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In this edition of the Lenovo ThinkServer blog, we wanted to shed some light on how Lenovo servers and workstations are being deployed for the high-performance computing (HPC) industry. Joining me in this discussion is Vertical Marketing Manager, Chris McCoy, from the Lenovo ThinkStation team. Edgar: Hi Chris, can you tell us a bit about your work experience and how you see Lenovo ThinkStation fitting into the key verticals you manage? Also, do you see synergies with Lenovo ThinkServer? Chris: Hey Edgar, it’s a pleasure to be here with you. To answer the first part of your question, I joined the Lenovo ThinkStation product team about 18 months ago. Prior to coming to Lenovo, I spent more than 15 years working for global IT solution providers in both the private and public sectors. Lenovo has made tremendous investments in ThinkStation product engineering and critical technology partner alliances to devise, test and implement various hardware and software technologies in an effort to improve workflow and system performance as well as platform efficiencies. We do this to ensure that we’re designing and building platforms that can be tuned and configured to support very specific workflows across a very wide spectrum of customers, in industries such as Banking, Finance, Manufacturing, Architecture, Medical and Life Sciences, Media and Entertainment and the Energy Sector. To answer the second part of your question, in Lenovo, servers and...

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Iris Classon, Windows 8 developer and our new Lenovo Developer Expert

Iris Classon, Windows 8 developer and our new Lenovo Developer Expert

She was given a  Microsoft MVP Award, has developed a slew of Windows 8 apps and even co-authored a book. And she loves extreme sports as well. Meet Iris Classon, one of our latest Lenovo forum users, who will be helping us out in our Windows 8 app developer boards. Iris is a sought-after developer conference speaker, writer, blogger, Microsoft C# MVP and member of MEET (Microsoft Extended Experts Team) with a tremendous passion for programming. She has had a remarkable career path that proves that nothing is impossible- switching from being a licensed and registered clinical dietician to a software developer with a dozen certifications and a full time developer job with renowned companies. She has been featured in several newspaper articles, online articles and podcasts such as Hanselminutes, Computer Sweden and Developer Magazine. As a frequently sought-after speaker at conferences such as TechDays, Scandinavian Developer Conference and various user groups, Iris is known for her unique, creative and uplifting presentation style. She is hosts the Get Up and Code! podcast, and in her spare time she does pro-bono work as a dietitian and is very engaged in the developer community. She also enjoys extreme sports such as barefoot running, mountain biking, weightlifting and scuba diving- and of course traveling. Recently Iris sat down...

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Studies have shown that data center cooling costs are equal to or greater than the cost of powering the IT equipment itself. One way to reduce these cooling costs is by operating the data center at higher temperatures. This allows innovative data-center cooling strategies to be employed. As examples, fresh-air and chiller-less cooling technologies can be used. In fact, many new data-center facilities are being built in areas where the local climate lends itself to these technologies. Existing facilities can also benefit from cold-isle containment strategies segregating high-temperature-capable equipment from less-capable equipment. But can servers take the heat? Even though most servers can operate at temperatures much higher than are found in the controlled environments of most data centers, some server vendors recommend staying within the current recommended operating temperature range at all times. Others will allow higher-temperature operation, but only for brief periods of time. Additionally, there are those who will be concerned that prolonged, higher ambient temperatures may affect server long-term reliability and induce failures, even though the components that make up the equipment are specified and tested to operate at well above nominal operating temperatures. It’s clear that the trends towards adoption of higher data-center operating temperatures will continue because of the pressure to reduce operating costs. When considering servers...

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The IT industry is continually evolving, but one constant is that IT administrators are being asked to do more with less — while still enabling business growth and maintaining service levels to their customers. Providing highly reliable infrastructures to host business-critical applications while responding quickly to business and market changes, is a challenge made more difficult when considering constrained budgets and fewer available resources. Automating portions of IT operations that are repetitive, manual and error prone can immediately reduce costs and increase service levels, and free up an administrator’s valuable time for more important IT projects. Unfortunately, automation that uses proprietary or vendor-specific tools may not be the best approach — and can impact your organization in several ways — from limiting the positive impact of a multi-vendor strategy to increasing money spent on IT staff. Instead, consider servers that can support automated IT environments by supporting systems management built on industry standards with interfaces and APIs that support and simplify automation tasks. For more information, see the Lenovo ThinkServer Management Automation Viewpoint and look for new next-generation Lenovo ThinkServer systems coming soon.

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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...

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