IBM has announced a deal with Brocade Communications Systems to create integrated fibre channel switches for the same line of high-density servers.
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The Brocade switches, called the Entry San Switch Module and the Enterprise San Switch Module, are similar to Brocade's SilkWorm 3850 switch except they will contain a more sophisticated software stack, said Rob Sauerwalt, the global product manager for IBM eServer BladeCentre.
They are designed to be plugged into the backplane of IBM's BladeCentre chassis, just like the Cisco Intelligent Gigabit Ethernet Switch Module (IGESM), which was announced 29 April.
IBM is promoting the integrated modules as being easier to use than externally connected switches.
"They install a lot faster, are managed a lot easier, and they greatly reduce the cable count versus an external solution," Sauerwalt said.
The Entry module will support a two-switch fabric, while the Enterprise module will connect to storage area network fabrics with as many as 239 switches.
Both products will be available in June.
Prices for the Entry product, designed for small and medium-sized businesses, will start at $14,500 (£8,220). The Enterprise module will start at $19,999 (£13,340).
Robert McMillan writes for IDG News Service