IBM Brocade Relationship Trouble for Cisco?

If you ask Cisco publically what they think of IBM you will get nothing but praise. In fact Cisco counts IBM as a major partner and IBM does the same with Cisco. Oftentimes the companies even promote technologies like collaboration together.

But more recently this alliance seems to be facing a challenge. Cisco as you may recall launched blade server technology recently aimed at IBMS’s sweet spot. Some even called this an act of war.

Cisco of course will tell you publically that the relationship is as strong as ever but the concern for the networking giant has to be the $2-3 billion dollars in business directed towards the company by IBM consultants and other divisions. IBM says even more about their relationship through silence. In fact that is what Peter Burrows got when he was writing an article about the relationship and asked for a quote from IBM.

At Interop 2009 in Las Vegas I had a chance to sit down with executives from Brocade to learn about how IBM will be rebranding the company’s products under its own name with general availability being May of 2009. In addition, we can expect this relationship to expand according to Brocade.

Here are some of the details:
  • Brocade NetIron MLX Series to be rebranded IBM m-series Ethernet routers
  • Brocade NetIron CES 2000 Series to be rebranded IBM c-series Ethernet switches
  • Brocade FastIron GS Series to be rebranded IBM g-series Ethernet switches
  • Brocade FastIron SuperX Family to be rebranded IBM s-series Ethernet switches

Brocade FastIron SX Seriesbrocade-fastiron-sx.jpg

To be fair, there are some who think this new relationship doesn’t affect Cisco and instead is a shot at HP. You can decide that for yourself but in the mean time here are some of the other products Brocade rolled out at Interop recently.

First up is a suite of application delivery controllers known as the ServerIron ADX Series. The product has three initial flavors the ADX 1000, 4000 and 8000 and the size of the units corresponds to the first number meaning they come in 1U, 4U and 8U sizes.

The company also rolled out a new TurboIron GbE switch for top-of-rack server connectivity and a FastIron PoE switch delivering 30W of power per port.

In my meeting some of the main takeaways were that the products are full-featured and cost half of comparable Cisco products or less.

Over the next twelve months we will be able to watch and see exactly how the IBM/Cisco relationship unfolds. In addition, now that Oracle is acquiring Sun, it will be worth noting that the database leader and HP are also worth keeping an eye on. If IBM does start pushing less Cisco product it may lead Cisco down the path of acquiring a consulting company to combat the loss in sales.

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