Lenovo's RD650 rack server
Lenovo's RD650 rack server

To some IT managers, a server is a server. Manufacturers, however, try to emphasize the extra features they put in to show their server is more than a CPU with space for hard drives.

For its latest trio of server releases, Lenovo is pushing capabilities it says increase options for building data centres or distributed environments.

“What we decided to do with this announcement is deliver a next generation of products,” said Nancy Reaves, a Lenovo senior product manager. These systems are designed to deliver the ultimate in flexibility and reliability.”
The new models are two rack servers – the 1U-sized RD550 and the 2U-sized RD650 – and the TD350, a 4U tower for offices or branches. All use the newly-announced dual socket third generation Intel Xeon ES-2600 processors.

The RD550 sever
The RD550 sever

They offer greater storage, higher throughput and easier management than three models they replace, Reaves said.

All comply with the ASHRAE A4 standard, which means they can run continuously at temperatures up to 45C without impacting reliability or voiding warranty. This is important, Reaves said as organizations use virtualization more to reduce expenditures, which increases demand on the data centre. Every increase degree of operating temperature represents a 4 to 5 per cent cost saving, she said.

The trio can handle both 3.5 and 2.5-in. drives, so administrators can use large capacity drives for storage and smaller but faster solid state drives for high performance.

They can also use M.2 solid state drives for secure booting, and SD cards for hypervisor booting.

The RD550, which starts at US$1,829, has what Lenovo dubs AnyRaid slots in the server’s mid-plane eliminating additional cables and connectors needed in a typical RAID configuration. The chassis allows the installation of up to four 16GB FibreChannel ports, and four 10GB networking ports, with room for three PCIe options, plus room for up to 12 drives with 26.4 TB.

“Density like that has only been seen in 2U servers,” said Reaves.

The RD650, which starts at US$1,929, which also has the AnyRaid technology, can house up to 26 drives with up to 74.4 TB.

The TD350 server
The TD350 server

The TD350, which starts at US$1,629, has nearly three times the memory (512GB) and double the storage (90 TB) of the TD340 it replaces. The chassis has been designed for low noise so it can be placed under desks or in closets without bothering staff.

Two socket severs are as big as it gets for Lenovo at the moment. However, later this year it hopes to consummate a deal to by the x86 server business of IBM, which makes bigger units. “That will really enhance our portfolio,” Reaves said.



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