IBM gets 10 Gigabit Ethernet on blade servers

BLADE Network Technologies and NetXen have teamed up to provide 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity for IBM BladeCenter systems.

In a bid to both extend the market for blade systems and take 10 Gigabit Ethernet blade systems mainstream, the companies are anticipating strong demand for 10 Gigabit Ethernet blade servers for virtualisation and High Performance Computing, but also bandwidth-intensive apps such as IPTV and massively multiplayer online gaming.

The BLADE 10Gbit/sec switch provides 20 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports, with 14 internal to the chassis and six external, for connection to the network. The BLADE switch is used with IBM BladeCenter via a dual-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet expansion card from NetXen, which can support multi-protocol offload.

"We are taking datacenter performance and affordability to the next level for enterprise customers and paving the way for mainstream adoption of 10GE blade systems," said the President of NetXen, Dave Pulling.

The BLADE Nortel 10Gbit/sec Ethernet Switch Module is priced at $9,799 and the NetXen 10 Gigabit Ethernet Expansion Card is $899, with immediate availability from IBM.

The announcement, from the summit, coincides with the first anniversary of the organisation. Set up in 2006 by the likes of Intel, IBM, Citrix and Nortel, it has been trumpeting the investment made in the blade market - $1bn (560m) via more than 50 venture capital companies.

Intel and IBM first went public with design specs for the BladeCenter platform back in September 2004.

They decided that companies that base their designs on the BladeCenter platform would not have to pay any royalties or license any patents. The only charges the partners make is if manufacturers need the assistance of their engineers.

According to IDC it is the industry's fastest growing server market segment predicted to reach $11bn (6.6bn) in revenue by 2010.

A Blade Server consists of a motherboard with single or multiple processors, memory, a network connection and sometimes storage. The ultra-thin devices are intended for use by large computing centres where space is at a premium.