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IBM To Add BLADE to Cloud Computing Infrastructure Portfolio

By Charlene O'Hanlon
September 27, 2010 - News

IBM has announced its intent to acquire BLADE Network Technologies, a vendor of blade server and top-of-rack switches as well as software to virtualize and manage cloud computing environments.

BLADE, the server networking company spun out from Nortel Networks in 2006, specializes in hardware and software that connects servers. As IBM pushes further into the virtualization and cloud computing space, BLADE’s technologies are a necessary component.

IBM notes that the two companies have been working together for a number of years, and more than 50 percent of IBM’s System x BladeCenters in use attach to or use BLADE products.

The BLADE software, in particular, will help IBM in its cloud endeavors, as it specifically addresses the virtualization requirements of cloud computing environments. BLADE software allows servers to more closely integrate with the network so users can deploy thousands of virtual machines to run large application workloads in the cloud and reduce complexity through simplified management, according to the company.

For IBM partners, the acquisition means a deeper product portfolio for cloud computing.

“This acquisition is a continuation of IBM’s ongoing investments in technologies and capabilities to optimize systems for new and more demanding applications and workloads," said an IBM spokesperson. “This year, for example, IBM has introduced a full new lineup of optimized systems that incorporate innovation at each level of the system – from microprocessors to hardware and software. IBM Business Partners have been and continue to be an important channel for BLADE technology."

The BLADE acquisition is the latest in a series by IBM to strengthen its data center offerings to incorporate optimization into each level and help save customers money by reducing data center costs. The company noted that it has forged relationships with various vendors over the past 18 months to expand its core networking business, and the technology acquired through the BLADE buy will help connect these technologies to build seamless networks.

“BLADE will help IBM better integrate networks with its systems, optimizing them for workloads that require high-speed and low-latency performance such as cloud computing and business analytics," said Brian Truskowski, general manager of IBM System Storage and Networking.

Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter, were not disclosed.

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