Lenovo Now Offers Server Systems for SMBs, Midmarket Companies

Lenovo, which is best known for its line of ThinkPad notebooks, is looking to enter the worldwide x86 server market for the first time with five new server systems that will be now called the Lenovo ThinkServer line. In order to build the Lenovo ThinkServer line, Lenovo signed an agreement with IBM to license some of its intellectual property. In the x86 server market, Lenovo is looking to compete against HP, Dell and, to an extent, IBM.

Lenovo, which has been expanding its line of notebooks and desktops since the beginning of the year, will now try to carve out a piece of the x86 server market for itself with a line of systems called ThinkServer.

At the 2008 Interop conference in New York, which starts Sept. 16, Lenovo will preview five new ThinkServer servers. While Lenovo is new to the worldwide x86 server market, it plans to concentrate its first efforts on selling servers to small and midsize businesses and midmarket companies.

The first of these ThinkServer systems, whose starting price begins at $749, will go on sale Sept. 30, according to Lenovo.

In order to design and create these ThinkServer systems, Lenovo signed a licensing agreement with IBM in January that gave Lenovo engineers access to Big Blue's intellectual property. Lenovo and IBM have a close working relationship since IBM sold Lenovo its Personal Computer Division, which included the ThinkPad and ThinkCentre brands, in 2005 for a total of $1.75 billion. While Lenovo has sold servers in its home base of China, some analysts believe that IBM's intellectual property will held reassure customers that these new systems can handle specific workloads.

The move into the x86 server market is a way for Lenovo to round out its hardware offering beyond its ThinkPad notebooks and ThinkCentre desktops for the enterprise. Since the start of 2008, Lenovo has expanded into the consumer notebook and desktop market with a new line of PCs. In the last month, the company also began offering a low-cost laptop, or "netbook."

While the ThinkServer line will help round out Lenovo's offering, especially in the SMB and midmarket space, the company is entering a field that is already heavily saturated with servers from the likes of Hewlett-Packard and Dell. To an extent, Lenovo is also now competing with IBM, which offers SMB servers within its System x line.