Setting a High Bar for Uptime

When it comes to maximizing data center uptime, Lenovo servers outshine the competition. They achieved the highest reliability in the industry for the third year in a row. Our recent blog The Only Good Downtime is No Downtime describes the superior reliability of the mission-critical Lenovo X6 servers. But before you assume that uptime is limited to mission-critical servers, rest assured that all Lenovo servers – including the one- and two-socket rack and towers – achieve superior uptime over the competition by incorporating innovative high-availability features. 

Server uptime ensures the smooth operation of hundreds of different types of business applications, including email, file and print, web serving, data backup and restore, billing, retail point of sale, and analytics. The fact is, a business’s lifeline and revenue depend on server uptime, regardless of industry or company size.

Below are a few ways that the Lenovo mainstream rack and tower servers set a high bar industry-wide for uptime. We’ve also included links to short, informative videos that explain these concepts.

Predictive Failure Analysis ─ Lenovo servers proactively monitor the health of a wide range of interior subsystems and components, including processors, memory, hard-disk drives, solid-state drives, voltage regulator modules, power supply units and fans. If a failing component or potential problem is detected, the system raises an alert. This, in turn, can enable system administrators to schedule replacement of the part, dramatically reducing unplanned downtime and eliminating hours spent troubleshooting. 

XClarity Management ─ Lenovo XClarity* is a simple, centralized tool for resource management that speeds up data center operations by automating tasks. It supports open APIs that enable easy integration with existing processes and virtualization systems, such as VMware and Microsoft. At a time when IT managers are forced to do more with fewer resources, this is a tool that can increase productivity at a minimal cost. When integrated with VMware or Microsoft virtualization software, XClarity facilitates high uptime for the Lenovo servers via dynamic, non-disruptive workload/VM migration in clustered environments when a hardware failure is detected. The platform alert corresponding to the failing server component is transmitted up to XClarity, which forwards it to VMware or Microsoft. Based on user-defined policies, the virtualization system can protect the workloads by migrating them to other servers in the cluster in advance of failure.    

For more information, refer to the XClarity Integrators site, and view the short video on Lenovo server monitoring and proactive workload migration.

Light Path Diagnostics ─ Unlike competitive systems, Lenovo System x servers use component-level LEDs inside the chassis to identify the exact part that has failed. Additionally, the Lenovo x3650 M5 and x3550 M5 two-socket rack servers, as well as select X6 systems, support an optional Next Gen Light Path Diagnostic Panel for rapid troubleshooting and diagnosis. The panel includes an intuitive menu-driven display with descriptive status messages, visual icons and error codes that enable customers to diagnose problems in seconds versus hours or even days. Customers can immediately locate an IP address or firmware level, and troubleshoot firmware corruption, for example. The tool also identifies the exact part that has a problem, such as processor 1, DIMM 12. Even if the management component is unavailable, the panel still functions and shows debug messages to aid the customer. As a result, this tool dramatically reduces unscheduled outages – resulting in high uptime, plus significant cost savings – by avoiding unnecessary labor and parts replacement.    

For more information, view the video on improving server uptime with Lenovo Light Path Diagnostics.

Lenovo Trusted Platform Assurance ─ The Lenovo System x Trusted Platform Assurance provides premier protection of the hardware and firmware against malware attacks, further enabling high uptime. For example, each System x server comes standard with two built-in Trusted Zones – one for the host and one for the management module. Each zone requires authentication of the firmware digital signature before any code is allowed to execute. All firmware is designed, built and digitally signed in secure servers in the U.S. Additionally, the Lenovo RS140, TS140, and TS440 entry servers include a standard Trusted Platforrm Module (TPM) chip to store the system’s digital signature for verification and record a running log of security events.

What’s more, Lenovo uses tightly controlled, rigorous development and supply chain processes to ensure that suppliers follow industry-standard security practices for all components in Lenovo products.  Since security attacks constitute one of the largest reasons for unplanned downtime, superior hardware and firmware protection is essential.

Extended Operating Temperature Ranges – Lenovo servers support continuous operation at extended temperature ranges with no impact on reliability. The Lenovo RD650 and RD550 support temperatures at 45°C.  All System x servers support operations at 40ºC with no restrictions – so you can run your data center at a slightly hotter temperature, save energy costs and know that your systems will not suffer downtime.

Redundant Components, RAID – Many of the Lenovo servers support redundant, hot-swappable components such as fans, drives, and power supplies. If one fan or power supply fails, the system can continue operating.  Having the ability to swap out fans and drives without powering down the system also reduces server downtime.All the servers offer RAID options to protect the data. The x3650 M5, x3550 M5, and x3500 M5 servers support 12Gbps RAID (including drives and networking) for high data throughput.

Lenovo servers set a high bar for uptime, industry-wide. For a summary of these innovative Lenovo high-availability features, watch this video, and visit our web site to learn more about Lenovo servers.

 *Available on select System x servers -- x3650 M5, x3550 M5, x3500 M5, x240 M5, X6