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IBM To Offer Unique Switching Capability In Blades

IBM is expected to announce at Networld + Interop today a deal with Brocade that would position Big Blue as the sole server vendor offering a fully integrated Brocade Fibre Channel switching capability in a blade configuration.

The agreement removes an obstacle for existing customers who had been unable to take advantage of Brocade's advanced functions in a blade server environment. (Blade servers are stacked in a chassis, and take up significantly less room than conventional servers.)

Brocade is offering two products. The Brocade Entry SAN Switch Module and the Brocade Enterprise SAN Switch Module. The Brocade Entry SAN Switch Module can be expanded to accommodate growing small and midsize businesses, while the Brocade Enterprise SAN Switch Module delivers full SAN fabric support for large Storage Area Networks and can connect to fabrics that comprise up to 239 switches. The Brocade Modules "plug" into the BladeCenter chassis, allowing the switches to leverage the cooling and power design of BladeCenter. Because the switches are integrated, customers do not need to purchase additional cabling, power supplies or cooling, according to IBM.

The Brocade Entry SAN Switch Module and Enterprise Switch Module will be available in June 2004. Pricing is to be announced.