Updated: IBM is busy teaming up with every networking company not named Cisco.
On Tuesday, IBM announced a new distribution pact with Brocade Communications, according to various news outlets (Techmeme). IBM will rebrand Brocade's gear and use its sales force to distribute them. Big Blue has resold Brocade switches, but now will offer all gear---including the routers and switches Brocade acquired via Foundry Networks.
Toss in IBM's partnership with Juniper Networks and there's a clear "anyone but Cisco" model emerging. Juniper and IBM also said Tuesday that they will broaden their partnership. IBM already sells Juniper gear and two companies now plan to demonstrate their joint cloud technology abroad.
While IBM's move is notable from a data center sports perspective---Cisco is encroaching on IBM's server market---the Brocade deal is just a reselling pact. As CNET News's Maggie Reardon notes, IBM sold its networking business to Cisco in 1999.
But as data center players morph---Oracle buying Sun; HP picking up EDS; Cisco getting into servers---IBM has to play the networking game just to be complete. For Brocade, the IBM deal is huge. Brocade gets distribution and some potential IBM merger rumors---you know they're coming---to boost its stock.