Lenovo, NetApp forge data center partnership, joint venture in China

Lenovo gets to ramp its storage portfolio using NetApp software. In addition, the two companies will form a joint venture in China to target the local cloud service market.

Lenovo and NetApp have formed a broad partnership that takes aim at Dell EMC and HPE, includes a joint venture in China and new systems that use NetApp software and technology in ThinkSystem gear manufactured by Lenovo.

Announced at the company's Transform 2.0 conference in New York, the partnership highlights how Lenovo is upping its data center game, targeting hybrid cloud deployments and moving up the stack to integrated and converged systems.

Under the strategic alliance, Lenovo and NetApp will develop storage products that use Lenovo's ThinkSystem brand. The new products will be manufactured by Lenovo for scale and utilize NetApp's software.

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In addition, the partnership opens the Chinese market to NetApp. Lenovo and NetApp said they will form a joint venture focused on storage gear and data management tools designed for China's cloud ecosystem. The joint venture will be operational by spring 2019 assuming China regulators approve the deal.

Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing said the company is "committed to both organic and inorganic growth" in its data center business. NetApp CEO George Kurian said the two companies are complementary and can offer combined infrastructure to cater to new IT architectures.

Patrick Moorhead, principal of Moor Insights and Strategy, said the Lenovo-NetApp partnership gives both companies better strategic footing. He said:

I think both companies are in good positions and showing growth; Lenovo in servers and NetApp in storage. The enterprise is increasingly looking for solutions that include both. Lenovo has done a lot on the hyperconverged side of the house but many enterprises are still looking for standard external storage.

Lenovo brings NetApp better access into China and NetApp brings Lenovo into more Western enterprises.

The companies added that the first systems from the partnership--the Lenovo ThinkSystem DE and DM Series--are globally available now with more infrastructure on tap. The ThinkSystem DE and DM Series systems are available with all-flash and hybrid configurations.

Here's a look at the specs for the all-flash systems.

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