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IBM and Cisco are putting their collective weight behind data center hardware, announcing plans to create tighter links between their respective server and networking products.

The companies are to combine Cisco's Business Ready Data Center marketing concept with IBM's equally moving On Demand Operating Environment marketing concept. Puffing away the fluff, customers will find actual product, with Cisco switches being built-in to IBM's blade servers, new combined performance monitoring tools and a new set of IBM services aimed right at shared IBM/Cisco data centers.

IBM and Cisco already work together quite a bit. IBM resells a number of Cisco switching products for IP and Fibre Channel networks.

The companies will add to this, starting in June, when Cisco's Intelligent Gigabit Ethernet Switch Module (IGESM) is integrated with IBM's BladeCenter systems. IBM reckons the Cisco gear will help improve the security, quality-of-service levels, multicast technology and management of its blade servers. Both companies will help customers design blade systems to make the best use of the products.

The two companies also plan to allow IBM's Enterprise Workload Manager and the Cisco's Content Switching Module (CSM) to exchange data relating to software loads and hardware health. IBM's Tivoli Provision Manager has additionally been tuned to work with Cisco's Catalyst 6500 Content Switching, Firewall and SSL services modules; the IGESM; and the MDS 9000 SAN switch family.

IBM has warm bodies in its services group standing by to greet the new product in June. ®

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