Lenovo updates ThinkServer portfolio as it aims for top spot in server market

Lenovo's fifth-generation ThinkServers are based on Intel Xeon E5 v3 chips

Lenovo has released the next generation of its ThinkServer line of x86 servers based on Intel’s new Xeon E5-2600 v3 processor platform, and said that it intends to use its strength in the PC market and its upcoming acquisition of IBM’s server division to make itself the number one server vendor globally.

At a launch event in London, attended by V3, Lenovo’s ThinkServer leader for the UK and Ireland Thomas Goodwin said the firm is already the fastest-growing server vendor in the US, and once the IBM acquisition closes later this year, will become the third-largest global vendor overnight.

“Following on from that, our plan is to leverage the strengths we already have in the market thanks to Lenovo’s existing PC business and eventually go from number three to number one,” he said.

Lenovo was keen to stress that it and IBM would provide continuity for customers following the acquisition, with ongoing support provided for both IBM’s System X line and Lenovo’s own ThinkServer systems.

The firm also said it was committed to both brands, with Goodwin stating that Lenovo will “keep full production development for both ThinkServer and System X to the end of the current development cycle.” However, this only guarantees that the System X line will continue in its current form for the next couple of years.

Meanwhile, Lenovo’s latest ThinkServers are unashamedly targeting enterprise customers as well as the firm’s traditional small-to-medium business (SMB) niche in the server market.

When pressed about the potential crossover between the two brands, Goodwin told V3 that it was about giving the customer as much choice as possible.

“We will let customer needs drive what is the right solution,” he said.

The fifth-generation ThinkServer models are available immediately and comprise the TD350 tower server and a pair of rack-mount servers, the 1U RD550 and 2U RD650, all based on the Xeon E5-2600 v3 processor platform that Intel launched earlier this month.

To differentiate its new line-up from rivals, Lenovo has integrated Raid controller functionality onto the system board, freeing up I/O channels for other hardware. It also claimed that its servers are designed to be able to operate at higher temperatures – up to 45 degrees – enabling data centre operators to save on cooling costs.

The TD350 is aimed at customers with large, standalone workloads, Goodwin said, and can be fitted with up to 32 2.5in drives in order to deliver as much storage capacity as possible.

This theme is continued with the rack systems, with the RD550 offering “the performance and capacity of a 2U system in a 1U form factor”, according to Goodwin, while the RD650 has eight PCI Express slots and can be configured with up to 26 2.5in drives.

Lenovo has also partnered with EMC on storage products, offering customers EMC’s ScaleIO software-defined storage (SDS) appliance for deployment on clusters of ThinkServers, and the LenovoEMC VNX 5150 Storage Array, an entry-level storage-area network (SAN) device based on EMC VNX technology.

While the ScaleIO solution is regarded by Lenovo as the way forward for scalable data centre storage, VNX 5150 is being offered for “customers who are not yet ready for software-defined storage”, according to Goodwin. It offers Fibre Channel (FC) Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and iSCSI connectivity in a 3U chassis with capacity for up to 125 drives.

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25 September 2014 | 2:43 pm – Source: v3.co.uk

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