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Lenovo Takes the Intel Path to Simplify AI Journeys for Businesses

Lenovo Takes the Intel Path to Simplify AI Journeys for Businesses

The News: Lenovo announced the Lenovo ThinkSystem V4 portfolio of Intel-based solutions, powered by Intel Xeon 6 processors and designed to make AI accessible while flexibly matching the specific workloads of virtually any business. Read the full press release on the Lenovo website.

Lenovo Takes the Intel Path to Simplify AI Journeys for Businesses

Analyst Take: Lenovo debuts the Lenovo ThinkSystem V4 portfolio leveraging Intel Xeon 6 processors to offer AI-enabled solutions. These solutions are prioritized to aid customers integrate AI into their workflows using new servers that are purpose-built to optimize performance and efficiency for targeted workloads. Moreover, new AI-powered Lenovo Systems Management solutions use generative AI (GenAI) to automate and streamline deployment and configuration across increasingly distributed computing networks.

Lenovo ThinkSystem V4: Key Portfolio Launch Details

Specifically, Lenovo is debuting new Intel-based ThinkSystem servers that are optimized for rack density and maximize processing performance in data centers for cloud service providers (CSPs), enterprises, high-performance compute, and telcos. With up to 3.18 times more throughput and up to 225% more cores in a 2U chassis, the Lenovo ThinkSystem SD530 V4 server provides the rack density and efficiency integral to ultra-dense processing capabilities and scaling web transactions.

With three times more storage than the previous version, the platform delivers more memory bandwidth that is well suited for compute-intensive transactional workloads to deliver faster insights in online banking, e-retail, and CSPs.

Additionally, the new Lenovo ThinkSystem SR630 V4 innovates power for cloud-scale, Telco 5G Core and ecommerce workloads, bolstering performance per rack with up to 42% faster media transcoding. Leveraging the server, customers can reduce costs by streamlining management processes, reducing downtime, and significantly improving resource utilization.

Featuring Intel’s innovative E-Core that reduces power consumption while maximizing performance for Telco Core applications, the SR630 V4 is engineered with enhanced performance and workload optimization that offers up to two times application bandwidth improvement facilitated by PCIe 5 IO and DDR5 memory.

I expect that the ThinkSystem SR630 V4 offering can reinforce Lenovo’s ThinkSystem server pedigree as demonstrated by its leading benchmarks for data center performance with a total of 566 industry-leading benchmarks spanning a wide array of industry benchmarks (as of May 1, 2024). The 566 total includes:

  • 184 using 3rd-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors
  • 45 using 2nd-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors
  • 48 using 4th-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors
  • 4 using 5th-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors
  • 2 using Raptor Lake-E Intel Xeon processors

These results were achieved on a wide variety of workloads that include applications, data management, application development and testing, infrastructure, and engineering/technical computing. Lenovo achieved these benchmarks across multiple ThinkSystem platforms ranging from single-socket to 8-socket, spanning Intel (as well as AMD) architectures. From my view, this shows Lenovo’s ability to design systems that have the agility to improve business outcomes for customers across a multitude of architectures, workloads, and industries.

Intel Xeon 6 Platform: Lenovo ThinkSystem 4 Capitalizes on New Breakthroughs and Features

I find that the Lenovo ThinkSystem 4 platform immediately capitalizes on the introduction of the Intel Xeon 6 platform to the market. Specifically, the entire Xeon 6 platform and family of processors is purpose-built to primarily address fast evolving data center challenges with both E-core (Efficient-core) and P-core (Performance-core) SKUs. These address the vast array of use cases and workloads, especially AI as well as other high-performance computing (HPC) requirements and scalable cloud-native applications.

Both E-cores and P-cores are constructed using a compatible architecture, sharing a common software stack and an open ecosystem of hardware and software vendors. Intel Xeon 6 processors come in two families: Sierra Forest and Granite Rapids.

Key Sierra Forest (E-Core) details include the following:

  • Designed for AI workloads, web scale-out containerized microservices, networking, content delivery networks, and cloud services
  • Extreme focus on power efficiency
  • Slated to expand in Q1 calendar year 2025 with network and edge-optimized variants
  • Available now
  • Up to 144 cores
  • Uses the new Intel 3 process node for power and performance gains.

