Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Friday, May 20, 2022

Lenovo, Nutanix Team on Converged IT Platform 

Looking to expand the market for its server and hyper-converged infrastructure offerings, Lenovo and virtualization and storage integration partner Nutanix rolled out a new series of appliances this week aimed at small to medium-sized enterprises.

Lenovo (HKSE: 992) said Tuesday (May 24) its hyper-converged platform, dubbed the HX2000 series, incorporates the Nutanix Xpress software package designed to allow the new appliances to manage storage-area networks by aggregating computing, storage and networking. The combination creates a "common resource pool" within the Lenovo appliances.

The appliances also offer built-in backup to Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Azure cloud services through a "cloud connect" feature. The Nutanix Xpress software also supports multiple hypervisors and includes the Acropolis hypervisor at no additional cost. The Nutanix hypervisor combines software-defined storage with built-in virtualization in a hyper-converged infrastructure designed to run applications at scale.

Server vendors such as Lenovo have been looking to expand the market to medium-sized and small businesses as server sales slow. The partners said they are gearing their hyper-converged approach to smaller customers with the promise of making it easier to provision, deploy and manage converged infrastructure. The partners said they are targeting new customers like state and local governments, school districts, regional hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Hence, Lenovo and Nutanix are stressing ease of installation along with affordability. The market for small to medium-sized businesses "is routinely underserved when it comes to datacenter management," Radhika Krishnan, Lenovo Data Center Group's general manager for converged infrastructure and networking, noted in a statement. "Traditionally, this segment has been dominated by complex, difficult to install solutions that do not adequately address the needs of smaller organizations for offerings that are easy to deploy and manage at affordable price levels."

The appliance approach to hyper-converged infrastructure also accounts for the relative lack of IT managers in mid-sized enterprises. Hence, these offerings tend to be turnkey, with software like the Nutanix suite pre-installed in order to run virtualized applications right out of the box.

The Lenovo-Nutanix alliance also illustrates how hardware and software partners are joining forces to push enterprise-level infrastructure into underserved market segments with tighter budgets so they, too, can upgrade the performance and flexibility of existing datacenters.

Lenovo said its converged appliances would hit the market beginning in July and would be offered through its certified business partner network along with its own enterprise sales operation.

Lenovo's key competitors have taken similar approaches to expanding the market for hyper-converged datacenter infrastructure. Last month, for instance, Dell a portfolio of VxRail appliances and VxRack systems matched with VMware virtual storage-area networks. Rather than targeting mid-size and small enterprises, Dell is aiming its hyper-converged infrastructure portfolio at data-driven applications and workloads.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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