Lenovo throws everything it's got into TruScale ITaaS – even its in-house AI

CPU cores, memory, and disk now PAYG if you want, and so are new hybrid offerings with VMware and Microsoft


Lenovo has thrown everything it's got into its TruScale IT-as-a-service platform.

Announced at the firm's "Tech World" gabfest today, the expansion of TruScale is a little bit real and a little bit of a re-org. The latter because of the fact that Lenovo already operated a device-as-a-service business, and pay-as-you go arrangements for data centre infrastructure.

They're both under the one umbrella now, and so are newly announced offerings like the Lenovo cut of Azure Stack HCI under which a single bill can cover Azure consumption.

TruScale will also include CPUs, memory and disk-as-a-service, as Lenovo offered the same argument that HPE used when announcing CPUs-as-a-service in June 2021: that you should only pay for the resources a workload needs.

Spoiler alert: Lenovo teases new VMware edge platform

A curious aspect of Lenovo's announcement came in the form of news that the company will be "first-to-market with VMware's software solution for the edge running on the resilient ThinkSystem SE350 Edge Servers".

That solution has not been announced. The Register learned that it will be announced at VMworld in October.

The SE350 is a ruggedized small form factor server, packing a Skylake D Xeon CPU that's soldered to the motherboard – which tells us very little about what the VMware solution might be.

One of Lenovo's other announcements – the ThinkEdge SE70 Edge AI Platform – might be more eloquent, as it's a rugged device employing Nvidia's Jetson Xavier small form factor boards aimed at driving industrial devices. Jetson Xavier has plenty of Nvidia CUDA cores and a six-core Arm-powered CPU. We know that VMware is working to bring its hypervisor to Arm and has a strong relationship with Nvidia to ease the distribution and management of AI workloads under vSphere. The Register therefore reckons VMware could have a multi-architecture edge management suite for AI and other apps up its sleeve, across devices including the likes of Lenovo's servers and Nvidia's boards.

Another new offering is the "Lenovo Brain" – an AI offering developed from Lenovo's in-house AI applications that it used to automate its factories and perform other tasks. Execs said the Brain is designed to ease three pain points organisations feel when trying to deploy AI: building models, finding training data, and then deploying applications.

Lenovo Brain promises "full lifecycle AI solution construction, deployment, and support across cloud edge and client". It'll be offered as a service.

Lenovo couldn't resist framing almost everything it discussed as just the sort of thing we need now that hybrid work is the way stuff is going to get done. There was plenty of blue-sky stuff – like a hint that smart glasses might one day let you run half a dozen large virtual monitors from a single laptop that draws power from a desk equipped with wireless charging kit.

There was also news of something called "Project Unity" – an effort that lets a Lenovo Android tablet work as a wireless second display for a Lenovo laptop. Execs talked up seamless shunting of content among different devices in a home, regardless of their OS, as Project unity expands beyond the sole tablet on which it currently operates.

Lenovo is unusual in straddling the worlds of enterprise and consumer computing, with only Dell for company. Project Unity showed off how Lenovo's breadth could deliver for both markets.

But Lenovo also has fierce direct ITaaS competition from Dell and HPE, both of which have more established offers in the market.

The company pointed out that TruScale is growing fast, and represents another way it will address hybrid work.

But Lenovo's enterprise division remains in the red years after forming with the acquisition of IBM's x86 server business. ®

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