Lenovo Server Management Strategy Centers on REST APIs
Lenovo booth during the TigerDirect Tech Bash at the Miami Marlins Park in 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Lenovo Server Management Strategy Centers on REST APIs

First step is management framework based on REST APIs

As dust starts to settle after Lenovo’s acquisition of IBM’s x86 server business, the Chinese giant is starting to make progress modernizing management frameworks for Lenovo servers.

As a first step toward providing a modern framework for server management based on REST application programming interfaces, the company has introduced the Lenovo Clarity systems management framework.

Mark Edwards, director of systems management at Lenovo, says the framework was designed to work on the latest generation of Flex Systems converged infrastructure platforms that Lenovo gained from IBM, and that it’s only a matter of time before that framework will be extended out to the Lenovo ThinkServer platforms that brought to market before acquiring the IBM x-Series line of servers.

“Lenovo Clarity is built on a foundation of REST APIs,” says Edwards. “It’s a lighter-weight framework [that] doesn’t require any software agents.”

In addition, Lenovo is rounding out its data center line with the addition of two top-of-rack network switches and an interconnect module that supports either 10G Ethernet or Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) connections.

In the meantime, Lenovo will continue to support older server management frameworks that IBM used on previous generation of its servers, says Edwards.

Beyond making use of REST APIs, Edwards says, Lenovo Clarity is notable because it extends management reach to both top-of-rack network switches based on technology that Lenovo gained from IBM and virtual machines. Available in two forms, IT organizations can opt to deploy a standard administrator version of Clarity or a Professional edition that can be integrated with VMware vCenter or Microsoft System Center management platforms.

In general, REST APIs are transforming how infrastructure is managed across the enterprise. In fact, the rise of REST APIs just might signal the end of specialization inside the data center.

Once diverse sets of infrastructure are all addressable using a common set of interfaces, organizations will increasingly standardize on a common management framework through which generalists can more easily administer computing, storage, and networking resources. There will also be the need for architects to initially structure those services, but the daily management of data center infrastructure will increasingly be left to generalists relying on IT automation tools invoking RESTful APIs to dynamically adjust settings.

Naturally, that may take a while to play out across individual data center environments. Less clear is the degree that IT organizations will opt to standardize on a common set of server, network, and storage resources from a single vendor, or if they will opt to leverage REST APIs to more easily manage heterogeneous data center environments.

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