HP c-Class BladeSystem shops will finally be able to connect their systems to a Cisco Unified Fabric, using the new Cisco Nexus B22 Fabric Extender (FEX) for HP announced on Friday.
This is not a corner case. Despite stiff competition, HP BladeSystem still leads the market for blade servers, as Cisco leads the enterprise 10Gb Ethernet switching market with its Nexus 5000 and 7000 switches. But competition between the two vendors over the past couple of years have shut these two worlds off from one another, as Cisco hoped to push its network customers to Unified Computing System (UCS), and HP tried to lure its BladeSystem users to its 3COM gear.
Now, the two companies appear to have reached a détente. With the Nexus B22 FEX in place, HP BladeSystem users can consolidate multiple 1Gb Ethernet links on to a single 10Gb link, reducing cabling, NICs, power consumption, and operating expenses. The FEX also enables support for Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), and enables a single point of management in to Nexus 5000 and 7000 series switches.
The Nexus B22 FEX is currently available from HP and its partners for a starting price of $9,799.