N+I: QLogic teams up with IBM for server blade

IBM will incorporate QLogic's integrated Fibre Channel input output (I/O) technology, dubbed "Fibre Down," into IBM server...

IBM will incorporate QLogic's integrated Fibre Channel input output (I/O) technology, dubbed "Fibre Down," into IBM server blades, the companies announced at the NetWorld+Interop 2002 trade show in Las Vegas.

The arrangement is one of the first wins for IBM's BladeCenter Alliance Program.

Fibre Down technology features a Fibre Channel host adapter, a management controller, and any necessary switches - all on a single chip. This makes Fibre Down well suited for ultra-dense server environments such as blade server networks. Fibre Down will also speed the implementation of server blade networks by reducing the complexity routinely associated with the installation of HBA and standalone switches, according to IBM.

IBM's BladeCenter Alliance Program fosters interoperability between IBM BladeCenter server blade products and those of other companies.

Introduced last month, the first IBM server blades are expected to arrive in the second half of 2002. IBM's eServer BladeCenter server blades will pack high-performance, two-way server modules running Intel's Xeon MP processors as well as IBM's own Power chips. The systems will fit 84 servers to a single industry standard server rack.

IBM's blades will compete against blade offerings from Hewlett-Packard/Compaq, Dell, and Sun. IBM's competition in the server blade market each uses a different mixture of I/O for their individual blade products, ranging from standards such as Compact-PCI, NEBS, and Gigabit Ethernet.

Experts predict that server blade manufacturers will eventually settle on a common standard for blade I/O, but caution that such a consensus could take as long as two years.

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