Click here to close now.


IBM Cloud Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Ian Khan, Carmen Gonzalez, XebiaLabs Blog

Blog Feed Post

Lenovo buys IBM's xSeries aka x86 server business, what about EMC?

Lenovo buys IBM's xSeries aka x86 server business, what about EMC?

By Greg Schulz

Storage I/O trends

Lenovo buys IBM's xSeries x86 server business for $2.3B USD, what about EMC?

Once again Lenovo is new owner of some IBM computer technology, this time by acquiring the x86 (e.g. xSeries) server business unit from big blue. Today Lenovo announced its plan to acquire the IBM x86 server storage business unit for $2.3B USD.

Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and Armonk, New York January 23, 2014

Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) have entered into a definitive agreement in which Lenovo plans to acquire IBMs x86 server business. This includes System x, BladeCenter and Flex System blade servers and switches, x86-based Flex integrated systems, NeXtScale and iDataPlex servers and associated software, blade networking and maintenance operations. The purchase price is approximately US$2.3 billion, approximately two billion of which will be paid in cash and the balance in Lenovo stock.

IBM will retain its System z mainframes, Power Systems, Storage Systems, Power-based Flex servers, and PureApplication and PureData appliances.

Read more here

If you recall (or didn't’t know) around a decade or so ago IBM also spun off its Laptop (e.g. Thinkpads) and workstation business unit to Lenovo after being one of the early PC players (I still have a model XT in my collection along with Mac SE and Newton).

What this means for IBM?

What this means is that IBM is selling off a portion of its systems technology group which is where the servers, storage and related hardware, software technologies report into. Note however that IBM is not selling off its entire server portfolio, only the x86 e.g. Intel/AMD based products that make up the xSeries as well as companion Blade and related systems. This means that IBM is retaining its Power based systems (and processors) that include the pSeries, iSeries and of course the zSeries mainframes  in addition to the storage hardware/software portfolio.

However as part of this announcement, Lenovo is also licensing from IBM the Storwize/V7000 technology as well as Tape, GPFS based scale out file systems used in SONAS and related products that are part of solution bundles tied to the x86 business.

Again to be clear, IBM is not selling off (or at least at this time) Storwize, tape or other technology to Lenovo other than x86 server business. By server business, this means the technology, patents, people, processes, products, sales, marketing, manufacturing, R&D along with other entities that form the business unit, not all that different from when IBM divested the workstation/laptop aka PC business in the past.

Storage I/O trends

What this means for Lenovo?

What Lenovo gets are an immediate (once the deal closes) expansion of their server portfolio including high-density systems for cloud, HPC as well as regular enterprise, not to mention also for SME and SMB. Lenovo also gets blade systems as well as converged systems (server, storage, networking, hardware, software) hence why IBM is also licensing some technology to Lenovo that it is not selling. Lenovo also gets the sales, marketing, design, support and other aspects to also expand their server business. By gaining the server business unit, Lenovo will now be in a place to take on Dell (who was also rumored to be in the market for the IBM servers), as well as HP, Oracle and other x86 system based suppliers.

What about EMC and Lenovo?

Yes, EMC, that storage company who is also a primary owner of VMware, as well as partner with Cisco and Intel in the VCE initiatives, not to mention who also entered into a partnership with Lenovo a year or so ago.

In case you forgot or didn't’t know, EMC after breaking up with Dell, entered into a partnership with Lenovo back in 2012.

This partnership and initiatives included developing servers that in turn EMC could use for their various storage and data appliances which continue to leverage x86 type technology. In addition, that agreement found the EMC Iomega brand transitioning over into the Lenovo line-up for both domestic North America, as well as international including the chinese market. Hence I have an older Iomega IX4 that says EMC, and a newer one that says EMC/Lenovo, also note that at CES a few weeks ago, some new Iomega products were announced.

In checking with Lenovo today, they indicated that it is business as usual and no changes with or to the EMC partnership.

Via email from Lenovo spokesperson today:

A key piece to Lenovo's Enterprise strategy has always included strong partnerships. In fact today's announcements reinforce that strategy very clearly.

Given the new scale, footprint and Enterprise credibility that this server acquisition affords Lenovo, we see great opportunity in offering complimentary storage offerings to new and existing customers.

Lenovo's partnership with EMC is multifaceted and stays in-tact as an important part of Lenovo's overall strategy to offer customers compelling solutions built on world-class technology.

Lenovo will continue to offer Lenovo/EMC NAS products from our joint venture as well as resell EMC stand-alone storage platforms.

IBM Storwize storage and other products are integral to the in-scope platforms and solutions we acquired. In order to ensure continuity of business and the best customer experience we will partner with IBM for storage products as well.

We believe this is a great opportunity for all three companies, but most importantly these partnerships are in place and will remain healthy for the benefit for our customers.

Hence it is my opinion that for now it is business as usual, the IBM x8x business unit has a new home, those people will be getting new email addresses and business cards similar to how some of their associates did when the PC group was sold off a few years ago.

Otoh, there may also be new products that might become opportunities to be placed into he Lenovo EMC partnership, however that is just my speculation at this time. Likewise while there will be some groups within Lenovo focused on selling the converged Lenovo solutions coming from IBM that may in fact compete with EMC (among others) in some scenarios, that should be no more and hopefully less than what IBM has with their server groups at times competing with themselves.

Storage I/O trends

What does this mean for Cisco, Dell, HP and others?

For Cisco, instead of competing with one of their OEMs (e.g. IBM) for networking equipment (note IBM also owns some of its own networking), the server competition shifts to Lenovo who is also a Cisco partner (its called coopitition), and perhaps business as usual in many areas. For Dell, in the mid-market space, things could get interesting and the Round Rock folks need to get creative and beyond VRTX.

