Lenovo revamped its data center portfolio with the launch of the ThinkSystem and ThinkAgile brands as well as a set of server, storage, networking and software defined systems.
The launch, taking place at Lenovo's Transform conference in New York, is designed to give Lenovo a beachhead in big data, high performance computing, artificial intelligence and hybrid cloud workloads. Lenovo's largest data center expansion also combines the acquired technology and intellectual property from IBM and its own infrastructure know-how.
In New York, Lenovo CEO Yuanqing Yang said the data center group has been building out its portfolio and is now positioned to be more of a strategic partner for businesses. The focus is on enabling enterprises to better use artificial intelligence. Lenovo is showcasing its data center gear as well as PCs, augmented reality and virtual reality devices on the edge.
Yang said there's a fourth industrial revolution that will revolve around "intelligent transformation" and artificial intelligence. He was referring to every device being smart. Lenovo's aim is to carry out a two-prong strategy called "device + cloud" and "infrastructure + cloud".
"Every industrial revolution has its leaders and its heroes," said Yang, who noted that businesses will be the "master transformers." Lenovo plans to be a supplier to these enterprises with infrastructure that's smart with its expanded portfolio.
The catch is that Lenovo is going to run into competition from Dell Technologies, which also has an end-to-end approach. HP Inc. and HPE have split up because the companies believe the end-to-end approach doesn't work.
Lenovo acquired IBM's x86 business in 2014 to build out its enterprise technology footprint, but the data center business hasn't scaled. Kirk Skaugen, president of Lenovo's data center unit, said the company's data center portfolio can be disruptive because it isn't hampered by an established storage or networking business. Skaugen joined Lenovo in March from Intel. Lenovo also hired Kim Stevenson, Intel's former CIO, to be general manager of the data center unit.
Lenovo's data center group saw sales fall more than 10 percent for the fiscal year, but is hoping to reverse that trend with a broad portfolio expansion.
The ThinkSystem brand will include servers, storage and networking. ThinkAgile is focused on software-defined data centers and integrated and converged systems. When you add it up, Lenovo launched 14 server platforms, 7 storage offerings and 5 network switches.
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Skaugen said during his New York talk:
The key product points: