Lenovo is leaping from the desktop into the server market, and will launch its first Linux and Windows servers this September, The VAR Guy has learned. Here's why solutions providers -- and rivals like Dell and Hewlett-Packard -- should care.

Consider this: Lenovo's R&D team (the brains behind ThinkPad notebooks) maintains a strong reputation for innovation. Instead of screwing together no-name product components and slapping a Windows logo on the box, the ThinkPad folks focus on security and reliability innovations. Lenovo's VeriFace security technology, for instance, allows a notebook to "recognize" its owner by measuring certain facial characteristics.

Next Move

J Scott Di ValerioCan Lenovo extend its commitment to innovation to the server? J Scott Di Valerio, president, Americas Group (pictured), certainly seems to think so. He tells The VAR Guy that Lenovo will unveil its servers at Interop, scheduled for Sept. 15-19 in New York.

The server effort will leverage a licensing agreement inked with IBM's server team in January 2008.

Lenovo will offer customers (and partners) a choice of Windows Server or Linux on the systems. Di Valerio says Lenovo is working with two Linux distributions on the effort.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell SuSE Linux seem to be the safe bets, The VAR Guy speculates. But our resident blogger wonders if Canonical's Ubuntu Linux will somehow wrestle its way onto Lenovo's server systems.

Creating the Perfect Storm?

Lenovo’s Olympics MarketingFor Lenovo, the server launch marks the latest step in the company's business transformation. Lenovo, the world's No. 4 PC maker, delivered strong quarterly financial results in August. Now, a major marketing campaign at the Olympics appears to be strengthening Lenovo's global brand.

Still, The VAR Guy beat up Lenovo in May 2008 for lacking a server strategy. Now, Lenovo is finally answering the call for servers. And the company will be working with major distributors to bring the systems to market, Di Valerio says.

Thousands of small business IT managers and CIOs already trust Lenovo's ThinkPad brand. If Lenovo can extend that trust onto the server, then Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Sun could face heightened competition from