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IBM and Juniper Tighten Bond

IBM and Juniper extended their recent partnership so IBM will now be reselling Juniper EX 4200 and 8200 series of Ethernet switches and MX series of Ethernet routers. In addition to providing another distribution outlet for the Juniper gear, the agreement underscores changes in data center product design and the scrambling that vendor have been doing to position themselves to take advantage of that change.Consolidation is the watchword in the data center, where vendors are trying to build large, new, multipurpose switches capable of supporting a companys server, networking, and storage requirements. As this transition takes place, the traditional dividing lines among products -- as well as competitors -- have been blurring.

Juniper and IBM have been working together since 2007 when IBM's Global Technology Services group began reselling Juniper's products. Recently, IBM and Juniper combined to work on Stratus Project, Juniper's take on how to create a single data center fabric. The latest announcement further extends their partnership.

But just how strong that relationship is is unclear at the moment. Earlier in the year, IBM signed an OEM agreement to resell Brocades Foundry switches, which bang heads with the Juniper products. IBM also recently announced that it would OEM Cisco's (Junipers arch rival) Nexus 5000 data center switch. So it seems like IBM is trying to solidify its position as a systems integrator while also trying to avoid taking sides in the emerging battle among the traditional networking suppliers as these next generation systems take root.