Cisco, IBM Deal Expands On-Demand Management Offering

The new solutions, which include a Cisco Gigabit Ethernet Layer 2 switch module for IBM's eServer BladeCenter, will round out IBM's offerings and help increase comfort levels by providing preintegrated, pretested equipment, said Chris Swahn, president of sales at Merrimack, N.H.-based Amherst Technologies.

"This is a big win for IBM," Swahn said. The partnership propels IBM past Hewlett-Packard, which has not integrated its own ProCurve network equipment into its autonomic computing strategy, Swahn said.


Cisco's Pierre-Paul Allard says the new products reduce deployment risks.

In expansion of their long-standing strategic alliance, Cisco and IBM said they are bringing together their server, storage, networking and management products to provide an integrated data center automation platform.

"It takes away a huge amount of risk for deployments in the data center," said Pierre-Paul Allard, vice president of worldwide enterprise marketing at Cisco, San Jose, Calif. "It eliminates the human error factor, provides better profitability for our partners and saves time and money."

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The new solution is an extension of Cisco's Business Ready Data Center initiative, launched in April, which provides tested architectural designs, deployment guides and best practices for rolling out Cisco equipment in data center environments.

In addition to launching the Intelligent Gigabit Ethernet Switch Module (IGESM), Cisco also is embedding IBM's Virtual SAN software into its MDS 9000 SAN switch. IBM's Tivoli Provisioning Manager, a component of its Virtualization Engine, will now provide automated provisioning for Cisco gear. IBM Global Services is providing services around the new offerings.

The integration of the two companies' products into a blade server environment reduces management requirements for customers, said Rick Kearney, president and CEO of solution provider Mainline Information Systems, Tallahassee, Fla. "By combining it into one managed system, the day-to-day stuff you spend 80 percent to 90 percent of your time on now is being managed by automated tools," he said.

Available in in June, the IGESM is priced at about $5,000.