By Charles King. Pund-IT, Inc. July 18, 2018
Talk about cloud computing is usually framed in relation to public cloud service providers (CSPs), like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft’s Azure, IBM Cloud and others. That’s hardly a surprise but a deeper look at the subject should consider the business model that makes cloud and CSPs attractive in the first place.
After all, without easy-to-use, often automated features for access, configuration, deployment, management and payment, public clouds aren’t all that different from any other hosted as a service (aaS) platforms. By substantially reducing complexity and making cloud services simple to consume, CSPs can help customers achieve numerous business and computing benefits.
That point is also central to the success of private cloud which enables organizations to deploy cloud-style solutions within their own data centers, and seamlessly interconnect and operate with public CSPs to create hybrid clouds. There are numerous ways for organizations to pursue the goal of hybrid cloud, but a popular approach includes turnkey products ready-made for the journey, such as software-defined, hyperconverged “cloud-in-a-box” systems and appliances.
But for enterprise customers, some cloud in-a-box offerings don’t quite cut it. Why so? Because many of those organizations are subject to stringent regulatory compliance and governance requirements that can clash with overly simplified solutions. Others demand greater cost and performance predictability than solutions offer. Still others require cloud solutions and services to be secure and configurable enough to support and protect business-critical applications, workloads and data.
The new ThinkAgile CP Series solutions announced this week by Lenovo and Cloudistics are designed to successfully negotiate and overcome those challenges. Let’s see what the companies have in mind.
ThinkAgile CP – A closer look
Lenovo’s ThinkAgile portfolio consists of integrated systems and appliances designed to optimize the performance of the company’s ISV partners. For example, it offers ThinkAgile SX Series solutions for both Microsoft’s Azure Stack and Nutanix virtualized environments. The ThinkAgile HX Series combines Lenovo’s HX cluster solution with Nutanix for easy-to-deploy and manage scale-out clusters. The ThinkAgile VX Series integrates VMware’s vSAN, server and software-defined storage into a single, manageable platform.
For ThinkAgile CP, Lenovo partnered with cloud software platform provider Cloudistics with the aim of producing an easy-to-deploy, manage and use private cloud-in-a-box. While it offers many of the same features as other similar solutions, there is also a significant difference—what Lenovo calls “composability,” or the ability to seamlessly align IT operations and service delivery functions with specific business outcomes.
Lenovo’s software-defined composability features extend across both hardware infrastructure components, like CPU/memory, accelerators, storage and I/O devices, and the application infrastructure resources from common pools, including VMs, containers, network resources, storage volumes and file systems. As a result, ThinkAgile CP systems can offer the ease and simplicity customers expect from cloud-in-a-box solutions while supporting stringent enterprise functions and requirements
With ThinkAgile CP, Lenovo and Coudistics promise a fully integrated system supported by end-to-end automation of software-defined network, compute and storage. Solutions are sized and purchased according to the number of pre-integrated Lenovo compute and storage blocks, and networking resources customers require.
Key features include fully integrated high availability, data backup and remote replication, usage metering, live help and support and multilayered, multitenant security. Customers can also leverage a curated application marketplace (which they can extend with their own customized offerings) for rapid deployment and improved time-to-value.
So, what’s the key takeaway from this new cloud-in-a-box solution? According to Lenovo and Cloudistics, the ThinkAgile CP Series is ideal for medium to large-sized enterprises that want the benefits of the public cloud without compromising or ceding control of business-critical issues, including IT resource control, data security, application performance and service delivery.
That’s an apt description of the ThinkAgile CP Series but, like dancers who smile while executing the most difficult and complex routines, it glosses over the hard work and complexities the companies overcame in order to bring ThinkAgile CP to market. Can Lenovo and Cloudistics deliver on their hefty promises? That seems likely. Cloudistics is considered a leading player in cloud platform software, and the popularity of Lenovo’s other ThinkAgile offerings means the company is an old hand in building successful in-a-box solutions.
Perhaps most important are the software-defined composability features and functions highlighted in ThinkAgile CP. Those will be of particular interest to the company’s enterprise customers and prospects and should be transferrable to numerous other integrated systems and in-a-box appliances.
In other words, today Lenovo and Cloudistics’ new solution will be attractive to organizations looking for effective private cloud solutions that don’t compromise stringent business requirements. But ThinkAgile CP is also built on a composable foundation that should provide significant additional value to Lenovo and its enterprise customers for years to come.
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