Key Granite Rapids (P-core) details include the following:

  • Designed for AI, latency-sensitive work, high single-core performance, HPC, and general workloads
  • Expected to launch in Q2 2024
  • Up to 86 P-cores initially, expanding to 128 cores next year.

Both processors fit into the Birch Stream platform, with different swimlanes based on core counts and power requirements. Intel Xeon 6 aims to assure less power use and rack space that liberates compute capacity and infrastructure for stimulating ecosystem-wide AI innovation and use case fulfillment. The new offerings can also provide tremendous value in supporting non-AI workloads., As there is a massive swath of mass appeal applications that require cores, it can provide substantial cost savings and value specific to the customer’s needs.

Specifically, by using less power and rack space, Xeon 6 processors can liberate compute capacity and infrastructure to help catalyze AI project productivity and innovation. The E-core (Sierra Forest) processors feature up to 144 cores and provide support for up to 8-channel DDR5-6400 and 88 PCIe Gen 5.0 lanes. From my view, a key breakthrough is they operate at a 250W TDP and avoid using simultaneous multithreading (SMT), also countering Arm’s practice of SMT non-support.

As such, Intel ensures x86 cores are ready to transition existing workloads without costly, complex architectural changes. This applies to users of 1st and 2nd generation Xeon Scalable virtualization or container hosts as well as Xeon E5 servers particularly as Xeon 6 (Sierra Forest) provides substantial consolidation benefits.

This includes offering up to 288 E-cores per dual-socket server, resulting in 2.7x higher performance per rack for 5G core workloads while consuming up to 30% less power when used with Intel Infrastructure Power Manager (IPM) software. These power savings validate how customers gain the flexibility to invest in additional AI servers in accord with scaling traditional computing demands (i.e., non-AI). The new Intel Xeon 6 helps make AI accessible with efficient and fast processing that can handle the most demanding workloads before needing to add discrete accelerators.

ThinkSystem V4: Cool Neptune Features Boost Server Performance and Energy Efficiency

Through ThinkSystem V4, Lenovo’s liquid cooling technology is designed to enhance server performance while maintaining energy efficiency. Key capabilities include:

  • Rack Rear Door Cooling: Neptune uses water cooling at the rear of server racks to efficiently dissipate heat, preventing system overheating and slowdowns.
  • Direct Water Cooling to Each Node: Instead of relying exclusively on air cooling, Neptune directly cools critical components, including CPUs and power suppliers, using liquid cooling and enabling fanless operation and improved performance.
  • Liquid-assisted Cooling: Even in air-cooled systems, Neptune incorporates liquid cooling benefits through specially designed heat handling that helps attain optimized performance without complex plumbing.

From my view, Lenovo Neptune liquid-cooling innovation provides Lenovo key portfolio differentiation by enabling customers to fulfill the high performance demands driven by AI while reducing power consumption up to 40% by using liquid to remove heat. This helps remove a potentially major GeniAI adoption barrier by ensuring organizations can adopt and scale AI throughout their workflows without undermining or compromising their strategic sustainability objectives.

AI at Your Service from Edge to Cloud

I find that Lenovo strengthens its overall AI-enabled portfolio proposition from edge to cloud by enabling customers to find the best mix of CPUs, GPUs, software, and support according to their unique demands. The Lenovo AI Innovators program provides customers with more than 165 solutions, services, and partners to manage a vast array of AI workload sizes and better shepherd their overall AI journey throughout a diverse span of vertical markets.

Through Intel processors and Lenovo purpose-built engineering, the new V4 infrastructure portfolio delivers options for CPU-enabled AI inferencing on models up to 20 billion parameters, CPU+GPU solutions for mainstream AI workloads, and GPU solutions supporting modeling and training for up to >175 billion parameters.

To empower businesses and accelerate success with AI adoption, Lenovo has also introduced Lenovo AI Advisory and Professional Services that offer a breadth of services, solutions, and platforms to help businesses of all sizes find the right solutions to put AI to work quickly, cost-effectively, and at scale.

