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Lenovo's ThinkSystem product barrage targets data centres

Marc Ferranti | June 22, 2017
Lenovo's new Data Centre Group throws a coming-out party with new servers, switches and SAN arrays.

The servers, switches and SAN arrays join Lenovo's ThinkAgile converged systems. The ThinkAgile brand was first introduced last year with the launch of the HX series of hyperconverged appliances.

Working with companies like Microsoft, Nutanix and VMWare, Lenovo is positioning its  ThinkAgile systems to provide a beachhead into the world of software-defined infrastructure. The idea is to integrate hardware and software into systems that allow users to deploy computing, networking and storage resources through software commands rather than, for example, swapping in purpose-built hardware when they want to make changes.

The ThinkAgile family will include the Lenovo ThinkAgile SX for Microsoft Azure Stack, announced earlier this year and set to be released in the third quarter, for hybrid and private cloud deployments.


The weakest link

Though Lenovo offers the XClarity systems management tool, software is the weakest link in its software-defined infrastructure portfolio. "Lenovo has I would say for the most part a partner-led strategy for software-defined (technology)," said Ashish Nadkarni, an IDC analyst. "In that space it's mostly a partnership with some other ISV or some other company that is willing to provide the software to run on Lenovo's hardware -- they do the engineering and deliver it as a single SKU."

Though the strategy allows Lenovo to say they offer best-of breed software, it has risks, Nadkarni said. In fact, Lenovo has worked with hypercoverged storage vendors Simplivity and Nimble, only to see them acquired by rival HPE earlier this year.

As Lenovo readies the release of its ThinkSystems and ThinkAgile products, plans for its next big move likely involve an acquisition.

On the sidelines of the Transform event, Lenovo's Skaugen acknowledged that software is a missing piece in the company's software-defined infrastructure story. When asked if Lenovo will look to make software acquisitions, Skaugen simply replied "yes" though declined to say whether enterprise cloud software vendor and current partner Nutanix is in the company's sights.


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