Lenovo has introduced new hardware to support its hybrid cloud platform for AI, giving customers added performance for enterprise workloads.
Lenovo's new AI-focused hyperconverged appliances include ThinkAgile VX with VMware Cloud Foundation reference architecture, ThinkAgile MX450 Edge Integrated System and the ThinkAgile HX1021 AI for the Edge with Nutanix. The vendor also released ThinkSystem SR650 V3 and SR630 V3, new servers that include the latest Intel CPU technology for higher performance and lower power consumption.
The new hardware compliments Lenovo's storage story, where it now claims to be the third-largest global supplier based on sales it reported in its second-quarter results for fiscal year 2024.
This is a refresh on the server level for Lenovo and expanded hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) across its entire lineup, according to Steven Dickens, an analyst at Futurum Group.
Steven DickensAnalyst, Futurum Group
"[Lenovo's] messaging is that everything from the far edge right through to the data center is being AI-enabled," he said. Doing so provides a consistency across its offerings, from handheld edge devices to large servers in the data center, he said.
The latest CPUs for targeted AI
The new ThinkAgile appliances and ThinkSystem servers come with fifth-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors. These processors include Intel's Advanced Matrix Extensions (AMX) technology, a built-in accelerator that increases performance for AI inferencing and training in models at 20 billion parameters or fewer. The processors also have a better power to performance ratio than the previous generation.
Generative AI is causing shifts in the IT industry as it is adapted for different uses, according to Sid Nag, an analyst at Gartner. Applications such as ChatGPT use large language models and are currently more consumer focused than business focused, but that is changing.
"The trend going forward will be on enterprise needs that will be very different," Nag said.
Enterprises will seek out domain-specific, more narrow applications for generative AI and may not need the public cloud or high-end GPUs, he said. Instead, the use cases could be powered by servers built with AI functionality such as what Lenovo is introducing, he said.
The vendor looks at every point on the chain from its far edge devices to the public cloud as what Lenovo calls "pocket-to-cloud," Dickens said. His opinion is that Lenovo currently offers enterprises the most comprehensive server portfolio at each point along the way.
"[Lenovo can] provide consistency across [the chain] -- from management to orchestration and automation in deployment," he said.
These features are vital to an IT ops team and expand across Lenovo's other offerings, including HCI, Dickens said.
With the introduction of the new HCI appliances, Lenovo is offering turnkey products at the edge as well as in an on-premises data center and in the cloud. The new appliances are engineered with cloud and software partners and work with existing Lenovo infrastructure.
HCI offers a simplicity to architecture, which combines storage, compute and networking. Lenovo also partners with VMware and Nutanix -- software customers use and want -- as part of its HCI stack, Dickens said. Lenovo also offers management to its new HCI offerings through TruScale, a cloud-like consumption model.
"If you want to run four or five racks of hyperconverged, drop that in with a TruScale pricing model and you have a pretty simplistic environment to manage," he said.
In the last few years, Lenovo has made a name for itself in the storage market based on global sales. Now the vendor claims it has taken the No. 3 spot, according to its Q2 earnings call in November.
In an interview with TechTarget Editorial, Kamran Amini, vice president and general manager of server, storage and software-defined infrastructure at the company, also said that based on sales data, Lenovo is the No. 1 vendor for storage costing $25,000 or less, which equates to about 64% of all storage devices.
"There is more commodity storage sold then there is high-end storage sold," Dickens said. He added that, "Lenovo is also moving up the price tiers to higher-end storage as well."
Amini said Lenovo's storage business growth is not about just becoming No. 1 for a specific market segment, but it's also about growing its all-flash arrays while continuing to scale in software-defined storage and HCI.
Adam Armstrong is a TechTarget Editorial news writer covering file and block storage hardware, and private clouds. He previously worked at StorageReview.com.