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IBM, Cisco Partner To Integrate Switches, Blades

IBM and Cisco on Thursday announced an agreement under which IBM will ship some of its servers with an embedded Cisco switch.

The first example will come out next month when IBM's BladeCenter will offer an already-integrated Cisco switch, the Intelligent Gigabit Ethernet Switch Module (IGESM).

The goal, said IBM and Cisco, is to make IBM's blade server rack easier to manage by reducing the complexity inherent in trying to piece together gear from different vendors.

The switch will make BladeCenter the de facto standard in blade servers, claimed IBM, and turn it into a multifunctional center able to house servers, storage, and networking equipment. The Cisco switch will plug into the rack, but will be managed by the same Tivoli-based tools as the blade servers. Other IBM software, including its just-announced Virtualization Engine, will also be deployed on the IBM-Cisco hardware mix.

The wide-ranging joint venture will also involve other Cisco and IBM products. Cisco's Business Ready Data Center, a platform that covers a variety of technologies, will be optimized by Cisco and IBM for the latter's hardware. IBM is fine-tuning its Tivoli SAN Manager to support integrated management of the virtualization services on Cisco's MDS SAN switch platform, and will enhance Tivoli Provisioning Manager to support the automated server provisioning features found in several of Cisco's switches and security modules.