Lenovo believes in using smart technology as a driving force in creating more inclusive, empowered communities. Lenovo Data Center Group (DCG) delivers cost-effective, reliable, and scalable Data Center Solutions by combining industry-leading technology and software-defined offerings with a suite of managed services covering the entire technology lifecycle.
Lenovo has been heralding the power of connectedness in this process, via the use of big data, AI, IoT and computing algorithms, to enhance the human experience. How do such giant firms cope up with crisis situations as now, and how does technology come to the aid?
Gairika Mitra talks to Vivek Sharma, MD – India, Lenovo DCG
How do you think is the tech sector going to see an upsurge in the near future amid the current pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt businesses and the communities in which we live and work in. As companies adjust to the pressures of COVID-19, it is imperative that we continue to prioritize the health of employees and support communities around the globe as best as we can.
We see technology playing a key role in addressing near-term challenges in the wake of COVID-19 – especially as healthcare, education and corporates move to digitize in order to continue running. Mandatory quarantine measures around the globe to contain the coronavirus are resulting in a seismic shift to remote working. Data centers globally are coming under strain to serve the increased volumes of web traffic from everyone working and consuming entertainment at home. Now more than ever, people are looking to the IT industry to help manage this and ensure continuity of operations.
We are working closely with many of our customers to help them adapt to the challenges of these ‘new normal’ circumstances as seamlessly as possible. Lenovo Data Center Group offerings include a complete client virtualization and virtual desktop solution coupled with technical services to help customers get their IT infrastructure up and running quickly. When it comes to services, Lenovo’s premier support offers end-to-end customer technical support for working remotely and we also offer advanced deployment services with cloud provisioning that automates deployment for a simple, out-of-box experience that lets users self-serve (regardless of location).
However, looking more long term, we foresee huge growth in IoT adoption as businesses and supply-chains look to automate even more of their processes. In fact, it is a market that NASSCOM predicts will reach USD 15 billion by 2020, representing nearly 5% of the total global market. We already see verticals like healthcare, manufacturing and automotive heavily adopting IoT to ‘smartify’ their businesses.
The next evolution of computing demands integrated solutions that can process data quickly and efficiently between core data center functions and the edge. Every company in the world will win or lose based on their ability to capture, make sense of, and use data they collect from the physical, connected world – making data a hugely valuable business asset.
Businesses must dramatically change the way their IT operates and delivers value to the organization, and this means transitioning to the next generation of data centers with smart and easy to integrate solutions.
How are the offerings of Lenovo different from the others?
At Lenovo, Intelligent Transformation is at the heart of everything we do. Extending this belief as a value proposition to our customers and partners, we focus on three key building blocks for enabling Intelligent Transformation: data, computing power and algorithms:
- Data fuels all possibilities and smart devices play an important role in generating and connecting this data.
- Computing power is the engine that turns this fuel into power.
- Advanced algorithms combined with Big Data and industry know-how produce valuable insights that create value for every industry.
As such, we have invested in AI and machine learning, 5G and placed a premium on connected devices from the edge to the core. We see ourselves as the only company that can unify all these essential assets to deliver end-to-end solutions that create value globally.
Within the Data Center Group (DCG), our aim is to be the data center partner of choice for all types of organizations in India and across the globe. We need to ensure that our customers and partners grow with us, and that means putting their needs and needs of the market at the heart of everything we do, by providing greater choice and seamless, high-quality performance without the heavy lifting and complexity.
For example, Lenovo’s TruScale offering is unique from what’s currently on the market as it is a true consumption-based model with no required minimum capacity. The consumption-based offering allows customers to only pay for capacity when their workloads are actively running. As customers are only billed on power consumption, Lenovo has no access to customer data.
Lastly, our work has produced an efficient supply chain that can operate on a global level. Some of our achievements have also come through important, long-standing partnerships with other leading technology companies including Intel, Microsoft, AMD, VMware, NetApp, Nutanix and more, which allow us to tailor the best solution for each individual customer. Our priority is in helping businesses grow and become more productive, which means building solutions based on what is best for the customer, based on a wide range of high-performance technologies from our partners and us – and all avoiding vendor lock-in.
Could you tell us about the technical offerings of Lenovo contemporarily?
