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IBM sells its x86 server line to Lenovo – how does this affect you?

As of January 23rd 2014, Lenovo has been in the process of buying the x86 server lines manufactured by IBM. The deal has been an endeavor of negotiating terms and services, and this will continue throughout the following months with plans to finalize and close by the end of this year. The purchase price agreed upon is approximately $2 billion. Lenovo will pay a portion of $2 billion in cash to IBM and paying the remaining $300 million in Lenovo stock

The transition from IBM to Lenovo was initiated by the belief that Lenovo has the strengths in scalability, operational efficiency, and presence to propel IBM’s x86 servers to a greater realm of success. Lenovo will be acquiring System x racks and towers, x86 BladeCenter, and x86 Flex System blade servers along with the integrated systems. All of these elements will be solely Lenovo’s product once the deal is finalized. With these servers being among the most widely used by companies large and small, clients and business partners are left with some burning questions on how this will eventually affect them. Because, frankly, your data center projects can’t wait on OEM decision making.


How long should the transition process take?

The announcement was made on January 23, 2014. The transaction is anticipated to close by the end of this year once all of the terms are met and the requirements and conditions are deemed satisfactory. Closing dates can vary by country.

What should I expect in the meantime for my business?

Until everything is finalized, it’s business as usual. Lenovo and IBM have no intent to change their independent, existing operations at the time being. Their customer service and product availability will also remain the same.

What will Lenovo acquire from IBM?

Lenovo will obtain IBM System x®, IBM BladeCenter® and IBM Flex System® Servers, x86-based IBM Flex System integrated systems, IBM NeXtScale™ and IBM iDataPlex® servers, along with IBM x86 options system networking switches, and maintenance offerings. Any software that supports x86 will also be switched to Lenovo. This includes FastSetup, ToolsCenter, Upward Integration Modules, and BladeCenter Fabric Manager.

What hardware will IBM retain?

IBM will still keep its non-x86 enterprise systems portfolio. In addition to the systems, IBM will also retain the following products: IBM PureApplication® System and IBM PureData™ System appliances, IBM WebSphere® DataPower® SOA appliances, and IBM Internet Security Systems (ISS).

What software will IBM retain?

IBM will still have ownership of the system software that supports x86 and IBM Power® server businesses. Lenovo will acquire a broad license to these products. With this license, IBM and Lenovo have come to an agreement that Lenovo will sell the x86 hardware and IBM will provide the support and services to all new and existing clients. IBM will also continue to develop the Windows and Linux software for x86 because it is a leading developer of this software.

What about the other IBM Systems?

IBM will still focus on its current products that are not involved in this deal with Lenovo and will continue to make investments in their systems and software.

What will happen to my existing contract?

After the deal is closed, all contracts will be moved to Lenovo. However, until the deal is finalized, there will be no changes in contracts.

What about maintenance? Who will handle that?

Lenovo will be responsible for all customer service and maintenance options once the deal is finalized. IBM will continue to provide Technical Support Services (TSS) which includes the warranty, hardware maintenance, and software support for x86.

With the shift from one OEM to the next, it can be difficult to grasp where to go for answers. The trickiest part of dealing with the transition stems from the final two questions listed above. CentricsIT can help alleviate the confusion in this transition phase by cutting out the manufacturers completely. CentricsIT has a huge stock of new and use IBM x86 servers. If you are planning on purchasing any of the x86 hardware, CentricsIT can provide the equipment you need customized to your specifications, without the hassle of the OEMs, at a fraction of IBM’s cost. If you already own x86 servers and have concerns about the maintenance of your equipment, CentricsIT can ease you through transitioning to third-party support. Whatever your IBM x86 server needs, CentricsIT is your go-to source.