Sunday, March 16, 2014

The road takes a turn … NonStop attracts another partner to North America!

Leaving the beaten path to visit a small village north of San Francisco gave me an opportunity to have coffee with the chief executive of yet another payments vendor setting up shop in here in the States and it proved to be time well spent …

One of the first things visitors to northern California want to do is to visit the wine country surrounding Napa and Sonoma. For the more adventurous, the trip down the Russian River to the coast is also a journey not to be missed. During the years I lived in Cupertino, whenever there was a free weekend I would head north on Highway One and take in the sights of a coastline. Driving though is not for the faint of heart as the road is full of blind crests and numerous hidden turns. Approaching each corner can be cause for doubt; knowing what’s ahead, or even what’s around the corner, was a challenge.

Having made this journey numerous times over three decades I thought I knew the place fairly well but when I was invited to meet a vendor in Mill Valley, I was caught completely by surprise. Just over ten miles north of San Francisco’s famous Golden Gate Bridge, this picturesque township lies deep within a forest of redwoods – I should have visited this town years ago! Missed opportunities seem to be a reoccurring theme of late. Well, to be more accurate, the need to compromise and to find a middle ground is influencing a lot of what I have been doing.

Would I like to be back in the car, on a race circuit somewhere? For sure! Would I like to be cruising on my motorcycle? That too! But the weather has been woeful and just as highway One takes delight into throwing you off line, so too have my commitments to my clients as I juggle time away from the office attending user events, while I need to spend more time writing. Sitting in a coffee house that was once a railway station, soaking up the atmosphere, I couldn’t help wondering how on earth I had missed stopping by this place.

I was in Mill Valley as I had promised to meet with Brian Miller, newly appointed VP & GM Americas, Lusis Payments Inc. Having just started operations in North America it was an opportunity not to miss as I had been aware of Lusis presence in the payments marketplace for some time. However, the last time I had met with an executive of Lusis it had been in Paris and I couldn’t imagine being further away from Paris than in Mill Valley.

Readers may recall the post of March 25, 2010, More new engines for NonStop! where I first wrote of Lusis. In fact, that particular post proved extremely popular, ranking seventh all time. With nearly 300 posts to the blog, Real Time View, whether it was the content or simply the picture I chose, it speaks volumes about the interest in payments solutions that it rates as well as it does after all these years.

At a presentation late last year by HP VP & GM Integrity Servers, Randy Meyer, given to the NonStop user community in Canada (CTUG), he highlighted that whereas in former times, there were three solutions in the payments market utilizing NonStop, today there are twelve. Included in the twelve was Lusis and while I maintain strong relationships with other vendors on the list, I am always quick to congratulate those vendors who step up to support NonStop systems.

Sitting across the table from Miller, I asked him about why a European company would want to come to America – after all, not everything developed on the continent has found a happy home in the U.S. “We’ve had a tremendous response with the NonStop community here in the Americas,” said Miller. “The fact that we have two customers running on HP NonStop in production and another two in project mode solidifies that we do have an application that works very well and meets the needs of customers anywhere in the world.”

What interested me was how a comprehensive product like Lusis’s TANGO, first developed for Unix, was able to work as well as it did on NonStop. I have seen other migrations and while some have moved to NonStop cleanly, others were less successful. When it comes to running on NonStop systems, “the core processes are written in C++ with Java and XML used for configuration and when it comes to NonStop, we sit on top of OSS with SQL/MX as the database and with iTPWS present as well,” Miller added.

I have been working with the vendor community for more years than I care to recount and writing blog posts about their achievements is something I have been doing ever since I started this NonStop community blog, back in 2007. However, it’s still gets me excited and when I get the opportunity for a one-on-one session with a senior executive, I don’t really care how far I have to drive.

“The interest coming from the big banks is from those who have made large investments in the HP Nonstop platform and want to keep those platforms in play,” was how Ki Roth, Head of Business Development, Americas, explained their early success in an email exchange I had with him following my meeting with Miller. TANGO, according to Roth, is proving of interest to those banks that are looking to migrate “away from the legacy applications to something more modern and flexible.”

I can’t always see around corners and I can’t predict with any certainty what may happen down the road. In the digital world the data is coming at us thick and fast, so much so that we often overlook that it’s only with the deployment of a solution, that it all comes together. Technology advancements mean very little if the solutions vendors can’t leverage whatever it is that is capturing the headlines – whether it’s Clouds or Big Data, Hybrid Computing or Mobility, Web services or SaaS, I only get really excited when I see a vendor capitalizing on a technology in a tangible way.

When I asked Roth whether the success of Lusis could be credited to technology, functionality, expertise, price, etc. he responded with, “it’s a result of a combination of the things you listed.” Roth then added, “The SOA Architecture is really well received by both the technologist and the business side of the company who see the benefit of having a flexible application that can help them quickly respond to changes in the market place and increase the touch points with customers which in turn drives sales and customer satisfaction.”

Not missing any opportunity to sell me on the value proposition of TANGO, Miller then added as we drank coffee in the café that morning in Mill Valley, “We just recently finished up a benchmark at the HP ATC center in Palo Alto for a prospect and it exceeded their expectations. We look forward to reporting on that in the very near future. However, the results gathered to date showed us that TANGO is as scalable as NonStop customers expect and using the configuration on hand, TANGO achieved a transaction rate of 2500 tps for a 48 hour period – something we don’t expect many NonStop customers will require but it was proof positive that the architecture of TANGO knows no real limits. We’ve just started spreading the word about TANGO here in North America but we look forward to earning the right to do business with NonStop users in the months and years to come.”

As the picture at the top of this post depicts, we are all travelling down a digital road that constantly twists and turns. We can’t say for sure what we will face in the near term and yet, experienced partners can help us straighten out much of the road we travel. From South Africa to Scandinavia to North America, TANGO has already found a home among some of the biggest NonStop users in the community and there could be even more to follow in the foreseeable future.

There’s competition for sure and I am working with several such solutions vendors. However, I can only think the NonStop community sees the benefits from such competition – truly, a variety of choice unlike anything they have seen in decades. And if these solutions vendors are betting a sizeable amount of their future on NonStop, it augurs well for the future of NonStop in each and every data center. In jumping to that conclusion, approaching further corners doesn’t bother me one bit!


Adrian Hausser said...

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we_d_living said...

Hi Richard, very interesting coverage about Lusis - Tango Non Stop platform based Payments solutions. While reading your blog, I came across observation that, TANGO kind products Re-Birth from Unix/C++/XML to Non Stop platform - ACI's BASE24 re-birth in reverse from Non Stop to Unix/Java environment. Does this mean ACI felt Unix based payments solutions are more lucrative and they need to get down from the train to HP's Non Stop Platform.

I revere days in 2008, when HP India office had Opus team for Electra Switch to migrate from Unix/BEA Weblogic/ C++ to HP's Non Stop platform for largest bank in India.

Richard Buckle said...

Actually, BASE24 first headed to mainframe and ZOS ... purchased companies / products took it to Unix I believe. And how are our good friends at ECS going these days as yes, that was quite the port! R