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Are you locally attached? Lenovo makes EPYC effort to wave HCI flag amid reports of sagging server revenues

Handing out ThinkAgile in Microsoft, VMware and Nutanix flavours

Lenovo has whipped the covers from a range of server hardware and services that targets businesses finding themselves suddenly at the sharp end of a march to remote working.

The release, targeting what the company describes as "the new, smarter normal" comes after analyst IDC noted a marked decline in the worldwide server market for the first quarter of 2020, made starker by the increases seen in 2019. The analyst said Lenovo, in particular, saw a decline of 7.8 per cent in revenues compared to the first quarter of 2019.

Betting that companies will likely be flinging cash at their infrastructure to cope with a change in business needs, Lenovo has unveiled new and updated ready-to-deploy hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) kit for Nutanix, VMware and Microsoft fans.

Perhaps slightly worryingly for Intel, Lenovo has buddied up with Nutanix and AMD for an EPYC-powered ThinkAgile HX system, which can be picked up from late November as an appliance or certified node.

Having long been chums with Microsoft, it is unsurprising to see some Lenovo love lavished on Azure with the ThinkAgile MX Azure Stack HCI platform, aimed at those who like their hybrid cloud to be Redmond-flavoured. Lenovo also plans to offer a pay-as-you-go pricing plan for the service.

The gang has also got together with VMware to produce the ThinkAgile VX HCI solution, in a bid to grab a slice of SAP HANA database deployments and will make its way into the hands of customers from the end of this month.

The warming over of the ThinkAgile range comes during worrying times for server vendors. According to IDC, Lenovo's server revenues for the first quarter of this year went on a distinctly southwards direction, dropping toward the $1bn mark and putting it in danger of being overhauled by IBM, which has seen its server market share increase to within a percentage point of Lenovo's on the back of a mainframe refresh cycle.

Lenovo itself doesn't break out server revenues, but its own numbers over the same three month stretch - its Q4 2019 ended March 31, 2020 - showed its data center group revenues down 9 per cent, mostly due to hyperscale sales , which were down 13.5 per cent (PDF). Its DC segment has since recovered somewhat for the quarter ended June 30 (PDF).

Leaders Dell and HPE also saw sharp drops in both revenue and market share as enterprises spent more on cloud services in both Q1 and Q2.

"The strategy toward the new, smarter normal is around modernizing the data center and breaking down the longstanding digital barriers that many organisations face today," said Kamran Amini, veep and GM of Server, Storage and Software Defined Infrastructure, Lenovo Data Center Group.

Amini will be fervently hoping that "new, smarter normal" does not include a continuation of shrinking marketshare. ®

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