Friday, December 26, 2014

Yes, we are getting it!

Along the drifting cloud the eagle searching down on the land; Catching the swirling wind … Go closer, hold the land feel partly no more than grains of sand; We stand to lose all time a thousand answers by in our hand …” so go the lyrics from a YES song written decades ago and yet, it foresaw we stood to lose a thousand answers …


In a play on a title I used for the final post of 2012, Yes, I get it! closing out 2014 brings with it a lot of anticipation. There will be NonStop community members – users and vendors alike – that have placed orders for NonStop X and more than likely have been testing their applications on NonStop X for some time. The prospect of installing your own NonStop X system is bound to arouse excitement typical for this time of year. For all of us living in the northern hemisphere, the prospect of spring seems a long way off, as winter has us fully in its grip, but spring will come, no matter what, and that’s how I sum up NonStop X. It’s coming, no matter what!

Perhaps more importantly for the NonStop community at large, and let me just change gears here, as it’s very easy to forget the real story of NonStop and of the journey that will now see the passing of a major milestone. NonStop thrives because it brings unquestionable value to the most important transactions of all – those reflecting the interaction between business and consumers. Behind the increasingly richer consumer experience all business is pursuing there’s the execution 7 x 24 x 365 in support of every enterprise as they participate in today’s always-on world. This passage in the journey of NonStop will see it flourish as the ability to bring the most modern applications to NonStop proves more practical than at any time in the past. Commodity, openness, embracing standards, and having raw performance is a heady mix for anyone in IT.

Yes, we get it! When it comes to fulfilling its mission for the enterprise, like something from a movie plot – whether Star Wars or simply Lara Croft – we are witnessing changes on a scale that I have not seen in the many decades I have been part of the IT world. The Internet of Things (IoT) will influence all we do in unimaginable ways with literally streams of data passing us by as grains of sand. Yottabytes of data will become commonplace for many of the larger enterprises. With the arrival of IoT, Big Data will take on an even bigger role within the enterprise – we just have to know about these “things” to stay competitive in our marketplace.

HP Master Technologist, ES&A Americas, Justin Simonds, has been giving presentations on IoT a lot of late, including at the NonStop Technical Boot Camp in November, 2014. Among the slides he used one featured excerpts from the book, Fundamentals of Stream Processing, where the authors spelt out the requirements for processing the streams of data arriving at our door. “Parallel Processing”, the “Ability to Scale” and “Fault Tolerance” top the list, and for good reason. “Other application segments however cannot tolerate any failures as they may contain a critical persistent state that must survive even catastrophic failures,” the authors observe, yet another observation not lost on the NonStop community.

When we talk about clouds I foresee clouds to be just as we see them above us, in the sky – there will be thunderous cumulous clouds rising to great heights, cirrus clouds also riding high in the sky, stratus clouds much closer to the ground and of course combinations of all three. Commodity clouds, enterprise clouds, industry and association clouds and yes, as with real clouds, combinations of them all. Whiteboards everywhere will be depicting clouds within clouds intersecting with other clouds and all in the name of flexibility and versatility – the potential to dream as big as we want to.

Yes, now we are getting it! I have participated in a number of discussions of late that bemoan the fact that much of the NonStop installed base is among very conservative clients. By the very nature of the applications being supported, there is considerable resistance to change of any sort, less these mission-critical applications should founder. So watching the take up of the latest iteration of NonStop – the new NonStop X family – will be more than interesting to watch. Will the traditional strongholds of NonStop in banking, retail and the vast networks of credit and debit processing that support these industries find new ways to deploy NonStop X?

