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IBM Adds Brocade Fibre Channel Switch To BladeCenter

IBM plans to expand the connectivity of its eServer BladeCenter architecture with a new storage blade based on a Fibre Channel switch from Brocade Communications.

According to IBM, the new switch will make it the only vendor with a fully integrated Brocade Fibre Channel switch in a blade server system.

IBM Tuesday unveiled two blade switches similar to Brocade's current Fibre Channel switch line, including an entry-level model that supports connections to up to two additional switches in the fabric, and an enterprise-class model that can connect to up to 256 additional switches, said Robert Sauerwalt, global product manager for IBM's blade architectures.

The blade storage switches join similar products from other vendors that extend IBM's BladeCenter capabilities. Those products include a Layer-7 IP switch from Nortel Networks, a Layer-2 IP switch from Cisco Systems, and an interconnect from Myricom for Linux-based high-performance compute clusters, Sauerwalt said.

The Brocade blades are another tool that could help customers cut costs and drive ease of management, he said. "If customers have a Brocade storage fabric, now they have a BladeCenter solution," Sauerwalt said. "The alternates in the past were to rip out and replace the Brocade fabric, or have a mixed-vendor fabric, or offer no Fibre Channel fabric at all."

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