Lenovo ThinkServer TS100 review

Price when reviewed

The SMB server market is particularly lucrative, and after much speculation Lenovo has decided it wants a piece of the action. In this exclusive review, we take a look at its new ThinkServer TS100. In an agreement with IBM, Lenovo will produce single- and dual-socket servers based on IBM’s xSeries technology, but it also aims to focus on customer support with a package carefully crafted for smaller businesses.

For the TS100, Lenovo offers a standard one-year warranty, but you also get a free 90-day trial of its ThinkPlus Priority Support (TPS). According to research conducted by Lenovo, 95% of all problems for small businesses occur during this initial phase, but many customers believe that the hardware warranty also covers them for software support. TPS brings in 24/7 telephone support for the OS and apps installed on the server, an upgrade path to four-hour responses to hardware problems, and an option to continue after the trial has ended. Lenovo has even moved into online backup, where it offers a service similar to that provided by Carbonite.

Lenovo’s management software package kicks off with its EasyStartup disc, which can be used to boot the server where it provides plenty of help for OS installation. Server-specific updates are handled by EasyUpdate, which checks with Lenovo’s support site for any relevant updates and can download and install them for you. It also includes a scheduler, so you can check for updates on a weekly or monthly basis.

For server management Lenovo has teamed up with LANDesk to produce its EasyManage package, a decision that had us scratching our heads. Installation is a lengthy process, as a core server is required that can be accessed locally or remotely. Each managed server also needs an agent loaded, which can be installed using a package from the core server. It can then query devices, monitor hardware and advise the core server of any problems.

EasyManage is a fully fledged network management product capable of discovering devices on the network, adding them to its database, running inventories and providing other features such as patch management, licence metering and software deployment. Overall, a real heavyweight management product capable of scaling massively, but single server businesses will find this overkill – especially since the core server requirements are demanding, and it can’t currently run under Windows Server 2008.

With IBM’s manufacturing technology behind it the TS100 exhibits the rock-solid build quality we expect to see – there’s little difference between this server and IBM’s X3200 M2 pedestal server. At the front you have a pair of 5.25in bays, and beneath is a hot-swap bay with room for a quartet of hard disks. Physical security is a mixed bag, as the side panel can be key-locked shut, but the disk bay cover cannot be secured to prevent access to the drive carriers.

Internally, all is neat and tidy, with good access afforded to all components should you want to upgrade. The processor is located in the centre of the chassis and fitted with a large active heatsink. There’s plenty of cooling on tap, as the hard disk bay has its own dedicated fan assembly, and there’s another large 12cm fan mounted at the rear of the chassis. Once the fans settle down after power up, the TS100 is very quiet – not as good as Dell’s PowerEdge T100 (see p128), but most office workers would be hard-pushed to notice.

The review system included a 250GB SATA hard disk and RAID is provided as standard, since the motherboard has a separate mini-PCI expansion slot occupied by an LSI-based card. This offers a single four-port connector wired through to the drive backplane. Array options are good as, along with stripes and mirrors, you have support for RAID5 or dual-drive redundant RAID6. In terms of power, the system on review included dual 435W hot-plug supplies.


Warranty1yr on-site next business day



Server formatPedestal
Server configurationPedestal chassis


CPU familyIntel Xeon
CPU nominal frequency2.50GHz
Processors supplied1
CPU socket count1


RAM capacity8GB
Memory typeDDR2


Hard disk configuration250GB IBM 7.2K SATA disk in hot-swap carrier
Total hard disk capacity250
RAID moduleLSI SAS controller
RAID levels supported0, 1, 10, 5, 6, 50, 60


Gigabit LAN ports1

Power supply

Power supply rating435W


OS familyNone

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