Dell is integrating a Cisco Systems switch into its blade server chassis, a move designed to improve the connectivity of the systems while increasing rack density capabilities and reducing cabling.
The Cisco Catalyst Blade Switch 3030 was designed jointly by Dell and Cisco to fit in the PowerEdge Blade Server Enclosure, said Ryan Franks, an enterprise marketing manager with the Round Rock, Texas, computer company.
“It rounds out our offerings of I/O interconnects,” Franks said.
Dell already offered integrated InfiniBand connectivity in the chassis through Topspin switches, and Fibre Channel connectivity via switches from Brocade and McData.
The new Cisco switch, which will be available in the next few weeks starting at $4,799, brings integrated capabilities for Ethernet users, Franks said.
Having the switch on the chassis means users no longer have to connect the servers to the network or other devices through a 1U (1.75-inch) external switch, he said.
In addition, it can reduce cabling from the 20 or so needed with external switches to a maximum of six, he said.
It also will enable users to continue using their CiscoWorks network management software. The new switch can be managed via the platform.
In addition to the new switch, Dell also announced that it is joining the Cisco program for the enterprise, meaning Dell will now be able to sell Cisco storage switches and InfiniBand-based server fabric switches.
Dell, with its PowerEdge 1855 systems, is a distant third in the highly competitive blade server space, according to analyst firm IDC, of Framingham, Mass.
In the third quarter 2005, IBM held a 42 percent revenue market share, followed by Hewlett-Packard, at 31.6 percent, according to IDC numbers. Dells market share was at 9 percent.
Overall, blade shipments jumped 72.1 percent in the quarter, with revenue growing 96.8 percent. Overall, blade revenue for the quarter was $569 million, about 4.6 percent of the overall server market.