This week, Lenovo announced its StorSelect enterprise storage portfolio, entering the storage market and, according to Lenovo, driving deeper into the $87 billion data center market. The inaugural StorSelect solutions will feature integrated products that leverage Lenovo hardware and software from software-defined storage (SDS) players, Nexenta and Cloudian.
Nexenta offers unified block and file storage with considerable capability scaling, while Cloudian provides massively scalable object storage with strong support for the S3 protocol. The combined portfolio allows Lenovo to target a wide variety of application workloads immediately without the company (in this case Lenovo) making huge internal investments.
These products also allow Lenovo to offer its customers more holistic IT solution offerings with both servers and storage. Additionally, Lenovo brings another interesting element to the table as well: independence. The company has something not found among many server providers — no traditional SAN array business to protect. Without an existing storage product line or pre-committed investments to justify and support, Lenovo can apply its resources fully to SDS-based solutions. Additionally, Lenovo is able to provide its customers some neutrality in partnering and recommending SDS-based solutions. It can partner with the SDS providers it sees as best-of-breed and offer customers a somewhat neutral opinion when helping choose between the various options.
ESG research has shown tremendous interest in the potential of SDS, as over two-thirds of storage decision-makers familiar with SDS technology indicated that their organizations were committed to SDS as a long-term strategy. Yet despite this interest, the market has shown some reticence to procuring storage software and hardware separately.
From our research, storage decision-makers also have identified service and support as the number one most important criteria when selecting a storage vendor. Despite the flexibility offered by SDS and the potential to eliminate the risk of being locked-in to specific hardware architecture, a large portion of the storage buyer population simple likes to procure the solution together and have a single voice for service and support, or to use a common but darker analogy, one throat to choke. Lenovo offers that to its customers, a single voice for solution design and solution support.
As the industry is inundated with hybrid cloud and converged solutions where IT solutions attempt to automate the entire hardware infrastructure stack, it is difficult for any IT provider to stay isolated to one type of hardware offering. This move by Lenovo makes so much sense that it was probably inevitable. To keep up with the ever-increasing pace of technology, IT leaders require partners that can offer higher level solutions and automate infrastructure decisions. StorSelect is a key step for Lenovo in addressing this ever-growing need.