Sunday, August 29, 2010

NonStop? Spreading the word ...

Another year has passed so now it's three years of posts that have been completed and for the NonStop community, I am into my fourth year of blogging to Real Time View ...

It was somewhere towards the end of 2008, as I recall, that I returned home to Boulder: distracted with the holidays, trip home, and snow all around, I decided to go to the cellar and pull a good bottle of wine for the evening. Somehow, on the way to the cellar, I lost sight of my goal and instead of returning with a fine example of an Australian red, I came back with something you typically find close to the check-out counters at any grocery store. It was a time too when posting to this blog was very much in its infancy and the thought of coming up with a new storyline really concerned me, so to this day I am convinced it had something to do with me losing the plot on the way to the cellar!

My wife was far from happy with my choice and proceeded to complain all evening, so much so, that for the next seven nights, I felt compelled to select better examples from the cellar. And the picture above chronicles the red wines we consumed that week. We both enjoy our wines, and we enjoy the company of others and I rarely miss an opportunity to share a glass with friends who come by. After all, I am as enthusiastic about wine as I am about music, cars, and motorcycles, and of course NonStop!

It’s been three years since I first posted to this blog! On August 20th, 2007 I tentatively threw together my first couple of paragraphs and posted them to this blog. Since that post I have written more than 170 feature stories, each about 1,500 words long. More than 250,000 words and more than 450 pages, if you try to print the entire blog, although I hope nobody would want to sacrifice that much paper for such an undertaking. Over the past three years there have been a lot of visitors to my blog and, looking at the readership statistics and the data behind the numbers, it is a graphic demonstration of how social media has moved from being something of passing interest to where it is now making serious inroads into mainstream.

Recently, I have been providing my clients with commentary that I would otherwise cover in a briefing paper or even over the phone. Information I pull together that I think may be of interest, and perhaps represents a perspective that they otherwise may not have considered. In one such email I noted how messy my office had become, and how, to the eye of any visitor, all that can be seen are inches-deep piles of stuff - magazines and newspapers, print-outs, and yellow legal pads scattered around in no obvious pattern. I then confessed to how I’m planning on changing. I’m going to get an iPad and go completely mobile - I like the way I can read articles directly from the screen without succumbing to the temptation of simply printing a copy. And printing items, for the most part needlessly, is a bad habit that I just need to break anyway! Becoming a blogger has seen me join the new breed of writers, with few ties to publications of the past.

Indeed, the rise of bloggers generated an interesting observation published in the Chicago Tribune by the author and radio personality Garrison Keillor who suggested “I think that book publishing is about to slide into the sea. We live in a literate time, and our children are writing up a storm … the future of publishing: 18 million authors in America, each with an average of 14 readers, eight of whom are blood relatives. Average annual earnings: $1.75.” Blogging, as I do, I track readership around the world and the tangible evidence of NonStop having a worldwide following is inescapable to me as I respond to comments and emails arriving from every corner of the globe!

I continue to be amazed by all of the comments generated – the NonStop community is not shy about joining a discussion. However, when it comes to the world stage where politics is concerned, by a strange set of circumstances, I have no voice. As I noted in a posting to the comForte Lounge blog only last week, “through a quirk in the way immigrants are treated, as a ‘green card’ holder I am not allowed to vote in the US for the past twenty years, and as a non-resident of Australia I haven’t been able to vote in Australia either. On the world stage, I have no vote and cannot participate in the most basic of democratic principles available to us all, having essentially slipped through the fingers of big politics.” So yes, blogging gives me a voice and I have come to really appreciate how this has given me an opportunity to express my thoughts and opinions!

Not being able to vote reminds me of how in many ways, I have lost my nationality… The global NonStop community, of which I have been a part for almost three decades, is about the closest entity with which I can honestly say I have true close association. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy watching the Australian cricket team, or even on occasion the Wallabies play rugby. Who could have imagined that battling for the top spot of the F1 drivers table is the Australian Mark Weber and, for the top spot of the Indy Racing League drivers table, another Australian, Will Power! Apart from these few moments of national pride however, and the thoughts of vacationing in Australia, I have pretty much shed any association with nationalism.

It’s against this background then that I approach the topic of NonStop playing a vital role to societies that are mobile, where the only sense of community is to those on the other end of the communication line. And we are excited, albeit anxious, to talk with each other, whether via smart phone, tablet, or laptop. Increasingly, the technology is developing to meet our needs for something personal that provides us access to information and news, as it happens. Usable content is simply flooding into the ether and none of us need to be concerned about missing out on anything of interest. All of this is generating transactions, of course, at a mighty clip, and NonStop represents the perfect platform with which to capture it all!

Yeah, it is easy to say, of course, and yet for anyone familiar with the architecture of NonStop, almost a trivial observation. But to the larger audience, to those unaware of its capabilities, NonStop remains an enigma – a system retained by businesses lacking the foresight to modernize and deploy grids, clusters, or even clouds! Little comfort that to many NonStop users, the grid, cluster, and even cloud already come, reliable “packaged” within a chassis, ready to use and with levels of availability, scalability, and performance in situations where its absolutely critical - just not achievable today from any other platform!

There was a comment posted recently to the Real Time Group on LinkedIn by a consultant with the heading “NonStop inherent scalability VS commodity blade server scale-out. Many IT managers and decision makers are opting for cheap commodity server clusters upon which they can virtualize OS images.” Under this heading ran the observation of how “after a month of very intense research into High Performance Computing, parallelism and concurrency I found virtually NO references to ‘Tandem’ or ‘NonStop’. Why are IT decision-makers *not* considering the NonStop platform? Price? Naive ROI estimates? I must say, I was surprised by this. Any comments?” At the time this discussion was initiated I’m sure the consultant wasn’t expecting to see this anchor a blog posting but yes, I am pleased to report that there has been a number of comments posted already!

For me, however, it’s another opportunity to highlight the value of social media – no question, no matter how deeply or obscurely hidden within a forum, escapes the casual glance of a reader who may come across it accidently. yet has the passion to elevate for more serious consideration. Why indeed does NonStop escape the attention of IT decision-makers? Within HP’s Business Critical Server (BCS) division, the NonStop platform no longer makes a trivial contribution to the top line indeed, as best as I can tell of late, it’s improved considerably. The NonStop server line is profitable once again and making a solid contribution to the bottom line of BCS.

Finding my presentation at the upcoming NonStop Symposium positioned against some very tough competition, I decided to launch my own marketing campaign. Readers who have checked the Real Time View group on LinkedIn will have seen how I am offering a free bottle of good Australian red wine as a door prize to be won by some lucky participant who attends my presentation. Within a couple of days, the discussions kicked up a gear with ten or so comments posted in a matter of hours. I’m certain I will not lose sight of my goal this time and it will be a good red – and I’m sure a couple more attendees will come to the presentation as a result.

You may not read about the value that comes from deploying NonStop or the contribution it makes to HP’s bottom line in newspapers or magazines. You may not see it in analyst’s white papers or featured in any books. But then again, perhaps having a presence in these mediums is no longer necessary. The story on the value of NonStop will continue to get out, however and it will appear somewhere, even on something as trendy as an iPad, as after all, surely somebody is developing an “app for that!”

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