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There's no denying Lenovo is a big name in the notebook market with our very own Riyad Emeran recently singing the praises of its latest ThinkPad X300. However, although Lenovo commands a sizeable chunk of worldwide notebook sales it wants much more and has recently been casting its gaze over the SMB server market.
It's clear Lenovo aims to be a one-stop shop for IT services for smaller businesses - it offers desktops, workstations, notebooks and monitors, so why not do servers as well? The end result is the new ThinkServer family and on review we have the entry-level TS100 pedestal server.
Instead of producing a new range of servers, Lenovo has done a deal with IBM where it will offer single and dual socket rack and pedestal servers using IBM's System xSeries technology. Physically, the ThinkServers are identical to their IBM equivalent but Lenovo is manufacturing them itself in China.
Lenovo aims to stand out from the likes of HP and Dell with a support offering aimed specifically at getting smaller businesses up and running with the minimum of fuss. The price includes a one-year on-site warranty but you also get free access to Lenovo's Thinkplus Priority Support (TPS) premium service for the first 90 days.
Along with assistance with hardware problems, TPS includes 24/7 telephone support for the operating system and main applications installed on the server. You can also upgrade to a four-hour response and if you like TPS you can continue after the free period has expired. Lenovo advised us it's gone for this approach as its research concluded that the majority of problems for smaller businesses occur during this initial period.
And so to the TS100, which is virtually identical to IBM's X3200 M2. It won't win any style awards but it is very solidly built and the review system includes a good specification. You get a 2.5GHz X3320 quad-core Xeon at the helm, teamed up with 2GB of 800MHz DDR2 memory which can be increased to a maximum of 8GB.
The front panel has a four-drive hot-swap bay and the price includes a 250GB 7.2K SATA drive. RAID is on the menu as the motherboard has a mini-PCI card installed in a dedicated slot which uses an LSI SATA/SAS controller and includes support for the latest dual redundant RAID-6 arrays.
Redundancy also extends to power as the server came with both hot-plug 435W supplies included. For cooling you have an active processor heatsink, a fan for the hard disk bay plus a larger one at the rear, but noise levels are low enough to be perfectly acceptable in a small office.