IBM, Cisco team on blade switch

Cisco Systems and IBM plan to collaborate more closely on data center products, beginning with a version of Cisco's Intelligent Gigabit Ethernet Switch Module (IGESM) that will plug into IBM's eServer BladeCenter server chassis, they said late Wednesday.

IBM will improve support for Cisco's products with its management software, including the Tivoli Provisioning Manager and SAN Manager products. It also plans to better support Cisco products with its Global Services group.

"What we're talking about here is a far reaching agreement to really integrate Cisco networking technologies with our systems and software," said Jeff Benck, the vice president of IBM's BladeCenter product line.

Benck declined to say whether IBM planned to work with Cisco on integrating any other switches into BladeCenter. "We're not at this point ready to announce other activities, that doesn't mean we're not working together," he said.

The IGESM module, which can be managed with BladeCenter's management software, will be available in May and will cost $4,999, according to Benck.

Last fall, IBM and Cisco collaborated on a SAN (storage area network) module for Cisco's MDS 9000 family of switches based on IBM's software.

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