Lenovo Server Snapshot: Here's Looking at You, SMB

By Drew Robb (Send Email)
Posted Oct 16, 2008


Drew Robb

Lenovo recently entered the server marketplace with five new 1-way and 2-way servers. Branded as ThinkServer, these single and dual-core offerings are aimed at the lower end of the server marketplace.

Hard-Core Hardware: Lenovo's new ThinkServer server line is aimed squarely at SMBs. With its single and dual-core offerings aimed at the lower end of the server marketplace, the jury is still out on whether the OEM will be a game changer or a niche player.

"It is a solid first-time entry, long on ease-of-use focus and SMB style services to set it apart from vendors trying to shoehorn in enterprise products into this same segment," said Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group of San Jose, Calif. "They seem to have thought through what this segment wants and crafted a product line that provides it."

Although Enderle thinks Lenovo has a solid plan for breaking into the server industry, he thinks it will be a while before it challenges the status quo.

"Long term, they will move up market, but near term I would expect Lenovo to flesh out the lines and provide a richer set of products for one or two vertical industries," said Enderle.

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The naming conventions used for the ThinkServers — RS110, RD120, TD100, TD100x and TS100 — are fairly standard: The R stands for Rack, T stands for Tower, S stands for Single (as in single core) and the D means Dual Core. All servers come with a one-year warranty (except the TD100x, which has a three year) and a 90-day trial of the priority support package that covers you during the first three months of ownership. Each box is compatible with the Windows, Linux, and VMware operating systems.

Two Racks

Lenovo has two rack servers in its repertoire, the RS110 and RD120. Both are customizable with plenty of software to make them simple to install, configure and maintain.

The ThinkServer RS110 is the less-expensive of the two rack servers, with a starting price of $879. It uses an Intel Core2Duo E7200 processor and comes with 1GB RAM. It can be upgraded to up to 8GBs.

Note that the prices listed do not include the cost of the hard drives. The RS110's drives range from simple-to-hot-swap SAS and SATA II drives with up to 1TB for a SATA drive and 146GB for a SAS drive. They are purchased separately via the Lenovo partner network, which currently is the only way to buy these products.

The RD120 is the second of two rack-based servers by Lenovo. This one is slightly more powerful, and of course, higher priced. This dual-core processor has a starting price of $1,699 and comes with 2GB RAM (up to 48GB RAM is available).

Three Towers

The TD100, TD100x and TS100 are the three tower servers released as part of Lenovo's ThinkServer line.

The TD100's starting price is $1,219. It comes with an Intel Xeon E5110 processor and 2GB of RAM with a maximum of 48GB. As with the racks, the hard drives are sold separately — either SATA II or SAS drives.

The TD100x has a starting price of $2,329. This dual-core processor comes with 4GB RAM with a max usage of 48GB RAM. Unlike the others, this box doesn't use SATA drives — only hot-swap SAS drives.

Last but not least is the TS100. This represents the low end of the line as the cheapest of the lot — priced at $749. This Intel Core2Duo processor server comes with 1GB RAM (expandable to 8GB).

Summary

According to Tom Tobul, executive director, Enterprise Business Unit at Lenovo, the TS100 and RS110 single-core servers are targeted for small businesses using simple applications, such as e-mail, messaging, file storage and Web serving. The TD100, TD100x and RD120 dual-core models are targeted more at midsize businesses that require additional capabilities, such as database applications or virtualization.

For now, Lenovo plans to use these products to gain a foothold in SMB server market.

"I can see them competing well against Dell or HP at the lower end but only if they hold focus," said Enderle. "The advantage they have is the SMB efforts won't be overshadowed by the more dramatic enterprise offerings which should help Lenovo focus more tightly on this segment."

Lenovo's Server Offerings, at a Glance

Name RD120 RS110 TD100 TD100x TS100
Platform x86 x86 x86 x86 x86
Processor Details Dual-core Intel Xeon processor Single Core2 Duo processor Dual-core Xeon processor Dual-core Xeon processor Single Core2 Duo processor
Hard Drives Sold separately Sold separately Sold separately Sold separately Sold separately
Operating Systems Windows, Linux, VMware Windows, Linux, VMware Windows, Linux, VMware Windows, Linux, VMware   Windows, Linux, VMware
Configuration Options Priced at $1,699, the dual-core processor server comes with 2GB RAM, with upgrades can hold 48GB RAM. Priced at $879, this server uses an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and comes stocked with 1GB RAM. Capable of 8GB RAM with upgrades. Priced at $1,219, this dual-core Intel Xeon processor also comes with 2GB RAM with a maximum of 48GB. Starting price: $2,329, dual-core processor and 4GB RAM with a maximum of 48GB. Priced at $739, this single-core processor comes stocked with 1GB RAM and a max of 8GB.
GA Now available Now available Now available Now available Now available
Warranty 1 year 1 year 1 year 3 years 1 year

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