Sunday, February 7, 2016

Back to Vegas … sights firmly set on even more NonStop events!

With road trips about to kick off in earnest, it’s good to be getting out and about among the NonStop community. And the good news is that NonStop is still here, still funded even as it remains highly visible to senior executives within HPE!

Calendars are being reviewed and with a flourish of highlighting pens the first half of 2016 is beginning to take shape. Who says that the NonStop community isn’t active or that there’s little support for user events? Clearly, the first half of the year will be bookended with 2016 HP Discover, but there will be other events including MRTUG (Chicago) and possibly GTUG (Berlin) that are really must-attend occasions. I would have liked to have penciled in SunTUG, as the folks out at Tampa are always fun to be with, but already we have to deal with conflicting dates.

There are also plans firming up for Margo and me to participate in industry association events as well, with the
ATMIA event in New Orleans scheduled for later this month now top of the list. In the past this has attracted numerous NonStop customers as it’s becoming the highlight of the year for many financial institutions and already the list of NonStop users and indeed vendors who will be participating continues to grow – at last count, there are more than 85 exhibitors, including well known NonStop supporters such as Pulse / Discover and Visa. There will be many road trips crisscrossing the country before summer is fully upon us.

On the other hand, putting Colorado snow days behind us is tempting. Digging out from the latest 18” plus snowfall may be good exercise but it’s nothing we want to grow accustomed to. We will be driving to all of these events, GTUG excepted of course; we will be mixing in numerous customer and vendor café chats – with Chicago, New Orleans, Las Vegas and possibly a stop in between is already highlighted in our calendar, if you would like to join us for coffee on any of these dates, let me know. It’s still early and we have considerable flexibility at this time. With the price of gas continuing to head south, going the extra miles isn’t as onerous as it used to be.

We have started packing our bags to be ready to head out later this week as Margo and I are doing our first trip to Las Vegas for 2016. In the past we have organized meetings with clients to coincide with trips to Vegas this time of year. We end up entertaining a lot during HP Discover events so we will be doing a little extra scouting of the restaurants, but clearly,
Mastro Ocean Club, Las Vegas, continues to be at the top of the list and we always manage to entertain parties from HPE at this venue.

If you are as yet not familiar with Mastro then you are really missing out on one of the best fine dining experiences ever, and don’t be fooled by the name, visits to the ocean club are still all about their steaks. It was while we were in Simi Valley that XYPRO’s Scott Uroff first told Margo about the Mastro experience and we have been hooked ever since. In Las Vegas, Mastro is situated in what the locals call the birdcage – a distinctive architectural element within Crystals at City Center.

However, when it comes to the NonStop community the opportunities to get together and to talk, to reminisce, to plan and to compare notes are on the uptick. Whether or not these events include adult beverages and a night on the town isn’t as important as the opportunity to hear firsthand what HPE plans are for NonStop, and if 2015 was any indication of what those plans really are then 2016 can only see more good news install for the NonStop community.

As we have covered in previous posts, we are now facing a richness in NonStop unlike at any other time that I can recall. There are two families of NonStop systems, NonStop i and NonStop X, each with multiple siblings. And then the veil has been pulled away from NonStop as software and even more impressive, consideration of an eventual NonStop as service(s) offering is being openly discussed.

One other event I am particularly looking forward to attending is the partner event HPE NonStop product management is arranging, set for May 24, 2016. If as yet you haven’t seen the advance flyer promoting the NonStop Partner Technical Symposium then reach out to HPE’s Karen Copeland or MOMI’s Kathy Wood.

I can recall back in the late 1980s when the Tandem Alliance program was in full flight how similar gatherings of partners proved to be extremely lively and I have the sense that this year’s event will not be lacking for either enthusiasm or challenges – already, talk around Palo Alto is with consideration being given to the size of the venue, vendors may be limited to just four attendees and that sends a positive message in and of itself.

What I think most vendors will be looking for in terms of updates from HPE NonStop product managers is news on pilots and early-stage testing of YUMA – the new API and services in support of hybrid configurations featuring NonStop and Linux / Windows. Without giving too much of the game away as best as I can tell it looks like the key selling point of NonStop and Linux hybrids is cost savings and not from reducing the size of NonStop, but rather, moving away from proprietary databases such as Oracle. Continuing to let the application remain on Linux while accessing NonStop SQL seems to be attracting users and any opportunity to lessen their financial exposure to Oracle warrants giving NonStop a second look.

But again, I think there’s more here than just offloading the database – in time I believe more than one NonStop vendor will begin offering middleware that extends the mantle of fault tolerance to adjacent systems where reinforcing the persistence message to applications and files not designed to run on NonStop can be considered. Point is, there are a lot of smart folks familiar with the workings of NonStop who will begin to exploit Yuma with hybrids inclusive of NonStop, and in all likelihood, NonStop will remain relevant with future hybrid configurations as it adds value in new and exciting ways.

I can only reiterate that companies that put in motion plans to scale back their dependencies on NonStop systems may have acted prematurely as bottom line, running NonStop SQL on a NonStop X in a hybrid configuration that includes applications running on Linux is much cheaper than running Oracle on a Linux cluster. NonStop SQL continues to impress anyone who takes a closer look – its support of mixed workloads remains unmatched in comparison to alternate offerings.

If you think that statement is a stretch then ask yourself, why is HPE looking at ways to make NonStop SQL as a Service a reality in the mid-term? Possibly as early as the 2018 timeframe? NonStop continues to bring a lot of value to the table and that is clearly substantiated by the turn out at recent user and community events. Maybe there are not as many NonStop supporters prepared to put as many miles on their cars as Margo and I do nor are there as many enterprises running NonStop as there once were.

But the good news is that NonStop is still here, still funded with major investments in NonStop systems ongoing, continues to be a profitable member of the HPE Mission Critical Server portfolio, and probably most important of all, NonStop has visibility all the way up the HPE management chain to the CTO himself, Martin Fink.

I’m not averse to shoveling snow from around the house even though I am now looking for the first signs of spring and the news out of the east according to those well-known rodents is that an early spring is being forecast. With as many road trips as we have planned right now, that is a relief – snow may make the landscape more picturesque than it otherwise deserves, but as February sets in, enough is enough!

Looking forward to catching up with as many of you as we can and yes, NonStop without limits, restrictions or caveats? A real player on today’s IT stage? Absolutely, and for the NonStop community this creates probably as many warm and fuzzy feelings as the first signs of spring.

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