Monday, January 5, 2015

Welcome to 2015!

It takes very little encouragement from the HP NonStop team for me to provide my own commentary on what to expect to see in the coming year and for the first post of 2015, it just made perfect sense to blog about it!

Few residents of North America would have missed hearing the news about just how cold New Year’s Eve turned out to be; here in Colorado, a centuries old record for the lowest minimum temperature was set. Recordings at the Denver airport dropped to -19 Fahrenheit by 9:00pm on December 30th, with the high reading of just 1 Fahrenheit being a new record lowest high temperature for December 30th. Nothing cheery or celebratory about this, and even though we had to step outside for a brief period on the afternoon of the 30th, it was very much a case of staying indoors and simply enjoying being rugged up around the fireplace.

As for my ancestral roots, my family tells me that with 2015 being wrung-in, Sydney-siders were enjoying something completely different - temperatures soaring well past the 80s and into the 90s were pretty much the norm and fully expected at this time of the year. BBQs poolside, sailing on Sydney Harbor and catching the waves at Cronulla, Bondi or Manly pretty much summed up the occasion. However, no matter where the celebrations took place and irrespective of what the weather threw our way, it is always good to welcome a New Year and, as the countdown is completed, with the bells ringing out and the fireworks exploding begin to contemplate all that may take place in 2015.

Of course, there will be birthdays and anniversaries but this is not a topic I relish any longer. On the other hand, NonStop has celebrated 40 years and of course, that’s an incredible accomplishment for any technology / architecture given the high rate of failure among alternate product offerings. While I will leave it for another post, I fully anticipate the final days of Sun, as part of Oracle, will take place (yes, speculation is under way that Oracle will split with Sun and that Dell will likely pick up all that’s left) even as I agree with those predicting that Microsoft will spin out the Xbox unit.

More importantly I suspect for the NonStop community is the introduction of the NonStop X family of NonStop servers. It joins the NonStop I family of NonStop Integrity servers, and its arrival marks the last steps to fully commoditize the components that make up today’s modern NonStop system – everything from the chips to the blades to the connectivity fabric, it’s all off-the-shelf technology and it’s being shared with the larger HP Superdome X systems. It’s also being used by “the world’s most scalable and best performing x86 Linux system”, as HP’s Diana Cortes wrote in her post of November 19, 2014, New possibilities to transform your mission-critical environment are just around the corner to the HP Mission Critical Computing Blog – a site I routinely visit and strongly recommend to everyone in the NonStop community.

Social media will be playing a very significant role in the roll-out of NonStop X systems, and why not? In a day where information is shared instantly and globally, more members of the NonStop community are turning to blogs for insight into NonStop deployments than ever before. The opportunity to interact with the bloggers can often sort out fact from fiction and even anecdotal information is proving a godsend to many looking for insight about fellow community members’ use of NonStop today. The tabs across my own browser are predominantly populated with links to blogs from vendors and industry experts and I have to assume this has become common practice throughout our community.

Among my own clients, support of blogs is rampart although the approach taken is a reflection on the communities they serve. For some it’s the inclusion within more popular posts while for others it is maintenance of their own blogs – a similar situation to what we have seen with old style magazines and newsletters. It’s always attractive to gain a couple of pages in a well-read magazine or to be on the front page of a well-read newspaper, electronic or otherwise. My own perspective on this, naturally enough, is to ensure a steady stream of vendor information is always contained in my primary blog – the one you are reading now – Real Time View.

In discussions with InfraSoft’s  Managing Director, Peter Shell, - gaining visibility in other party’s blogs is important and represents a crucial element of Infrasoft’s marketing program. “For us, being referenced in blogs like this as well as in vendor blogs such as those maintained by comForte and IR as well as industry blogs such as ATMmarketplace, assures us far greater readership than if we had our own blog,” Shell told me. “Just generating buzz about our products is what we need and we are most interested in recent events within the NonStop community which are simply confirming our understanding about the value of having the community talking about us. As for 2015 then even as we welcome the New Year we are welcoming new customers and with that, we think all the buzz about us has helped.”

InfraSoft has been in business less than a decade but a similar sentiment has been expressed by DataExpress President, Michelle Marost. “The benefits from participating in more widely-read blogs cannot be disregarded. Providing interesting stories to bloggers to ensure greater participation brings with it a lot more visibility for us and our products than simply going out on our own,” Marost said during a recent conversation. “Naturally blogs are proving invaluable to us through sheer breadth of exposure and the more references to DataExpress the better no matter where such references surface. Of course, we are into securely moving files which is a very hot topic so I suspect whatever anecdotes we provide will find interest and possible traction within the NonStop community.”

Straddling the fence are the good folks at WebAction, where gaining as much visibility as possible is paramount. Even though evangelism is a key element of their messages to the NonStop community as the topic of Big Data and Data-Driven Apps is promoted, WebAction has taken the steps (almost from day one of being in business) to maintain their own WebAction blog. I am very supportive of WebAction and of the need for the NonStop community to be more actively engaged in Big Data so I am among the contributing bloggers to this site where my focus is totally on NonStop. “We are appealing to the broader enterprise industry,” said WebAction Cofounder and EVP, Sami Akbay, “It is important for us to engage with specialist technology bloggers to demonstrate the industry-specific value of WebAction.”

When it comes to my support of vendor and industry blogs it take very little time scrolling through sites like LinkedIn to become aware of those I support – some of the already referenced in this post – but the most important advice I received many years ago, when I first started, came from HP Vice President & General Manager, Integrity Servers, Randy Meyer. When I first posted to this NonStop community blog I advised Meyer of my intentions and his response has stayed with me through the years (and been referenced more than once). “As long as you generate a buzz around NonStop and there’s more ink ‘out there’ on NonStop,” came the advice from Meyer.

And even today, this sums up the real power of social media – in times where even large vendors have shifting priorities, there’s often occasions where little is heard about a specific product or solution but bloggers posting monthly or even weekly, fill the void. There’s little excuse for any member of the NonStop community not being aware of something taking place in the community as it will be reported on one social media channel or the other. And if it’s just the latest about a specific vendor, then a quick check of these same social media channels will more than likely provide coverage.

2015? Well, we just can’t wait to see what really transpires and as the year unfolds and plans are realized, make sure you check out your favorite blog for all the latest news! NonStop X? InifniBand? Security? Clouds? Big Data? Node.js? New solutions? It’s all about to start and a highly visible presence of NonStop in social media will be hard to miss. Yes, welcome to 2015!

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