March 22nd, 2019 by Adam Armstrong
Lenovo ThinkSystem Family Overview
Lenovo’s family of servers, dubbed the ThinkSystem family, is designed around flexibility and affordability. The ThinkSystem family is offered in several configurations including quad- dual- and single-socket, 1- or 2U rackmount models, as well as tower form factors. The entire family offers some level of configurability/scalability allowing users to start where they need and build up along with their business.
In the last few months, StorageReview has looked at two servers in the ThinkSystem family, the SR850 and the SR570. While at different ends of the budget spectrum, both servers were able to deliver tremendous performance with easy deployment and management. The larger SR850 was able to hit over 1 million IOPS in eight of our benchmarks with bandwidth of 23.9GB/s. On the smaller side of things, the SR570 was able to hit nearly 3 million IOPS and a bandwidth of 13.6GB/s.
For those that need flexibility but their workloads don’t demand multi-CPU configurations, there are several ThinkSystems to choose from. These include the entry-level RS160, the x3250 M6, and the SR250. Though they only feature a single CPU, and a much lower starting price, these 1U servers can still deliver enterprise features. All three can be configured with Intel Xeon E3-1200 CPUs, up to 64GB of RAM, and come with Lenovo XClarity for management.
The rest of the line offers dual socketed 1- and 2U servers. These tend to range from entry cloud, hosting, file serving, and scale-out workloads in the SR530 to HPC and AI in the SR670. Several of the servers can be loaded up with up to 3TB of RAM. The SR650 can be configured with up to 24 NVMe drives. As stated, the SR670 is designed around HPC and AI workloads and can fit up to 4 full-height, full-length, double-wide GPUs/accelerators or up to 8 half-height, half-length, single-wide GPUs/accelerators.
For smaller businesses that don’t necessarily have a rack to put servers in, Lenovo also offers tower servers in the form of the ThinkSystem ST50, ST250, and ST550. The smaller businesses can get the ST50 for less than $700 and still meet most of their needs. On the other end of the spectrum is the ST550 with up to 2 Intel Xeon Platinum CPUs, up to 1.5TB of memory, two GPUs, and up to 96.4TB of storage.
While most of our server reviews tend to be very performance focused with the latest and greatest hardware, it's still important to give light to the more value-oriented options available. As the need for edge computing continues to rise, the demand for servers as the edge to process data near where the data is collected is increasingly popular. The typical ROBO and retail use cases all fit here as well. There's a need for reliability and service from a trusted brand, but generally support for a flood of concurrent users is outside the scope. While even the entry-level servers can be specced out pretty well-equipped, the more modest offerings from the Lenovo ThinkSystem family do well to serve these other important use cases.