Lenovo, StorMagic partner on hyperconverged low cost ROBO solutions

Lenovo teams up with software-defined storage vendor StorMagic to offer three new hyperconverged offerings. They are unlikely to be their last.

Brian Hamel Lenovo

Brian Hamel, Vice President and General Manager, Lenovo North America Enterprise Business Group

Lenovo has announced a partnership with Bristol U.K.-based software-defined storage vendor StorMagic, which will see Lenovo offer three 1U and 2U low-cost hyperconverged solutions for remote-office/branch office (ROBO) markets.

“The Lenovo enterprise server family goes from very low end to very high end, but this announcement targets more of the low end,” said Brian Hamel,  Vice President and General Manager, Lenovo North America Enterprise Business Group. “We are focused on driving costs out and becoming dominant at the low end of the server market, because that’s 60 per cent of the space.”

StorMagic’s SvSAN virtualized shared storage is designed for this space, being purpose-built for the ROBO market as well as SMBs. It works in both VMware and Hyper-V environments, and with any 2-node x86 server set up. The solution is highly scalable and can be deployed in larger companies. Its’ “smallness” comes from being designed for two-server environments.

“StorMagic provides a very unique hyperconverged solution,” Hamel said. “The StorMagic alliance will let us continue to establish a leadership position at the low end of the marketplace. Together, we believe we can bring value of hyperconverged to the SMB and midmarket. We have huge upside to take share from the other guys going forward.”

This is Lenovo’s first hyperconverged offering, an area in which the strategy is to develop products in partnership with software-focused companies like StorMagic.

“We have our own converged infrastructure offerings, but for hyperconverged, we will go to market with an alliance based strategy,” Hamel indicated. “This one we feel really good about because it helps us address that low end part of the marketplace.”

Hamel said Lenovo is well suited to partner with smaller players in this space, because unlike Dell, HP and Cisco, they are strictly an infrastructure provider.

“We aren’t going to be competing anywhere with StorMagic,” he said.

Hans_OSullivan_StorMagic 300

Hans O’Sullivan, StorMagic’s CEO

“This is a very, very important deal for StorMagic, and one we have wanted for quite some time,” said Hans O’Sullivan, StorMagic’s CEO. “We targeted Lenovo because we wanted to bring extremely cost effective hyperconverged, and with Lenovo’s approach of providing very reliable cost effective servers, I think together this relationship can grow very, very fast, and will sell a lot of servers for Lenovo and a lot of software for me.”

The Lenovo deal marks another key milestone in StorMagic’s transition to being a channel-focused business. When they started in 2006, they were mainly channel, but after struggling for a couple years, they began selling mainly direct, and scored some very large accounts for enterprise branch offices. This year however, they are making a concerted effort to re-establish themselves as channel first. In March, they announced they had signed Arrow as their first distribution partner in North America. In late June, they announced their first channel program. Now, getting exposure to Lenovo’s large channel will boost their channel presence further.

“The vast majority of Lenovo’s business is through the channel, and as we are shifting to an indirect model, this will strengthen us there,” O’Sullivan said. “We will bring their resellers a solution that will increase their margins and help them be successful.”

Three configured hyperconverged appliances are available, on the Lenovo 1U ThinkServer RS140 and and 1U System x3250 servers, as well as the high performance 2U ThinkServer RD650. The least expensive of these starts at $USD 5,000.

“The low price at which Lenovo can produce their hardware makes the solution very cost effective for our market,” O’Sullivan said.

Out of the gate, the co-branded offering will be available as a Lenovo SKU only through Arrow. The plan is to make it available to other distributors in the future.

Future hyperconverged partnering deals are also likely for both Lenovo and StorMagic.

“There are other partner opportunities out there for us, that will let us address other sections of this market,” O’Sullivan said.

“We have other relationships with players in the hyperconverged marketplace,” Hamel indicated.

The StorMagic/Lenovo Hyperconverged offerings are available now in North America.