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Lenovo Introduces Pre-Integrated High-Performance Storage Solution

The first in a planned series of products combining Lenovo servers and disk arrays with third-party software, the new offering comes with IBM’s Spectrum Scale file storage system.

By Rich Freeman

Lenovo has introduced a pre-assembled storage solution for customers with heavy performance, capacity, and density requirements that combines its own server and disk hardware with IBM's Spectrum Scale software-defined file storage application.

Officially named the Distributed Storage System for IBM Spectrum Scale, and identified by the acronym DSS-G as well, the system was unveiled in conjunction with Lenovo’s 2017 Accelerate partner conference, which is now underway in Orlando.

The new offering is optimized for “extreme use cases,” according to Scott Tease, executive director of hyperscale and high-performance computing (HPC) at Lenovo, whose U.S. headquarters are in Morrisville, N.C.

“It’s really designed for HPC applications and high-performance cloud applications where the customer is looking for a lot of density, very high throughput, and low cost per terabyte.”

Those customers include SMBs in the media, oil and gas, and medical research verticals, among others. Price points for the DSS-G start at around $200,000, which is roughly half the sticker price of earlier entry-level Lenovo HPC storage solutions.

“Anybody can pretty much get into this,” Tease says. “We’d like to be able to give every customer out there the power of a supercomputer.”

The DSS-G ships in 7 base configurations. Each one includes 2 Lenovo x3650 M5 servers equipped with Intel “Broadwell” processors. Buyers can then add 1, 2, 4, or 6 SAS or SSD disk arrays in a 2U form factor or 2, 4, or 6 SAS arrays in a 5U case.

Storage capacity runs from 300 GB to 10 TB per array, depending on the specific model selected, and users can scale those volumes up or out as their needs increase.

“They're laying down a foundation that they're never going to be able to outgrow,” Tease says. “We’ve never had that capability for the channel.”

Including IBM Spectrum Scale in the DSS-G allows the system to provide RAID functionality for redundancy through a software-based controller rather than a potentially more costly hardware-based one.

“I don’t have to worry about buying this proprietary, expensive hardware RAID controller,” Tease says.

Spectrum Scale also comes with “declustered RAID” technology that distributes data and parity information across all of a storage array’s disks. That both minimizes the risk of data loss, Lenovo says, and allows rebuilds after disk failures to complete up to 8 times faster than is possible with conventional RAID systems.

Though the DSS-G will be available for purchase directly from Lenovo, the company expects about half of all sales to flow through partners.

The DSS-G is the first in a planned series of similar solutions featuring Lenovo hardware and third-party software. Tailored to a range of use cases and workloads beyond those served by the DSS-G, those forthcoming products will all provide the same low-cost, high-volume storage space.

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