Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Prepping for what's to come ... new HPE, upgraded Boot Camp, and more NonStop X!

Welcome to the “Idea Economy” and here’s a big idea! NonStop helps the enterprise with the transition even as the NonStop community makes the preparations for greater participation …   

This week it was all about getting ready for the arrival of winter. If you live in America and you have seen the weather maps you will know that, starting Wednesday of last week, snow has been falling across the continental divide with some places, such as Wolf Creek Pass, getting more than 20” plus of snow in one 24 hours period. If you are into skiing, and I am sure many of you are, the resorts are capitalizing on the ground chilling and snow making machines are working around the clock. Just a week ago business took us to Beaver Creek where we spent the night – and there wasn’t a snowflake in sight, as the picture of Margo here highlights. But almost as if right on cue, one week later there’s the first blanket of snow clearly visible wrapping itself around the nearby peaks. Winter is coming!

With October drawing to a close and the first snowfall in evidence, it was also a time to check the condition of the tires on the vehicles we rely upon for winter. Adding a front wheel drive Mini to the mix certainly will help our short trips around town and it came with new all-season tires which should suffice. As for the AWD Jeep, that was another story and it took all of five minutes to realize new tires were in order so on went a set of all-season tires as well. We have chains as well, as all-season tires have their limitations – one day I am going to have to do a dry run of sorts and take the chains out of the bag – and it’s only a matter of a few short weeks before we make the drive across the Rockies and the Sierras to participate in the annual NonStop Technical Boot Camp.

It is probably a good time to talk about other preparations under way. Yes, Boot Camp is on the minds of many of us as the date for submission of presentations has closed and the agenda is now rapidly being finalized. This year add one more member benefit to the program in case you missed it – on Monday night there will be a late night reception for all those attendees returning from their numerous vendor sponsored dinners. The details are pretty much being sorted out as this reception is being sponsored by OmniPayments, Inc. CEO, Yash Kapadia. It’s recognition that in previous years, following these usually well-attended vendor dinners, there wasn’t any place to go to end the night other than the bar and at the Fairmont, this isn’t always the ideal place for a group to congregate. Yash’s reception will run from 9:00 pm till midnight so even the tardiest of stragglers should be able to make it. As for me, this is an upgrade to Boot Camp and that one I am going to support, with vigor!

I wrote a couple of posts these past few weeks that have highlighted anniversaries we’ve celebrated. This blog has passed another milestone and yes, our company Pyalla Technologies celebrated being in business for one more year. But perhaps what’s most important of all for the NonStop community is that this is the last post from me where HP still exists – when the next post is published, we will have the separate HP Enterprise and HP Inc. up and running. And I have to believe there will be a huge sigh of relief coming from all those at HP who have been involved in making the split a reality. Perhaps there will be a number of HPE folks involved with the split at Boot Camp and perhaps too they will find their way to Yash’s reception as they may find themselves wanting to support it every bit as vigorously as I will be doing!

There are a couple of technologies and programs worth watching as the strategy of HPE unfolds. For those who may have missed other posts of mine to vendor blogs, I found the
cover story of the Fall 2015 issue of Connect Converge (C2) very informative. An interview with Sue Barsamian, Senior Vice President and General Manager, HP Enterprise Security Products, is featured and it’s hard to miss her main points even as you can’t miss the initial highlighted quote right at the very start of the story, “A company’s most prized assets are their people, applications and data. The interactions between these parties are increasingly difficult to protect because they often go beyond the traditional perimeter.” Now the rest of the story features her take on security which is well worth reading but as she introduces the topic of security, she covers some of the strategic goals for the new HPE.

“Our strategy is comprised of four key areas that represent what we believe are the most significant transformations companies must execute to bridge from traditional IT to a new world where you can turn ideas into business value faster than at any time in history,” Barsamian tells the interviewer form C2. And how were these four key strategies identified? Well, turns out that they all add weight to expediting the transition to what HPE is calling the “Idea Economy” which, according to Barsamian, is the “environment in which ubiquitous access to technology and digital connections provides the opportunity to turn ideas into business value faster than at any time in history.”

