Tuesday, December 4, 2007

An "anniversary", of sorts ...

I have been blogging for a little over three months and I am very encouraged by the engagement that has developed with the ITUG community. There's very few postings that haven't generated additional comments and this is a very pleasing result so early in the lifecycle of this blog. I am including a photo here of me working on this posting from my neighborhood Simi Valley Starbucks coffee shop, where the staff are no longer surprised by the hours I keep. And yes, this is early December in Southern California.

A number of you have asked me how I find the time to write these postings and it’s rather straightforward. These days, and with the time I am loosing to travel, I end up spending most of my days in airport lounges drafting potential topics. One of the dreadful byproducts of this pattern is that I have a minor case of insomnia and even now, as I write this, it’s well before dawn. A few years back I used to joke that I had my body clock removed at a tender age but now I fear that I may have just broken it!

For as long as I can recall I was just as impatient as many of you about the minimal coverage of NonStop by industry analysts. I was always pressuring HP and before HP, Compaq, to see better coverage of NonStop. But the longer I waited for coverage to improve, the more my frustration grew. It has only been recently that I came to realize that perhaps the problem was really with us, the ITUG community, and that the time had come for us to develop our own analysis and commentary!

In the posting of September 1st, “Blog Launch”, I made the point that “The content, in the end, will only be as exciting and as meaningful as you dictate”. I went on to add in the posting of September 24th, “What did you have in mind?”, that “I am writing to generate further discussion”! And this is a very important element that keeps me motivated – this two-way dialogue is now well established and I look forward to reading every comment posted.

Over the past few months I have also received a number of supportive emails about the blog. And one of the emails that I received was from Bill Highleyman, a former ITUG Chairman and widely published himself, really hit home. He said:

“It’s been a long time since the NonStop community had such an insight from an outsider into things NonStop (outsider in that Richard is not an HP employee). Ever since the sad passing of Terry Shannon and the end to user-wide posting of advocacy issues, we in the NonStop community who were not able to go to the ITUG events had little insight into what was happening in the NonStop marketplace. Richard not only understands the NonStop market inside-out, but is fortunate enough to travel around the world and keep up with users and third-party vendors. His candid views and insights are invaluable to all of us in the NonStop community. Keep it up, Richard.”

Another email along similar lines from Greame Phillipson, an Australian friend of mine and a much better journalist than I ever will be, built on Bill’s thoughts here when he emailed me this week with:

“The web has vastly changed the way people communicate. It has disintermediated publishers, market researchers, agents and many other information gatekeeper functions - including user groups. As you are showing, blogs and social networking sites, and google searches and various Web 2.0 functionality is altering the whole dynamic of cooperation. No user is an island, entire of itself.”

I have to admit I didn’t know what “disintermediate” was – but Graeme pointed me at Wikipedia where I found that it was an economic expression simply meaning, cutting out the middleman. And with the web connecting everyone these days, disintermediation is flourishing! From the very posting I wrote, I wanted to make sure everyone knew that, with this blog, I was opening another, complementary, communications channel geared towards those within our ITUG community who favored on-line dialogues.

Another email that really hit home was from Pam Taylor, the Vice President of the SHARE User Group, when she said:

“I think the key point that Richard is making - and everything I'm learning and observing in my day job indicates that he is right on target - is that we must, sooner rather than later, pay attention to what's happening in the on-line world of communities.”

The readership is not only growing, and for this I am extremely thankful, but it is reaching a wider audience. Computerworld now carries a link to this site from its Tech Dispenser page – a separate web site accessible from the front page of Computerworld, listed on the left side of the Computerworld home page. If you take a look at the bottom right of the Tech Dispenser page you will see a label “Full List of Blogs”. Click on the link, and you will go the Contributing Blogs page, where ITUG-Connection Real Time View is listed:

And Computerworld is not alone here – the Business Intelligence site, B-eye-Network also includes a link accessible from the front page under the tab BeyeBLOGS. Check out the link here to see the full list of blogs with links provided and again, you will see the reference to ITUG-Connection Real Time View:

One last observation I would like to make is that I have been encouraged by Nina Buik as well. Nina is the President of Encompass, and the first observation she made was:

“I enjoyed reading your blog entries. You provide well-informed insight with a nice blend of humor and wit.”

Nina has now included a link to our blog on her home page, under Helpful Links you will find a link to “Richard Buckle’s ITUG Blog”. In case you missed it, the ITUG web site has been updated and under the tab OnLine Resources you will find an entry for Blogs – and on this page you will find links to both this blog as well as to Nina’s.

I am pretty sure that this is what many within the ITUG community has been looking to see for quite some time now – more “buzz” around the NonStop platform. From the very first exchange I had with Randy Meyer, the head of HP NonStop Product Management, I was encouraged to do as much as I could to generate such a buzz and we all have been surprised by how quickly this ITUG blog has been linked to key pages across the IT industry. It usually takes a while for blogs to gain traction outside of their immediate target audience, and to see theses links forming, as quickly as they have, has come as a pleasant surprise to me.

None of this would have happened, of course, if it wasn’t for the fact that NonStop is now part of HP. In my very first blog on August 20th, “Introduction”, I noted that “Tandem has found a great home within HP”. It is this elevation of the NonStop platforms position within HP that has made this possible, and I can only ask HP to maintain its focus on the platform, to encourage more applications be made available (adding Neoview as a NonStop application is a huge win for NonStop), and to support it’s broad base of ISV partners.

There is still a huge “wow!” factor with NonStop, and users that I talk to are still amazed NonStop has little real competition after all these years. There are other great platforms out there, and enterprise users have a number of options, but when it comes to “best in class: for availability then the NonStop platform is hard to beat.

And so I can only reflect on my earlier comment – we cannot keep blaming HP for “keeping NonStop a secret”, when the solution is so obvious. It’s all about us, and collectively, we have the means for lifting the visibility of NonStop even higher. I look forward to your comments as much as I look forward to doing my part in generating more buzz!

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