit/s switch for its BladeCenter platform, as users begin to think about 10 Gbit/s for their server and storage infrastructures. (See IBM Adds 10-Gig Switch, and Future SANs Stir Debate.)
The new switch is OEM'd from Nortel spin-off Blade Network Technologies. The switch, which slots into the back of IBM's various BladeCenter chassis offerings, is the latest in a slew of blade announcements from IBM over recent months. (See IBM Sharpens SMB Blades, IBM Goes for SMB Blades, and Blade.org Grows to 60.)
The chassis of the Nortel 10G Uplink Ethernet Switch Module for BladeCenter supports up to four of the new switch modules, providing "a 10-Gig connection to the external world," according to Ishan Sehgal, program director for IBM's BladeCenter division. Sehgal also predicts that the 10-Gbit/s switch will prove extremely useful in the media and service provider industries. "For bandwidth intensive applications such as IPTV and multicasting, it's required," he explains.
The vendor's main blade rival, HP, currently offers a 1-Gbit/s Ethernet switch module from Cisco for its own BladeSystem platform, as well as a 2-Gbit/s interconnect switch.
IBM, however, would not reveal the identities of any of the beta customers using the new switch. But Randall Vogsland, infrastructure supervisor at law firm Bowman and Brooke, told Byte and Switch that, for him, a 10-Gbit/s blade switch would be overkill.