Lenovo is adding to its roster of software partners in the fast-growing hyperconverged infrastructure space with a new offering that combines its servers with Scale Computing’s platform and is aimed at midsize companies and edge computing environments.
The new solution, called the Scale Computing HC3 Edge Platform on Lenovo Servers, is designed to make deployment and management easy for smaller and midsize organizations in such areas as retail, bank branches and health care institutions that may not have the resources or expertise necessary to manage highly complex, expensive systems.
The goal with the systems, which are available now, is to give companies a simple, intelligent and highly integrated on-premises system that can be placed on the network edge closer to where the workloads are being run and data is being generated. In a statement, Wilfredo Sotolongo, vice president and general manager of IoT for Lenovo’s Data Center Group, said the new offering, announced this week, provides an edge computing infrastructure that can run a broad array of workloads and “is space conscious and can be managed at each individual location by generalists. This reduces the time and budget spent managing technology and allows companies to focus more on growing their business and serving their customers.”
Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) is a fast-growing segment in the larger data center hardware space. According to IDC analysts, global revenue in the hyperconverged market jumped 78.1 percent year-over-year in the second quarter, hitting about $1.5 billion in sales. Hyperconverged solutions account for 41.2 percent of the total converged systems market.
The growth is fueled in part by the rise of new computing environments, including the cloud and edge, and trends like the internet of things (IoT) and the proliferation of mobile devices that drive the need for more compute capabilities outside core data centers. More applications and data are being accessed and created outside of data centers, which requires more running, processing and analyzing of the workloads and data needed to be done closer to those devices.
In their report, IDC analysts rank such hardware makers as Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Cisco Systems, as well as software makers like Nutanix, as leaders in the HCI space. However, Lenovo officials see hyperconverged solutions—which offered compute, storage and networking as well as virtualization and management software in a tightly integrated bundle—as a key part of the company’s larger data center hardware strategy, particularly as it makes inroads into hyperscale environments like those at Google and Facebook and software-defined data center environments.
During a conference call with analysts in August, Kirk Skaugen, president of Lenovo’s Data Center Group, said the company’s software-defined infrastructure business is growing by triple digits, adding that Lenovo is “seeing a move from a traditional infrastructure to a software-defined [infrastructure]. … Things like some of these hyperconverged infrastructures are providing a better cost structure for people that want on-prem solutions,” according to a transcript on Seeking Alpha.
Lenovo became a significantly larger data center player when it bought IBM’s x86 server business in 2014 for $2.1 billion. Included in the deal not only was IBM’s System x and Flex System servers and switches, but also the company’s integrated systems and associated software. Since the deal, Lenovo has been growing its hyperconverged solutions lineup by partnering with a range of software vendors, including VMware, Nutanix, Pivot3 and Microsoft, to run their products on Lenovo servers.
The partnership with Scale Computing adds to that lineup. The portfolio of Scale HC3 systems includes such Lenovo servers as the 1U (1.75-inch) ThinkSystem SR630, 2U (3.5-inch) SR650 and 1U Lenovo System x3550 M5, all rack servers powered by Intel Xeon processors.
Scale Computing’s HC3 platform includes the HyperCore software architecture, which offers server virtualization, integrated management, software-defined storage and flexible scalability. Scale offers the software on its own HC1000 and HC5000 hardware, but also on hardware from such third-party vendors as Dell and, now, Lenovo.
Hardware vendors like Dell EMC and HPE are putting much more focus on the edge. At HPE’s Discover show in June, company officials unveiled validated system architectures based on the Edgeline EL1000 and EL4000 systems that are designed to run a variety of software stacks and a month later rolled out the SimpliVity 2600 solution. Cisco is pushing its HyperFlex systems out to the edge.
It’s not surprising. A report from MarketsandMarkets is forecasting the edge computing market will grow 35.4 percent a year from 2017 to 2022, when it reaches $6.72 billion, with the drivers being the growth in cloud infrastructure, a broad array of applications in various industries and an increase in the number of intelligent applications.