IBM sharpens network offerings by purchasing Blade

IBM Corp. is buying Blade Network Technologies, a private data-routing technology company. Financial terms were not reported.

Blade specializes in software and devices that route data and transactions to and from servers.

The company, based in Santa Clara, Calif., provides blade server and top-of-rack switches as well as software to create and manage cloud computing and other workloads, according to an IBM announcement today.

Blade customers include more than half of Fortune 500 companies across 26 industry verticals, including automotive, telecom services, education, government, health care, defense and finance.

Blade provides software that helps address the massive virtualization requirements of cloud computing environments. Blade software allows servers to more closely integrate with the network so that clients can deploy thousands of virtual machines to run large application workloads in the cloud and reduce complexity through simplified management.

The acquisition will allow IBM to expand systems networking to enable clients to speed the delivery of key information from system to system – for workloads such as analytics and cloud computing – while also reducing data center costs, the announcement states.

IBM and Blade have worked together since 2002, and more than 50 percent of IBM System x BladeCenters currently include Blade products.

The acquisition is anticipated to close in the fourth quarter of 2010, subject to the customary closing conditions and applicable regulatory reviews.

IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., ranks No. 17 on Washington Technology’s 2010 Top 100 list of the largest federal government contractors.