Lenovo Flex System X6 Family
Lenovo Flex System X6 Family

Since acquiring the IBM System x division in October last year, Lenovo has been keen to prove that this was a smart investment. With the launch of the Intel Xeon E7 v3 processors, Lenovo has announced that it has gained seven world records based on quad socket solutions. This is only to be expected as quad socket solutions was the sweet spot in the x86 server market that IBM dominated.

The announcement of the world records came in a blog from Mark Chapman and shows that the records cover a number of different industry benchmarks across multiple operating systems. This is not just an exercise in picking off a slight improvement in performance. The smallest improvement is 19% over the previous record with the best a whopping 56%.

Interestingly, when Intel listed the world records achieved by its launch partners using Xeon E7 v3 processors it only listed five records for Lenovo.

Lenovo targeting the appliance market

Lenovo has also continued to target the appliance market, especially the SAP market with the announcement of several new appliances. One of these, the System x3850 X6 has set two world records:

  1. SAP BW-EML scale-out @ 1 billion records[8] — The x3850 X6 achieved 1,992,570 nav steps/hr @ 1 billion records, 29% faster than the previous record.
  2. SAP BW-EML scale-out @ 10 billion records[9] — The x3850 X6 achieved 269,960 nav steps/hr @ 10 billion, the first server ever to use 10 billion initial records.

Each of these records has been verified by SAP and more details can be found on the SAP website.

Raising the bar for blade servers

One of the interesting parts of the Lenovo announcements has been the Lenovo Flex System X6. Lenovo is keen to deliver this as both a four-socket and an eight-socket solution claiming that the Flex System x880 X6 will be the first eight-socket blade on the market. While it has not specified which of the new Xeon E7 v3 processors will be used, it has said that each processor will have 18 cores creating a blade with over 144 cores.

There are two markets for this type of blade. The first is High Performance Computing (HPC) but the more likely solution is going to be big data. This will pitch Lenovo against IBM who is targeting that same market with its Power Systems solutions. With all of the big vendors seeing China as the key market to fight over, Lenovo might just have the edge over IBM by being a local company.

The future looks good for Lenovo

One of the key benefits for Lenovo of the IBM System x acquisition was that it also acquired all the R&D and technical staff that had built the System x division over years. While the profit levels from System x were not enough to satisfy IBM, Lenovo is better placed to cut and control future costs, increasing the profit. With the continuation of the development of System x it has also gained by being able to bring new very high performance systems to market to tie in with the launch of the Intel Xeon E7 v3.

There has also been a lot of work to redefine and build out the partner environment. Lenovo has captured a number of key IBM partners and resellers who will welcome the continuation of development on System x. This means that it can rely on the channel to be able to make sales quickly and help recover its costs.

While Huawei is also building appliances and looking to be a major player in the converged systems market, Lenovo has the advantage of continuity in System x development. The next quarterly sales numbers from Lenovo will be the first to give us a realistic view of whether it can make money from the acquisition and the announcement of world records and new appliances can only help it achieve that.


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