IBM & Lenovo – What does it mean?

So, I’m sure that there has been lots of discussion recently around the Lenovo take over of the IBM SystemX business, but here is my take on what is happening and what it could mean to people already utilising IBM hardware.  Please note that these are my views based on information that has been publicly released or speculation based on conversations with other experts in the area.

The big news was announced recently that IBM and Lenovo have entered into an agreement that sees Lenovo taking full control of the SystemX brand, Flex, and x86 Bladecenter technology.  This is actually a similar move to that made by IBM in 2005 to have Lenovo take over their laptop/desktop business.  If we were to look at the process that IBM went through with the transition of the laptops and desktops and assume that a similar process will be seen with the SystemX brand, it could look a little like this:

  • For the next year or so, nothing will really change with the servers that people buy.  This is because the servers are already developed, which can take a year or so to develop into production.  There may be some minor cosmetic changes which may see the IBM logo on the boxes change to Lenovo logos.
  • Future servers should see a similar level of detail with regards to the development as the existing servers, as the majority of the IBM developers are moving across to Lenovo as well.
  • New servers may initially be developed at a lower cost, to make them more competitive.  This was seen with the laptops, the initial laptops that were released were cheaply made and had a number of issues… Lenovo have learnt from these mistakes and I wouldn’t expect the same issues with the servers.
  • After around 18 months, all of the servers will be branded as Lenovo and will be utilising designs fully developed by Lenovo.  I believe that they will continue to utilise the same naming conventions for the servers, as this will help with existing companies to understand the new servers being released.

So, what does it mean if you already have IBM servers and are looking to purchase servers in the future?

For the next year, although the purchase of the servers may move across to Lenovo, they are basically IBM servers fully supported by an IBM/Lenovo support agreement.  The engineers that come out to fix issues with the servers are likely to be the same engineers.  The key element to whether people stick with the IBM/Lenovo solution long term will depend on the reception that any new servers developed by Lenovo receives.

I am a heavy user of IBM servers and this announcement was a bit of a concern but I think that the key thing is that nothing is really going to change for at least a year.


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