Lenovo: Building better storage mousetraps

Lenovo says it has grabbed a slightly bigger slice of the storage market, and has some new products and services out – DM Series ONTAP-based storage software, a high-density storage JBOD, and a TruScale Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering.

The company builds its own storage hardware and is ranked ninth in the world of all global companies by Gartner in supply chain capability, HP is ranked 15, and Dell is in spot 17th.

Lenovo in #9 for supply chain
Kirk Skaugen, Lenovo
Kirk Skaugen

Kirk Skaugen, President of Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions Group, said: “Our tremendous growth in the market, now becoming the #1 storage provider in price bands <$25K, underscores the trust customers and partners have placed in Lenovo through our channel-centric strategy.  The breadth of our data management portfolio is continuing to expand with our recently announced WEKA solutions, custom cloud storage solutions, and an ever-increasing software defined portfolio.”

Market success

  • Lenovo is #1 storage provider for external storage in the IDC price bands 1-4 (storage <$25K), which represents 61 percent of the total market for storage device units sold globally.
  • Lenovo is the #5 storage provider globally in all segments, according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Enterprise Storage Systems Tracker, 4Q22. [See bootnote.]
  • Lenovo’s storage portfolio had a record 138 percent year-on-year revenue increase.  
  • It had 100 percent year-over-year growth in the All-Flash Array (AFA) category. 
  • Lenovo recorded 22 percent growth in midrange storage.
  • Lenovo TruScale Infrastructure as-a-Service also grew more than 600 percent year-on-year.

DM Series software

The DM Series product line is a range of storage arrays running NetApp’s ONTAP software. NetApp added a ton of security enhancements to ONTAP v9.12.1 with, first, the concept of tamper-proof snapshots backed by SnapLock. This is a way of creating secure recovery points that protect against ransomware. It also has an automatic ransomware detection feature that asynchronously watches file shares for indications of ransomware attacking. If it finds one, it triggers a recovery point (snapshot) very close to the attack. Recovery points can’t be deleted, can’t be destroyed, and are time locked. This ensures the least amount of data is damaged.

Lenovo says the software also features a Hardened Zero Trust architecture that increases defense from insider threats with multi-factor authentication, immutable, tamper-proof logging and enhanced auditing. It also has a 31 percent storage efficiency improvement over the previous generation with a 4-to-1 efficiency level. This means it can store more data with less storage.


The DM4390 JBOD comes in a 4RU form factor with up to 90 hot-swap, SAS-connected, 18TB, 7,200rpm disk drives or 800GB SSDs, but only up to 12 SSDs per chassis. That means up to 1.62PB of all-disk capacity per enclosure and 8.1PB in 20RU with five enclosures. There can be up to four daisy-chained  D4390 enclosures per ThinkSystem HBA. 

Lenovo DM4390 JBOD
Lenovo DM4390 JBOD

This DM4390 chassis has up to 62 percent less power consumption compared to the previous generation (D3284), an up to 60 percent reduction in datacenter space, and higher overall performance with 24Gbps SAS connectivity increasing data throughput over the prior 12Gbps.

Lenovo background

Lenovo is publicly owned with its shares trading on the Hong Kong stock exchange. It has three divisions: the PC and smartphone-based Intelligent Devices Group, the Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG) supplying servers, storage and networking, and the Solutions & Services group, which sells services and industry-specific products.

The company bought IBM’s PC product line for $1.25 billion in 2005 and is now the world’s largest PC supplier. It purchased Big Blue’s x86-based server division for $2.1 billion in 2014. That year it also purchased the Motorola smartphone product business from Google. DataCore and Lenovo partnered in 2017 for Lenovo to supply DataCore’s SANsymphony software. In 2018 Lenovo and NetApp formed a joint venture to sell into China plus a strategic partnership under which Lenovo OEMs NetApp’s ONTAP storage software.

Unlike Infinidat, Pure Storage, and VAST Data, which are growing through unique in-house technology, Lenovo is growing storage sales by using third-party software and being a reliable supplier, with a broad cross-stack product portfolio and global coverage channel.

Lenovo has global reach, servicing over 180 markets with 35-plus manufacturing facilities, including its first European in-house manufacturing facility opened in Hungary last summer.


Regarding Lenovo’s market share in storage we are told by IDC that Lenovo’s shares reflect the combined share of Lenovo and its joint venture in China with NetApp. Also, due to the existing joint venture between Lenovo and NetApp, IDC allows claims for external market share on a global level for Lenovo and Lenovo NetApp Technology as “Lenovo/Lenovo NetApp Technology” starting from 1Q 2019.” Just so you know.