IBM expands storage networking partnerships, product lines

By Kevin Komiega

-- IBM is beefing up its Fibre Channel, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and Ethernet networking portfolio through a series of expanded OEM partnerships with Brocade, Cisco, and Juniper Networks.


IBM is now shipping the IBM Converged Switch B32 and 10Gbps Converged Network Adapter (CNA) for IBM System x -- its first FCoE offerings – which are manufactured by Brocade.


IBM and Cisco have entered into a new deal that arms IBM's Systems & Technology Group sellers and partners with the ability to sell Cisco's Nexus 5000 Series Switches. The Nexus 5000 family is comprised of high-performance, low-latency switches that support lossless 10GbE, Fibre Channel and FCoE.


IBM will rebrand and resell selected switches and routers from Juniper's EX and MX product lines. The deal expands upon IBM and Juniper's existing relationship, which includes a reseller agreement with IBM Global Technology Services, as well as collaboration on Juniper's Stratus Project, and IBM's ten worldwide Cloud Labs.

IBM is enlisting its Global Technology Services arm to deploy the networking gear and offers IBM Systems Director and Tivoli network management software to manage the data flow.

The new partnership agreements fall under Big Blue's Data Center Networking (DCN) initiative – a push to create more efficient data center networks – and comes on the heels of related announcements made with Brocade and QLogic within the past few months.

IBM and Brocade extended their ten-year relationship beyond Fibre Channel SAN switches last April, when IBM announced plans to resell Brocade's full complement of enterprise IP networking switches and routers.

The amended OEM deal between the two companies built upon an existing SAN partnership under which IBM has been selling Brocade's DCX Backbone, Fibre Channel directors, switches, and related software. The new deal has IBM selling Brocade's NetIron MLX Series, NetIron CES 2000 Series, FastIron GS Series and FastIron SuperX family of Gigabit Ethernet and 10GbE products.

In addition, IBM is integrating QLogic's single-chip 8100 Series CNAs for native FCoE connectivity in IBM's mainstream server portfolio.

IBM plans to offer native FCoE connectivity on all of its rack and tower series servers, including the new Intel Xeon 5500-powered BladeCenter and System x servers.

Related articles:
IBM to resell Brocade's IP networking gear
IBM picks QLogic adapters for CEE, FCoE connectivity
IBM upgrades enterprise storage systems

This article was originally published on July 23, 2009