Lenovo and Nutanix have formed a partnership to offer a new line of hyperconverged infrastructure appliances based on Lenovo server hardware and the Nutanix software platform.
The aim is to break down IT silos and help enterprise customers build a flexible next-generation infrastructure for virtualisation and cloud.
The new global partnership and OEM agreement will see Lenovo selling and supporting the hyperconverged appliance hardware, but the technology itself has been jointly engineered and will be jointly marketed by both companies.
The systems will begin shipping in the first quarter of 2016, but Lenovo has yet to disclose what the hardware will actually be based on. More details are set to be revealed at the Gartner Data Centre summit in Las Vegas in December, the firm said, but it is expected that it will take an existing System x server as a starting point with configurations to target different use cases and workloads.
Brian Connors, vice president of strategic alliances at Lenovo, told V3 the firm is looking to break down the silos of IT infrastructure and deliver a new model of "invisible infrastructure" to drive operational efficiencies for the firm's global enterprise customer base.
"We are putting a substantial effort around R&D with Nutanix to develop a class of platform that we will announce next month. We're also putting together a dedicated sales organisation around this, supported by Nutanix, and we think that we have a lot of alignment with them on where we see the market heading," he said.
The Nutanix architecture is based on integrating compute and tiered storage into each node. The Nutanix software platform will then pull together resources from a cluster of nodes to form a pool that can be sliced up as necessary for operating virtual machines.
Nutanix started out selling its own hardware, but the firm has since formed a partnership with Dell to offer a portfolio of Dell-branded appliances running Nutanix software, and the latest announcement with Lenovo brings another major enterprise vendor to its platform.
"This is a long-term partnership; this is not just some alliance announcement for convenience's sake, which you see come and go all the time. This is a long-term joint development, joint go-to-market, dedicated sales approach for this offering, with long-term commitments from both companies," said Brian Cox, director of product marketing for Nutanix.
Lenovo acquired the former x86 server division of IBM last year as part of an ambitious push to take a greater share of the enterprise market. Like Dell, Lenovo recognises that it needs to address emerging growth sectors in this market, including firms looking for an easier way to build out scalable infrastructure for modern applications and services.
Nutanix unveiled the latest version of its platform earlier this year aiming to offer "invisible infrastructure" that "just works", enabling customers to focus on running their business and developing new applications, rather than just keeping the lights on, the firm said.
Andy Butler, research vice president at analyst Gartner, said that he expected to see more alliances like this in the future.
"Nutanix is still technically a startup, and the more conservative buyers are often nervous about doing business with a company that doesn't have a long pedigree behind it," he said.
Meanwhile, the big vendors like Dell and Lenovo have invested a lot of effort in pushing a traditional combination of servers and storage area networks (SANs) and are facing a "credibility gap" when it comes to hyperconverged infrastructure, so a partnership with an outfit like Nutanix makes sense, Butler added.
"A traditional [data centre] setup is also a hard sell unless you are a large enterprise, whereas Nutanix comes along and lets you start off with just two nodes, which is much more affordable, and you can grow as your needs dictate," he added.
With Dell set to acquire EMC, Nutanix could also have felt the need to have another enterprise partner on board, according to Butler.
EMC brings with it several converged infrastructure offerings, such as the VCE platform and the EVO portfolio from its VMware subsidiary, which Dell may in future decide makes more sense to promote than selling Nutanix products.
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