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IBM, Nortel team up for development center

The facility will initially focus on blade servers, as the two companies work together to cut costs, design new gear.

IBM has joined forces with Canadian telecom gear maker Nortel Networks to set up a center that will initially focus on new blade servers, the companies announced Friday.

The center, to be stationed at Research Triangle Park, N.C., is part of an agreement reached between the companies that is intended to help them cut costs and design new products and services by tapping each other's expertise.

The IBM-Nortel tie-up follows a similar alliance announced between Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Networks on blade server architecture in January this year. Blade servers are thin systems that slide side-by-side into a chassis with shared networking and power components.

Early this week, IBM announced its intentions to lure small businesses to use blade servers, which are so far fancied mainly by large customers with computing expertise.

The center, manned by personnel from both the companies, will create a new class of blade servers that combine IBM's server know-how and Nortel's carrier-grade communications expertise, the companies said.

Bill Zeitler, senior vice president of IBM Systems and Technology Group, said in a statement that he hopes the tie-up will "reduce complexity and cost of service delivery" while designing innovative on-demand services.