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back to article Why is IBM declaring war on Cisco?

IBM is buying Blade Network Technologies (BNT) and people are bemused beyond belief, especially a correspondent who wishes to remain anonymous but is close-ish to IBM. He thinks that the BNT purchase might be "Juniper on the cheap" and if so is "totally stupid." He characterises IBM CEO Sam Palmisano as a CEO who "doesn’t …

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Go

There are some problems with your post.

"Or, we might ask, why didn't IBM buy Juniper or Brocade instead of Blade Network Technologies, a maker of the trivial dumb switch in the middle?"

Because they have some new technology that they haven't announced yet?

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Nortel

The deal had a lot to do with settling Nortel's bankruptcy. Nortel spun out Blade in 2006 but retained a minority position. IBM was always a primary customer for the products.

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Silver badge
Go

No need for any new "tech"...

BNT makes a couple of good products and has a history in switching.

I would imagine that these "dumb" switches as you call them are significant and fit in to IBM's hardware play.

Looking at cloud computing, you're going to want a good efficient ToR switch (ToR== Top of Rack). They have good hardware at a decent price. 10GBe for 10K? Too much? they just released a product that has 1GBe ports w 4 10GBe ports for 'trunking'.

So if you're building a cloud and are standardizing on Ethernet, its a smart move for IBM to take them over.

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This is not about Cisco or Juniper

This is IBM's response to a trend of the server access network edge becoming integrated with the compute platform. This trend is best demonstrated by HP with Virtual Connect. HP has taken much IBM blade server share by integrating networking into the chassis in a way which adds unique, differentiated value compared to third-party switches.

This has become a bigger issue with Cisco releasing UCS, which also provides a compute platform with integrated server access networking and unique differentiation.

BNT makes sense, because BNT already provides products for BladeCenter and iDataPlex and BNT is acquirable.

This will allow IBM to build an integrated blade solution which is more competitive with HP C-Class and Cisco UCS.

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Boffin

For only three decades?

> "IBM has been building multi-processor systems for three decades, ..."

It must be advanced senility; I was sure the S360/67, from the late '60s, was a multi.

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Grenade

How soon we forget...

I'm not sure if its the age of our reporters or just details lost in the past...

IBM essentially dumped its LAN/ATM networking business to Cisco after 1999 when Cisco and IBM established a strategic alliance. Subsequently IBM became a Global Services partner.

Given the work BM does as a Cisco Global Services partner in Unified Communications, it would be doubtful IBM would risk this relationship.

In the context of a unified compute platform aka VBlock, IBM may be looking to build its own fabric interconnect switch and acquisition may be the means to achieve this. This would also mean IBM would be looking to acquire a storage vendor as it lacks its own unified storage platform....

Wait and see.

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Silver badge

To A/C

"Given the work BM does as a Cisco Global Services partner in Unified Communications, it would be doubtful IBM would risk this relationship"

Cisco have entered the Server market and are now pee'ing off their partners, this could be a simple case of IBM getting ready to be shit on by Cisco, so are making preemptive moves and squaring up for a fight.

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Linux

Playing with the big guys.

Yes I think that CISCO have underestimated the 'pissed off' effect their entry into the server marked have had on HP, Oracle,IBM and Dell.

An to be honest I don't know if it's worth it for them.

// Jesper

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lunch, IBM's, cisco wants to eat

Looks as if Sam has finally understood that John Chambers wants to eat his lunch. Very wise to have an alternative.

However, it is quite true that IBM's senior management has never really recovered from the mindset that led it to mess up the networking hardware opportunity in the first place (i.e. 20+ years ago). I'm not sure whether this is a symptom of recovery, or just of continuing to miss the point.

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Flame

Aaaaarrrrrrggghhhh!!!!

"IBM still looses more than it gains"

Looses? LOOSES?

It's not a verb!!!

Makes me angry, shooty stabby angry!!!

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No need for surprise

Couldn't we expect this for quite some time already? It was April 2009 when IBM and BNT signed a cross-licensing deal. Last time I checked (and bought) BNT pricing in IBM BladeCenter also blew Cisco out of the water. I predicted this to some colleagues nearly a year ago so I'm rather surprised it took them this long.

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Linux

Just a first step methinks

Given this move for a workable switch in the blade center and IBM's prediliction for using Linux for a multitude of tasks, I forsee a very intersting fight.

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