For HP, this is where IMHO it's going to get really interesting as Lenovo gets things transitioned. Near-term, HP could have a disruptive upper hand, however longer-term, HP has to get their A-Game on. Oracle is in the game as are a bunch of others from Fujitsu to SuperMicro to outside of North America and in particular china there is also Huawei. Back to EMC and VCE, while I expect the Cisco partnership to stay, I also see a wild card where EMC can leverage their Lenovo partnership into more markets, while Cisco continues to move into storage and other adjacent areas (e.g. more coopitition).

What this means now and going forward?

Thus this is as much about enterprise, SME, SMB as it is HPC, cloud and high-density where the game is about volume. Likewise there is also the convergence or data infrastructure angle combing server, storage, networking hardware, software and services.

One of the things I have noticed about Lenovo as a customer using ThinkPads for over 13 years now (not the same one) is that while they are affordable, instead of simply cutting cost and quality, they seem to have found ways to remove cost which is different then simply cutting to go cheap.

Lenovo X1

Case in point about a year and a half ago I dropped my iPhone on my Lenovo X1 keyboard that is back-lit and broke a key. Calling Lenovo after trying to find a replacement key on the web, they said no worries and next morning a new keyboard for the laptop was on my doorstep by 10:30Am with instructions on how to remove the old, put in the new, and do the RMA, no questions asked (read more about this here).

The reason I mention that story about my X1 laptop is that it ties to what I'm curious and watching with their soon to be expanded new server business.

Will they go in and simply look to reduce cost by making cuts from design to manufacturing to part quality, service and support, or, find ways to remove complexity and cost while providing more value?

Now I wonder whose technology will join my HP and Dell systems to fill some empty rack space in the not so distant future to support growth?

Time will tell, congratulations to Lenovo and the IBMers who now have a new home best wishes.

Ok, nuff said

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz - Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
twitter @storageio

All Comments, (C) and (TM) belong to their owners/posters, Other content (C) Copyright 2006-2014

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Greg Schulz

Greg Schulz is founder of the Server and StorageIO (StorageIO) Group, an IT industry analyst and consultancy firm. Greg has worked with various server operating systems along with storage and networking software tools, hardware and services. Greg has worked as a programmer, systems administrator, disaster recovery consultant, and storage and capacity planner for various IT organizations. He has worked for various vendors before joining an industry analyst firm and later forming StorageIO.

In addition to his analyst and consulting research duties, Schulz has published over a thousand articles, tips, reports and white papers and is a sought after popular speaker at events around the world. Greg is also author of the books Resilient Storage Network (Elsevier) and The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC). His blog is at and he can also be found on twitter @storageio.

@ThingsExpo Stories
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud Data Services, will demonstrate techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk will be on IBM Cloudant, Apa...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
As enterprises capture more and more data of all types – structured, semi-structured, and unstructured – data discovery requirements for business intelligence (BI), Big Data, and predictive analytics initiatives grow more complex. A company’s ability to become data-driven and compete on analytics depends on the speed with which it can provision their analytics applications with all relevant information. The task of finding data has traditionally resided with IT, but now organizations increasingly turn towards data source discovery tools to find the right data, in context, for business users, d...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a software development company, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software development company with representative offices in Atlanta (US), Sheffield (UK) and Würzburg (Germany); and development centers in Ukraine. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 150 developers, designers, quality assurance engineers, project manage...
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
“The Internet of Things transforms the way organizations leverage machine data and gain insights from it,” noted Splunk’s CTO Snehal Antani, as Splunk announced accelerated momentum in Industrial Data and the IoT. The trend is driven by Splunk’s continued investment in its products and partner ecosystem as well as the creativity of customers and the flexibility to deploy Splunk IoT solutions as software, cloud services or in a hybrid environment. Customers are using Splunk® solutions to collect and correlate data from control systems, sensors, mobile devices and IT systems for a variety of Ind...
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud without worrying about any lock-in fears. In fact by having standard APIs for IaaS would help PaaS expl...
Organizations already struggle with the simple collection of data resulting from the proliferation of IoT, lacking the right infrastructure to manage it. They can't only rely on the cloud to collect and utilize this data because many applications still require dedicated infrastructure for security, redundancy, performance, etc. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Emil Sayegh, CEO of Codero Hosting, will discuss how in order to resolve the inherent issues, companies need to combine dedicated and cloud solutions through hybrid hosting – a sustainable solution for the data required to manage I...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless Thingies, will discuss and demonstrate how devices and humans can be integrated from a simple clust...
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Raxak has been named “Media & Session Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Raxak Protect automates security compliance across private and public clouds. Using the SaaS tool or managed service, developers can deploy cloud apps quickly, cost-effectively, and without error.
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, will discuss the impact of technology on identity. Should we federate, or not? How should identity be secured? Who owns the identity? How is identity ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgeniakhela will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgeniakhela is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between Personal and Professional Social, Mobile and Cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dramatically improve productivity, reduce collaboration costs, and increase the overall enterprise value by bringing ...
Sensors and effectors of IoT are solving problems in new ways, but small businesses have been slow to join the quantified world. They’ll need information from IoT using applications as varied as the businesses themselves. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Meike, Distinguished Engineer, Director of Technology Innovation at Intuit, will show how IoT manufacturers can use open standards, public APIs and custom apps to enable the Quantified Small Business. He will use a Raspberry Pi to connect sensors to web services, and cloud integration to connect accounting and data, providing a Bluetooth...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.