Monday, July 9, 2012

Surprised? NonStop made it big at HP Discover!

Surprises take many forms – some pleasant, some unexpected and even some that stop us in our tracks. What didn’t surprise me however were the many references made about NonStop at this year’s HP Discover event!

It’s been about a month since HP Discover 2012 was held, and yet all that transpired during that week has remained with me ever since I pulled the RV and trailer out of Las Vegas and headed back to Boulder. For the duration of the event, the RV had been parked further down the strip and given the heat we all experienced I was glad we had a room in the Venetian. With really good air conditioning!

There’s little that still surprises me even as automation continues to make inroads into our lives. As a technologist for several decades I associate automation and modernization as an integral part of progress and a contribution to simplifying my life. I have to say that to date, whether its automated car washes, automated check processing at an ATM (and now even cash dispensing initiated from our smartphones), or even automated coffee making using those little K Cups that seem to have come out of nowhere, the value I derive from them is that I have been freed from chores I just didn’t want to do.

There are still some pleasant, albeit unexpected surprises as well. That I was able to enjoy riding the Yamaha cruiser after a short hiatus, as I mentioned in the last post, was a surprise. The recent third place finish by Michael Schumacher in the European Grand Prix after having retired several years ago was perhaps a surprise on a scale a little further up the chart than what I accomplished in getting the Yamaha upright. Now driving with much younger racers that had grown up watching him on television, Schumacher, the seven-time World Champion, gave us all a brief glimpse of what he routinely achieved in his prime. The picture above is from the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix where I captured Schumacher as he snatched the lead mid-way through the race.

Reviewing the posts I made during HP Discover 2012 it was noticeable just how many times I used the word surprise, or at the very least quoted others who were just as surprised. In the post of June 6, 2012, to the LinkedIn group, Real Time View, “
Third post from HP Discover ... I passed on what I had heard during HP CEO Meg Whitman’s presentation. The three market segments Meg highlighted, I wrote at the time. Well, shock and surprise – financial institutions and processing credit cards, telco and making sure our mobile phone calls get through, and healthcare and making sure our records are available when needed.

Talking to HP NonStop sales folks from EMEA and the Americas, following the presentation, I then posted a day later to the LinkedIn group, Real time View, “Sixth post from HP Discover
of how it was hard not get caught up in their enthusiasm and expressed real surprise at just how well they were going. Whitman is certainly not backing away from wholeheartedly supporting NonStop and the message so well known to the NonStop community is being every bit as well received internally these days. And it shows.

In the post of June 20, 2012, to the blog site comForte Lounge that I wrote following the event, I quoted Infrasoft Managing Director, Peter Shell, when he said “I was pleasantly surprised at the traffic in the NonStop area at HP Discover. There were a lot more people with NonStop knowledge attending the event than I had expected.” In the post of June 11, 2012, to comForte Lounge I had written: Surprises? Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was just how many members of the NonStop community made it to Las Vegas. For the joint presentation by Ric Lewis and Randy Meyer there were some 300 in the room, and it wasn’t overstaffed with HP folks either – there were many familiar faces to be seen.

Presentations by NonStop business executives were attracting an audience that overfilled the room. The NonStop community was highly visible on the exhibition floor. NonStop sales executives were enthusiastic about their future prospects. And the CEO was launching here keynote presentation with references to NonStop. The surprises just kept coming with the newest solutions partner to port to NonStop, Retail Decisions (ReD), winning 2012 HP AllianceONE “Partner of the Year Award for Innovation”!

Shortly I will be celebrating my fifth anniversary as a blogger, having written my first post in August, 2007, and in all those years I had observed the many ups and downs of NonStop. Each time I thought there may be a solution or a technology that would prove to be the catalyst for further market expansion, something emerged to lessen the impact I considered as probable. However, as you look at what is now happening across a very broad front, it’s difficult not to be impressed or to imagine a more assured future for NonStop. It is the marquee product line. It is HP’s “halo” solution.

The good news here? The really big surprise? In embracing open, standards and commoditization, HP opened the door to a new, more modern NonStop system that more easily embraced applications designed to operate on today’s modern platforms. Modern NonStop? Following several post-event discussions with NonStop management and executives I was reminded of how the reference to modern in messages supporting NonStop has all but disappeared, and for a good reason. For all that has been achieved, promoting a Modern NonStop is simply a poor example of tautology.

The challenge for many within the NonStop community today is how to best accommodate all that is anchoring HP’s strategy – mobile, big data, clouds, etc. At face value, the advancements in all of these areas that we are witnessing and the marketing muscle HP is assembling in support of this strategy, looks alien to NonStop: mobile devices and smartphones connected directly to NonStop systems? Big data running on NonStop storage? NonStop BladeSystems powering clouds? Perhaps it’s time to look at this more obliquely and realize that the potential for the handprint of NonStop to be visible in all of these strategic moves is not unreasonable.

Banking and retail applications may view the support of smartphones no differently from how they view ATMs POSs and Kiosks – just another channel. Data destined for big data storage may be front-ended by NonStop with real-time mission-critical data kept in NonStop SQL/MX tables to support the millions of small decisions businesses need to routinely make. As for cloud adoption within enterprises when it pertains to their support of mission-critical applications, the likelihood of embracing private clouds seems apparent as responsible CIOs will still demand the levels of availability that only NonStop delivers – clouds, for NonStop systems, become just another resource to manage, recover and secure.

No, I will not be surprised at all with any of the above as I closely follow how this all plays out. HP Discover 2012 surely proved to be an eye-opener and with all that I saw, the inclusion of NonStop in as many keynote presentations as it was, an assured future for NonStop now seems less surprising and more a reflection of just how far NonStop has come since HP acquired Compaq.  Surprised? I guess it all comes back to just how well you think NonStop systems meet the needs of your company and about that, I will just leave it up to you.



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