Tuesday, January 7, 2014

She’ll be right, mate!

It’s just not cricket! Picking up on a previous post featuring clichés, and adding the quote,“if we knew the answers, we would be doing it,” has led me to wonder why CIO’s don’t have all the answers even as they remain clueless about NonStop! Has the NonStop community somehow failed to educate?

Staying up late, reading of the cricket test matches under way in Australia (as the return to the natural order continues, with results harking back to much happier times for Australians) – yes, Australia is beating up on England somewhat fiercely – I was reminded of just how much slang makes its way into everyday use. Few readers who read the last post by Margo will have missed how clichés can prove to be painful, when too many are strung together, but the use of slang is something else again.

I loved the picture above and can almost hear the two intrepid anglers discussing the merits of backing the trailer into the water. “You don’t like reverse – try something different; just keep driving forward till the boat is level with the pier,” seems to be an appropriate caption, followed almost immediately by a response, possibly to some concern being raised, “nah, don't worry mate; she'll be right!" Unintended consequences still find new opportunities to exploit poorly perceived tactics, no matter the situation.

Among the slang expressions heard during these cricket matches have been other good ones “go on, have a go!” as well as “just do your best, y’hear!” Like the slang used by the anglers above, it seems to always arise when something is not going well and there is little else to add when commiserating with the victim. As a member of generation “baby boomer”, I have heard nearly every slang expression on offer at times like this.

The English cricket captain, Alastair Cook, somewhat overwhelmed by what has transpired in the cricket matches to date, went so far as to say, "I'm sure others would have done it differently, but if we knew the answers we'd be doing it.” It was left to former English cricket captain, Michael Vaughan, to ask “What are they doing in the tactics? Why aren't they helping him out? Why aren't the coaches doing more?”

Modern sporting pursuits of every type are just a form of entertainment and situations can take unexpected turns, and when things do go wrong, then it’s just a case of well, “S*** Happens!” Half an audience will be pleased with what transpired while the other half is left to lament what could have been - a situation all too visible to the spectators filling the cricket grounds in Australia.

“She’ll be right, mate!” is never the right call when you are simply muddling along. Devoid of sound tactics, companies falter and tactics need constant fine-tuning as good companies aggressively pursue those actions needed to sell a product, grow a business and seize market share. Moreover, when it comes to NonStop systems, no amount of reliance on tried and true homilies will spare the pain that many of us experience when we know so well that NonStop can provide so much more!

In the discussions and email exchanges I have been a party to, as the year wound down, the image that stuck with me was of how much dumbing-down of the complexity of IT is being done by those who should know better. If you have not already noticed a theme of mine of late, it is lambasting the current crop of supposedly well-informed industry analysts that are doing a very poor job for the IT community.

Modern IT is anything but simple, and picking best of breed solutions and empowering line-of-business managers to comprehend the nuances of all the technology involved is a modern day travesty. Not even the best informed of us has the breadth of knowledge to ascertain the strengths of one product versus another when it involves a complete “stack” of hardware, software, networking, security, database, and so forth.

Let alone the steps required to integrate it with what currently exists within the data center. Because we cannot run NonStop on our handheld device nor can we fire it up in our media room at home, does not mean it is lacking in either usability or indeed, relevance. The roadmap for NonStop systems has been a matter of public record for some time. The fact that such a large a percentage of users in select market segments continue to rely on its capabilities is a testament to just how well all associated with NonStop have delivered on that roadmap.

Doing IT is a tough row to hoe – and of the most difficult tasks to pursue is ensuring everything keeps running despite hacking attacks, network outages, software release incompatibilities, and any number of disasters that may take place. That a generation well versed in its complexities is retiring and the two generations following – “Generation Y” (the Millennials) and before them, “Generation X” - lack awareness of the pitfalls awaiting them. For the most part, they are insensitive to the work that preceded them in getting IT to where it is today, yet another opportunity for even harsher unintended consequences than we have seen to date.

It was not a cricket reference that caught my eye, as I completed a recent post to comForte Lounge, but rather, a comment made during the telecast of an American football game. To an injury-prone player, the television analyst quipped, “Your best ability is your avail-ability!” something that many in IT comprehend all too readily. In this post I then added how I was reminded of just how important a role NonStop plays and of how big a contribution NonStop makes to ensuring all we do on a daily basis is just keeps running. Not to put too fine a point on this, but move too far from NonStop as part of your infrastructure and you will wear the wrath of your customers and clients.

As I look ahead to 2014, I am concerned about tactics and about who is helping the team. That is, the NonStop team present in users and vendors alike. Yes, I am concerned too as to why aren't the coaches doing more? This is not a reflection on what I watch taking place inside HP, when it comes to NonStop, but rather a call for a lot more action from all of us, particularly those of my generation. When was the last time we took a proactive stand, with our peers, as to why un-availability is unacceptable?

Looking at 2014 I am getting very angry – yes, to those who know me well I have hidden my passions poorly through the years – even as I know there’s a lot more I could be doing. Just think if only one user from every company running NonStop phoned Gartner (of Forrester) today for an update on NonStop, they would be fielding close to a thousand calls. All from very large and prestigious corporations, with considerable influence in key markets.

Not likely to happen, but just a thought – it takes very little to get something to turn “viral” and with NonStop we have a message that should be resonating well with everyone. Yes, the primary cap-ability of NonStop is its avail-ability and with that, there is absolutely no reason why NonStop should be sidelined. For me, “She’ll be right, mate!” suggesting nothing will change. And I want to ensure we do change.

Yet change is what’s needed most and HP needs our help - customer testimonials still carry the most weight with those looking at their options. NonStop is a solutions sell and its sweet spot is increasingly as a part of the complex infrastructure IT is rolling out. There’s always a need for more solutions but already, with what we have today, much more can be done – again, even as the discussions turn to Clouds, Hybrid Computers and Big Data solutions, NonStop directing traffic, safely, reliably, without ever dropping a transaction or a database field, is unquestionably a tour de force when it comes to availability.

It is the start of the New Year and tradition mandates that I finish on a positive note. The news that the commoditization of NonStop hardware continues and that there will be no falling off the chip cliff certainly sparked interest in NonStop again. Embracing the Intel x86 architecture as well as InfiniBand are all very positive signs concerning the future of NonStop. Perhaps 2014 will see a continuation in the steady upward growth in shipments that we have seen for NonStop these past two years.

“Nah, don't worry mate; she'll be right!" This may be an appropriate comment among spectators at sporting events, but in the world of IT, it is unconscionable to think we will ever be satisfied with what do essentially by rote. Innovation, disruption, and being cool (in the marketplace) are the well-known hallmarks of successful technology companies – it is time for NonStop to get its swagger back! 


Richard Buckle said...

Just to be clear on one technical point - Australia didn't just beat England in the test matches - they clobbered them mercilessly! Unbelievable!

Len Rust said...

Hi Richard fingers are crossed for Sth Africa series---cheers Len Rust