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Lenovo expands AI offerings, liquid cooling

Lenovo sets itself apart from others by offering configured AI products to speed deployment and shape direction, while also expanding liquid cooling to lower costs.

In an effort to help customers deploy generative AI initiatives while keeping data center costs from ballooning, Lenovo is rolling out new AI services and offerings, as well as the latest generation of its liquid cooling technology.

Lenovo is offering new services meant to help customers begin using AI with its AI Fast Start, which provides an assessment of what to expect when utilizing artificial intelligence. AI Fast Start includes a partnership with Nvidia so that Lenovo customers can quickly deploy and scale full-stack Nvidia-based AI offerings. Lenovo is adding to its AI Innovator portfolio, prepackaged AI-powered products, to now include a virtual assistant as well as tailor-made offerings for the travel, manufacturing and retail industries.

The company is expanding its Neptune liquid cooling portfolio to include more ThinkSystem servers. Neptune is also getting an upgrade with new technology such as a cold plate design, on-memory cooling and warm-water cooling.

Lenovo's new AI services and liquid cooling expansion are a response to one of the struggles with AI adoption by providing prepackaged offerings for specific AI use cases, according to Steven Dickens, an analyst at the Futurum Group.

I think most of the market is at this point, 'I know I need to do something, but I don't know what to do and where to start.'
Steven DickensAnalyst, Futurum Group

"I think most of the market is at this point, 'I know I need to do something, but I don't know what to do and where to start,'" he said.

Lenovo continues to add to its marketplace of pre-integrated offerings using AI, which sets it apart from others including Dell with its AI Factory or Nvidia AI Computing by HPE, Dickens said.

Laying out AI

In Lenovo's "Inside the Tornado: How AI is Reshaping Corporate IT Today," the vendor found that a majority of the 750 IT leaders across 10 global markets polled are looking to deploy AI due to its potential. However, the right path to doing so to gain value and remain secure is less clear.

The vendor is set to address this through its Lenovo AI Fast Start, the ability to demonstrate live generative AI deployments to give users an idea of results to expect. This builds off of Lenovo's pocket-to-cloud approach for AI by providing everything from phones to high-end servers, as well as tools and services for AI workloads. For customers looking for Nvidia-specific AI offerings, Lenovo has AI Fast Start for Nvidia AI Enterprise, as well as AI Fast Start for Nvidia NIM inference microservices for containerized inference engines for Nvidia AI Foundation models.

Lenovo plans to soon add AI advisory services to build off AI Fast Start and help customers define desired business outcomes.

Regardless of the technology being considered, businesses need to make a case for investment before they adopt a new technology; providing customers with an idea of the value of the technology is critical to its success, according to Matt Kimball, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.

"The reality is this lack of planning and really looking enterprise wide to understand business needs (and opportunities) and then demonstrating that value through a pilot of sorts is what can derail many projects before they even start," he said.

While it's not typically the role of a vendor to help define business outcomes, Lenovo may be in a good position to work with customers on defining requirements, Kimball said.

"Lenovo is positioning itself as a partner to these IT executives and organizations to help move AI and GenAI from idea/concept/rudderless business requirement into a real business initiative with a real plan of attack," he said.

AI marketplace

Lenovo is also expanding its AI Innovator Solutions, a portfolio of more than 165 AI-powered offerings, to now include the following features:

  • Smart Virtual Assistant, a customer-facing bot created through a collaboration with Nvidia and DeepBrain, an AI video generator company;
  • Smart Travel, a Lenovo AI ThinkSystem SR650 server with Nvidia GPUs for airport and airspace safety;
  • Smart Manufacturing, video-based analytics for manufacturing to lower incidents; and
  • Smart Retail, which uses the Everseen Visual AI platform to reduce loss and improve self-checkout.

"Lenovo is saying, 'We've got templated services and an approach to get you started fast,'" Dickens said. "That's really valuable for people right now."

Templated services help customers work through some AI challenges such as selecting the right large language models, putting proper guidelines in place, addressing privacy and security, and fine tuning and tweaking models to get them to work in customer environments, according to Kimball.

"[With Lenovo's AI Innovator portfolio], customers are buying outcomes. Outcomes that are based on products that have been finely tuned and optimized," he said.

Neptune, king of cooling

Lenovo Neptune is getting a renewed focus for high-processing demand. Neptune liquid cooling does not focus on a specific cooling method. Rather, it is a portfolio of different cooling techniques, including direct-to-device liquid cooling, heat exchange and thermal transfer. Initially launched for HPC, Neptune continues to expand its offerings across the data center.

The latest updates include expanding direct open-loop water cooling to V3 and V4 ThinkSystems. New cold plate designs for CPUs and accelerators aim to extract heat for units using up to 700W of power. On-memory cooling allows for liquid cooling of DRAM as well as CPUs to reduce power consumption. Lenovo also rolled out its sixth generation of warm-water cooling, allowing for hot water generated by the cooling process to be reused.

Lenovo has been at the forefront of liquid cooling with Neptune, but every server will soon use liquid cooling, not just those that support HPC, AI and HPC-like workloads, Kimball said. Liquid cooling can reduce costs while also freeing up available power for more compute.

"Liquid cooling is the future," Kimball said.

The industry is getting to the point where it is putting hot running devices such as GPUs in servers and they need to be cooled in a cost-effective manner, given the push toward net zero goals and AI, Dickens said.

"How do you square that circle you've got?" he asked. "You can't, you can't hit your ESG [environment, social and corporate governance] goals and do AI unless you do something like Neptune."

Adam Armstrong is a TechTarget Editorial news writer covering file and block storage hardware and private clouds. He previously worked at

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