Since the previous Lenovo Server Snapshot in October 2008, the company has launched its second generation of tower- and rack-based ThinkServers. They are all equipped with more memory, greater storage capacity, the latest Intel processors and the ubiquitous virtualization capabilities.
Three of the four newly released servers are upgrades from previous models; the other is an entirely new addition. The RD220, for example, is an update to the RD120, and the TD200 and TD200x are updates to the TD100 and TD100x, respectively.
"The newly announced RD210 is a dual processor, 1U rack form factor that was not previously available," said Russ Jenkins, ThinkServer Segment Manager, Lenovo.
All the newcomers are equipped with the latest Intel Xeon 5500 series processors, which make them up to three times faster than previous models. In addition, three of the four are capable of holding up to 128 GB of DDR3 memory again, quite an improvement over their predecessors. In terms of storage, Lenovo has also been thinking bigger. Rack models can support up to 12 hard drive bays and towers can get up to 16.
"With the expanded memory and storage capacity on the newer models, customers can consolidate legacy servers onto a single ThinkServer to reduce hardware and energy costs," said Jenkins.
Another improvement is the fact that these ThinkServers servers are virtualization ready and come standard with an onboard connector for an embedded hypervisor. Lenovo supports a variety of virtualization solutions from the likes of Microsoft, Novell, VMware and Red Hat.
Management capabilities, too, have been retooled courtesy of the Integrated Management Module (IMM).
"The new ThinkServers come standard with IMM, which provides complete, always-on, out-of-band server management capabilities via a web interface," said Jenkins. "With IMM, users can remotely access and manage their ThinkServer from anywhere, any time, even if the server has crashed or is turned off."
OS support is available for Windows, Linux, RedHat and VMware.
Unlike some vendors, it is easy to follow the naming conventions on Lenovo servers: R stands for Rack, T stands for Tower, S for Single (single-core) and D for Dual (Dual-Core).
Let's take a closer look at some of the racks. Lenovo has four racks in its repertoire, the RS110, RD120, RD210 and RD220.
The RS110 is the least-expensive at $639. It comes with either Intel Core2 Duo or Intel Xeon 3000 series processors. It can have up to 8 GB RAM and up to four hard drive bays. The RD210, on the other hand, is equipped with Xeon 5500 series processors. It can have up to 128 GB RAM and six hard drive bays. The starting price is $1,699.
Another server running the Xeon 5500 processors is the RD220. It can have up to 128 GB RAM and support for up to 12 hard drive bays. Starting price is $2,199.
"The RD210 offers efficient performance in a small form factor, and the RD220 is a highly scalable server for mission-critical applications," said Jenkins.
In addition to the four racks, Lenovo now has five towers in its collection: the TS100, TD100, TD100x, TD200 and TD200x.
The TS100 supports up to 8 GB RAM and up to four hard drive bays. It uses an Intel Core2 Duo processor. Starting price is $599.
The two Xeon 5500 models are the TD200 and the TD200x. The former supports up to eight hard drive bays and 96 GB RAM. Pricing is available only for special bid through Lenovo reps. The latter takes up to 16 hard drive bays and 128 GB RAM. The starting price is $2,699.
"The TD200 offers workhorse performance while the TD200x is an all-in-one high end tower computing solution," said Jenkins.
On top of being much faster and having more memory, all of the newer models are more energy efficient. The ThinkServer TD200, TD200x, RD210 and RD220 feature low wattage processor and memory options, and small form-factor hard drives. Select models are compliant with Energy Star for Servers 1.0, which provides a 30 percent reduction in power usage compared with other x86 servers.
"The ThinkServer's power supplies are more than 92 percent efficient, meaning more energy is translated into usable power," said Jenkins.
So how is Lenovo doing in the server marketplace? It is very cagey about numbers and refused to disclose its actual server sales. So far, it has yet to make even a distant blip on the Gartner or IDC server radar.
"We cannot disclose sales figures, but they are in line with expectations, and Lenovo is focused on offering complete, turnkey solutions for SMB customers with laptops, desktops, servers and more," said Jenkins. "Lenovo ThinkServers are designed for small and mid-sized businesses up to 5000 employees."
|Dimensions||2U Rack||1U Rack||5U Tower||5U Tower||5U Tower||5U Tower||1U Rack||2U Rack||5U Tower|
|Processor Details||Dual-core Intel Xeon processor||Single Core2Duo processor||Dual-core Xeon processor||Dual-core Xeon processor||Single Core2Duo processor||Intel Xeon 5500 series processors||Intel Xeon 5500 series processors||Intel Xeon 5500 series processors||Intel Xeon 5500 series processors|
|Hard Drives||Sold separately||Sold separately||Sold separately||Sold separately||Sold separately||Sold separately||Sold separately||Sold separately||Sold separately|
|Operating Systems||Windows, Linux and Red Hat||Windows, Linux and Red Hat||Windows, Linux and Red Hat||Windows, Linux and Red Hat||Windows, Linux and Red Hat||Windows, Linux, VMware and Red Hat||Windows, Linux, VMware and Red Hat||Windows, Linux, VMware and Red Hat||Windows, Linux, VMware and Red Hat|
|Configuration Options||Priced at $1,699 the dual-core processor server comes with 2GB RAM with upgrades it is capable of 48GB RAM||Starting price: $639, up to 8GB Memory and up to 4 hard drive bays||Priced at $1,219, this dual-core Intel Xeon processor also comes with 2GB RAM with a maximum of 48GB||Starting price: $2,329; Dual-core processor and 4GB RAM with a maximum of 48GB||Starting price: $599, up to 8GB Memory and up to 4 hard drive bays||Starting price: $2,699, up to 128 GB Memory and up to 16 hard drive bays||Starting price: $1,699, up to 128GB Memory and up to 6 hard drive bays||Starting price: $2,199, up to 128GB Memory and up to 12 hard drive bays||Available for special bid through Lenovo reps, up to 96 GB Memory and up to 8 hard drive bays|
|GA||Now available||Now available||Now available||Now available||Now available||Now available||Now available||Now available||Now available|
|Warranty||1 & 3 year||1 & 3 year||1 & 3 year||1 & 3 year||1 & 3 year||1 & 3 year||1 & 3 year||1 & 3 year||1 & 3 year|
Drew Robb is a freelance writer specializing in technology and engineering. Currently living in California, he was originally from Scotland where he received a degree in Geology/Geography from the University of Strathcyle. He is the author of Server Disk Management in a Windows Environment (CRC Press).