Lenovo makes new edge, datacentre and services-related HCI announcements

These include an industry first 4U 8-socket platform for large HANA deployments that has been certified by SAP and VMware, and  their ThinkAgile HX1021, which extends last year’s edge enhancements for Lenovo’s Microsoft platform to the Nutanix stack.

Kamran Amini, Vice President and General Manager, Server, Storage and Software Defined Infrastructure, Lenovo DCG.

Today, Lenovo DCG is making a series of announcements which all relate to their hyperconverged infrastructure [HCI] portfolio. They are announcing an industry first for large SAP HANA deployments, a new 4U 8-socket platform that has been certified both by SAP and VMware. They also announced enhancements of the ThinkAgile HX1021 for Nutanix, and for their ThinkAgile VX series. New Advisory and Design services, and new principal consultant-led workshops, all of which are delivered by Lenovo Professional Services, but can be sold by partners. Lenovo is also calling attention to Lenovo Asset Recovery Services [ARS], which are not new, but which they believe are not well-known, and are more relevant than ever today.

“The key takeaway around all these announcements is how we are driving innovation with hyperconverged,” said Kamran Amini, Vice President and General Manager, Server, Storage and Software Defined Infrastructure, Lenovo Data Center Group. “We are first to market with that 4U 8-socket platform for SAP HANA. We are driving edge innovation with Nutanix, and driving operational efficiencies with VMware. We are also delivering new incremental services and workshops to help customers on their hybrid cloud journey.”

The likely highlight, simply because it is an industry first, is the new 4U 8-socket SAP HANA Certified hyperconverged ThinkAgile VX platform available with VMware vSAN. This new ThinkAgile VX solution lets customers run and manage very large SAP HANA databases in parallel with other workloads on a fully virtualized platform.

“We have had 1 3 and 4-socket platforms which have been both SAP HANA and VMware vSAN certified before, but this is the first ever 4U 8 socket one to be certified,” Amini said. “Customers looking to run large scale virtualized HANA powered by VMware vSAN who are moving from bare metal have been limited. This breaks that barrier, delivers the first scale-up 8 socket server that is certified on both. It can reduce physical footprint and operational expense and put more on a single server, so it provides operational savings while also simplifying management.”

Lenovo announced an enhancement of their  Lenovo ThinkAgile HX1021 edge solution, which uses Nutanix technology.

“This expands what we have done in the past around extending hyperconverged solutions to the true edge,” Amini said. “It is a small form factor [1U height, half-width and short depth], ruggedized device that can be deployed anywhere. Last year we did the first HCI converged edge on Microsoft with our MX1021 – a true edge hyperconverged offering with Microsoft. This extends that portfolio with Nutanix for customers who have a preference for the Nutanix software stack.”

Lenovo has also announced additional management enhancements to its ThinkAgile VX HCI solutions, which use VMware technology.

“Last year, we announced lifecycle management enhancements to simplify operational deployments for ThinkAgile VX,” Amini said. “Now we are looking to enhance that further to set us further apart from other OEMs.”

The enhancements reduce time for deployment of a new VX cluster from 16 hours to less than 4 hours, a 75% reduction. It does this with a wizard-based deployment tool, ongoing management streamlined with operational intelligence to proactively monitor and optimize cluster health and performance from VMware vRealize Operations, easy-to-follow alerts to greatly simplify virtual-to-physical mapping of hardware with visual enhancements added to VMware vCenter, and a greatly simplified lifecycle management through vSphere Lifecycle Manager, that enables upgrades of VMware software and Lenovo ThinkAgile VX series firmware with a single tool.

“This transforms the value we can bring on a VX system compared to other OEMs in the market,” Amini said. “It lets us drive massive efficiencies from an operational perspective, so the customer can do zero touch, zero click updates.”

Lenovo also announced a series of new advisory and design services, including VMware Cloud Foundation Design and Deployment, Hybrid Cloud Assessment, Hybrid Cloud Azure Migration Design Service and Hybrid Cloud Implementation Services. They also announced new Principal Consultant-led workshops, white boarding sessions that help application and platform teams navigate options and choose appropriate paths for their unique needs.

“These are all delivered by our professional services, but channel partners can sell them as well,” Amini said.

Lenovo also used the announcement to call attention to their Lenovo Asset Recovery Services [ARS], which provides a single source solution for a more secure, documented disposition of IT assets and data.

“It lets the client recycle and dispose of existing assets, whether ours or a competitor’s, while providing some financial value back to the client,” Amini said.  ARS is not new, but it has not been advertised that broadly, and we want to call attention to it, especially in connection with our TruScale [consumption-based] Services.”