Lenovo Ups Data Center Game

Mike Vizard
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Flash Storage Architecture: What's Available and Why It Matters

By this time, it’s not much of a secret that Lenovo has had designs on being a major player in the data center, ever since it moved to acquire the x86 server business of IBM.

Today, in advance of a Lenovo TechWorld event this week, Lenovo revealed that it has developed a new implementation of its network operating system (NOS) for data center environments while refreshing its own line of servers.

Lenovo also unveiled a V-Series family of 12Gb SANs that can be configured as all-Flash arrays or as hybrid storage systems capable of supporting both Flash and magnetic storage devices, while formalizing  alliances with Cloudian and Nexenta Systems under which software-defined storage (SDS) software will be bundled with Lenovo x86 appliances. The Nexenta software enables Lenovo to add a unified storage appliance capable of supporting both block and file storage running in all-Flash, hybrid or magnetic storage configurations, while the Cloudian software provides Lenovo with an object-based storage system.

Radhika Krishnan, executive director and general manager for converged infrastructure and networking in the Lenovo Data Center Group, says the Lenovo Cloud NOS will become a core element of Lenovo’s approach to making it possible for IT organizations to build and manage software-defined data centers. The reason Lenovo built its own NOS, says Krishnan, is that such environments require networking environments that can scale to support tens of thousands of systems. The Lenovo Cloud NOS will be deployed on top of data center switches from Juniper Networks that Lenovo previously agreed to resell.

On the server side of the data center portfolio, Lenovo refreshed its x3850 and x3950 X6 servers by adding support for the latest Intel Xeon E7-4800 and E7-8800 v4 processors, which Lenovo says deliver up to 39 percent more performance than the previous generation of Intel servers. This line of servers can be configured with up to 12TB of memory and features what Lenovo describes as a  modular “compute book” design that makes it simpler to upgrade and maintain these systems.

Lenovo also unveiled the ThinkServer sd350, an ultra-dense, 2U four node (2U4N) system designed for data centers that require maximum processor density in a finite amount of space.

Finally, Lenovo this week is showing for the first time 1u and 2u hyperconverged appliances it has developed with Nutanix.

While Lenovo is certainly upping its game in the data center, it clearly has a long way to go before usurping server leaders such as Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Dell, which will soon include EMC. But for the first time, it’s also starting to look like Lenovo has the product portfolio in place to make that challenge more serious than it’s been to date.

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