Sun released details regarding their new Sun Blade 6000 Network Express Module (NEM). The NEM is a 10GbE switch that requires zero management and provides rapid network virtualization provisioning. The NEM plugs directly into the blade chassis using PCI-Express connectors. This reduces cables, space, cooling, etc. by integrating the switch into the blade chassis itself.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this announcement was Sun’s use of SSD sticks that plug directly onto the motherboard. The SSD serves as a cache drive to speed up performance while drastically reducing energy consumption.
When the rumors of Cisco’s California Server (Now UCS-B) first surfaced, I was convinced that Cisco would create a blade for the Nexus. Instead, my hopes were shattered when Cisco released a separate proprietary box. In the end, Cisco will be attacked on a variety of different fronts; proprietary nature of their solution, storage and server expertise, management capabilities, application knowledge, abysmal software track record, and more.
Sun’s opening salvo on Cisco begins with open vs. proprietary and crescendos with “you don’t know crap about server and storage architecture”. While Sun trails in blade market share, this announcement shows they are still investing in R&D to provide innovative products to the market.
Finally, Sun’s announcement garnered little fanfare. Can you imagine what this would have looked like under IBM’s umbrella? Under the right management team with the right strategy, a Sun acquisition is a gem. Cisco, are you listening?