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IBM expands networking channel with Brocade

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From the 'it's all about partners' files:

IBM (NYSE:IBM) does not have its own networking equipment business, but that's not stopping it from selling networking gear. Today, IBM announced a reseller agreement with Brocade that extend their existing partnership.

IBM already had an OEM deal with Brocade whereby it re-branded and soled Brocade SAN equipment. Under the terms of the new deal IBM will now add four Brocade IP networking product families to its mix.

  • The
    Brocade NetIron MLX Series will be resold as IBM m-series Ethernet routers.
  • Brocade NetIron CES 2000 Series as IBM c-series Ethernet switches
  • Brocade FastIron SX Series as IBM s-series Ethernet switches
  • Brocade FastIron GS Series as IBM g-series Ethernet switches

It's an interesting deal that some might see as being competitive against Cisco. Not me.

The truth of the matter is that IBM already is a major partner of Cisco's rival Juniper.

IBM's partnership with Juniper includes the Juniper Ex switching line as well as a strategic play for data center virtualization, which is where the market is moving too. Just last week on Juniper's 1Q09 conference call, Juniper's CEO noted the importance of the IBM parternship to his company.

Now to be fair, the Brocade deal is an OEM deal whereas the Juniper deal (to the best of my knowledge is not). That means that with Brocade, IBM gets to put its name on the equipment which does have a certain value to it. In the mid-market for switching gear it means that IBM (through Brocade) is a name that will be found in networking closets and not just server or SAN racks.

Brocade itself is not a vendor that has been associated with switching for very long. Brocade entered the switching market in July of 2008 after buying switching vendor Foundry for $3 billion.

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