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Lenovo ThinkSystem Servers With AMD Cuts VMware Licensing Costs

‘The fact that you can run as many cores in a single processor as you can with two processors from another manufacturer, that means you can cut down your licensing costs considerably,’ says Stefan Bockhop, executive director of channels for Lenovo’s North America Data Center Group.

Lenovo’s two new single-socket ThinkSystem server platforms powered by AMD’s new EPYC processors can cut VMware licensing costs up to 73 percent.

“It’s the first time we’ve seen EPYC processors in our Lenovo platform,” said Stefan Bockhop, executive director of channels for Lenovo’s North America Data Center Group, in an interview with CRN. “I see two big opportunities. One is the fact that you can run as many cores in a single processor as you can with two processors from another manufacturer, that means you can cut down your licensing costs considerably. In fact, AMD estimates about 73 percent.”

This month, Lenovo launched its new ThinkSystem SR635 and SR655 server platforms, aimed at providing the performance of a dual-socket server at the cost of a single socket. The new servers are powered by AMD’s new second-generation EPYC 7002 Series of processors which are designed to handle data intensive workloads such as software-defined storage and video security.

[Related: Forrest Norrod Outlines AMD’s Plan To Fight Intel In The Data Center]

In terms of the 73 percent cost savings in VMware software licensing, Lenovo compared the price of nine Lenovo x3650 M5 dual-socket servers with VMware vSphere 6 support for five years versus the price of five Lenovo SR655 single-socket servers with VMware vSphere 6 support for five years.

The total price tag for the Lenovo x3650 M5 servers with VMware vSphere support equaled $169,020, while the Lenovo SR655 servers with VMware vSphere support totaled $46,950. The software licensing costs was taken from Lenovo’s Data Center Solution Configurator.

VMware declined to comment on the matter.

The ThinkSystem SR635 and SR655 servers provide more throughput, lower latency and higher core density, as well as the largest NVMe drive capacity of any single-socket on the market, according to Lenovo. The new AMD EPYC processor-based systems also provide a solid opportunity for the enablement of additional hyper-converged infrastructure solutions, according to Bockhop. This gives Lenovo the ability to offer customers vSAN and other certified nodes and future ThinkAgile software-defined appliances for simple deployment, management and scalability.

“There’s an ever-increasing requirement for GPU density. By going with a single processor, you can get to a high GPU density,” said Bockhop. “You can do more with less -- that’s the name of the game.”

On the hyper-converged infrastructure front, Bockhop said Lenovo is diving deeper with Scale Computing and Pivot3 to have the new SR635 and SR655 servers coupled with the hyper-converged vendors’ software.

“Scale is already up and running and available to configure in our configurator. So all of the partners can configure their Scale solutions right in their Lenovo configurator, order it from distribution and have it arrive with the bits on the platform,” said Bockhop. “Our partner Pivto3, leaders in video surveillance, they’ll be in the configurator sometime by the end of August. [We are] looking forward to those partnerships growing.”

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