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.


About the Author


I have been in IT for the past 15 years and using virtualisation technologies for around the past 8 years. I started, as quite a lot of people do, working with PCs after playing with such iconic systems like the ZX81, ZX Spectrum and then progressing through 386s, 486s, Pentiums etc. After being headhunted at sixth form to work for a small company based around Hertfordshire, UK. I began working with small businesses and gaining a lot of hardware experience. Three years later, after helping to increase the size of the business, I needed to gain exposure to a larger environment to progress my own career. I joined a large manufacturing company around Electronic Test and Measurement which progressed my skills onto more PC work, hardware work and then onto Server Operating Systems. I progressed again onto a consultancy company based in Reading, UK. Initially working as an engineer performing hardware / software installations for larger companies contracted out to the consultancy company, I moved up into a Consultant position continuing my travel across the UK assisting and providing solutions to companies. I finally moved on again to my current position, working back in Hertfordshire, UK. Again working for a large manufacturing company, this time with over 50,000 users worldwide. I am responsible for the datacenter hardware, the storage environment, the vmware environment and also implementing their new Citrix XenApp farm. My days are busy but also productive, its a friendly environment and in my four years of being with the company, I have seen many changes in technology and infrastructure in use within the company. About the site I started this site as I had been thinking of having more of a presence on the web for a while. On a daily basis, I perform tasks and use tools that others may not use or may not think to do and therefore I thought that I would share some of these experiences and tips with others to help with their day to day work. Currently, my main focus of work is around VMware and Veeam Backup & Replication but hopefully as my tasks progress, I’ll be able to share useful bits of information about other areas of IT as well.

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