By Charles King, Pund-IT® January 25, 2023
Strategic partnerships are common among technology vendors of every kind and size. However, the depth and direction of those relationships and their common efforts varies pretty widely. In some cases, partners are vital to one another’s long-term strategic goals. In others, partners provide technologies that enable vendors to address emerging use cases and develop new solutions.
Lenovo’s Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG) recently issued announcements that illustrate the value offered by its strategic partners. Let’s consider them in more detail.
Leveraging Intel’s 4th gen Xeon
On January 10, Lenovo ISG announced 25 new solutions based on Intel’s 4th gen Xeon Scalable processors (AKA Sapphire Rapids). According to Lenovo, the new Intel CPUs will more than double the workload performance of the company’s ThinkSystem servers and ThinkAgile hyperconverged offerings. That will provide business customers even more robust AI-ready platforms for virtualization, hybrid multi-cloud and sustainable computing, enabling them to simplify and consolidate IT operations.
In addition, Lenovo stated that built-in acceleration features in the new chips will significantly enhance data networking, AI inference and analytics, potentially improving the ways that companies manage, process and analyze their data assets. That is particularly important for highly demanding workloads and business processes, including batch processing, CRM, ERP, in-memory databases, large transactional databases, legacy system replacements, real-time analytics and virtualized and containerized workloads.
Lenovo ISG also noted that its new solutions offer faster system configuration setup compared to previous generation systems via enhancements to its Intel’s 4th gen Xeon Scalable software. Finally, the company said that its optional Neptune Direct Water-Cooling features can reduce power consumption for complex workloads, helping customers achieve their sustainability goals.
Lenovo’s strategic focus on sustainability and HPC
What are we to make of all this? At one level, Lenovo’s messaging around Intel’s new gen solutions is like that of other system vendors. The doubling of CPU performance directly impacts business workloads and applications. That should make the new systems attractive to companies that want to enhance analytics, IT and multi-cloud results, or explore IT consolidation and sustainability.
Those are areas most vendors have set their sights on, but Lenovo is strategically focused and offers many notable solutions for high performance computing (HPC) and sustainability. The company has led the Top500.org list in terms of overall systems represented for over four years. Plus, ThinkSystem solutions also power Flatiron Institutes’ Henri installation, the #1 ranked system on the November 2022 Green500 list of energy efficient supercomputers.
Additionally, at last year’s SC22 conference, Lenovo announced expanded support for Neptune Direct Water Cooling across its systems portfolio to include AMD-based systems and next generation GPUs. Launched a decade ago, Lenovo’s Neptune plays a significant role in the company’s enterprise sustainability efforts. It can also be a valuable solution for companies that need to reduce energy usage and operational costs.
Lenovo shares vision/solutions for end-to-end retail
On January 16th at the National Retail Federation (NRF) trade show in New York, the company detailed its plans for the future of retail powered by integrated hardware, software and services. Lenovo discussed its growing Retail Solutions portfolio but focused special attention on its new Scan-n-Go Kiosks.
According to the company, Scan-n-Go Kiosks will provide contactless shopping experience at checkout that reduces the time customers spend in queues. The solution also enables retail staff to focus on high-value tasks and provides retailers access to customer data that will help them optimize costs and increase efficiencies.
The company also featured its Lenovo Edge AI servers with NVIDIA GPUs that support Everseen’s Visual AI platform. This integrated solution, which has been deployed by retail customers including Kroger stores, uses high-resolution cameras, computer vision and AI to analyze customer and staff behavior, and intervene when errors occur. Those include “non-scans” when a customer or cashier fails to scan an item. The system then flags the event and calls an associate if the customer or cashier is unable to resolve the issue.
Lenovo has a long history of leveraging partners’ expertise and innovations to benefit its own solutions and tactical go-to-market efforts. Like other enterprise vendors, the company leverages the innovations of Intel and other component makers to drive core system performance.
However, Lenovo’s focus on HPC and sustainability issues suggest that that company is well-positioned to make the most of Intel’s 4th gen Xeon silicon. Similarly, Lenovo’s new Retail Solutions portfolio and Scan-n-Go Kiosks are good examples of how the company continues to grow value from its engagements with strategic partners. The results of those efforts are a win/win for everyone involved, including Lenovo’s enterprise customers and partners and the company itself.
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