There's a new kid in server town, and it wants to make friends with small and midsize businesses.Lenovo is going worldwide with its ThinkServer family, which to date has been sold only in China. The lineup, available with Microsoft's Windows Server or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server from Novell, is designed exclusively for businesses with 1 to 500 employees that need an out-of-the-box server solution and don't have the dedicated IT staff to set up and manage a large server environment, according to Mark Godin, VP and GM of Lenovo's worldwide business unit. "You'll be dealing with a company that has only one space in mind -- the SMB space," he said.
As of Sept. 30, Lenovo will make available through its channel partners five new ThinkServer models -- three towers and two rack x86 servers licensed from IBM -- with pricing beginning at $749. The ThinkServer TS100 Tower and RS110 Rack servers are equipped with Intel Core 2 Duo or Xeon 3000 or 3200 processors and are targeted for small offices utilizing simple applications, such as email, messaging and storing files and for use as a Web server, according to Lenovo. The ThinkServer TD100 Tower, TD100x Tower or RD120 Rack servers are equipped with Intel Xeon 3000 or 5000 processors and are ideal for midsize businesses that require additional capabilities such as database applications or virtualization.
The servers come bundled with software, dubbed EasyStartup, EasyUpdate and EasyManagement, that help customers with limited technical know-how to configure their servers, install hardware and firmware updates, and track performance. ThinkServer customers also get 90 days of priority support, plus Lenovo is offering a free 90-day trial of its Priority Services, which include next-business day warranty service (four-hour on-site response is also an option), 24/7 hardware and software phone support, and priority call-routing for tech support.
The question, of course, is whether Lenovo can succeed in a space already dominated by IBM, Dell, and HP, which in Q2 collectively accounted for more than 71 percent of the market, according to Gartner. For its part, just last week Dell came out with the $499 PowerEdge T100 server and said it was "an ideal first server for businesses looking to build a networked server environment."
But Godin seems to think the clout of the Think brand, which includes ThinkPad laptops, will take Lenovo far. "This is a solid brand equity that's recognized today by a significant number of companies in the SMB market," he told InformationWeek.
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