Lenovo leans on NetApp for renewed push into the data centre

NetApp has cut an OEM deal with Lenovo, getting a new global channel.


The two are co-developing Lenovo ThinkSystem-branded storage products using core software technology from NetApp and made by Lenovo. A joint venture company in China will deliver localised storage and data management products  and is expected to be operational by spring 2019.

NetApp will surely appreciate the channel boost. Its last big OEM deal was with IBM, and that ended four years ago.  Since then Lenovo suffered mis-steps in its attempts to break into the enterprise storage market.  iIn 2016 it inked a deal to sell Nimble arrays and also had a JV with Dell EMC to sell NAS products.

At the time we wrote: “We should get used to the idea that Lenovo is joining Dell-EMC, HDS, HPE, Huawei, IBM, and Cisco, as an enterprise-class, data centre IT systems supplier.”

No need, as it didn’t join their ranks, and HPE bought Nimble. David Lincoln, then Lenovo’s executive director and GM of its Server, Storage and Solutions Business Unit in the Data Centre Business Group, has now left.

Lenovo refreshed its DS series line of SME SAN array products in February, and is now a Nutanix OEM.

Now comes NetApp, reprising the Nimble role in a way, to restart Lenovo’s data centre storage ambitions and propel it into the Dell EMC, HPE and IBM enterprise storage supplier ranks.

The first partnership products are Lenovo’s ThinkSystem DE and DM Series.

Lenovo_DM_DE_Series
Lenovo’s DM and DE Series products – enjoying possibly the world’s most boring bezels.

The DE and DM Series both include all-flash and hybrid array products.

The DE Series, offering performance and value, is not said to run NetApp’s ONTAP software. We’ve asked Lenovo if it is using NetApp’s E-Series array technology.

The DM Series runs ONTAP and supports NVMe-over Fibre Channel access for sub-100 microsecond access latency.

Product information:

  • DE series all-flash info here,
  • DE Series Hybrid info here,
  • DM Series all-flash info here,
  • DM Series Hybrid info here.

DM and DE Series products are available for purchase round the world now. 

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