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Lenovo re-launches data centre range with two new ThinkThing lines

'ThinkSystem' spans servers, storage and switches. HCI and Azure Stack are 'ThinkAgile'

By Simon Sharwood, 21 Jun 2017

Lenovo reckons its data centre range has never had a refresh quite like it: 25 new products, a couple of new brands and a new CPU to play with as well.

The CPU is Intel's forthcoming Xeon Scalable Family, about which we're all more or less in the dark. So move along, nothing to see here until it debuts in a month or three.

The two new brands are ThinkSystem and ThinkAgile.

The latter is the umbrella under which all of Lenovo's hyperconverged offerings will shelter. The company already has arrangements with Nutanix and DataCore, plus VSAN Ready Nodes for VMware's virtual storage. The company's also announced its Azure Stack play, named the “Lenovo ThinkAgile SX for Microsoft Azure Stack”. Rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? It'll also roll off the production line in three sizes, but with Xeon E5-2600 v4 CPUs rather than the nice new Scalable Family Skylakes coming soon.

ThinkAgile products will all offer cloud-like experiences and pitched at those attempting – apologies for the next phrase – digital transformation. They're also a key element in Lenovo's attempts to turn around its data centre business unit, which in its last earnings announcement was described as in need of a software-defined injection to bring it up to date with rivals.

The new range comprises the ThinkSystem:

  • SN550 and SN850, new Sklyake-Xeon-capable blade servers for Lenovo's current Flex Chassis and with NVMe support
  • SR530 and SR630, 1U workhorses for virtualised workloads
  • SR550 SR650, 2U workhorses
  • ST550, the token tower server that can also be flipped and racked to occupy 4U
  • SD530, a dense 2U server aimed at HPC
  • SR850 and SR950, mission-critical ultra-dense servers

Lenovo's also tossed out a new “XClarity Administrator” to manage its conventional and converged servers, offering all the shiny you'd expect from such a tool.

There's also new storage arrays, with the DS Series at the entry level and offering 12 Gb SAS, 1/10 Gb iSCSI, and 4/8/16 Gb Fibre Channel, in all-flash or hybrid configurations. The DS2200 will handle 96 drives and up to 737TB, the 4200 and 6200 will cope with 240 drives and 1.84 PB. The latter system is pitched at performance-hungry applications, the 4200 at run-of-the-mill jobs or duty as a backup appliance.

To hook 'em up, there's four new ThinkSystem DB SAN Directors/Switches, plus three new 10 gigabit switches and one 100 gigabit model.

Lenovo's buried the details across innumerable product pages, so we'll analyse this stuff properly.

Our first take? ThinkSystem looks like “marketecture” – a pretty brand to group diverse products, and the AzureStack offering looks undifferentiated. Which is kind of the point, so not a worry.

As is the case with Dell's 14th-generation PowerEdge and HPE's 10th-gen ProLiant, it's hard to say exactly what we've got before us until we know more about Skylake Xeons. Lenovo's specs look to add memory and storage capabilities, but there's nothing standing out … yet.

We'll leave El Reg's storage desk to opine on the new arrays and SANs.®

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