IBM Buys Data Center Switching Company BLADE Network Technologies For $400M

IBM today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire BLADE Network Technologies, a privately held data center switching company based in Santa Clara, California.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Update: according to Tech Trader Daily, the transaction is rumored to be valued at roughly $400 million, according to one of the publication’s sources.

BLADE, founded in 2006, specializes in software and devices that route data and transactions to and from servers; the company provides blade server and top-of-rack switches as well as software to virtualize and manage cloud computing and other workloads.

BLADE’s investor line-up includes NEC Corporation, Juniper Networks, an unnamed “third technology industry leader” and Garnett & Helfrich Capital.

IBM and BLADE have worked together since 2002, and according to the release boast “thousands of joint clients”.

The acquisition is anticipated to close in the fourth quarter of 2010, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and applicable regulatory reviews.

IBM has been mighty acquisitive this year, having picked up – deep breath – Initiate Systems, Cast Iron Systems, Sterling Commerce, Coremetrics, BigFix, Datacap, Unica, OpenPages, Netezza and now BLADE. Again, that’s in 2010 alone.

Care to venture a guess which company is next on IBM’s shopping list?