Blade switch specialist Blade Network Technologies and 10-Gig Ethernet 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 aim to address demand for faster throughout from blade servers as a result of virtualisation and server consolidation. The companies also cited high performance computing workloads and bandwidth-intensive applications associated with internet protocol-based TV (IPTV), web 2.0 multi-player online gaming and security 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 (£282) per port.

The Blade 10GE switch provides 20 10GE ports, including 14 inside the chassis and six external ports for connection to the network. The switch is used with IBM BladeCentre 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.

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 center 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 10GB Ethernet Expansion Card is $899. Both are now available from IBM.