IBM to buy Blade Network Technologies

IBM has announced its push into the realm of data centre networking with the acquisition of Blade Network Technologies.

Announced yesterday, the deal sees IBM buy the networking and blade computing specialist for an undisclosed sum - and gives IBM a significant market share boost in the data centre Ethernet sector.

In a prepared statement, IBM's Brian Truskowski, general manager of the system storage and networking division, saidt he believes the deal, "Will help IBM better integrate networks with its systems, optimising them for workloads that require high-speed and low-latency performance such as cloud computing and business analytics."

It's not the first encounter that IBM and Blade Network has had - Big Blue has been an OEM reseller of the company's specialised switching products since back in 2002. From that perspective the deal makes sense - and doubly so when IBM reports that around fifty per cent of its BladeCenter servers are connected to Blade Network switches in the field.

The acquisition most likely signifies one of two directions for IBM. The first, and most likely, is that by bringing Blade Network under its corporate umbrella, it will be able to reduce margins and better handle the pressure that rivals such as Dell and HP are putting on its data centre business.

The other, and less likely, scenario, is that IBM is gearing up for an all-out assault on data centre king Cisco. With around 53 per cent of all port shipments being Cisco equipment, IBM has a long way to go if it's looking to topple the king - and if that is truly the company's plan, expect this to the merely the first in a line of Ethernet-related acquisitions.