By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc. February 13, 2019
As-a-Service (aaS) solutions are nearly ubiquitous in the IT industry and commercial markets. The aaS model largely defines public cloud platforms and solutions and is central to a range of other hosted IT services. Indeed, the “pay as you go” model is one of the most compelling approaches to IT that has arisen during the past two decades.
Why so? Because it significantly eases or eliminates two of the biggest headaches that enterprises and other IT customers face – the capital investments required for IT equipment and the continual operational expenditures required to staff, run and manage on premises IT infrastructures. However, it would be a mistake to assume that aaS offerings are perfect or a panacea for all IT challenges.
These points are germane when considering Lenovo’s TruScale Infrastructure Services, a new subscription-based offering the company says provides customers the precise hardware, software and services they need, whenever they require it but without onerous investment or commitment requirements. Let’s take a look at Lenovo’s TruScale and what the company is offering customers and broader markets.
The problem with aaS
Early on in the cloud revolution, evangelists posited a day when cloud-based services would naturally overtake and replace traditional IT. Despite their optimism, that vision remains nebulous and seems unlikely to solidify anytime soon, if ever. Why so?
While public cloud usage continues to grow, the vast majority of corporate cloud customers still operate premises IT assets and data centers. That makes sense since it reflects continuing concerns about securing business critical data and reducing oversight of IT usage and costs. But it also results in difficult to deploy and manage “multi-cloud” environments.
IT vendors have stepped-up with a variety of offerings, ranging from multi-cloud consulting to on-premises solutions designed to emulate the easy, user-friendly functionality of cloud. Problem is that data center customers often discover that these offerings are more limited and include sizing and minimum commitment requirements that are less hospitable than they expected.
The situation is somewhat analogous to receiving an attractive offer from a car rental company. You arrive at your destination airport, looking forward to picking up the two-door coupe or family sedan you reserved, only to be told that the only vehicles available are ¾ ton crew cab pickups or full-sized SUVs. Plus, the rental contract includes frivolous options, and makes you liable for mileage charges that far exceed the distance you plan to drive.
Not surprisingly, you decide to check out other nearby agencies. However, you discover that they, too, only have ¾ ton trucks and massive SUVs available and that their rental contracts require many of the same unnecessary options and impose similar mileage charges. But you can have your choice of color.
You leave the airport, maybe behind the wheel of a vehicle far larger and more ungainly than you wanted, wishing that there was some service that met your needs without costing an arm and a leg, or being loaded with unneeded extras.
Lenovo’s TruScale Infrastructure
Sound familiar? That’s precisely the kind of scenario that Lenovo aims to avoid. So, what are its new TruScale Infrastructure Services, and how do customer engagements work?
In essence, Lenovo TruScale is a subscription-based IT service that enables customers to access, use and pay for the data center hardware and services they need without having to buy the equipment. Systems can be located wherever the customer prefers—on premises in an existing company data center or at another location. Most importantly, customers only pay when their workloads are running, and capacity can be scaled up/down as needed so organizations have the exact compute capacity they need.
How does Lenovo accomplish this? By leveraging what it describes as a unique metering dashboard that remains outside the customer’s data plane, thus delivering both the economic advantages of cloud and the security of on-premises hardware. Organizations can view their IT consumption in real time using a customer portal, allowing them to easily manage and accurately predict costs. Plus, assigned Customer Success Managers provide clients whatever information and problem resolution services are required.
Finally, Lenovo’s TruScale Infrastructure features the company’s enterprise-class ThinkSystem servers and ThinkAgile integrated appliances and systems solutions. Customer engagements include hardware installation, deployment, management, maintenance and removal by Lenovo service professionals.
It’s entirely sensible that IT product developers focus intently on what they want products and services to accomplish. After all, a solution’s capabilities are central to how it is marketed and received by customers. But Lenovo’s TruScale Infrastructure Services demonstrate why it is also important to consider what you hope to avoid. The company could easily have gone the way of so many others and created as-a-Service solutions that don’t and can’t really fit customers’ requirements.
Instead, Lenovo developed a framework that enables clients to capture a profound combination of on-premises IT capabilities and the economic benefits of cloud, all without requiring capital investments. Plus, since customers can closely monitor and easily adjust IT consumption in real time, they can be assured that they have precisely the compute capacity they require whatever the circumstances.
In essence, with its new TruScale Infrastructure offerings, Lenovo has redefined Infrastructure-as-a-Service into “Infrastructure-at-your-Service” for enterprises and other IT clients. If other aaS vendors aren’t taking note of Lenovo’s TruScale, they should. Their own customers certainly will be.
© 2019 Pund-IT, Inc. All rights reserved.
About Pund-IT, Inc.
Pund-IT™ (www.pund-it.com) emphasizes understanding technology and product evolution and interpreting the effects these changes will have on business customers and the greater IT marketplace. Though Pund-IT provides consulting and other services to technology vendors, the opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author alone.