Interop: Lenovo Debuts SMB Servers, Energy-Efficient Monitors

Lenovo used Interop New York 2008 as its launching pad for a pair of key product launches the ThinkPad maker said will vault it into new territories.

First, Lenovo officially entered the worldwide server market with its release of five new SMB servers under its ThinkServer umbrella. Lenovo already offers servers in China, but this is the first time it's taking it worldwide and going head to head with the likes of Dell and HP.

"If I look at all the players in the marketI'm a player that's specifically focusing on the SMB space," said Mark Godin, vice president and general manager of Lenovo's worldwide business unit. "You'll be dealing with a company that has only one space in mind " the SMB space."

Godin said the ThinkServer line was designed to give companies up to 500 employees an out-of-the-box server solution catered to companies that don't have the dedicated IT staff to set up and manage a large server environment. The ThinkServer line is complemented by proprietary management software and a 90-day trial of Lenovo's ThinkPlus Priority Support to help smaller companies get up to snuff with their new server environment.

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At Interop on Tuesday, Lenovo launched three tower and two rack x86 servers in its ThinkServer line. First up are the ThinkServer TS100 Tower and the RS110 Rack, servers that are equipped with Intel Core 2 Duo or Xeon 3000 or 3200 processors. The TS100 and RS110 are targeted at small offices using simple applications like email, messaging and storing files. It can also be used as a Web server.

The ThinkServer TD100 Tower, the TD100x Tower and the RD120 Rack servers come equipped with Intel Xeon 3000 or 5000 processors for mid-sized companies that require additional capabilities beyond simple applications, such as database applications or virtualization, Godin said.

The ThinkServer family is available with Microsoft Windows Server or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server from Novell.

Along with launching five new servers, Lenovo also released ThinkServer management tools, software that lets users set up, update and manage the line. The software includes ThinkServer EasyStartup, a hardware configuration tool that helps users set up and run a server environment; ThinkServer EasyUpdate, an update utility that lets users identify, download and install hardware and firmware updates; and ThinkServer EasyManager, a tool developed with LANDesk that lets users oversee the performance of one or more servers from a single console.

As part of the 90-day trial for ThinkPlus Priority Support, users will get next business day warranty service, 24/7 hardware and software phone support, and priority call routing to senior level technicians. The service also includes optional four-hour, on-site response and hard disk drive retention. Users can also buy ThinkPlus Productivity, a package that includes the same features as ThinkPlus Priority Support, but also adds on-site hardware installation and online training.

The ThinkServer family starts at $749 and will be available through Lenovo's channel partners starting Sept. 30, Godin said.

Eric Hobbs, president of Technology Associates, a Cary, N.C.-based solution provider, said Lenovo's entrance into the worldwide server market solves a specific painpoint he and other managed service providers often come up against, and that's having to deploy gear from various vendors in customer environments.

"The big thing for us is being able to offer single source solutions for our customers," he said, adding that Technology Associates has been using Lenovo desktops for years and in the past had relied on IBM server environments. Now, he said, he can work with one vendor instead of two.

The ability to offer single-vendor solutions will also help get more clients on board with deploying servers, Hobbs said, especially in the SMB space where many companies are still using PCs and work stations as a server.

"Getting those people to drop money on a new server is hard to do," he said, adding that now he can offer a consistent, repeatable solution with strong management tools that will help him set up, update and maintain client environments.

While Hobbs noted that Lenovo will face stiff competition in the SMB server market from Dell, HP and others, he said he's confident in Lenovo's laptop and desktop product lines and their new servers shouldn't be an exception.

"With the value, innovation and engineering they bring to laptops and desktops, we're excited that they're bringing that to the server market," Hobbs said.

NEXT: Levovo's New Monitors

Along with entering into the global service market, Lenovo at Interop also launched six new energy efficient monitors in its line of ThinkVision PC displays.

Bill Dominichi, ThinkVision product marketing manager for the Lenovo Americas Group, said the latest ThinkVision displays take energy-efficiency to a new level. The new ThinkVision L1700p, L1940 Wide, L1940p Wide, L2240p Wide, L2440p Wide and L2440x Wide monitors use 30 percent to 60 percent less than previous ThinkVision models and are EPEAT Gold rated and GREENGUARD certified for energy efficiency.

The flagship display of the new lineup, the ThinkVision L2440x Wide monitor, also marks Lenovo's first 24-inch, low-halogen display. It uses white LED backlight technology and requires 29 watts of power to operate. Additionally, the L2440x Wide is mercury and arsenic free, Dominichi said.

Other new and enhanced features in the latest ThinkVision line, which range in size from 17 inches to 24 inches, include a new display design on some models that use LCD light more efficiently to decrease the number of light tubes each monitor needs and a new ergonomic stand available for select model for customizable heights, pivot and swivel options, along a new enclosure design that aids with cable management.

Lenovo has also unveiled new environmentally-responsible packaging for the ThinkVision L2240p Wide, L2440p Wide and L2440x Wide monitors that consists of 65 percent recycled material and are 100 percent recyclable, Dominichi said.

Along with the new green features, the new ThinkVision monitors offer contrast ratios of up to 1000 to 1; five millisecond response time; and 1920 by 1200 resolution. Select models also include four high-speed USB ports and DisplayPort.

The ThinkVision L1700p monitor is available worldwide beginning Sept. 19 through Lenovo channel partners. The L1940 Wide is available in Europe starting Sept. 19. And additional models will be available in October. The price range runs $239.99 for the ThinkVision L1700p to $749.99 for the ThinkVision L244x Wide.