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December 14, 2023

Lenovo debuts new AI-ready hybrid cloud servers

With PC sales waning, the vendor sees hybrid cloud-based AI hardware and services as a growth opportunity.

By Matthew Gooding

Lenovo has expanded its hybrid cloud platform with new servers designed to handle AI workloads more efficiently. The vendor’s new products are powered by the latest version of Intel’s Xeon Scalable processors.

Lenovo has expanded its hybrid cloud range as PC sales slow. (Photo by DAndreev/Shutterstock)

Launched today, the systems deliver “improved performance and the latest accelerators as a critical next step for delivering a dynamic hybrid AI approach across public, private, and foundational models”, Lenovo said.

ThinkAgile offers a turnkey hybrid cloud solution

The company has revealed details of ThinkAgile, a ready-made, or turnkey, hybrid cloud solution comprising hardware and built-in applications.

Lenovo has developed what it describes as an “open ecosystem” of partners for ThinkAgile, which includes Microsoft, Nutanix and VMware. This means customers can purchase versions of the system with applications from these vendors ready to deploy: ThinkAgile VX comes with VMware Cloud Foundation reference architecture, which enables enterprises to support hybrid cloud virtualised and containerised workloads.

The MX450 Edge Integrated System has built-in Azure Arc, providing Microsoft Azure cloud services and AI inferencing at the edge. ThinkAgile HX AI for the Edge with Nutanix enables users to build repeatable, scalable solutions to handle AI and machine learning compute or storage workloads remotely.

Alongside ThinkAgile, Lenovo has also launched a range of AI-ready servers known as ThinkSystem. All the new products run on fifth-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors, a range known as Emerald Rapids which was unveiled in September and only launched this week. These chips have built-in AI acceleration and up to 64 processor cores. They feature Intel’s AMX technology that offers increased efficiency and supports AI inferencing and training for models of up to 20 billion parameters.

“Lenovo hybrid cloud solutions for AI workloads are propelling innovation and creating a faster, more flexible path to AI by providing data-centre level compute to the source of business data,” said Kamran Amini, vice-president and general manager of server, storage and software of Lenovo infrastructure solutions group. “With up to 21% better performance, customers can leverage the new Lenovo hybrid cloud solutions to reduce their IT footprint, achieve greater return on investment and deliver business outcomes.”

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Lenovo sees servers as a route to further growth

Amini added that the new portfolio “is designed to support today’s AI, virtualisation and multi-cloud workloads while increasing energy efficiency and agility with one seamless platform”.

Lenovo is the world’s biggest PC maker, but has seen its revenue hit by a global slowdown in demand for desktop machines, and posted income of $14.41bn in the last quarter, down 16% year-on-year. Its PC sales in the quarter fell 5% compared with 2022.

Because of this, it sees the enterprise AI market as a potential area for growth, and today also launched new professional services for AI. This will see the company's team offer AI consultancy services to help guide businesses "through the most effective, end-to-end IT deployments that are tailored to achieve desired business outcomes quickly".

Lenovo is also planning to launch its first "AI PC", a desktop machine capable of running AI models and services locally, rather than in the cloud, in the second half of next year.

Read more: Is Oracle losing momentum in the cloud?

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