Lenovo has unveiled an upgraded trio of servers for midsize companies and put a previously announced as-a-service storage solution into general availability.
Both moves are part of a continuing effort by the hardware maker to help SMBs transition to hybrid cloud computing and usage-based consumption models more easily.
Set to ship later this month, the new ThinkSystem ST50 V2, ST250 V2, and SR250 V2 are single-socket devices optimized for remote offices, branch sites, retail outlets, and manufacturing facilities.
“They are small form factor, whisper quiet, and very power efficient,” says Kamran Amini, vice president and general manager of server and storage in Lenovo’s Infrastructure Solutions Group.
The ST50 V2 and ST250 V2 are both tower devices, while the SR250 V2 is a rack mounted product less than 20 inches deep designed to fit easily in network closets. All three units are tailored for companies with 10 to 1,000 users, support Microsoft’s latest generation Windows Server 2022 operating system, and come pre-configured to run SAP’s Business One ERP solution for small businesses. Onboard storage is designed to accommodate “hot swap” scalability up to multiple terabytes.
The new servers also ship with built-in GPUs to accelerate sophisticated workloads like visual computing and artificial intelligence. “The workload for the traditional SMB has evolved where AI is coming in that space,” Amini observes. Lenovo shipped an initial batch of ready-to-deploy artificial intelligence solutions for businesses with limited expertise last April.
Price points for most of the new servers begin at less than $1,000 when purchased via traditional capital expenditures. Businesses that wish to can also buy the new servers through Lenovo’s TruScale as-a-service purchasing program. Lenovo made its entire portfolio of PCs, tablets, edge computing devices, data center gear, and other products available through TruScale last September, and added high-performance computing as well this January.
That’s also when Lenovo first announced TruScale Infinite Storage, a consumption-based managed storage solution that is now in full production. That product and the new servers introduced today are two components of a growing family of Lenovo infrastructure products for SMBs. The ThinkSystem DM5100F, an all-flash SAN storage solution that reached market last year, is another. That product features built-in ransomware protection as well as tiering functionality that moves infrequently utilized data to less expensive cloud repositories automatically.
Users can administer all of their ThinkSystem hardware with the XClarity management solution, which according to Lenovo configures systems in as little as three minutes and prevents up to 90% of service calls. Affordably priced consulting, training, and deployment assistance is available by the hour as well from Lenovo and its partners through the Lenovo Professional Services Tokens program introduced last July.
Other elements of the expanding infrastructure portfolio include pre-assembled hardware/software bundles for workloads like hosted desktops, hybrid Microsoft Azure cloud solutions, and Veeam BDR services.
Delivering solutions like those through TruScale, which offers third-party management, is designed to make adopting hybrid cloud computing easier for companies with few if any in-house IT professionals.
“Lenovo is managing the infrastructure, so it’s removing that layer of IT management from these small and medium businesses that are very thinly staffed,” Amini says.
TruScale also accommodates growing demand for usage-based infrastructure payment options among businesses that like the pay-as-you-go economics of public cloud computing but can’t afford that model for all of their workloads, he continues.
“It becomes very expensive,” Amini says. “They don’t have the massive scale to negotiate with the cloud guys.”
Dell Technologies has an as-a-service program too, called APEX. Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s GreenLake platform has been offering usage-based pricing since 2017.