Lenovo’s place in the data centre

Tikiri Wanduragala

Friday 28 April 2017

Tikiri Wanduragala, Lenovo’s EMEA x86 Server Systems Senior Consultant, writes for Think Progress about the company’s success in the data centre, and why less legacy is actually a good thing.

Lenovo’s success in the data centre in recent years has resulted in a lot of people asking me why. When I speak to senior executives, they tend to ask: “What has Lenovo got to offer?” or “Why were you chosen for that?” It’s an interesting story to tell, and one I wanted to share with you this month.

So the first thing is that we have the capability to show we can work in the data centre. Our partnerships with CINECA, Vestas, SAP, universities, governments and number of other customers across all sectors show that our systems are designed for those kinds of environments.

But so are many other companies. What makes Lenovo’s offering so distinct? To answer that, we need to step back and look at what’s happening in the market.

Shifting market?

The market is changing quite rapidly, and there are three core elements to infrastructure: servers, networking and storage. The market is moving towards software defined, which by definition is server-centric. The other two components – storage and networking – are going through transformations that could potentially hold customers back.

When you move to a virtualised or software-defined space, you have less physical equipment. So if you’re a supplier who gets revenue from big storage boxes, you’re not going to walk away from that.

Regular readers of this column will know I’ve used car analogies before to explain what’s happening in tech, and I’m going to do it again. For manufacturers of petrol-driven cars, the move to electric is a bit of a nightmare. They know everything about cars, and they have the technology, but their factories are making carburettors and all sorts of other parts that people don’t need in electric cars, so they’re less willing to move forward with them.

It’s like that in the data centre. Lenovo is seen as having a strong grounding in servers, the fundamental building blocks of a software-defined data centre. What we don’t have is a legacy that needs protecting in storage and networking. So when customers look at making their data centres more agile, Lenovo can move quickly to integrate the latest software-defined technologies.

As a result, we do things differently – offering flexible solutions and regularly co-innovating with other industry leaders. By creating data centres that meet our customers’ needs, we have built a reputation based on reliability and client satisfaction.

Partnerships and openness

Partnerships and openness should also be considered. In order to move quickly and at the speed the customer desires, this new world is fundamentally different in that you have to form alliances with software vendors.

Lenovo is ideally placed because, again, we don’t have any competing products in those spaces. That’s why you’re seeing partnerships between Lenovo and existing, classic software companies like SAP, Microsoft and VMware, and also some of the newer software-defined companies such as Cloudian, DataCore, Nexenta and Nutanix.

Partnership is built into the DNA of Lenovo products and, to enable this, open standards are used in our server designs wherever possible so we can simplify and accelerate the integration process for customers and partners.

The market wants players that are willing to embrace new technologies, willing to partner and willing to be as open as possible. Lenovo ticks all these boxes. Our enthusiasm to move quickly and embrace new technologies resonates with customers.

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