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Juniper, Lenovo Partnership Pursues Hyperconverged Data Centers

Instead of going it alone, Juniper Networks and Lenovo are partnering to pursue hyperconverged data center opportunities. The move comes one week after Cisco Systems launched its HyperFlex offering, and ahead of Dell’s pending buyout of EMC Corp.

Under terms of a global strategic partnership, Juniper and Lenovo say they they plan to “build the next generation of converged, hyper-converged, and hyper-scale data center infrastructure solutions for enterprise and web-scale customers. The alliance reflects a shared commitment to deliver simplified, flexible, and high-performance solutions that will provide customers faster time-to-application value with reduced operating costs.”

Hardware, Software and Partners

Gerry Smith

Gerry Smith

The deal, predictably, will blend Lenovo’s x86 server and switch technology with Juniper’s routers, switches, network management software, network security products and software-defined networking technology. There relationship also includes cross-selling opportunities, with Lenovo agreeing to resell Juniper’s networking portfolio.

Channel partners also will be key to the relationship. Lenovo and Juniper say they are planning to collaborate worldwide with service providers, resellers and systems integrations.

Often considered a PC and small business server company, Lenovo is “on a mission to become the market leader in datacenter solutions,” according to Gerry Smith, executive VP and COO of the company’s PC and Enterprise Business Group. That’s sort of ironic, considering enterprise giant IBM sold its server and PC business to Lenovo — likely never thinking that the Chinese technology company would pursue enterprise data center engagements.

Risks and Rewards

chuck robbins

Chuck Robbins

While promising, the Lenovo-Juniper relationship is vague on delivery dates. Also, Lenovo already has a hyperconverged relationship in place with Nutanix. I don’t know if or how the Lenovo-Juniper relationship changes that. And Lenovo and EMC have partnered on converged systems but critics wonder if that relationship will hold up amid Dell’s buyout of EMC.

Either way, the hyperconverged data center market is moving fast. Just last week, CEO Chuck Robbins introduced Cisco’s HyperFlex hyperconverged platform — and major partners like Presidio vowed to promote it to customers (see video below):

Generally speaking, hyperconvergence offers a software-centric architecture that integrates compute, storage, networking and virtualization in a commodity hardware box supported by a single vendor. Technically, a Lenovo-Juniper partnership doesn’t fit that single-vendor description.

Still, partnerships in the convergence market have worked before. One key example is VCE (now called the EMC Converged Platform Division), which successfully gained market share despite occasional squabbles between parents EMC, VMware and Cisco (which has since sold its stake in the business).

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