The Lenovo AIOps Factor

As hybrid intelligent infrastructure expands, the demand for design, deployment, management, and maintenance requires tailored solutions that reduce complexity. Lenovo’s new AIOps Systems Management uses GenAI to help customers with proactive insights that can boost capabilities such as comprehensive visibility and preventative maintenance. Customers can deploy solutions in up to two days through a unified view from datacenter to edge alongside using a Zero Trust Architecture and Management Hub 2.0 that can help minimize the security attack surface.

The newly enhanced XClarity One powered with AI3 AIOps is a hybrid cloud-based unified Management-as-a-Service. The solution offers three predictive failure analytics engines to swiftly identify potential issues and minimize system downtime becoming more accurate encompassing AI3-powered Predictive Failure Analytics, AI3-Powered Call Home, and AI3-Powered Premiere support.

ThinkSystem V4: Boosting Lenovo’s Ecosystem-wide AI Momentum and Security Credentials

The ThinkSystem V4 platform launch adroitly aligns with the announcement of Lenovo’s strategic AI alliance with Cisco. With the new AI partnership, Lenovo and Cisco are committed to delivering fully integrated infrastructure and networking solutions designed to accelerate digital transformation for businesses of all sizes. This collaboration involves designing, engineering, and delivering solutions that enhance GenAI capabilities and digital workplace productivity by leveraging the combined strengths of Lenovo’s edge-to-cloud portfolio and Cisco’s advanced networking capabilities. The goal is to create solutions that connect, protect, and analyze data seamlessly, thereby propelling AI-powered innovation.

The partnership also aims to enhance Lenovo Digital Workplace Solutions by integrating new technologies and features from both companies. This includes combining Lenovo’s Care of One platform with Cisco’s technology to deliver an improved user experience with enhanced security. The collaboration is committed to delivering highly productive and efficient solutions, irrespective of where work happens.

One area that I anticipate the partnership to emphasize is using AI to improve network security. From our view, organizations are increasingly identifying AI to deal more effectively with security issues that leave a traffic footprint. Lenovo and Cisco have the portfolio and managed service resources to play a key role in using AI to streamline the data collection and knowledge in areas such as unusual database and user patterns key to minimizing cybersecurity threats such as ransomware attacks. This includes detecting suspicious conduct that seeks to work around existing safeguards, strengthening the specific session and security policies in place.

Using AI to strengthen security is corollary to improving problem detection and analysis. I foresee that Lenovo-Cisco joint solutions can provide network visibility and oversight critical to improving problem detection including AI-driven proactive insights and automation. For AI security, Lenovo infrastructure is designed to allow customers to concentrate on innovation with confidence. Ranked first in x86 security by ITIC for five straight years, Lenovo ThinkSystem servers are built to counter advanced security threats and ensure business continuity, bolstered by support of NIST SP800-193 Platform Firmware Resiliency (PFR) guidelines.

Looking Ahead: Lenovo and Intel Bringing AI Everywhere

I believe Lenovo and Intel are advancing their mutual goal of bringing AI everywhere as the new Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions V4 portfolio uses Intel 6 processor breakthroughs to accelerate performance, consolidate IT, and lower power consumption, especially across demanding AI environments. As such, the Lenovo ThinkSystem V4 portfolio is designed to ensure that AI can be accessible and inclusive throughout all development and application phases that assure customers and partners can apply AI swiftly across any workload or scale to improve business outcomes and overall experiences.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Other Insights from The Futurum Group:

Lenovo and Cisco: Let’s Ease the Path to AI Innovation

Lenovo Empowers Hybrid AI from the Pocket to Cloud with NVIDIA

Lenovo Q4 FY 23/24 Insights: Growth Accelerates with Hybrid AI Opportunities

Author Information

Ron is an experienced, customer-focused research expert and analyst, with over 20 years of experience in the digital and IT transformation markets, working with businesses to drive consistent revenue and sales growth.

He is a recognized authority at tracking the evolution of and identifying the key disruptive trends within the service enablement ecosystem, including a wide range of topics across software and services, infrastructure, 5G communications, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), analytics, security, cloud computing, revenue management, and regulatory issues.

Prior to his work with The Futurum Group, Ron worked with GlobalData Technology creating syndicated and custom research across a wide variety of technical fields. His work with Current Analysis focused on the broadband and service provider infrastructure markets.

Ron holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy from University of Nevada — Las Vegas and a Bachelor of Arts in political science/government from William and Mary.

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