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IBM puts SDN unit on the block for $1b

IBM’s big January sale looks set to continue with the firm’s software-defined networking [SDN] business rumoured to be on the market for some $1 billion [£604 million].

Related: IBM invents cloud solution for data centre disruption

Re/code quotes sources familiar with the matter as staying that its Software Defined Network for Virtual Environments is on the block and that the firm has informally approached a number of companies, including Dell, HP, Cisco, Juniper, and Fujitsu, to measure interest.

An anonymous executive at one of the firms mentioned stated that his firm would at least “take a look in order to understand it”, and Re/Code reported that IBM, HP, Dell and Juniper all declined to comment with no representative from Fujitsu available.

In addition, the price tag of $1 billion [£604 million] has been described as “pretty optimistic” by one executive and the chances of getting that much money for the unit seems relatively unlikely at this stage.

SDN itself is a type of networking technology that permits networks to be set up within data centres and configured quickly by using software in the same way that virtual machines are “spun up”. This means that the network benefits from increased flexibility and can be changed more simply without new hardware needing to be swapped out.

Rumours that IBM is looking to sell its SDN business comes after it recently sold its x86 server hardware business for $2.3 billion [£1.3 billion] – the largest ever tech acquisition made by a firm from China.

Related: Lenovo bags IBM’s server hardware business for record breaking $2.3 billion

As part of the deal Lenovo got its hands on IBM's System x, BladeCenter and Flex System blade servers and switches, x86-based Flex integrated systems, NeXtScale and iDataPlex servers and associated software, blade networking and maintenance operations.