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A Game-Changing Premium Cloud Experience: The Lenovo ThinkAgile CP Series

We are very excited about the differentiated turnkey cloud platform being jointly delivered by Cloudistics and Lenovo—the Lenovo ThinkAgile CP Series powered by Cloudistics. It’s a game-changer.

The Lenovo ThinkAgile CP Series fits into a new emerging category, beyond converged and hyperconverged, which IDC calls Composable/Disaggregated (C/D-I). The industry has been on a multi-year journey to make on-premises infrastructure more agile. It started with converged (CI) which focused on hardware infrastructure, and was further simplified with hyperconverged (HCI), which focused on software-defined infrastructure. Composable/Disaggregated Infrastructure (C/D-I) now takes this journey to the next phase by moving the focus to applications. For customers, this is the next step in getting to an end-to-end on-premises solution that is application-centric, hyper-agile, highly elastic and cloud-first.

The ThinkAgile CP is an all-in-one platform that includes all the hardware (servers, storage, network interconnects) and all the software (server virtualization, storage virtualization, network virtualization, full cloud stack, application marketplace, SaaS management portal) needed to run applications out of the box.  Like the public cloud, it lets the customer focus on managing and running their apps, instead of their infrastructure. The platform sits securely inside the customer’s datacenter, while being managed from the public cloud.

It provides unprecedented levels of simplicity and agility, combined with a premium cloud experience. It does all this without compromising on availability, security, performance or cost.

Premium Cloud Experience

ThinkAgile CP provides a premium experience at every stage from acquisition to deployment to support and maintenance.

  1. Sizing and ordering is made extremely simple, with all-in-one licensing that covers hardware, software, service and support.
  2. Once ordered, deploying the platform is fast, since all the components have been pre-integrated and tested. From receiving the platform to running your first application takes under 2 hours.
  3. A deployed platform can be easily scaled, with support for independent scaling of compute, storage and network resources. The platform automatically detects new hardware and integrates it in, with no interoperability concerns.
  4. Once deployed, a generalist can support the platform. There is comprehensive capacity and performance monitoring. When needed, there is 24×7 integrated live help and support that can be accessed with the click of a button.
  5. It is simple to carve out resources on behalf of new projects, departments, or tenants, as needed. Each project, department or tenant gets its own separate and secure virtual data center (VDC), thus allowing for self-service. Each VDC has a VDC administrator who only manages its applications, while a separate platform administrator manages the full cloud platform. Capacity and performance monitoring is available at the level of VDCs or individual apps.
  6. Applications to be run in the VDC can be selected from the many performance optimized, virus scanned choices in our curated application marketplace. This allows the customer to simplify, standardize and secure IT delivery. Alternatively, an existing customer application may be live migrated into our platform from other environments, such as VMware.
  7. Finally, platform maintenance is automated. New performance, functionality or security updates to the platform can be applied remotely and non-disruptively.

Just like the public cloud, we take care of the infrastructure, leaving the customer to focus on their applications.

Composability at Application Level, not at Hardware Level

IT vendors (e.g. HPE Synergy, DellEMC DSS/Kinetic) generally speak about composability in terms of physical hardware infrastructure, where physical hardware devices (CPU/Memory devices, I/O devices, Storage devices, acceleration devices) are assembled and connected to flexibly construct a desired server that can meet certain capacity or performance requirements

We believe that composability is more meaningful and effective when focused on the provisioning of logical IT resources that directly support application needs, rather than just assembling physical servers. Composability applied at the Application layer, as in the ThinkAgile CP platform, enables the flexible assembly, configuration and attachment of application resources (hosts, VMs, containers, networks, storage volumes, etc.) to more precisely suit the needs of the IT applications that serve the business.  We refer to this as a “Composable Cloud Platform”.

Business Continuity

The ThinkAgile CP platform is continuously available with no single points of failure.

The compute nodes have built-in HA capability, and VMs are automatically restarted on another node after failure. Similarly, the storage controller nodes have HA capability and, unlike many other systems, there is no performance loss when a storage controller node fails and is automatically restarted. RAID 50, hot sparing and erasure coding combine to provide comprehensive storage redundancy.

