Juniper invests in data center switch vendor Blade

Juniper Networks has invested in Blade Network Technologies, maker and supplier of switches for data center blade servers.

The amount Juniper invested in Blade's $10 million B round of funding was not disclosed. Privately held Blade has accumulated $230 million in funding since being spun off from Nortel in 2006.

Juniper is a new investor in Blade, as is NEC and a third "technology powerhouse" as a silent investor, said Blade CEO Vikram Mehta. Garnett & Helfrich Capital, Blade's founding investor, completed the round with its reinvestment.

Hajime Fukuzawa, chief manager of NEC's client and server division, will join Blade's board.

Blade is an OEM supplier to both NEC and Juniper; Juniper's EX2500 top-of-rack 10G Ethernet data center switch is supplied by Blade. 

"Blade is well aligned with Juniper Networks in our commitment to reduce the total cost of network ownership while providing the high performance, scalability and virtualization required by today's dynamic data center environments," said David Yen, executive vice president and general manager of Juniper's fabric and switching technologies business group, in a prepared statement. "We are delighted to invest in Blade Network Technologies to address some of the most challenging connectivity needs for next-generation networks."

Juniper is working with IBM -- also a BLADE customer -- and other companies on its Project Stratus cloud computing architecture. 

Blade will use the investment to ramp up R&D and sales and marketing. The company plans to develop a 64-port 10G top-of-rack switch and management products for virtualized data centers, and it plans to be the first vendor in the industry to unveil 10G switches at less than $100 per port, Mehta says.

Blade just wrapped a second quarter, which grew 30% from last year and saw the firm ship its 6 millionth Ethernet switch port. That port was shipped to Baidu, the largest search engine in China.

Citing data from Dell'Oro Group, Blade said it ended 2008 as the third-leading vendor of fixed, managed 10G Ethernet switch ports and fifth in fixed, managed 1G Ethernet port shipments.

Separately, Juniper unveiled enhancements to its E Series Broadband Service Router. New features include a line module and multiple IPv6 extensions for scaling subscribers, supporting in-service software upgrades, and dynamically assigning addresses over Ethernet.

The new module, called the Advanced LM10A, doubles the per-slot subscriber density of the E320 while reducing the number of line modules required in the network, Juniper says. The new IPv6 features support dynamic subscriber interfaces and DHCPv6 local pools for dynamic address assignment over Ethernet.

The Advanced LM10A line module and the IPv6 enhancements are available now. Pricing was not disclosed.

This story, "Juniper invests in data center switch vendor Blade" was originally published by Network World.

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