Blade switch specialist Blade Network Technologies and 10Gig Ethernet (GE) vendor NetXen have collaborated to deliver what they described as "the industry's first solution offering 10GE connectivity for blade servers".

Blade and NetXen are members of, the organisation set up a year ago by blade server market leader IBM to encourage development of third party products on its platform.

The products are aimed at addressing demand for faster throughout from blade servers as a result of virtualisation and server consolidation. They also cited high performance computing workloads and bandwidth-intensive applications such as IPTV, Web 2.0 and massively multi-player online gaming as drivers for the technology.

The product set includes Blade's Nortel 10Gbit Ethernet switch module (10GbESM) and the NetXen 10G Ethernet expansion card which provides 10GE at under $550 per port.

The Blade 10GE switch provides 20 10GE ports - 14 inside the chassis and six external ports for connection to the network. The switch is used with IBM BladeCenter in conjunction with NetXen's new dual-port 10GE expansion card, which also supports multi-protocol offload.

The combination is claimed to improve throughput, reduce host CPU utilisation to boost system performance and enable a converged network fabric consisting of data and storage.

Blade marketing manager Shailesh Naik said: "Working with NetXen and other members has enabled us to innovate and create products on the cutting edge. Together, we offer our enterprise customers integrated solutions that extend the market for blade systems into hot new areas like VoIP, IPTV, gaming and security."

NextXen president Dave Pulling said: "Our collaboration with BLADE Network Technologies to deliver the blade server industry's first native 10-Gigabit Ethernet solution is an important milestone. Working together through, we have brought to market an end-to-end solution at breakthrough pricing. We are taking data centre performance and affordability to the next level for enterprise customers and paving the way for mainstream adoption of 10GE blade systems."

The Blade Nortel 10Gb Ethernet Switch Module is $9,799 and the NetXen 10G Ethernet Expansion Card is $899. Both are available today from IBM.