Partners Cheer Lenovo's DataCore Deal, Ponder Its Long-Term Storage Strategy

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Lenovo has a software-defined storage strategy that fits a wide range of customer requirements, said Radhika Krishnan, executive director and general manager of software-defined data center and networking in Lenovo’s Data Center Group.

"We believe that software-defined storage is a very real disruption happening in the marketplace," Krishnan told CRN. "It offers many benefits over traditional SANs. Storage vendors want to protect their 50- to 70-point margins. They want to protect their margins and maintenance contracts."

Lenovo's biggest strength is its x86-based server platform, Krishnan said. "Software-defined storage lets us do what we do really well: Run advanced software on our servers," she said.

Lenovo's new DX8200D storage appliance, which integrates Lenovo’s System x3650 M5 server with DataCore's SANsymphony software, offers many advantages over traditional SAN offerings, Krishnan said.

"DataCore, in particular, has a very interesting offering," she said. "It can virtualize third-party disk storage that sits behind it. It can replace existing SAN arrays while offering significantly better storage management than traditional storage."

That is a potentially huge benefit to customers who have heavily invested in existing storage infrastructures, Krishnan said.

"The typical customer opportunities are not greenfield opportunities," she said. "They have existing storage and SANs. DataCore can virtualize existing storage behind it to make data migration and automation much easier."

Lenovo believes the move towards software-defined storage is happening, as is the move to software-defined networking, Krishnan said.

That is also happening with large existing storage vendors as well, Krishnan admitted. However, those storage vendors are facing many issues, including multi-product storage lines with overlapping technologies as well as their incentive to keep selling traditional storage, she said.

"Given their investment in SANs, they have a lot of legacy baggage," she said. "It's hard for them to invest in software-defined storage without cannibalizing their existing business."

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