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Summary:

IBM is the latest amongst a growing list of hardware makers to release networking gear based on the OpenFlow network protocol. A new 10 GigE switch is going to target cloud/ datacenter markets and compete aggressively with rivals that would include HP and Cisco.

IBM_GreenDataCenter

Big infrastructure upgrades are pushing demand for hardware for data centers, especially networking switches. IBM is the latest to join the party and has just launched a new switch based on the OpenFlow specifications provided by the Open Networking Foundation. OpenFlow is a network protocol that was developed over the past six years at Stanford University and has since  been adopted by many companies. It’s part of the software-defined networking movement we have covered extensively over past few months. IBM showed off the switch in May 2011.

From IBM’s website:

The IBM BNT RackSwitch G8264 is a 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switch specifically designed for the data center, providing speed, intelligence and interoperability on a proven platform. The RackSwitch G8264 offers up to 64×10 GbE and up to four 40 GbE ports—1.28 Tbps—in a 1U footprint.

IBM’s switch is one of the many devices based on OpenFlow currently under development. Hewlett-Packard is working on embracing Open Flow and focusing on flexible programmable networks. (Related research from GigaOM Pro: OpenFlow & beyond: Future opportunities in networking, subscription req’d.) IBM, HP and others are trying to eat into Cisco’s domination of the switch market.

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