Barsamian then notes that a HPE defines these four areas as being:
Transform to a hybrid infrastructure to power the apps that run your business
Protect your digital enterprise
Empower a data-driven organization
Enable workplace productivity and superior customer experiences
Topping the list is my own personal favorite, the transformation all of industry is talking about, that being a transformation to a hybrid infrastructure. And it’s not just slideware or simply market-speak.

Even IBM is preaching hybrids and indeed, in a recent presentation I saw, IBM now talks about “Systems of Record” and “Systems of Engagement”, separated by a firewall, of course, but where there’s “continuous feedback and improvement” between engagement and record – yes, it’s a hybrid where mobile, for instance interfaces with the systems of engagement whereas the database is part of the system of record – and no kidding? You will need an IBM System z to be the system of record whereas an IBM Power System (System p, most likely) for the system of engagement – follow? Could you work with just a single mainframe running as a hybrid with z/OS and zLinux? As soon as you virtualize the firewall, then certainly.

But definitely, transforming to a hybrid system, whether it’s from HPE or IBM or whoever else elects to get with the program, tops the list of HPE’s four key areas. And for good cause – we have gone way past the days where general purpose computers did it all. Optimization continues to be the phrase most vendors associate with the transformation to hybrid systems. This is simply short hand for saying that different processes can be best supported by processors designed for their optimal operation – think horses for courses, naturally. As everyone in the NonStop community has come to recognize it’s not that easy to port a Unix application to NonStop even with the OSS personality pretty much up to par with the Guardian personality.

Java still has issues and unless you really want to dig into the code, move stuff around and even rewrite select routines, it has it’s issues – sure, on NonStop X it now runs fast but not as fast as on other systems. So let it run on the part of the hybrid that’s optimized to support Java. “Nothing more to talk about here – move along,” so it seems we hear daily from news feeds around the world. Then again, I am pretty chuffed to see the effort put into bringing support of JavaScript – totally unrelated to Java, but that’s another story – where the dependency on that bugaboo of all NonStop systems, heavy kernel level threading, no longer is an issue. Yes, if you have separated your systems of engagement from your systems of record, wouldn’t it be beneficial to have a common programming language available on both sides of any wall?

It is against this background of HPE now focused on “helping customers transform to the new economy” that the news came out just a few days ago that HPE will be backing away from offering public cloud support, preferring instead to focus on private and potentially managed clouds. This makes a whole lot of sense – Microsoft and Amazon own the lion’s share of this marketplace and in reality, this horse has definitely bolted from the barn and, for all intents and purposes, is a solution uncatchable by others. This for many in the NonStop community represents a wise choice on the part of HPE and brings the discussion back to hybrids – clearly, NonStop as the system of record and a private cloud for the system of engagement recognizing all too well that when interfacing with consumers and clients alike, there’s no reckoning with how much processing power will be needed by individual processes such that the elasticity clouds provides will be a further boon for the enterprise.

So for now, it is all about preparation. As a community, do NonStop users have a plan for what runs where? In any movement from proprietary, legacy and just plain old custom code, to a hybrid infrastructure in our pursue of the idea economy, the latest NonStop X systems bring with them many obvious benefits – it’s open, industry standard, x86 / InfiniBand – do we know where to split? Does our investment in Pathway over the years that has given us “knowledge of the HP NonStop server requester-server concept” now provide us with an edge over other architectures? Of course this comes down to how good an API NonStop development delivers, as part of the YUMA Project, together with our own enthusiasm to explore each and every opportunity that we come across, but the pieces are all there - in fact, think of this as part of the preparation for a new beginning for NonStop!

With Yash providing a nightcap for all participants at this year’s Boot Camp, together with the previous night’s traditional Beer Bust, there will be more than enough occasions to talk about this over adult beverages and a couple of coasters and I am sure that this will happen even if there was no stimulus provided. NonStop is right there – past important crossroads and on a widening path to broader industry acceptance. It’s a critical system in the portfolio of products to be sold to enterprises by HPE – again, have we begun to prepare for our business to participate in the idea economy? See you at Boot Camp in just a few weeks’ time …

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