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Lenovo picks Cloudistics as ThinkAgile CP partner

Like the other major server vendors, Lenovo proclaims it is “all in” on hyper-convergence and software-defined storage. It just goes about it in a different way.

Unlike the Dell EMC VxRail, Cisco HyperFlex and Hewlett Packard SimpliVity and Synergy platforms, Lenovo does not develop its own hyper-converged or composable infrastructure software. It relies on partners to provide that on top of Lenovo ThinkAgile servers. In the hyper-converged space, Lenovo partners with VMware (ThinkAgile VX Series), Nutanix (ThinkAgile HX Series) and  Microsoft (ThinkAgile SX for Microsoft Azure Stack).

This week Lenovo added a newer, smaller partner to the mix when it launched ThinkAgile CP Series powered by software from startup Cloudistics. Lenovo bills the ThinkAgile CP as a composable private cloud platform, although the underlying architecture is similar to that of hyper-converged. The difference, according to Lenovo and Cloudistics, is Cloudistics software was designed from the start for private clouds.

“We call it ‘cloud in a box,” said Shekar Mishra, Lenovo’s director of product marketing for software defined datacenter. “We have a robust hyper-converged portfolio through partnerships with Nutanix and VMware. Now we’re looking more towards cloud models. We have a hybrid cloud platform with Microsoft. Now this (CP) brings the cloud model within the customer’s firewall. It’s everything they love about the Amazon public cloud model, but bring it within their data center and within their control.”

Does Lenovo need another platform for that? VMware and Nutanix will happily tell you they bring the public cloud model inside an organization’s data center, too.

“We are all in,” Mishra said when asked about any overlap.

So what does Cloudistics bring? The Lenovo ThinkAgile CP is managed by Cloudistic Cloud Controller (Cloudistics brands it as the Ignite Cloud Controller). Cloud Controller is a SaaS application that orchestrates storage, compute (Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system) and networking resources. Cloud controller also includes the Cloudistics Application Marketplace with templates for quick deployments of applications and operating systems.

Cloudistics software also includes backup and replication, and microsegmentation.

“We modeled this after the cloud from day one,” said Todd Frederick, a Cloudistics founder and its COO. “It’s like Amazon, when you log into VPC (virtual private cloud), you have your own virtual private network. We’ve done the same thing. You log in as a tenant, and you get your own virtual network. That’s how we carve up this infrastructure and deliver services.”

Lenovo is launching the ThinkAgile CP Series with two hardware models. The ThinkAgile CP4000 includes two to four 2U compute nodes and a storage block. The compute nodes use Intel Xeon processors and each node has either 128 GB or 256 GB DDR4 memory. The storage blocks include 4.8 TB to 28.8 TB of usable capacity.

The larger ThinkAgile CP6000 consists of one to 10 compute node enclosures with up to four nodes per enclosure, and from one to five storage blocks. Each storage block has 9.6 TB to 115.2 TB of usable capacity. The architecture lets customers scale compute and storage blocks independently in an enclosure.

List price starts at $180,000 for an entry level enclosure. Lenovo, which handles all support, has begun customer trials in North America. Mishra said he expects to CP platform to be general available by late August.