While the Microsoft and Diamanti solutions are complete net-news, the expansion of the Nutanix ThinkAgile HX portfolio to include the first AMD models in the Lenovo HCI portfolio may be the biggest news.
Today, Lenovo Data Center Group [DCG] is announcing its regular quarterly update, with the focus here being a range of both new and updated hyperconverged infrastructure [HCI] solutions. They include new Lenovo ThinkAgile HX HCI solutions which use Nutanix technology, and for the first time bring AMD processors to the Lenovo HCI portfolio. They also include new Lenovo ThinkAgile MX Azure Stack HCI solutions in collaboration with Microsoft, new Lenovo ThinkAgile VX HCI Solutions with VMware, and their first collaboration with Diamanti, the Diamanti SR630, bare-metal Kubernetes container solution.
“We are seeing a major transformation happening,” said Kamran Amini, Vice President and General Manager of Server, Storage and Software Defined Infrastructure, Lenovo DCG. “COVID was a wake up call for SMBs, larger enterprises, MSP and consumers. “This new normal is forcing many companies to think differently to drive more agility and pivot based on end customer needs.
The result, Amini emphasized, is that many customers are accelerating their business modernization, specifically focusing on driving the modernization of their IT.
“This needs to be very ROI-centric since customers in this environment don’t have unlimited dollars to spend,” he said.
“What is our strategy to help customers accelerate to this new normal model?” he asked. “Customers are looking for choice and flexibility that gives maximum value. They want open cloud solutions, simplified management, optimization for key workloads like VDI, backup and replication, and SAP HANA. And they want us to provide a seamless transition from core to edge without having to learn new ways of deployment.”
The new ThinkAgile portfolio announcements specifically address these issues, Amini said.
“We are not just expanding the portfolio, but also taking existing things and enhancing them for the new normal,” he indicated.
Shekhar Mishra, Director of Software Defined Infrastructure for Lenovo DCG, stressed that Lenovo’s ThinkAgile portfolio has always been based on strategic vendor partnerships, with a strategy of providing simplicity and ease of use to customers.
The Nutanix partnership is a long-standing one.
“We are on the fourth generation, in a partnership which is four years old and has seen immense success,” he said. “This is the first time we are adding AMD-based processors, with the [second generation] AMD EPYC, We have had customers asking for platforms that are both Intel and AMD-based, so we have added our first AMD processors.”
Mishra said that these processors were a good time to add AMD because they are very core dense. They let the ThinkAgile HX AMD two-socket deliver 2.3x more core counts, two GPUs per one unit and 45% more memory bandwidth.
“This is well suited for VDI, which is very CPU and core dense, and this almost doubles core density,” he stated. “The 1U 2 socket will also support up to 64 scores, which means that it’s a no-compromise platform for customers.”
Mishra noted that within the HX portfolio, the new models will be positioned within the 3000 series, more towards the general purpose virtualization and VDI use cases. They are scheduled to be available in late November, as either an appliance or a certified node.
The Microsoft models, the new Lenovo ThinkAgile MX Azure Stack HCI Edge and Data Center Solutions, are a complete net-new.
“These are the result of Microsoft recently going into the HCI segment,” Mishra said. “It is a unique SKU focused totally around HCI solutions.”
These Azure Stack solutions, available as an appliance, provide customers with a one-stop shop for Azure Stack HCI, to give customers easy deployment, management and scalability of Azure services from edge to core to cloud. Lenovo also plans to offers consumption-based pricing of Azure Stack HCI and Azure Stack Hub.
“This is more than the integration of hardware and software,” Mishra indicated. We have focused on HCI benefits from a management perspective. We already had our XClarity systems management integrated into Windows Admin Center, and we have now enhanced that to deal with HCI as well.”
The extension of the Lenovo ThinkAgile VX HCI Solutions, in collaboration with VMware, are SAP HANA focused.
“These ThinkAgile VX solutions are certified around both vSAN and SAP HANA,” Mishra said. “They support up to 4 VMs and 6TB of SAP HANA databases, and can manage 2x more VMs running SAP workloads.” They will be available later this month.
Lenovo also announced the Diamanti SR630 solution powered by Lenovo’s ThinkSystem servers, a new entry in the Lenovo OEM ON DEMAND program, which includes other third party vendors like Scale Computing and Pivot3. Diamanti is a 2016 startup which makes a bare-metal hyperconverged platform for Kubernetes and containers.
The Diamanti SR630, which is available now, lets customers rapidly deploy a complete container and Kubernetes solution by integrating high-performance compute, plug-and-play networking, persistent storage, Docker and Kubernetes into a powerful, simple full-stack solution.
“We have been on this journey for a year now adding Diamanti and the SR630 appliance to run containers in a bare metal environment,” Mishra stated.
Amini noted that while the Diamanti relationship relationship is in its early stages, it seems to be producing results.
“We are working on a multi-million dollar opportunity in North America with Diamanti,” he said.
Lenovo is also introducing new Cloud Services with the same goal of enabling organizations and employees to accelerate their transformation in the new, normal era.
“The message around these new Cloud Lifecycle Services is how we are able to implement an end-to-end cloud lifecycle strategy which will accelerate time to value,” said Ben Martin, Executive Director and General Manager of Professional Services and XaaS, Lenovo DCG.
Lenovo emphasized that the new offerings will be heavily channel-centric.
“At the end of the day, what we are doing is taking out a lot of the risks of integration and validation for our channel partners,” Mishra said. “Our strategy has always been channel-first.”
“Lenovo’s job here is how do we make sure that our channel partners have the right tools to address their customer needs,” Amini added.