The platform supports sophisticated application-consistent snapshots and clones. Both scheduled snapshots and user-generated snapshots are supported. The platform supports disaster recovery (DR) by sending snapshots to a remote site and using comprehensive retention policies at the DR site to specify how many daily, weekly, monthly and yearly snapshots to keep. We support small RTOs (Recovery Time Objective) and RPOs (Recovery Point Objective). The RPO can be as small as one minute.

We also support non-disruptive hardware upgrades and non-disruptive scaling of compute, storage and network interconnects. Compute starts with 2 nodes and then can be scaled one node at a time. Storage can be scaled 8 flash drives at a time. For networking, we start with a pair of network interconnects and add more pairs as needed.

Security

The ThinkAgile CP platform is very secure, exceeding the security of competitive systems in several respects.

  • It encrypts all data at rest with FIPS 140-2 encryption. Key management is supported using the TPM module or external Key Management Interface Protocol (KMIP) key managers.
  • The control plane uses encrypted communication to preventing snooping.
  • The platform supports true micro-segmentation using a combination of overlay networks, distributed firewalls and per application firewall overrides. This enables zone defense on a per application basis.
  • Every major release of software is penetration tested by an independent company.
  • It uses 2-factor authentication and Role Based Access Control for sysadmins.
  • It provides secure multi-tenancy, providing full isolation for tenants.
  • It is managed by a secure SaaS portal. The SaaS portal does not require the customer to open any inbound firewall ports, all communication is initiated by the customer and uses TLS encryption.

Performance

The platform provides high performance using an All-Flash Array with NVMe drives and a direct path from VMs to vDisks without the additional translation layers often seen in competitive converged and hyperconverged systems. Some customers have told us that we are faster, even with virtualization, than their previous system running bare-metal.

Efficiency and Cost

Price comparisons we have done show that the cost of running a workload on the ThinkAgile platform can be significantly cheaper than the cost of running the same workload on the public cloud or on some HCI systems and/or systems running VMware. Below we explain how we get our cost efficiency.

  1. First, by allowing storage, compute and networking to scale independently and by using composability to allocate exactly the resources needed—no more, no less—to each application, we eliminate wasteful consumption.
  2. Second, unlike other systems that use clustering to scale, we use a differentiated technique called clusterless federation, which permits more efficient scaling and storage sharing.
  3. Third, we employ the full gamut of data reduction techniques such as de-duplication, compression, thin provisioning and snapshots.
  4. Fourth, our storage resiliency is provided in a space efficient manner – by using RAID instead of multiple copies of data.
  5. Finally, since our platform includes the hypervisor, network virtualization software, and backup/DR, no additional software licensing costs need to be incurred.

Summary

To summarize, the Think Agile CP Composable Cloud Platform is a turnkey solution that lets customers focus on their apps, instead of their infrastructure.  It enables demand-driven delivery in your IT operations; it pro-actively manages IT capacity to serve your business; and it optimizes IT operations with more productivity and lower cost. It does all this while providing best-of-breed availability, performance, cost and security.

We are confident the ThinkAgile CP Series will be a game changer in the market and we are excited for you to experience it.

Learn more about the ThinkAgile CP to discover how it can empower your administrators by simplifying operations, so they can increase innovation and accelerate time-to-value.

To see the ThinkAgile CP Series in action, contact us at [email protected].

Dan Mroz

VP of Worldwide Marketing

Over the past 20 years, Dan has had the opportunity to hold several diverse positions within the IT industry. Prior to joining Cloudistics, he was part of an incubation team at Lenovo, which launched new hyper-converged products. He developed channel and enablement strategies while contributing to marketing and messaging efforts. Prior to Lenovo, Dan held positions in sales and engineering at Dell-EMC. Dan was engineer of the year in 2012 and 2014.

Dan has held IT leadership and instructor positions at the Pennsylvania State University where he led technology strategy, instructional design, and numerous strategic projects.

Dan has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and co-founded a web development, hosting, and consulting company. He has led marketing, recruitment, and IT operations of multiple organizations in the healthcare, technology, and financial segments.

Dan earned two undergraduate degrees from the Pennsylvania College of Technology and his MBA from the New York Institute of Technology.

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