Why would IBM choose to enter the Ethernet networking business in the face of entrenched networking giants like Cisco? More important, why should you care?
Four important IT trends are reshaping data center networks and are at the heart of IBM’s system networking strategy:
- System virtualization—driving up network bandwidth requirements and challenging traditional network-based performance and security policy enforcement approaches
- Distributed application models—increasing the proportion of “east/west” traffic in the data center and amplifying the importance of very-low latency network fabrics
- Rapidly growing storage requirements—forcing organizations to reconsider their storage networking strategies
- Integrated-system solutions—attempting to address data center cost and complexity concerns in a holistic way, across the traditional silos of systems, storage and networks
IBM recognized that networking, particularly the switches at the data center network edge, can either enable or inhibit your success in addressing those strategic trends. Consequently, IBM founded System Networking and has since established a strong position in high-performance, open-standards-based data center networking. IBM is focused on innovations that bring speed and intelligence to the data center network edge.
So why should you care?
- IBM brings speed to the data center network with a portfolio of 1 Gb, 10 Gb and 40 Gb Ethernet switches with industry-leading price/performance.
- IBM brings intelligence to the data center network with VMready technology, which enables IBM switches to dynamically recognize virtual machines and automate the movement of VM-specific port profile information (and comes at no additional cost on IBM Ethernet switches). Additionally, we offer the IBM Distributed Virtual Switch 5000V for VMware, which brings—among many other capabilities—support for the open-standard “Edge Virtual Bridging” (IEEE 802.1Qbg) for automating the network response to VM provisioning and movement.
- Not only are IBM’s switches industry leaders in low latency, moving network traffic with up to 11.5 times lower latency than other comparable switches, but our portfolio provides simple, low cost components with which you can build optimal server and storage connectivity fabrics.
- All IBM 10 Gb and 40 Gb Ethernet switches support the lossless Ethernet standards, which, while essential to Fibre Channel over Ethernet, can also provide performance benefits for Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) and network-attached storage (NAS) connectivity.
- IBM reduces system complexity with the industry’s broadest range of integrated solutions options—and, especially, with IBM’s PureSystems, Expert Integrated Systems.
Given IBM’s focus on the data center network edge, our switches are almost always used in conjunction with other-vendor networks—from the core, to the wide area, to campus and wireless networks. Consequently, IBM is committed to ensuring seamless interoperability with other-vendor gear: both through adherence to open standards as well as through third-party testing and interoperability certification (for example, proven interoperability with Cisco switches).
Beyond our industry-leading price/performance and technology innovations, IBM brings you a unique holistic view of your entire IT infrastructure—including servers, storage, networking and software—enabling your strategic business initiatives. You may find the IBM System Networking value proposition compelling—as have over 350 of the Fortune 500 companies.
Please share your thoughts. How are these trends affecting your organization? What other trends do you see driving your data center networking infrastructure?