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IBM launches Virtual Fabric Architecture for BladeCenter

In order to help increase speed and efficiency of data transfer across blade servers and networks, IBM has launched a Virtual Fabric Architecture comprising new interconnect technologies and management tools for its BladeCenter H system.

IBM says the explosion of new business technologies such as quad-core processing and virtualisation, are driving the need for high bandwidth interconnect technologies to move data traffic across high capacity networks.

To help unleash the power inherent in the BladeCenter H design to further support such cutting edge technologies and applications, IBM will be working with a number of partners to introduce successfully its Virtual Fabric Architecture.

Partner technologies include the Nortel 10G Ethernet Switch from BLADE Network Technologies and NetXen 10G Ethernet Expansion Card. Cisco has provided an embedded switch designed to allow customers to deploy end-to-end Cisco intelligent San services, such as VSans, advanced security, and high availability.

IBM’s own BladeCenter Address Manager allows for the I/O virtualisation of Ethernet and Fibre Channel connections within a system by providing BladeCenter customers the option to assign Ethernet and Fibre Channel port addresses used by their server blades via software as an alternative to the addresses that are burned in to the hardware during manufacturing.

Since its introduction in 2002, IBM has installed more than half a million BladeCenter systems and has the challenge of delivering new technology advances that remain compatible with IBM's original design. It has to, otherwise key customers may look elsewhere, and the blade market is highly competitive.

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