Lenovo creates new appliance-centric ThinkAgile portfolio

ThinkAgile will initially consist of three components: their existing HX offerings with Nutanix software, beefed up with Lenovo networking; the newly announced CX line from a new partnership with Nimble Storage; and new OpenStack-based offerings that will first be limited to China, and eventually roll into other geos.


Radhika Krishnan, General Manager, Converged/Hyper-Converged Infrastructure and Networking at Lenovo

Lenovo has announced a new portfolio of solutions which it says represent a next-generation approach to the datacentre. The new ThinkAgile portfolio will offer appliance-centric solutions from Lenovo’s existing partnership with Nutanix, their newly announced partnership with Nimble Storage, and from Lenovo’s internally developed OpenStack-based offerings, which will be rolled out first in China, and will eventually become available elsewhere.

“ThinkAgile is an entirely new portfolio of preconfigured, pre-validated appliance solutions,” said Radhika Krishnan, General Manager, Converged/Hyper-Converged Infrastructure and Networking at Lenovo. “The intent is to provide a foundational framework for delivering highly agile solutions with quick time to value.”

Lenovo is emphasizing the importance of the ability of its global supply chain to provide factory-level pre-installation and pre-configuration of server, storage and networking capabilities, as well as virtualization and management tools. The ThinkAgile offerings are intended to have a three week turnaround cycle from order to shipment. They will also be available as a single solution, backed by Lenovo Services to provide a single throat for the customer to choke.

The first new solution in the ThinkAgile family will be the CX Series, converged infrastructure offerings which are the product of the company’s newly announced partnership with Nimble Storage. They will combine Lenovo’s server with Nimble’s all-flash arrays and InfoSight Predictive Analytics. They will also include Lenovo’s core organic system of switches – the Blade Network Technologies roster it acquired with IBM’s x86 business, and which IBM had originally acquired from Nortel. They will also integrate XClarity, Lenovo’s own intuitive management tool.

“These Lenovo top rack switches and servers, combined with Nimble’s very modern offerings, will generate a family of converged offerings we will drive through the channel, as well as a high end offering for more demanding workloads,” Krishnan said. “These are ideal turnkey solutions.”

The first CX Series offering will be available starting Oct 28, 2016.

The second element within the portfolio is Lenovo’s HX Series hyperconverged appliances, which were created earlier this year through their partnership with Nutanix. These will be beefed up from their present form however, with the Lenovo networking products.

“The Nutanix partnership has been extremely successful for us,” Krishnan said. “We have multiple variants from SMB and ROBO ones to those for mission-critical Tier One applications, However the HX series today is just compute and storage. Networking has been the missing piece there. So we will be bundling in the Lenovo networking.”

The third announced element in the portfolio will be ThinkAgile appliances based upon OpenStack environments that Lenovo plans to develop and deliver. These appliances will combine Lenovo technologies with OpenSource storage such as Ceph in a holistic solution. The first offering within Lenovo’s OpenStack environment – ThinkCloud AIO – was unveiled last month. But – and it’s a big but for the channel in North America – it will be available only in the China market. In fact, the plan is to initially limit all the OpenStack appliances that will be developed to China.

“Open source is particularly strong in China, and this is one reason why we are beginning the OpenStack- based offerings there,” Krishnan said. “However, while we are starting in China first, over time, we will be looking to expand into other geos.”