Rural Roads, Aston Martins and Mission-Critical Servers

Photo: (c) 2015 Kathy Holoman.

6 Parallel Tracks That Drive Home Business Value

Long ago, my mind’s eye painted a picture of Halifax County Virginia that I’ve carried with me to four states and back again – wildly meandering country roads, aged wood tobacco barns held together by the sheer force of will and acres of tobacco fields colored in the richest hues of green you’ll ever hope to see. Add a rainbow and quite literally, the beauty will steal your breath away.

This week, I discovered something else that made me fall in love with Southside Virginia all over again: the sheer joy of screaming around a race track at the Virginia International Raceway at nearly 150 miles per hour in an Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Thanks to professional motor sports drivers – Christina Nielson (@ChristinaNiels6), racing under the TRG-AMR banner and Kuno Wittmer (@KunoWittmer), reigning IMSA GTLM champion, I’m smitten with Virginia all over again.

At the same time, my experience at the 2015 Motorsports Marketing Forum highlighted the fact that racing parallels mission-critical computing.

Photo: (c) 2015 Kathy Holoman. Kuno Wittmer prepares for the track.

Parallel 1: “Blazing fast” is a requirement.

Now that I know what “fast enough to blow your hair back” really means, I see why Aston Martin has its work cut out for it. The company builds its race cars to meet the stringent performance needs of professional drivers who need to be “one with their racing machines.” Racing conditions vary wildly. Temperatures fluctuate. The pace is unforgiving. Think aerodynamics. Carbon fiber rear wings. Front splitters (1) to increase down force.(2) In racing there is absolutely no room for compromise. That’s why Aston Martins are a great choice.

Lenovo X6 mission-critical server platforms with Intel Xeon processors E7-4800/8800 v3 series are designed for enterprise data center leaders who navigate a complex gamut of enterprise business challenges. To achieve faster time-to-value and build competitive advantage, enterprise systems also afford data center leaders unprecidented speed. Today’s X6 servers can deliver up to 56 percent faster compute performance(3) than the last generation of X6 systems with last-generation processors. These systems make incredibly-fast analytics engines thanks to a combination of new storage and memory technologies -- NVMe PCIe SSDs and eXFlash™ memory-channel storage.(3) In uncompromising data center environments, Lenovo X6 servers are the perfect choice.

Parallel 2: Test drives help us build expertise and fine-tune our offerings.

Aston Martin Racing allows private race drivers to evaluate its cars for purchase or for events such as “arrive and drive programs.” The test structure involves the support of the Aston Martin Racing engineering team, a 25-lap session with the car and more.(4) Performance data is gathered an analyzed and adjustments are made to optimize hardware performance. Testing provides experiential proof points that enable buyers to make informed decisions.

Similarly, Lenovo is committed to continually benchmarking its enterprise systems to highlight exceptional capabilities and showcase areas of competency as well as to fine tune server functionality. Since inception, Lenovo X6 servers have been tested and proven in a number of industry organizations’ benchmark programs spanning a host of technology competencies such as transaction processing, virtualization, business intelligence, decision support, analytics, Java applications, SAP applications and more. For those who buy data center infrastructure, these measures are a crucial part of systems evaluation.

Parallel 3: Winning matters.

For the TRG-AMR racing team, winning races is crucial. For mission-critical servers, winning benchmarks (world records) matter. The TRG-AMR team holds victories in the ALMS GT Class, the Rolex Series DP Class, the Rolex Series GT Class, the ALMS GTC Class as well as the Grand American GS Class. The team also team holds the record for the most wins in GRAND-AM with 32. (Read more here.)(5) For sponsors and motor sports stakeholders, race wins spell success.

For Lenovo servers, it’s about industry benchmarks and global deployments. Since launch in 2014, Lenovo X6 servers have won more than 25 industry benchmarks(3) and have been deployed in a range of industries from banking and finance, healthcare and insurance to manufacturing, retail, education, managed service providers, and a host of others. World record benchmark wins and global deployments spell success in the server world.

Photo: (c) 2015 Kathy Holoman. Christina Nielsen discusses the last lap with the team.

Parallel 4: Where we came from drives who we are.

Aston Martins cars and Lenovo servers both are backed by a history innovation. More than a century of passion for exhilarating driving and beautiful workmanship is the Aston Martin legacy. Lionel Martin and Robert Banford started the business and made their racing debut in 1922 at the French Grand Prix. Later that year, the team set the pace by breaking TEN world records! Since that time, the brand has been a competitive force in the racing industry.(6)

Lenovo X6 mission-critical servers are backed by more than 15 years of innovation in Enterprise X Architecture. Six generations of 4- and 8-socket servers in two form factors have surpassed industry standards and customer expectations in a host of enterprise corporate footprints and computing environments.(3) Today, these systems drive innovation around the world.

Parallel 5: The hardware isn’t the whole story. Think strategy and teamwork too.

Even a casual observer can see the cooperation and linkage that exists between all of the stakeholders in the racing industry. Car manufacturers, team managers, athletes, strategists, support crews, business and promotional partners, raceway management and many others(7) work together to drive positive outcomes.

In the computer industry, it’s no different. Infrastructure vendors must partner with customers as “trusted advisors.” Hardware suppliers must also partner with ISVs (independent software vendors) in order to optimize joint solutions and provide management software for seamless ease-of-use. Lenovo has invested a great deal of time and energy in providing services and expertise to customers and in forming solution partnerships that make implementation seamless for the customer.

Photo: (c) 2015 Kathy Holoman. The team formulates a strategy.

Parallel 6: Design is a differentiator.

In motor sports, smart vehicle design can drive brand recognition and competitive positioning. The same is true in the enterprise server world. Lenovo mission-critical servers lead the industry in intelligent design innovation. With an IF design award and a finalist position in the 2014 IDEA competition, Lenovo leads the industry in differentiated enterprise rack server design that delivers true business value. Lenovo servers also sport RAS features that drive high availability and self-healing.

For more information about Lenovo Mission Critical Servers, click here.

Photo: (c) 2015 Kathy Holoman. Christina Nielson and a colleague after several hours on the track.

1) Aston Martin Racing, http://trg-astonmartinracing.com/aston-martin-race-cars-2/vantage-gt4/, (July 22, 2015)

2) Auto Racing Terms, http://auto-dictionary.com/Racing.htm, (July 22, 2015)

3) Lenovo Mission Critical Servers, http://www.slideshare.net/lenovosystems/he-client-deckr307?qid=7acf6462-5254-4f63-ac1a-0d301e96fd40&v=qf1&b=&from_search=1, (July 23, 2015)

4) Aston Martin Testing Program, http://www.astonmartin.com/en/racing/race-cars/car-testing), (July 23, 2015)

5) Aston Martin Racing Team, http://trg-astonmartinracing.com/the-team/about-aston-martin-and-trg/, (July 23, 2015).

6) Aston Martin Heritage, http://www.astonmartin.com/heritage, (July 23, 2015)

7) Partners at the 2015 Motorsports Marketing Forum included Kevin Buckler, TRG-AMR, George McNeilly, McNeilly Communications, David Martin , U/S Sports Advisors/GMR, Connie Nyholm, Virginia International Raceway, Steve Patti, Paul Zindrick, TRG-AMR North America, Bob Varsha, Fox Sports, David Pettit, NASCAR