Big Blue is buying BLADE Network Technologies in a effort to gain more virtualization expertise and optimize data transactions between servers. The deal is set to close in Q4 of 2010. In the meantime, here's a bit more background on BLADE Network.

Quick refresher: BLADE boasts 9 million installed ports along with their "RackSwitch" technology, which provides physical and virtual servers with connectivity, in addition to storage and regular network duties. BLADE also comes with the VMready badge. BLADE's biggest claim-to-fame is top-of-rack switches, built alongside complimentary software that virtualizes and manages the cloud and other workloads.

So why would IBM want BLADE? IBM and Blade say they've worked together since 2002 and the press release details that over 50% of IBM's System x BladeCenters use BLADE products in some shape or form. Longer term, BLADE cloud help IBM and its channel partners in such areas as cloud computing, virtualization, energy efficiency and analytics, IBM claims.

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