Lenovo Earmarks $1 Billion Investment to Boost AI in Infrastructure, ThinkSystem and ThinkEdge ServersLenovo Earmarks $1 Billion Investment to Boost AI in Infrastructure, ThinkSystem and ThinkEdge Servers
Lenovo revealed that demand for AI-capable infrastructure generated $2 billion in revenues.
June 16, 2023
In a push to expand its portfolio of IT infrastructure optimized for AI workloads, Lenovo will invest $1 billion during the next three years to bolster its ThinkSystem and ThinkEdge servers. The company also earmarked the investment to fund Lenovo’s expansion of its partner ecosystem capable of delivering solutions that can apply and optimize the processing of AI to workloads.
Driving Lenovo’s latest AI funding commitment comes on the heels of a record year in revenues from customers’ AI infrastructure initiatives. During Lenovo’s 2023 fiscal year, which ended on March 31, 2023, AI contributed $2 billion of the company’s $10 billion infrastructure solutions group (ISG) revenue, the company revealed this week.
Lenovo is describing the $1 billion investment as the second phase of its focus on AI, dating back to 2017 when it committed $1.2 billion. Robert Daigle, director of Lenovo’s global AI business, said that investment covered AI but also IoT, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).
Expanding the AI Innovators Program
Lenovo used the initial funding to build out its ISG AI team, Innovation Centers, and eventually announced its AI Innovators program last year, Daigle told Channel Futures. Since launching the AI Innovators program, it has grown from 30 partners last fall to over 45.
Lenovo’s Robert Daigle
“We’ve onboarded over 150 turnkey enterprise solutions,” Daigle said.
According to Daigle, one of the fastest-growing demands is for more AI-capable compute at edge locations such as retail sites.
“If you look at where GPUs are being sold, there’s a 41% CAGR at the edge,” Daigle said. “This is the highest growth area from any other cloud or data center segment. A lot of enterprises are deploying AI at the edge.”
Similarly, Lenovo will boost the capabilities of its AI Centers of Excellence labs. Launched in 2018, Lenovo operates its COEs in each of its geographies.
“Initially, they were labs set up for customers to do some remote work with us where they can log in remotely and have added a loaner gear program,” Daigle said. “We’ve actually pivoted our services in the Centers of Excellence to be able to better support customers’ needs just to help them shorten the time to value in reducing the risk with getting started with these AI projects.”
Lenovo also announced that the COEs now give customers and partners access to Lenovo’s data scientists, AI architects and engineers. They also provide referrals to ISV partners, recommend AI-optimized infrastructure, and help address AI ethics questions via Lenovo’s Responsible AI Committee.
Besides announcing its latest financial investment, Lenovo launched 70 new AI-optimized servers with a focus on those designed for real-time inferencing at edge locations. Among them is Lenovo’s new ThinkEdge SE360 V2, the latest version of its purpose-built edge server. The new products stem from last fall’s launch of over 50 new infrastructure products.
According to Lenovo, the SE360 V2 supports Intel’s Data Center GPU Flex Series, the NVIDIA L4 Tensor Core GPU, the Nvidia AI Enterprise software platform and Qualcomm’s Cloud AI 100 platforms. Lenovo also introduced the ThinkEdge SE350 V2 for hybrid cloud and modern HCI deployments. The upgraded systems come with double the storage capacity and powered by Intel’s Xeon D processor.
Lenovo also launched the ThinkSystem SR675 V3, consisting of three server configurations in a single unit. It will be available with the latest Nvidia OVX system for building and operating simulated virtual environments. Based on NVIDIA’s OVX architecture, the ThinkSystem SR675 V3 will be available with up to eight Nvidia L40 GPUs for ray tracing with Nvidia’s RTX-accelerated graphics.
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