Saturday, January 14, 2017

An end to a boisterous year … ready for the fun times ahead?

In private exchanges to clients and in updates on other social media channels, I have talked about winter weather but strong winds always come before warmer temperatures arrive; 2017 is going to be no exception. NonStop will be hot!

It has been quite the end to a boisterous year. The winds blew strongly through the Front Ranges of the Rockies and within a day the snow that had been falling for the past day or so, leaving behind a substantial layer of the fluffy white stuff, had all but been blown clear into Nebraska. When you lie awake of a nighttime listening to winds pushing past 75 mph, with gusts topping 100 mph, it can be pretty scary at times as window panes begin to shift in their frames but then as morning breaks, and skies return to the blue that makes Colorful Colorado famous, there’s always a sense of well, we made it! 

Category 1 hurricanes are said to have sustained winds between 74 and 95 mph whereas Category 2 hurricanes have sustained winds between 96 mph and 110 mph and as the chart above depicts, on Christmas day we were hovering somewhere between a category 1 and 2 hurricane – something most of Colorado’s citizens tend to overlook. Yes, the intense low pressure system brought a hurricane down on us Christmas and then again, just two weeks later. Faced with such a rowdy weather pattern, noisy and unruly, there was little to tempt us to journey far from home.

It has been quite the end too to a rather tumultuous year for the NonStop community. I spent more time on the road than I care to do of late. As I pulled out all the business expenses and added up the cost there was only one month where Margo and I didn’t travel to a user or industry event. There were a couple of times where we made it to more than one event in the month and as much as we have a distinct distaste for it, I had to fly on two separate occasions, although given the need to travel to London to join the NonStop community at BITUG, there was little choice. 

The uptick in travel to Regional User Group events (and no, I cannot get my head around Tandem and NonStop being organized around Chapters as I still prefer to call our regional communities RUGs) is symptomatic of a more general trend that emerged in 2016 that brought out more of the NonStop community to hear the message of NonStop than ever before. And that is a very good thing to see firsthand. However, before getting into more detail as to why I believe is the greater interest in NonStop – a revival of sorts, right – it’s been good to see the growth in readership of publications I support. The digital media reach, following posts and commentaries I provide, is highly encouraging and is further reflection of just how important a role NonStop plays within IT. 

If you have been following the monthly page views for posts to the NonStop community blog, Real Time View (this digital media channel), you will have noticed a steady climb in page views over the past four months. Following average monthly page views for the summer somewhere near 2,500 it now site north of 10,000, with a peak of 11,000+ attained just before everyone left for vacation. Numbers like this had only been reached once before, back in late 2015, but it is interesting and indeed somewhat revealing to know that when I first wrote about NonStop X the numbers soared and now, that I am writing about vNonStop, the numbers are soaring once again. 

If you deliver news about NonStop that has wider appeal the numbers certainly are a reflection of a continued interest in the future of NonStop and that’s always encouraging for a writer / commentator such as myself. But page views of this NonStop community blog are only one side of the story. Readership in more traditional media vehicles, such as The Connection, appear to have picked up. Email responses to my column, Back for more …, have been positive as well and there’s always a comment or two posted to LinkedIn discussions whenever I touch on material included in the column. 

However, it has been the decision Margo and I made to participate in the launch of a new digital publication focused solely on NonStop – the new NonStop Insider eMagazine – that has us highly motivated to continue writing feature stories on NonStop. This time, it’s been about the independent NonStop vendor community that has been the focus of many of the stories published to date and this continues with the fourth issue including even more articles than in previous issues.

There are now more than 1,000 interested parties who have become subscribers to NonStop Insider and for a new publication, with only a handful of issues published, this is a really good accomplishment following such a short incubation period.
And you can read the latest issue, at:

However, this hasn’t been achieved solely based on our own singlemindedness to succeed with something new for the NonStop community. Margo and I happily tip our hats to the good folks at TCM Solutions up in Scotland. If it wasn’t for Tony and Daniel Craig, together with the support from Collin Yates, this eMagazine wouldn’t have gotten off the ground. It takes a lot of resources to build the web site, add each issue and them market to the community. But the most important aspect for me is that the NonStop community benefits from having multiple perspectives created for all things NonStop related. There cannot be too many publications focused on NonStop and at a time when traditional sources of information continue to fall behind the times (when it comes to news about NonStop) we see NonStop Insider filling a very important niche. So yes, subscribe and always remember that publication of articles is free. Whether you are a NonStop user or a NonStop vendor, send all material to

LinkedIn groups continue to prosper and there’s never a shortage of opinions when topics close to the heart of the NonStop community are broached. I’m always looking for unique ways to stimulate discussions and more than once I have been chastised for starting somewhat leading conversations. There are many LinkedIn followers of mine who are aware of my tactics but don’t for one moment think I am going to go easy in this respect for 2017. After all, it’s one of the best vehicles I know of to check whether the NonStop community still has a post and even now, several years after it was created, I really do enjoy kicking off something fresh to the LinkedIn group, Fools for NonStop 

None of what I am covering above could have taken place if there just wasn’t any news coming from HPE about NonStop. It is something that gets a tad overused in some circles but it’s hard to argue that NonStop is re-entering a new golden age for fault tolerant solutions. The sheer complexity of today’s IT as hybrids of just about everything are emerging and influencing the types of systems being deployed – hybrid is just another way to throw a blanket over transitions that leave traditional systems on the floor of the data center as new converged systems and cloud computing take hold.  The option to go with the new NonStop X family of x86 servers or to look further afield at running vNonStop are all exciting options NonStop development is rolling out in 2017.

There is likely still a lot of new material yet to be announced. I am often asked about the ongoing value proposition of NonStop. Having written a TCO paper on NonStop several years ago that threw considerable favorable light on NonStop in this regard, looking at what HPE is now doing for NonStop only makes TCO table look even more favorable for NonStop. It’s hard to argue with the savings that come from running NonStop on an x86 architecture. On the other hand, perhaps the biggest contribution of all to driving even more costs out of NonStop is yet to make an impression with CIOs. 

Look for big things to come in 2017 with regards to NonStop SQL/MX given the work development has undertaken to provide Oracle compatibility. I suspect this will catch many by surprise and perhaps no bigger user story on the success of NonStop SQL/MX replacing Oracle will be the story coming from HPE’s own IT where such migrations to NonStop SQL/MX have already begun.

There is a lull in the winds sweeping up the nearby Colorado Rockies. The front ranges have been stripped of snow that fell overnight. However, there is probably a lot more wind headed our way before there is any sign of spring making a return, and when it comes to NonStop I am expecting to see even more changes coming with many eyes focused on vNonStop whereby Nonstop runs in a virtual environment. It’s in Beta and it’s already being tested by at least one big solutions vendor. 

So, let’s not be too quiet about this. Let’s make as much noise as we possibly can. Let’s be boisterous in our enthusiasm as this is all exciting news for the NonStop community. Many years ago, following the launch of the Cyclone system, Jimmy Treybig suggested that in time, NonStop would be one of three – IBM, DEC and Tandem. Wouldn’t it be great if this now comes to be – Linux, Windows and NonStop. It’s all possible so stay tuned; the fun has only just begun!

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