Partners Line up Behind IBM


Yesterday we picked up the news of IBM's new BladeCenter thin-client solution, but there was a whole lot more going on at the company's PartnerWorld event in St. Louis. In short, those of you working off IBM platforms are going to see a whole new data center in a few short years.


The most significant change is likely to be IBM's rejection of the client-server model that has served so well over the past several decades. CEO Sam Palmisano told the group that, having shed the PC business a number of years ago, he is quite comfortable shifting the company's entire focus onto turning the server into a centralized application mechanism, rather than a simple network crosspoint. Not only will you get greater flexibility and higher server utilization, but significantly reduced capital and maintenance costs on the client side.


But this being PartnerWorld, most of the action came from third-party suppliers eager to tap into the new IBM vision, and quite possibly pick up one of the many Beacon awards being handed out. A firm called MiraLink, for example, demoed a series of real-time disaster recovery appliances that use the Tivoli Continuous Data Protection (CDP) software to provide constant remote mirroring and seamless recovery.


Another potentially significant relationship has emerged between IBM and Acopia Networks, designed to incorporate Acopia's ARX file management and FreedomFabric network OS into the IBM System Storage N-Series. The tie-up provides everything from data migration and load balancing to file virtualization.


Another interesting match-up is with Teak Technologies, one of the founding members of Blade.org, which seeks to foster interoperability between the various blade systems on the market. The firm is currently touting the I3000 10 GbE system, which the company touts as a "congestion-free" Ethernet switch. Installing it in a BladeCenter environment quadruples load-invariant, loss-free link utilization, which conversely lowers the number of managed uplinks by a factor of four.


Clearly, IBM is not the only provider with a deep list of partners. But if you're already heavily invested in legacy IBM systems, you'll most likely be facing some data center infrastructure issues soon.