IoT will mandate Big Data just as Big Data will mandate Clouds – it’s the only way the enterprise can keep up and with Clouds, x86 will dominate for the foreseeable future and finding a home in the Clouds will be NonStop. Of that I am extremely confident – ask OmniPayments, Inc. CEO, Yash Kapadia. In the December, 2014, edition of the eNewsletter, TandemWorld, there’s the heading
OmniPayments Is First NonStop Partner to Take Delivery of a “NonStop X” You will need to page down a little way to read the story that follows, but suffice to say OmniPayments Inc. will be the first HP NonStop partner to take possession of the new NonStop X server and the NonStop X is on schedule for delivery by the end of the year! Talk to Yash about where he is headed and it’s all about clouds – a basic cloud service utilizing NonStop is already operational at OmniPayments.

Returning to what will likely trigger initial interest across the NonStop community in IoT I have the sense that it will come from mobility and it will just as likely impact the very same banks and retailers already referenced. In the very near term, many of us will dispense with our wallets, other than as fashion items, and turn increasingly to our mobile phones. As “smart devices” we will be using them for much more than purchasing a latte and the subsequent explosion in network traffic will be obvious even to the most conservative of NonStop users – nothing startling here, I suspect. “Mobility is ushering in a new peer to peer paradigm from the older client / server browser / server model,” I was told by one knowledgeable source within HP, leading me to believe we will most likely see a change in the type of applications deployed on NonStop as the computing model continues to evolve.

Inside the data centers themselves expect to see not just NonStop systems but IBM mainframes as well – all networked and all engaged in the support of modern applications. Writing a little too soon, I suspect, an IBM blogger posted last month
The ultimate JavaScript environment: Node.js and Linux on System z. In today’s discussions about modernization, Node.js is never far from the spotlight. According the IBM blogger, “For those of you looking for a screaming server-side JavaScript environment, your search is over. IBM recently made available IBM SDK for Node.js Version 1.1 (even though it ‘is not formally related to or endorsed by the official Joyent Node.js open source or commercial project’) for Linux on System z. It is ideal for high-performance JavaScript server applications or to consolidate many server applications to one system to save time and money.”

Given the work being done by InfraSoft with considerable cooperation and feedback from the HP NonStop organization, as one HP source told me this past week, “Once again NonStop is out of the gates early with a JavaScript offering”. If you have just received your copy of the Nov – Dec, 2104 issue of
The Connection magazine you will have seen that the cover features the headlines, “Node.js on the HP NonStop Server” so clearly, IBM with Linux on System z doesn’t have a lock on Node.js inside the data center.

IBM System z CICS and HP NonStop Pathway are being taught entirely new dance routines and it’s a credit to their original creators that they are proving to be as adapt as they are to change. The better NonStop X and System z work together, the more prestige NonStop will enjoy and with NonStop X supporting higher LAN speeds (thanks to the InfinBand fabric supporting LAN adapters) it’s safe to say that what NonStop brings to the enterprise, in terms of price point, availability and indeed, scale-out, will be welcomed inside the data center of many an enterprise.

It’s the holiday season and it’s a festive occasion for all of us, no matter where we reside. There were many pleasant surprises among my extended family as we ripped wrapping paper from gifts and all the while I was remembering just how far we have all come on this NonStop journey. Forty years ago, NonStop were among the earliest systems to feature terminals from day one of their release. They adapted to the client server world easily and the arrival of the internet with browser access barely caused a ripple. Mobile devices? No worries – piece of cake.

Likewise, from files and tables to databases to SQL and now to Big Data, even noSQL – integration with whatever data model is most needed by the enterprise hasn’t halted the progress of NonStop. Open the next surprise gift, take a quick look and yes, a process here and a routine there and it’s supported as has been every technology introduced for the past forty years. NonStop is just that versatile and we all get that, some sooner than others, naturally.

So welcome to 2015 and yes, welcome the NonStop X family; embrace Big Data, Clouds, Mobility, IoT – work at better integrating with all we find inside the data center; Blue, Red, or otherwise. You aren’t doing anything wrong or different from what many others in the NonStop community will be doing and celebrating. Most of all? Don’t miss, as the song writer exhorted, those thousand answers that lie in our hands! And with 2015, the next part of the journey begins and it won’t be long before the industry gets it, too!

1 comment:

Keith Evans said...

Roundabout.