10 Cool Scenes Inside Lenovo’s Data Center Executive Briefing Center

Lenovo’s Executive Briefing Center

With 1,500 site visits and 400 events each year, Lenovo’s Data Center Executive Briefing Center plays a critical role in both Lenovo and its channel partner success.

“The win rate as soon as we bring a customer in here is over 80 percent, which is more than double what it would normally be when we’re out there in the market,” said Roderick Lappin, senior vice president and chief customer officer for Lenovo’s Data Center Group. “The center is a real opportunity for our channel partners to bring customers in for us to showcase together some of the technologies that Lenovo brings forward.”

The company has a total of three executive briefing centers: in Raleigh, N.C., Stuttgart, Germany and Beijing. CRN recently took a look inside Lenovo’s Raleigh facility. Here are 10 cool scenes inside the facility.

Hardware Turntables

Various Lenovo hardware is on full display in the center where you can touch, feel and actually take out components inside the product. Most of the hardware sits on top of a spinning circular table that, when spun, a screen above shows you several slides detailing information on the specific product. The screen labels the technology inside the product, gives a detailed overview on the solution and highlights some of the special features inside.

A Lifesize, 3D Touchscreen Digital ThinkSystem

One of the coolest tools inside the center is a life-sized, touchscreen digital replica of a rack full of ThinkSystem servers. The 3D digital display has a catalog of more than 100 models of Lenovo data center products that can show all angles of the solution. You can touch a server or a specific component inside a product and the screen will display its digital 3D image as well as its features, functionality and capabilities – giving customers and partners an easy way to peak inside.

‘A Petting Zoo For Our Technology’

One of the most notorious highlights of the facility is the Lenovo Green Solutions Center, which is essentially a functioning small data center in which you can physically take out and examine hardware components that are live but not in production.

“It’s basically a petting zoo for our technology,” said Steve Loeschorn, a senior product specialist who provides tours and demos inside the Green Solutions Center.

The Green Solutions Center is a showcase arena where experts like Loeschorn provide real-life use cases and technical expertise around Lenovo’s full range of software-defined data center infrastructure, cooling systems and cutting-edge innovations, including artificial intelligence. When a rack is opened, a screen above provides vast amounts of details around the products inside, other vendor technologies being leverage and current use cases in production.

The MareNostrum

The centerpiece artwork inside the facility is a large, three-piece photograph of what Lenovo dubs the “world’s most beautiful supercomputer” – the MareNostrum. Within the stone walls of the former Chapel Torre Girona in Barcelona, Spain, the Barcelona Supercomputing Center manages the supercomputer MareNostrum, which is powered by a whopping 3,456 Lenovo ThinkSystem compute nodes. The 11.15-petaflop supercomputer powers everything from human genome research, bioinformatics and biomechanics to weather forecasting and atmospheric composition.

The Main Stage

The largest space inside the briefing center is an auditorium full of various technologies and Lenovo hardware that has space for dozens of people. Surrounded by displays and Lenovo hardware, this is where partners and customers come to train, pitch deals, preview product roadmaps and discuss go-to-market strategies, to name a few. The room is full of microphones, web and video conferencing technology, cameras, white boards and a large screen.

On-Demand Microphones

Each seat inside the auditorium includes a microphone roughly the size of a ping-pong ball. All an audience member has to do is tap the circular microphone and the light will change from red to green, meaning the sound system inside the auditorium is now connected to your microphone. The technology makes it simple to ask questions without having to get the presenters attention or speak loudly, Loeschorn said.

Lenovo Rack

Another cool feature inside the auditorium is a Lenovo Flex System Enterprise Chassis with ThinkSystem SR950, ThinkSystem SD530 and ThinkSystem SR850 solutions inside. During sessions, the speaker can go and physically pull out the hardware for the audience to view or even pass it around the room. The Chassis also sits on a spinning table to give people a full view of the rack such as the cooling system in the back. Additionally, the room includes a functioning rack with ThinkSystem and ThinkAgile solutions that can also be taken apart for training or information purposes. Loeschorn said the goal of providing all the hands-on physical showcasing is to allow people to truly interact and have some fun with Lenovo’s data center portfolio.

Laptops Galore

Lenovo has a long line of ThinkPad laptops up and running for people to try out. About a dozen different versions of Lenovo laptops sit next to each other alongside other Lenovo-based solutions including an artificial intelligence software healthcare use case from Lenovo that detects cancer cells within a tumor. Lenovo was the worldwide leader in PC shipments in 2018, shipping 16,628 units to capture 24.2 percent share, according to IT research firm Gartner.

Briefing Rooms

One of the main purposes to Lenovo’s Executive Briefing Center is to provide briefing rooms where customers and partners can take a deep dive into the subject matter or deal at hand. The center has several rooms ranging from a handful or seats to over a dozen where partners and customers can get down to business. These briefing rooms are typically a web and video conferencing technology, cameras, a large screen, various microphones, white boards and refrigerators filled with refreshments.

Expansion Ahead

Lenovo will invest $15 million to massively expand the Executive Briefing Center in Raleigh, N.C. this year, with construction set to begin in the next few months. Due to the center’s success, the company plans to construct a massive new 600-person auditorium as well as a restaurant for customers and partners.

“We see a lot of our customers come through here,” said Lappin. “We can showcase 129 world record benchmarks and our close rates lift to way over 80 percent here. It’s an important investment for us as well as our partners.”