IBM quietly has entered into a patent cross licensing agreement with BLADE Network Technologies, Inc. BLADE was formed when Nortel sold parts of their Blade Server Switch Business Unit to Garnett & Helfrich Capital. For the past three years, BLADE has been providing IBM with data center networking solutions for their BladeCenter, iDataPlex, and System Cluster solutions.
Why is this announcement important? First, BLADE’s technology (via Nortel) is decent and innovative. Second, this announcement gives BLADE the ability to create products for the next generation data center to compete with the likes of Cisco and HP. Finally, IBM gets a vehicle (BLADE) to attack Cisco’s flank and create solutions around BLADE’s products.
But wait, doesn’t BLADE produce products for HP? Sure, but HP has all the pieces they need to produce next generation products without third party solutions. How much longer will that relationship last? Wouldn’t HP want ProCurve blades in their switches?
Time, money, M&A, and visionary determination are going to shape the next generation data center. IBM has been doing recon on this space for years and its time for them to act. IT is changing, are you?