Sunday, March 13, 2016

Pulling at the RUG; NonStop resilience firmly on display around the globe!

Spending time at RUG meetings and I have been a fan for more years than I care to count, is what I enjoy doing more than practically anything else. Shouldn’t you be participating? Often times, this is where news on NonStop breaks first!

Shortly we return to the road; destination – the DUST event in Scottsdale. This time I will be presenting on behalf of a client, OmniPayments, and I am really looking forward to the opportunity to meet-and-greet fellow members of the NonStop community. Originally I had planned on driving up to Chicago and across to Columbus to attend MRTUG and OTUG events but supporting my clients always comes first, so perhaps, next time.

Ever since I became involved with the NonStop Regional User Groups (RUGs), back in 2001 and on behalf of the ITUG Board, I have really enjoyed the camaraderie that emanates from RUG events no matter where they are held. I have travelled on a ferry boat between Stockholm and Helsinki for VNUG, the gathering of Viking NonStop Users and I have spent a very enjoyable week on Australia’s Gold Coast with OzTUG! South Africa? Terrific group of very enthusiastic users and I will always remember attending their inaugural meeting at a golf course that kicked off the current SATUG organization.

There have been times however, where I wasn’t all that sure the community would survive and several times I arrived at a venue only to find two or three users present – on one occasion, and I seem to recall it was in London, only one user participated but they were very well entertained, I must admit. At its peak, back in the mid-2000s, there were approximately 35 active RUGs with plans in place to add a handful more groups. In the decades I have been involved with one user community or another, it’s been at the grass roots level where I truly see what’s important for users of a vendors products and services.

User groups are all about community and being among fellow advocates of a technology you yourself are most likely to be very fond of – whether it’s an inherited emotion following decisions taken years, even decades, earlier by others or as a direct result of actions you initiated, seeing your positive opinion reflected in the eyes of others is a sensation like no other in the world of technology. And as Martin Fink, EVP & HPE CTO, so tellingly revealed, across the whole product line of HPE there is no other group that knows the value proposition of its product more than the NonStop community does.

There’s resilience within the NonStop community that is very hard to define and oftentimes, justify. It’s steeped in legends even as it’s alive with favorite anecdotes – the evening trip down a river adjacent to the Emerald Resort outside Johannesburg, South Africa, remains my all-time favorite end-of-day activity and being able to move among HPE executives, product managers and a rich variety of consultants and end users, well it was a magical time. Can someone pass me another Castle beer?

Missing out on MRTUG and OTUG means I will not get to hear the presentation by HPE’s Keith Moore. Keith is on the leading edge when it comes to ensuring the latest technology makes it onto NonStop systems and has been a key contributor in helping other vendors bring frameworks and even languages to NonStop.

His presentation and demo featuring The Internet of Things (IoT) “is the hot topic for next generation of the Internet. NonStop servers are great enablers for collection, analysis, and distribution of this new type of information,” according to the brief description on the agenda for the OTUG event, but I believe Keith will be providing a similar presentation to attendees at MRTUG as well. “Almost all of the demo is using InfraSoft’s new bomBora product and I make a point of saying this,” Keith said.  “There are two new tools / features I will highlight: firstly, Node.js (bomBora), which I call out, and then secondly, Redis which is the pub/sub database.”

Again, the whole point of conducting events like this on a regional basis is to allow attendees to see first-hand what product roadmaps are telling the community and what solutions architects working with applications are telling just about everyone with whom they come into contact. If you really want to know what’s hot across the NonStop community you can expect to hear it first at a RUG event. Oftentimes, it’s a presentation given by a vendor that proves to be the turning point for fledgling products just coming to market and to see the responses from the audience in person, well, there really isn’t any substitute.

Sometimes the product or feature being introduced is a little ahead of any identifiable market need but that too is an outcome of the businesses NonStop serves as they are at the very heart of many of the major financial transaction processing solutions. It’s not every day you expect to see change but even so, it happens! It’s gradual and it’s measured – the element of risk is never far from the scene and for these businesses it’s just not an option to mess things up royally. No, it’s over coffee and the occasional adult beverage that business learns a lot about what’s happening right now as well as what to expect to see very soon.

I have a lot of enthusiasm for Node.js coming to NonStop. Attendees at both MRTUG and OTUG should be sure to catch Keith’s presentation as within the slides there will be further updates on the progress of Node.js on NonStop. I have written about this development many times over the years and gradually, the pieces are coming together and the availability of a viable product is at hand. But more importantly, it’s as if Node.js was designed with NonStop in mind, unlike Java. 

If you missed my early posts, the most important post was that of barely a year ago on November 13, 2014, Modernization – and NonStop is a key part of the landscape! Even as long ago as 2014, “Node.js has been gaining popularity as underlying technology for enterprise applications,” note Neil Coleman and Dave Finnie of InfraSoft Pty Ltd – the company behind the very deep port of the Node.js platform. “Large organizations including Wal-Mart, eBay, PayPal, MasterCard, and LinkedIn have all rolled out Node.js applications.”

More importantly in hindsight, and something that really first attracted me to the work done on the port, “
The Node.js model of event-driven, non-blocking I/O that is particularly suited to I/O bound applications - it may have almost been dictated by the fundamental concepts of writing a high-performance OLTP application running on the NSK operating system.” While current implementations of Node.js, obviously, do not possess the level of fault tolerance and scalability that software running on the HP NonStop Server can offer it’s all about to change with InfraSoft’s bomBora.

In the lead up to these RUG events, I asked Keith Moore about his demo and of the potential scope of the opportunity from having support for JavaScript on NonStop. “To-date, no customer is jumping on the product,” said Keith. “But literally every day I hear someone ask me (specifically) about JavaScript on NonStop. I think that 2017 is the year where it becomes more of a requirement. This is because we are just now hearing movement toward JSON and RESTful services on NonStop. Those discussions eventually lead to websockets and web apps, which eventually lead to JavaScript.” Based on what I am hearing, expect an article in an upcoming Connect magazine with more details on IoT enablement using Nonstop.”

This reference to JavaScript on NonStop is just one example of what’s new on NonStop that every attendee at these upcoming RUG meetings will be hearing about – but there’s a lot more than just JavaScript. Clearly, there will be considerable interest in hearing more about the availability of Yuma and the opportunity to better, and indeed more simply, develop solutions for hybrid environment comprising (most likely) NonStop and Linux. And perhaps, if the right questions are asked we will hear even more about NonStop running in a virtual environment following the demonstrations given at the recent Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.

Hybrids, Virtual Machines, JavaScript – just email this post to your CIO and line of business managers and see what response you get. Where did you hear all about this – well, at the recent RUG event and well, there’s even more coming. Can’t wait for the next NonStop Technical Boot Camp – perhaps management should plan on checking it out for themselves!

Conversations similar to the above are more than likely going to happen as more information on the future of NonStop is revealed. Of course, this isn’t to downplay the importance of this summer’s upcoming HPE Discover event. In case you didn’t recognize the photo atop the post – it’s the lobby of The Venetian hotel in Las Vegas where in just three months’ time, from June 7 – 9, HPE’s big-tent event will be held.

I have always been a big supporter of RUGs and will always find space and time to write about them. Driving across the country to participate in as many as I can is not a chore but a calling of sorts – it’s what I like to do. So, if you see me by the coffee machine then stop me, introduce yourself, and let me know what brought you to the RUG. I am more than happy to spend as much time with you as I can as, after all, it’s our community and let’s not ever lose sight of that! 

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