Lenovo, VMware Partner on IT Infrastructure Solutions

The two companies will focus on data center solutions around servers, storage, networking and virtualization.


Lenovo, in its first announcement after buying IBM's x86 server business for $2.1 billion, is teaming up with VMware to build new software-defined data center offerings for cloud and end-user computing environments.

The two companies unveiled the partnership Oct. 14 at VMworld Europe 2014 in Barcelona, Spain, a move that Lenovo officials said extends a 16-year development relationship between VMware and IBM's System x business.

The IT infrastructure solutions Lenovo and VMware will develop will be designed to help enterprises and service providers embrace the concept of software-defined data centers (SDDCs), where customers can leverage server, storage and network virtualization to simplify their resources, cut IT costs and accelerate the provisioning of applications, officials said.

The solutions will combine Lenovo's expanded IT hardware capabilities with virtualization technology from VMware in a range of areas, including private and hybrid cloud solutions. For the cloud, they will offer complete architectures that include Lenovo's server and networking hardware and VMware's vRealize Suite of cloud management capabilities. In the area of network virtualization, Lenovo will bring together its top-of-rack networking technology with VMware's NSX software-defined networking (SDN) platform to create solutions around network virtualization gateways and integrated traffic management.

There also will be software-defined storage (SDS) infrastructure offerings based on Lenovo servers and VMware's Virtual SAN software, and virtual desktop services developed with Lenovo's eXFlash server-based storage product and VMware's Horizon virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) platform.

The partnership also will include joint marketing and channel efforts.

Lenovo closed the deal for IBM's x86 server business Oct. 1, a move that made Lenovo the world's third-largest server vendor, behind Hewlett-Packard and Dell. Lenovo officials expect to see results similar to when the Chinese company bought IBM's PC business in 2005 for $1.25 billion, an acquisition that helped propel Lenovo into the top spot as the world's largest PC seller.

"This acquisition has many things in common with that groundbreaking deal," Gerry Smith, executive vice president of Lenovo Group and president of Lenovo's Enterprise Business Group and Americas Group, said in a conference call last month. "Back then, our competitors said we could not win together. They said our cultures would clash. They said that our merger would fail. We proved them wrong on every count. Like [Lenovo CEO Yang] Yuanqing said, we expect to repeat the same success we had in PCs as we expand into the enterprise."

Through the deal, Lenovo gained IBM's System x blade servers and switches, BladeCenter and Flex System businesses, x86-based Flex integrated systems, NeXtScale and iDataPlex servers, and associated software, blade networking and maintenance operations.

Lenovo's deal for IBM's System x business is part of a larger effort to become a top maker of all kinds of compute systems. Along with the PC and server businesses, Lenovo also is in the process of buying handset maker Motorola Mobility from Google for $2.9 billion as it looks to become a larger player in the booming mobile device market.