In 2006, Lenovo took over the PC division of the PC inventor IBM, built IBM servers under license from 2008 and took over IBM’s entire x86 server business in 2014. The IBM servers with processors from AMD and Intel, which were known at the time as “System x”, also came under the Lenovo roof. Today, these machines operate at Lenovo as ThinkSystem or ThinkServer.
IBM launched its first PC server in 1992 as the “PS/2 Server 85” (model number 9585); the announcement can be found on IBM.com to this day. Accordingly, this machine was equipped with an Intel i486SX-33, an upgrade to the 66 MHz type was planned. The basic equipment was 8 MB RAM with parity (upgradable to 64 MB), as well as a 104 MB hard disk (maximum 400 MB) and a floppy drive. Of course, IBM’s Micro Channel Architecture (MCA) was also on board.
From these humble beginnings, IBM’s x86 servers evolved tremendously, but changed names frequently. As early as 1994 IBM spoke of the “PC Server”, then in 1998 of “Netfinity”. In 2000 came the “eServer”, the x86 flavor was then called IBM eServer xSeries. This later became shorter “System x”.
IBM System x3950 X6 with eight Xeons from 2014
Transition to Lenovo
Starting in 2008, Lenovo built these machines under license and called their own machines Lenovo ThinkServers. After the takeover of the x86 servers, these were also called System x at Lenovo, and in 2017 the ThinkSystems were finally released.
In 2021, Lenovo had a server market share of around 7 percent by revenue, a little less than half as much as the market leaders Dell and HPE with 15 percent each. Inspur was third, ahead of Lenovo.
Lenovo ThinkSystem SD650 with water cooling
With a 5 percent share of server sales, IBM is still in 5th place and sells much less, but also much more expensive servers with POWER processors and mainframes.
For the 30th anniversary of the ThinServer, Lenovo is announcing a wealth of new products, which, however, will only appear in the coming months.
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