Lenovo delivers a comprehensive portfolio of unique engineered solutions built through our worldwide partner ecosystem, which includes industry-leading brands such as Nutanix, Red Hat, SAP, and VMware. We are one of the first vendors to leverage Optane memory on SAP HANA workload with up to 12.5x faster recovery. We have a truly complete suite of solutions that addresses the needs of businesses across a range of industries:
HCI – ThinkAgile Series
ThinkAgile HX: The Lenovo ThinkAgile HX series combines Nutanix software with Lenovo’s highly reliable and scalable servers that are fully integrated, tested, and configured so businesses can accelerate time to value and reduce infrastructure maintenance.
Think Agile VX: The VX series leverages our partnership with VMware, simplifies and modernizes IT infrastructure to an environment that provides fine-grained scalability, high-performance, and world-class reliability.
ThinkAgile MX1021: Based on ThinkSystem SE350, the recently launched ThinkAgile MX1021 harnesses the power of Microsoft Azure Stack HCI at the edge to reduce latency and analyze data where it’s produced, providing secure data movement directly to the data center or to Azure in the public cloud.
Storage: The ThinkSystem DM series delivers a portfolio of enterprise-grade, multiprotocol storage systems that increase performance as well as capacity. Lenovo’s second portfolio, the ThinkSystem DE series, is designed for mid-sized IT environments and supports block storage protocols.
ThinkSystem DM7100: This is a new storage solution that accelerates and protects data with integrated Azure cloud tiering and mobility capabilities, ideal for customers deploying end-to-end enterprise Azure-based solutions that need instant access to business-critical data in volume.
Hyperscale: Lenovo’s TruScale Infrastructure Services offer a ‘pay-for-what-you-use’ model, enabling organizations to meet infrastructure needs and eliminate large time and capital commitments.
HPC and AI: Lenovo is an industry leader in supercomputing globally. We extended our number one position in the Top 500 Supercomputing list to 173 systems across 20 markets (as of June 2019) and the largest global provider of TOP500 installations. 17 of 25 top research universities run Lenovo.
An example of our results-driven approach is our work with financial services provider, Ashika Group. To help manage their mission critical data, through the Lenovo-Nutanix hyperconverged infrastructure, we helped them improve uptime by 99.9%, enhancing their delivery approach and responsiveness to clients.
How reliable do you think is technology in the long run? What if there is a faltering?
Dependence on technology today is not a choice but a need. Smart gadgets, smartphones, laptops and tablets have immensely influenced the way we function today, and our world would undoubtedly be less exciting without them.
There is no better example of the role technology plays in our lives than what we are experiencing now amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Technology is enabling millions of businesses around the globe to continue running as their employees work from home. It is also keeping us entertained and connected to our loved ones.
At Lenovo, we are working hard to ensure our customers can adapt to these circumstances by helping them define a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution which matches their specific needs. If implemented well, VDI can support enhanced user mobility and remote access. Imagine having a standardized desktop that can be reached from almost anywhere.
Technology has played an immense role in helping us adapt to this ‘new normal’, and there is no doubt that it will become even more ingrained into our daily lives in the future.
Could you tell us about your scaling plans?
We primarily look at the market from multiple perspectives, mainly from the perspectives of large enterprises and global accounts, but we also cater to the huge opportunities presented by mid-markets and SMBs. The channel ecosystem in India continues to play a critical role in Lenovo DCG’s overall growth, and we are increasing our focus on the distribution model of data center solutions through our distributors to reach the hinterland Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in India.
However, challenges remain for the SME sector – majorly due to budget constraints and lack of skilled workforce. The right technology is the key to transforming digitally and the Lenovo TruScale subscription-based offering is working towards making technology accessible to more types of business.
What does your immediate plan of action look like?
Our priority is to build high-performance solutions with our partners to assist companies in India to tackle day-to-day business challenges, improve performance and work flexibly using our extensive portfolio of SDI, IoT, HPC/AI and storage services.
We are helping our customers harness the potential of cloud and emerging technologies by providing second-to-none data center solutions that allow them to focus on their business. We also aim to make Intelligent Transformation a reality for all businesses with three intelligent technology pillars: Smart IoT – connecting devices for free flow of communication and data; Smart Infrastructure – high-quality and customised computing, storage and networking power to support intelligent devices; and Smart Verticals – end-to-end intelligent solutions enabling digital transformation across industries.
Any advice for the wannapreneurs?
For wannapreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs, this is the right time to step up and execute your business idea. We are in a phase where technology innovation is occurring at breakneck speed, investing in the right smart technologies will enable them to harness the opportunities before us.
But the importance on building the right skills in deep technologies and everything associated with data cannot be understated. To leverage opportunities now and also keep up with advancement in the future, constantly upskilling will be crucial. The path to entrepreneurship now is a tough yet a rewarding one.