How Lenovo is tackling HCI workloads

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Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) is increasingly being used to power more mission-critical workloads, going beyond virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) which has been one of the most common uses of the technology.

For example, in cases where workloads are moved to on-premise environments, HCI has proven to effective for enterprises that are looking to reduce datacentre complexity and increase scalability, according to Sumir Bhatia, president of Lenovo’s infrastructure solutions group in Asia-Pacific.

“Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen customers move to the cloud but are now repatriating their workloads because of latency or security requirements,” Bhatia told Computer Weekly. “That’s where HCI comes in very strongly to support a hybrid, multi-cloud environment.”

Other mission-critical workloads, said Bhatia, include SAP’s Hana in-memory database, online transaction processing (OLTP) and customer relationship management, even as the use of HCI for VDI workloads remains.

According to the 2020-2021 TechTarget/Computer Weekly IT priorities survey, nearly a third of respondents in the Asia-Pacific region planned to increase their VDI investments during the pandemic as they looked to shore up their remote work capabilities.

“VDI solutions are in line with the scenario that we were all in over the past year, but this is not something new,” Bhatia said. “It’s been chugging along and as customers gain more confidence with VDI, whether it’s a solution from Nutanix or VMware, more of them are getting into using HCI for mission-critical workloads.”

Lenovo recently teamed up with chipmaker AMD to fit its ThinkAgile VX series of HCI appliances with the AMD EPYC 7003 series processors to support VMware workloads. It also sells VX series appliances equipped with Intel Xeon Platinum processors.

Although Xeon processors have lagged behind the EPYC 7003 series in some benchmarks, Intel is staging a comeback with the launch of its third-generation Xeon “Ice Lake” processors later this week.

For now, Bhatia said the AMD-powered VX series appliances will give enterprises up to 45% more memory bandwidth and 2.3 times more CPU cores in a single rack…