Paul Scaini

This isn’t a blog about banned Speedo swimwear or sorting through fabric swatches for drapery or a new sofa; it’s about network switching fabrics. That’s when servers in a network interconnect through multiple network switches. This spreads the network traffic across multiple links; kind of like threads in a fabric — providing a much higher throughput and increased redundancy compared to traditional networks. Most other tier-1 server vendors have some sort of mezzanine card offered on their performance two-processor rack server offerings. This is because it allows sideband management (allowing BMC management traffic to travel on the same connection as data as opposed to out-of-band management through a dedicated port) saving the cost of having a separate management infrastructure. This also allows the BMC to check the health and thermals of the card and update firmware, which is not normally available via standard slot based PCIe cards. Lenovo’s next-gen performance two-processor racks (the ThinkServer RD650 & ThinkServer RD550) are the first servers in the ThinkServer family to take advantage of these technologies using our customized form factor based on AnyFabric technology. The timing couldn’t be better. Adopters of 10GbE can rejoice as there’s no need to waste...

Continue reading “Lenovo AnyFabric: Like an LZR Racer Suit for your Data Center”

I think we’re at the point where I don’t need to explain SSDs and their importance in the enterprise environment. If you need a refresher though, you can read one of my previous blogs about the mainstream server use of SATA or SAS SSDs.  Why PCIe? There’s a new breed of SSD on the market that use the PCIe interface. Early adopters of this technology have been banks, the oil & gas industry and cloud companies that are buying PCIe accelerators — such as the ones made by Fusion IO — which fit in the traditional PCIe slots at the back of the system. PCIe has a big advantage over the latest 12Gbps SAS with double the bandwidth (our PCIe drives are x4 for about 30Gbps). And, because PCIe connects directly to the CPU, instead of having to go through PCIe to a SAS controller and then convert SAS to flash, there is a big improvement in latency. This is significant because the current generation of flash is so fast that it causes SAS to be the bottleneck. With PCIe 3.0, the speeds are fast enough to make the SSD controller —or the actual NAND — the bottleneck. Why Front Bays? Traditional PCIe drives plug into the server’s rear PCIe slots. This is problematic for two reasons: difficult thermal management and poor serviceability. The...

Continue reading “AnyBay, the Better Way”

If you’ve never upgraded your ThinkPad to a solid-state drive (SSD), you don’t know what you’re missing. To this day, I remember the first time my ThinkPad booted up in seconds. Since then, I haven’t gone back to a traditional hard-disk drive. Flash is EVERYWHERE. It’s in everything from cell phones and tablets to USB keys and digital cameras. The proliferation of flash into all these devices has significantly reduced the overall cost so much, that it has gained popularity in servers as well. Obviously, companies with the big bucks, such as: banks, oil and gas and Google are the early flash adopters, buying expensive PCIe accelerators like the ones made by Fusion IO to get maximum performance. However, there are plenty of low-cost options and applications that could be more appropriate for your business. Take the boot drive for instance. Its application is basically the same as the SSD in my ThinkPad — and it’s a really good place to start. Typically laptop SSDs are fast and are robust enough for typical business use. (I would say 40 hours a week, but who does that anymore). Server SSDs are also fast, but are more robust and designed for continuous enterprise use. Typically, a boot drive can be read-optimized at about one-to-three drive writes per day, because only small amounts of data are written to it daily. It...

Continue reading “Give your Boot a Boost with a Bit of Flash”

Paul Scaini is a Canadian working in Beijing China as the Global Portfolio Manager for Lenovo’s   Commercial Desktop Business Unit.  His responsibilities include planning traditional desktops and All-in-Ones for both large enterprises and small and medium business. As a product manager I love to get chances to speak to customers big and small, especially to get feedback on ThinkCentre All-in-Ones.  I am still amazed how many customers have no idea what an All-in-One (AIO) is.  I’ve just recently spoken to decision makers at a Global NGO (Non Profit Organization) and a Federal Government, shown them an AIO for the first time explaining the benefits and now both have added AIO to their purchase lists. There is a MASSIVE opportunity out there for you to talk to your customers about All-in-One.  Even if they’re not desktop customers it’s a great way to get your foot in the door. “Hey, have you ever seen one of these before?” and even if they aren’t 100% convinced then it gives you a chance for other selling opportunities. Here’s what you’ll need to know: More Room for Work All-in-One saves about 70% space compared to a traditional tower and monitor, giving a workspace some room to breathe.  Education and healthcare customers love AIOs for labs and nursing stations that are often small and cluttered with paperwork.  From call centers to start-ups; any customer with...

Continue reading “Get Your Foot in the Door Already!”

Paul J. Scaini is the segment manager for Lenovo’s new ThinkCentre Edge product line, helping SMBs look good while they work hard and play hard. In this post he discusses the ThinkCentre Edge 91z all-in-one desktop. My favorite quote: “You know the difference between you and me? I make this look GOOD.” -Will Smith Men in Black Big Willie knows what he’s talking about; in today’s competitive, modern world sometimes it’s not enough to do your job or run your business well. There is a ton of competition out there just as hungry and working just as hard as you are. At that point, what is the key differentiator between those who habitually succeed and those who don’t? It’s style; it’s swagger; it’s the ability to catch and keep attention; the confidence that comes from looking good and knowing it. I know some of you might comment below and say stuff like: “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” and “It’s what’s on the inside that counts.” Anyone who works in the multi-billion dollar fashion or cosmetic industries will call your bluff. You can find thousands of examples where looks matter, even in nature. Take for example a peacock or tropical fish whose genetic survival depends on their ability to look good. I’m sure even Charles Darwin would agree with me here.

Continue reading “Primp, Prune & Style – Business PCs Cross Over”