Network vendors jump on HP's new blade server product

Blade Network Technologies and Cisco this week piled onto HP's latest blade server announcement, as the switch vendors each introduced Gigabit Ethernet switch modules for HP's BladeSystem c-Class.

Blade Network Technologies -- a spin-off from Nortel's blade server switch business -- is offering the HP GbE2c Ethernet Blade Switch; Cisco's offering is the Catalyst Blade Switch 3020. Both products add internal network connectivity, security and management features to HP's BladeSystem c-Class, announced Wednesday.

Cisco's Catalyst Blade Switch 3020 can provide Gigabit Ethernet connections for up to 16 server blades in an HP BladeSystem c-Class, connecting to the blades via the blade server chassis' backplane. The Cisco module also has eight Layer 2 external Gigabit Ethernet ports for connecting the chassis to a LAN or data center network. All eight external ports are 10/100/1000Base-T; four fiber-based SFP module slots are also included, which can be activated (requiring four copper-based ports to be deactivated). The switch includes an IOS software image for management and configuration.

The Blade Network Technologies switch -- the HP GbE2c -- provides 16 internal Gigabit Ethernet connections on a 48Gbps fabric, with five external Gigabit Ethernet ports for backbone uplinks. All ports are copper-based RJ-45 connections. The switch can be managed via Web-based and command-line interfaces. The Layer 2 switch can be upgraded with a software image to add Layer 3 routing capabilities. The module also provides RADIUS authentication features.

The Cisco Catalyst Blade Switch 3020 is available now for US$4,400. The Blade Network Technologies switch costs US$1,500 and will be available in July.

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