Managed Services Branding: Can Rivals Counter Lenovo Servers?

Lenovo continues to connect the dots between low-cost servers, remote management and MSPs. The latest example involves three new ThinkServers that start at under $900 but boast remote management capabilities for managed services providers (MSPs). We wonder: Will additional server vendors -- like Dell and Hewlett-Packard -- follow Lenovo's MSP lead? Here are some predictions.

Let's start with the news. Lenovo's latest MSP-centric server efforts include the ThinkServer RD230, RD240 and TD230 servers.

The first two servers, Lenovo says, are rack systems that include:

  • Built in advanced RAID for advanced data protection on the RD230
  • Web-enabled remote management tools to enable managed service providers to remotely monitor and manage their clients' IT systems
  • Hot swappable hard drive storage to eliminate downtime and give IT managers flexibility in assigning data to specific locations
  • A DVD writer for a convenient way to install new applications
Meanwhile, the ThinkServer TD230 tower server "gives managed solution providers and businesses the flexibility and performance they need to outfit nearly any work environment," Lenovo claims.

In an interesting twist, Level Platforms certified the new servers for monitoring and management by their Managed Workplace solution.

Setting the MSP Server Pace

Lenovo is no stranger to the MSP market. The company spent 2009 studying the managed services sector, and Lenovo launched its first MSP-centric server in early 2010, as described in this FastChat video:

Competition Coming?

Are Lenovo servers the best servers for MSPs? I have no idea. But I do know this: Lenovo is the only server maker, to the best of my knowledge, that's branding its servers to specifically target MSPs serving SMBs. That's smart.

Still, I suspect Lenovo won't be alone for long. Frankly, I'm shocked Dell hasn't made similar branding moves with its servers -- especially since Dell has promoted managed services software for roughly three years.

And what about HP? I suspect we'll be hearing a lot more about their MSP server strategy in the months ahead. As you may recall, HP's new channel chief is from Lenovo, and apparently he helped to develop Lenovo's MSP server strategy.

I wonder what steps, if any, Lenovo will take to maintain its perceived MSP branding lead.

Additional reporting by David Courbanou. Sign up for MSPmentor’s weekly Enewsletter, Webcasts and Resource Center. And follow us via RSS, Facebook,; and Twitter. Plus, check out more MSP voices at

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