Two weeks ago HP ProCurve launched a new line of blade switches, the 6120XG and the 6120G/XG, which plug into the same blade enclosures as HP’s BladeSystem servers. These switches were meant to replace the switches which HP OEMs from a third party, most likely Blade Network Technologies’ BNT switches.
Now Cisco has launched the Nexus 4000, a blade switch which also fits inside a blade server enclosure. Like other switches in the Nexus family, the Nexus 4000 runs the NX-OS operating system, which Cisco designed for converging LANs and storage-area networks (SANs). The switch is also designed to support converged, data center Ethernet, the pre-standard technology that will allow data centers to run server and storage traffic across the same wire.
Although the Nexus 4000 is part of Cisco’s Nexus switch family, Cisco is only selling it through OEM channels, specifically blade server vendors. These are the same server vendors that Cisco now competes against with its Unified Computing System, a line of data center technologies which includes blade servers. It remains to be seen how enthusiastic vendors like IBM and Dell will be about selling a switch from a server competitor with their blade server systems. I doubt HP will be interested, given that it just launched a similar product.