Software and Services Are Key
Software and Services Are Key Lenovo ThinkServer EasyStartup software provides a user-friendly interface to install and configure the new server and OS. While the software is geared towards non-technical users, a central IT department could buy 20 identical servers for branch offices, configure one, save a response file containing configuration information onto a memory key, and then ship the servers, the ThinkServer EasyStartup software on CD and the memory key to a branch office. At the branch office, local tech support or even a power user could then physically install the server, run ThinkServer EasyStartup and load the response file, and then sit back and watch the server configure itself. The only drawback to this process is that the response file is almost 4GB in size, which seems strangely large to me as it is only configuration information.ThinkServer EasyManage is the heart of Lenovo's management offering. The software allows admins to monitor all servers and distribute alert notifications via SMS and e-mail, for example. Hardware agents get pushed to each server under management, and integration with EasyUpdate provides almost transparent hardware and firmware updates. At the core is the venerable LANDesk (formerly of Intel, now of Avocent) management platform. LANDesk can manage entire networks of servers and workstations at local and remote sites, and includes features such as inventory, remote control and asset monitoring. Support is another strong suit for Lenovo. The RD120 comes with a standard one-year on-site warranty and a 90-day trial of its TPS (ThinkPlus Priority Support). The TPS trial includes 24/7 telephone support for the OS and apps installed on the server, an upgrade path to four-hour responses to hardware problems and an option to continue after the trial has ended. Data protection is also available as an optional online backup service, Lenovo Online Backup. Our RD120 came with a license for online data protection. In three clicks, I made an initial backup and scheduled nightly online backups. Double-clicking the system tray icon for Lenovo Online Backup opens the user interface, where I could easily select individual files to be restored.
ThinkServer EasyUpdate can be a boon to server administrators who haven't yet automated the patching process. Essentially, the software provides a single Web interface to prioritize, select, download, and install any patch (OS, drivers, apps) to the server. One very cool thing is that you can create and deploy custom install packages. This means that headquarters could push not only basic patches for OS and applications out to branch offices, but also installation packages and patches of custom applications.