Lenovo and Microsoft serve up SME tech bonanza

Latest server tech focuses on smaller businesses...

Latest server tech focuses on smaller businesses...

Lenovo and Microsoft have unveiled their latest server technologies aimed at small and medium-sized businesses.

Lenovo has launched its ThinkServer range, extending its product line beyond its more established laptop and screens business.

Meanwhile, Microsoft announced new versions of its Windows Server 2008 operating system under the banner Windows Essential Server Solutions.

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Lenovo's ThinkServer machines will come with management software - the EasyStartup configuration tool, the EasyUpdate utility and the EasyManage performance monitor - and a 90-day trial of ThinkPlus Priority Support.

All ThinkServer machines will come with the option of Microsoft Windows Server or Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server operating system.

Lenovo already sells servers in China under the SureServer brand, but the ThinkServer range is the manufacturer's first foray into the global server market. Its main competitors in this market will be Dell, with its PowerEdge range, and HP, with its ProLiant range.

Speaking at the announcement of the new products at the AT&T Williams F1 factory in Grove, near Oxford, VP for Lenovo's centre of excellence in EMEA, Damian Crotty added: "Clearly servers present the next market we're going to focus on."

Microsoft's Solutions range includes a completely new version of its latest server operating system designed for businesses with 75 to 300 PCs, called Windows Essential Server.

The product line also encompasses Small Business Server 2008, which is the latest version of the operating system for companies with less than 75 PCs, launched in 2003.

Microsoft says it aims to help smaller businesses scale-up to using servers without requiring the greater technical expertise that larger companies have at their disposal.

The set up process for the new OSes is wizard-based, which Microsoft claims will allow fairly inexperienced users to get the software up and running in around 30 minutes.

Also speaking at Grove, Microsoft UK Windows Server product manager Gareth Hall said: "It's a full product but it's wrapped around simplified configuration. It's what SMB customers have been asking for for a very long time."

He added: "We want to make sure Windows Server is appropriate to businesses of all sizes."

Lenovo's ThinkServer range will be launched on 30 September while Microsoft's Windows Essential Server Solutions will be released on 12 November.

David Meyer of ZDNet.co.uk contributed to this article.