Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It’s Showtime! NonStop takes on Vegas!

With the 2013 HP Discover event only weeks away, even as many NonStop users remain undecided about their participation, I continue to rank participation highly! See you there …

This past weekend I overnighted briefly in Las Vegas. Business took me to Southern California for both, track time and client meetings. However, the impressive skyline of Las Vegas is hard to miss and it was easy to spot the Venetian and Palazzo hotels – the site for this year’s HP Discover event that will kick off in about a month’s time.

I have already spent several weekends in Las Vegas this year and the picture above, that I took a short time ago, is of the Bellagio fountains with the Paris hotel in the background – sites that are just a little further south along the famous Las Vegas strip. It was following the ITUG event of 2005 that a group of us rode motorcycles from San Jose back to Boulder, and the only regret I have to this day is that we didn’t avail ourselves of the opportunity to cruise the bikes down the strip, and of course that Margo could not make this trip!

However, when it comes to HP big tent events, I never have any regrets about taking time away from my daily routines to listen to what HP has to say. The stories that I write after the event often feature quotes from HP executives and for me, it’s just so important to hear them first hand, unfiltered, in context, and then to immerse myself in the discussions that almost immediately follow as we spill back out onto the exhibition floor.

Earlier in the week, I posted to the comForte Lounge blog site
The future is moving fast … where I remarked on how I am never surprised by what transpires at big tent marketing events, like HP Discover, and I am never surprised to see familiar faces as I walk into sessions or onto the exhibition floor. Last year, I then added, I was pleased to see such tangible support for the NonStop platform clearly visible in technology presentations and product demonstrations and I am hopeful that once again, such tangible evidence is on show for all within HP to see. But will we enjoy a similar experience this year? Will NonStop be as visible as we all would like it to be?

Whenever I think of Vegas, I think of entertainment – the many shows that are on hand. Last year Yash Kapadia, CEO of OmniPayments Inc., entertained many of us at the Cirque du Soleil performance, Elvis. “The opportunities to network make HP Discover too important to miss,” Yash told me at the time. “As for the event this year, I hope to be able to convey to HP just how much success we have enjoyed from deploying on the NonStop system!” Coming back to the hotel after the performance by Cirque du Soleil I couldn’t help but wonder, how many folks within the HP community realize that NonStop continues to support some of the biggest casino operations or just how dependent the flow of money along the strip is on NonStop systems?

For many within the NonStop community, the big event for the year will be the
NonStop Advanced Technical Boot Camp in San Jose, CA, on November 3-5, 2013, with perhaps many among the NonStop community electing to skip HP Discover. Scanning the program for the Vegas event doesn’t produce all that much NonStop-specific content. However, there’s more to these events that the keynotes and product sessions – just having an opportunity to catch up with senior HP executives makes participation worthwhile. When the curtain goes up for the first time then yes, it’s showtime for HP, but it’s also a showtime for NonStop.

Last year, three of the four examples in the opening presentation of customer usage of HP products made by HP CEO, Meg Whitman, featured well-known NonStop users and it triggered a lot of discussion amongst the attendees – anyone with knowledge of NonStop was only too happy to make all other attendees aware of this fact. Not the least being me, of course! In the moments immediately following this presentation I happened upon Mark Brayan, CEO of IR, and this fact hadn’t escaped him either.

A short time ago HP took the decision to reshuffle the organization once more, and this time, it directly affected the NonStop community. In a
press release of April 29, 2013, “What used to be HP's Business Critical Systems (BCS) and Industry Standard Server (ISS) units are now one business called HP Servers. Mark Potter, formerly senior VP and general manager at ISS, will lead the combined server unit, also as senior VP and general manager … Products under this unit's wing will include HP's microservers called Moonshot, its ProLiant and BladeSystem x86 product families and the Integrity product line.”

For many reasons I laud this decision. As I recently expressed in a private email to my clients, I never did like the concept of there being an “Industry Standard” group where NonStop didn’t participate. It just made no sense, given all the commoditization that has occurred within NonStop! Of course, the obvious question that follows this announcement has to be how will this help NonStop? Will there be anything we regret with the demise of BCS?

I have spent a lot of time talking with the NonStop vendor community and there is no escaping the doubts surfacing over the take-up of NonStop among Global 1000 companies. However, I am not sure whether this is a communication issue or just a short-term pause – after all, the acceptance level of the NonStop BladeSystems has been extremely high across all GEOs. Perhaps these doubts about the success of NonStop have more to do with users coming to terms with just how much NonStop power they now have on tap and having business managers turning to them for support of further mission-critical applications. Ask any HP executive associated with servers, and they remain firmly bullish on the prospects for NonStop.

In the same press release of April 29, “HP also announced that it will align its two server businesses under a single leader to increase the speed of transformation of the server industry and drive profitable growth.” Will this alignment be enough to ensure a future for NonStop? After all, and for many years now, the mantra of NED was all about ensuring NonStop remained profitable, reiterating that without being profitable there will be little likelihood of any future for NonStop at all. From where I sit, I have to say, I think so!

HP Discover is now just a few weeks away and it will give HP the opportunity to showcase its products, its technology, and its new organizations. Catching up with HP executives is likely to prove imperative for many within the NonStop community. I will be busy, as will a number of my clients (I am sure Yash will not be alone promoting his success stories), but for those from the NonStop community who will participate – look for me in the Bloggers Lounge as I would welcome every opportunity to catch up with you. After all, it will be showtime and I wish all those planning on attending, safe travels!

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