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InfiniBand Merger in Play?

Consolidation among two InfiniBand startups may be in the cards, as management software vendor Lane15 Software and IB switch provider InfiniSwitch Corp. are discussing a merger, according to sources close to both companies.

The deal is allegedly in motion to satisfy the requirements of IBM Corp.'s (NYSE: IBM) server group, which is said to have requested more "end-to-end solutions" from the gang of startups building point products for the InfiniBand market.

"It will make IBM's life much easier, sourcing the InfiniBand subnet manager software and InfiniBand switches from a single entity instead of multiple parties," says an industry source, who requested anonymity. "And a merger strengthens the cash base of these startups, who have no revenue at this point."

IBM did not return calls for comment on its InfiniBand plans. However, the company did come out in praise of the technology last month, announcing its intentions to ship a complete line of 4x (10-Gbit/s) InfiniBand host channel adapters (HCAs), switches, and fabric management software for its Intel-based server lines by the end of the first quarter of 2003 (see Server Vendors Hold IB Pep Rally).

Neither startup would confirm or deny the merger talks. Lane15 and InfiniSwitch "have a pretty big customer we are both working on product for," says Patricia Friar, director of corporate communications at Lane15. "It makes sense to work together." But she wouldn't say whether that customer is IBM (see Lane15 and InfiniSwitch Team Up and Lane15 Works With IBM).

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