Lenovo adds new infrastructure for Microsoft Azure environments

The Lenovo ThinkAgile MX1021 is a turnkey HCI appliance designed around the Microsoft Azure Stack for edge use cases, while the ThinkSystem DM7100 is an NVMe-powered unified storage array whose tiering capabilities are well suited to hybrid cloud strategies.

The Lenovo ThinkAgile MX1021

Lenovo Data Center Group [DCG] has introduced a pair of new IT infrastructure solutions focused specifically on their relationship with Microsoft and applications that leverage the Azure cloud. The Lenovo ThinkAgile MX1021 is a turnkey hyperconverged infrastructure [HCI] appliance focused specifically on Microsoft Azure Stack. The ThinkSystem DM7100 is a brand new entry in Lenovo’s DM line of unified storage arrays, which is being positioned for its tiering capability with the Azure cloud as part of a hybrid cloud strategy, although it supports other clouds as well.

“The story we are telling here is leveraging a Microsoft environment in today’s context,” said Kamran Amini, Vice President and General Manager of Server, Storage and Software Defined Infrastructure at Lenovo DCG. “Both of these  product environments are Microsoft environments. This isn’t about providing just more  hardware, but about the analytics of the data moving to the edge.”

Both solutions are focused on the expansion of edge use cases within an overall hybrid cloud tiering strategy for the Azure cloud.

“What we are doing with this launch is focusing around where we see customer use cases moving today,” Amini said. “From core enterprise to hybrid cloud strategy to compute at the edge, the massive amounts of data that the edge will drive, especially as 5G becomes more relevant is becoming more important in customer evaluations.”

The Microsoft connection is most explicit in the new Lenovo ThinkAgile MX1021. The ThinkAgile family of HCI appliances includes multiple vendor-focused offerings, with the MX line being focused on Microsoft. The ThinkAgile MX1021 is a two-node HCI offering, co-engineered with Microsoft, which combines Lenovo ThinkSystem SE350 servers with the Microsoft Azure Stack HCI for hybrid solutions for remote office and edge use cases.

“With this, we are introducing the first true edge computing solution that supports the Azure Stack HCI,” Amini emphasized. “It leverages the edge servers we announced last year in collaboration with Microsoft to provide a true HCI stack for the edge in a turnkey solution. It extends our Microsoft software-defined portfolio to the edge, with the Microsoft Azure Stack Hub providing a turnkey hybrid cloud.”

The other solution, the ThinkSystem DM7100 All-Flash Array, is a Hybrid Flash enterprise-class storage solution which features end-to-end NVMe technology.

“The ThinkSystem DM7100 is our next generation storage offering, a brand new technology that is a true end to end NVMe solution for the hybrid cloud,” Amini said. “It ties back to the ability to have data reside in a hybrid environment seamlessly because of the DMs tiering capability. It can tier to the Azure public cloud, and provision the right data where it needs to be, whether it is hot data on prem, cold data on public cloud, or tiered into your own private cloud.”

The ThinkSystem DM7100 is being positioned around the Azure cloud because of the importance of that use case, and because it is being released together with the explicitly Microsoft-focused ThinkAgile MX1021. However, Amini indicated that the DM7100 is not exclusively for Azure.

“We have wrapped it around Microsoft here, but it also supports AWS, IBM and other clouds,” he noted.

Both of these new offerings will go to market through the channel-first model that Lenovo DCG implemented last year, Amini indicated. They are also both available through Lenovo’s TruScale Infrastructure-as-a-Service model.

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