Lenovo And SAP Tie The Knot, Again, At Tech World 2020

By Patrick Moorhead - November 13, 2020

Lenovo Tech World 2020, scheduled for Oct. 28-29, brought together several Lenovo events, including an event for partners.  Conferences, often timed with product announcements, allow us to hear the company strategy and focus from Lenovo’s leadership.

I'll hit the key learnings from this announcement and then my opinion at the end.

Lenovo Tech World

Lenovo has a laser focus on analytics and AI

The customer needs to derive more value from data is shaping Lenovo's strategy. It has coined a "Smarter Way Forward” to describe how customers can use technology to harness data's value through analytics and AI. The Lenovo promise is to help customers enable actionable intelligence and deliver faster insights leveraging real-time analytics to make better decisions and gain a competitive advantage. 

The hallmark of a successful organization will be the ability to drive insights and value from the data in real-time. Today, data is everywhere; customers need to process and analyze data in a traditional data center and at the edge, and even within the cloud. 

For example, successful financial institutions will stop fraudulent transactions in real-time instead of minimizing the impact after the fact. The same is true for many businesses, from retailers optimizing e-commerce marketplaces to the logistical challenges of supply-chain and manufacturing organizations across a magnitude of industries. 

Lenovo recommends high-performance data analytics (HPDA) to achieve real-time results. HPDA is the convergence of Big Data and High-Performance Computing (HPC). Traditional Big Data analytics engines, such as Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark, are excellent at storing and managing large amounts of unstructured data mined for trends and insights. However, the speed and latency requirements of real-time analytics create significant challenges for traditional Big Data systems.  Traditional scale-out computing is not cost-effective, nor does it provide the performance needed to analyze real-time data.

These compute-intensive workloads often require HPC's performance and demand the level of storage and memory capacity suited for Big Data.

Lenovo's mission-critical systems combine processing capacity, storage, and memory into a single system. Lenovo's purpose-built designs analyze massive data sets across the system memory while minimizing latency challenges to offset the potential impact on the bottom line.  

GPUs enable ultra-fast data processing by loading complete datasets in the GPU memory and leveraging GPU acceleration for high-speed processing. GPUs' added benefit is crucial as it gives customers the ability to move beyond HPDA to complex Artificial Intelligence models quickly.  

Lenovo ThinkSystem SR860 V2 and SR850 V2 AI-Ready servers

The new servers are ideal for delivering real-time insights within HPDA workloads and incorporating AI into the enterprise environment. These mission-critical servers provide expansion capabilities, guarantee system uptime for superior data resiliency, and accelerate AI, data analytics, and VDI workloads using next-generation accelerators. 

Benefits include: 

  • Up to 2X increased NVMe storage capacity eliminating the data bottleneck for real-time analytics using up to 48x 2.5” SSDs (up to 24x NVMe drives inclusive in the 48 total drives)  
  • Up to 25% performance /$ improvement using 3rd Generation Intel XeonGold 6328H processors
  • Hyper-fast GPU processing capabilities with minimal latency using up to 8 single-width (or four double-width) GPUs, including support for NVIDIA V100 Tensor Core GPUs 
  • Up to 3X maximum capacity per node for more scalable memory closer to the CPU and lower data latency than solid-state drive technology using IntelOptane persistent memory (PMem) 200 series (24 DIMMs per system) on Lenovo ThinkSystem servers, resulting in a significant overall improvement in application performance.  

Just as the approach to business is changing, so must the approach to consuming infrastructure. Enterprises need flexibility, convenience, and affordability to the point that a pay-per-use consumption model has become a business imperative. 

Lenovo TruScale is a subscription-based offering that allows you to use and pay for data center hardware and services – on-premise or at a preferred location such as the edge – without having to purchase the equipment. This consumption model avoids capital expenses and long lead times.  Pay only for what you use, scale on-demand without overprovisioning, or incurring exponential costs. 

Truscale will scale as business dictates and for any configuration – whether storage-rich, server-heavy, hyperconverged, or high-performance computing.  

SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, customer edition

In 2016, which seems like a lifetime ago, I wrote a note on Lenovo’s move to partner with SAP. At the time, I noted it was a good move for Lenovo to partner with big enterprise software names instead of making acquisitions or developing software. We also released a research paper detailing Lenovo’s scalable solutions for SAP applications. 

SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, customer edition, represents more value from the partnership offering an OPEX, cloud service, delivered on-premises in the customer’s data center.

The solution leverages Lenovo TruScale Infrastructure Services and Lenovo ThinkSystem and ThinkAgile servers and storage that are SAP HANA Certified and Supported. 

The offering will be particularly appealing to customers who want to keep the SAP software landscape and data on-premises while gaining the benefits of a private-cloud experience. 

The turnkey solutions benefit from the 2- to 4-socket scalability and high-performance designs of Lenovo’s ThinkSystem SR860 V2 and SR850 V2 for SAP HANA workloads. The Lenovo ThinkSystem SR860 V2 is one of our leading platforms, achieving nine world- record SAP HANA benchmarks.   

Wrapping up

The industry will continue to need to evolve and find new and smart ways to leverage data to deliver improved results.  Lenovo has clearly articulated a strategy to help customers of all sizes harness the value of data through a broad spectrum of analytics and AI. 

The pandemic has put tremendous strain and pressure on IT, and to a certain extent, has accelerated digital transformation projects to the point that some have dubbed "the new normal."  Lenovo’s story told with an increased marketing sophistication is likely to resonate with customers of all sizes in the current environment we find ourselves. 

Lenovo’s new move with SAP is in line with the overall enterprise software strategy— partnering with big enterprise software names instead of making acquisitions or developing software. This strategy makes perfect sense for Lenovo. Unlike the competition, Lenovo can claim "Switzerland" independence when it comes to software, maximizing ISV partners' value.

My overall impression from this virtual event is that good things are happening at Lenovo these days that should deserve your consideration. The Data Center Group is growing faster than most datacenter companies when comparing the group to its contemporaries.

Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article. 

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Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.