Lenovo, IBM x86 server strategy gets clarity as acquisition looms

IBM will provide the high-end System X and Flex products to complement Lenovo's low-end ThinkServer products

With Lenovo expected to close its IBM x86 server business acquisition by year end, a glimpse at the combined server product line has emerged.

Once the deal closes, IBM's System X and Flex servers with x86 chips will fill out Lenovo's high-end product line. Meanwhile, Lenovo's ThinkServer products will be targeted at small and medium-size businesses, according to an IBM presentation.

The companies on Monday separately introduced servers with Intel's new Xeon E5-2600 v3 chip, also announced Monday. But it also gave IBM -- which has been largely quiet since the deal was announced -- an opportunity to chime in on how it will add value to Lenovo's server offerings before and after the deal is complete.

IBM and Lenovo will combine to offer the widest range of server offerings in the industry, before and after the transaction is complete, IBM said.

Lenovo's always offered low-end servers, but the addition of IBM's technology will add a new class of high-end servers to its portfolio for applications like analytics and databases. Lenovo will cover the entire gamut of enterprise customers once it finishes the acquisition of IBM's x86 server business, which has already been approved by the Chinese and US governments.

Lenovo announced it would acquire IBM's x86 server business for $US2.3 billion in January. Rivals Hewlett-Packard and Dell have since aggressively pursued IBM's large customer base with the aim to switch some users over. But IBM and Lenovo have tried to diffuse any uncertainty by saying their respective product lines will remain intact and that levels of support will remain the same.

IBM and Lenovo have worked together on sales and support of servers in the past years.

"After the deal closes, IBM will continue to provide maintenance delivery on Lenovo's behalf for an extended period pursuant to the terms of a five-year maintenance service agreement with IBM. Customers who originated contracts with IBM should not see a change in their maintenance support for the duration of the customer's contract," IBM said in a presentation slide that mentions "Lenovo's service commitment."

IBM will retain mainframe and server products with homegrown Power8 processors. Flex integrated servers use both x86 and IBM's Power8 chips, and IBM is expected to retain systems with the Power8 chips.

IBM's new System X M5 lineup with x86 chips include the new System x3650 M5 server, which is 2U in size and can have up to two 18-core Xeon chips, 1.5TB of memory and 86.4TB of storage. A smaller sibling, the System x3550, has fewer disk bays and 24TB of maximum storage capacity.

IBM also introduced servers for its NextScale System, which has a number of servers linked in a larger chassis. In addition, the company will also ship the System x3500 M5, a 5U tower server with 72TB of storage, in the first quarter next year.

Lenovo announced the ThinkServer RD550 and RD650 rack servers, which start at $US1829 and $US1929 respectively, and the TD350 tower server, which starts at $US1629. The servers will ship on September 8.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags IDFbusiness issuesserversIBMhardware systemsLenovoMergers and acquisitions

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?