Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Lights are shining and NonStop takes center stage!

With the first post of 2017, we can now look forward to what will likely transpire for the NonStop community – new products and features, all aimed to growing the market for NonStop, will further highlight just how much is changing for the better …

For those of us living in the northern hemisphere the winter solstice is now behind us and the days are getting longer. Even if it’s just with the addition of a few seconds of daylight this will gradually extend to where we are having extra minutes of sunshine with each new day. With sunshine comes warmth and perhaps that’s the most important ingredient of all. Unless you live in the Florida Keys and don’t care all that much! Or you reside in the southern hemisphere were at this time of year it’s all about cricket and sailing and eating fresh lobster while imbibing on chilled chardonnay. Do I miss those lazy summer days of my youth when I lived in Sydney? Oh yes …

Walking out from my home early one morning, just before Christmas, to see if I had missed the arrival of packages the night before, I took the photo above. While the photo centered on the footpath light immediately in front of me, if you look closely you will see three other lights, further along the path and around the driveway, barely visible. But they were there, and as I ventured down the path, they shined even brighter. I didn’t stay out too long, mind you, as the temperature was well below freezing and the snow that had fallen overnight made any forward progress difficult. Did I just say how I still missed my summer days in Sydney?

But lights are shining and it isn’t limited to the illumination of our footpaths and driveways at this time of year. With the holiday season well and truly over as we return to the routines of our business lives, 2016 now appears to have been a time when lights began to shine more brightly for the NonStop community. Once again, what may have looked like a dimly lit path forward has had the spotlights turned on and the illumination from these bright lights cannot be ignored – NonStop has returned to center stage! The NonStop community has proved adept at navigating the NonStop roadmaps through the years knowing when to invest and when to embrace a new architecture or technology even as they have elected to embrace alternatives, but at no time did they ever elect to tune-out the messages coming from HPE nor did they elect not to prepare plans for what HPE NonStop was about to deliver.

"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail," attributed to Benjamin Franklin but more often these days expressed as "Failing to plan is planning to fail" is still pertinent to the place and time where we, the NonStop community, have come to – 2017. While others have paraphrased this quote, including Winston Churchill who was reputed to have remarked, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail" the point remains and as I have corresponded with a number of parties that continue to be active in the NonStop vendor community, it’s clear to me that having taken a deep breath following the 2016 NonStop Technical Boot Camp, it’s become very much a case of “back to the whiteboards” as plans and schedules are reworked based on the substance of product messages and demonstrations provided in the last quarter of 2016.

In my last post for 2016, Mall insights, and NonStop 2016 in review … I made reference to a couple of vendors to better support a number of my observations about last year. It wasn’t by any means a comprehensive list but more a case of a selection of highlights. However, if you missed reading that post (and I hope that after reading this new year’s post you will take a fresh look at it), you will have seen that I included references to OmniPayments and Striim as well as to the changing landscape for those providing outsourcing. The practice of outsourcing is coming under increased scrutiny; the year 2016 has represented a period of re-thinking as cloud operators put outsourcing practice under the microscope. The culprit here is cloud computing, particularly the industry that has arisen with the advent of public clouds. 

Amazon, Microsoft and Apple are leading the way in a transformation that few could have imagined just a short time ago but here’s the wrinkle for the NonStop community – outsourcing may have run its course but to meet the needs of an expanding NonStop installed base, managed services is on the rise. Just as we have craft beer establishments now growing in popularity at a time when the large breweries have become giant operations, so too is the craft specialist IT “boutique” gaining in popularity right alongside the biggest cloud provider. Simply put, not every business and not every system and solution benefits from a general offering and what we consider as an ideal application for NonStop will continue to see the popularity of NonStop grow right alongside cloud deployments – plan on it!

I can more clearly see the path forward for NonStop now that HPE has the lights shining brightly on NonStop. Better illumination generates more interest and this is followed by more sales which in turn bring more lights to focus on NonStop. Analytics, Database and yes, the ability to run both real and virtual NonStop have all come about in a relative brief period of time – it was only two years ago that news broke about the port of NonStop to the x86 architecture and since then, there has been no letup in the rate of change coming from NonStop development. And it’s no time to simply sit back and continue with business as normal. The very concept of laissez-faire and the status quo should be alien to all of us as the year 2017 starts.

These may have been popular economic sentiments centuries ago but “leaving it to itself” and even that “leaving in the state it was before” (and yes, I am reminded too of just how many of us fondly remember earlier times with Tandem), isn’t an option. HPE is giving us opportunities to really differentiate the way we support the companies we work with (and for) – more reliability with greater performance for the mission critical transactions that keep these companies stay in business. Simplistic? It’s often repeated at user events focused on NonStop, but essentially it’s a truism. Solutions designed not to fail will not fail in delivering solutions – sound familiar? But we have moved beyond simply working with failures as they take place to where we need to think more seriously about our ability to predict failure and to be more prescriptive with our responses to failure.

It was early in 2016 when I wrote a post to the IR web publication, Big Data changes trajectory of application monitoring - Monitoring NonStop boosted by analytics in which I noted how Prognosis is already demonstrating that it is pushing beyond just the visualization of alarms and alerts, together with highlighting potential root causes of problems, to where it is prescriptive in nature; providing operations with a heads-up as to what is about to happen so that businesses can be better prepared to take action. In a similar vein, it was this time last year when I published another post to the Striim blog, I May Be Behind the Wheel, but Very Soon, It’s Likely Striim That Will Keep Me Out of Harm’s Way! Where I suggested how nowhere do we see there being any lessening in the demand for better, timelier, information on changing behavior and so, being able to correlate real world activities with predictive models and apply course corrections all in real time, for the NonStop community it is becoming a necessity and not just a nice to have. Almost every piece of IT infrastructure we can depict will come with some form of stream analytics built in. So yes, I don’t see a single solution not needing integration with analytics and already, following NonStop roadmap updates work is underway to ensure we leave the status quo well and truly behind us!

In the coming weeks I will throw more light onto what’s happening with database and with managed services providers as these are very important developments to which we all should be paying attention. As Tony Craig, CEO at TCM Solutions, keeps reminding me, further sales success for NonStop systems will result in there being the need to deliver tailored, 24 x 7, NonStop solutions around the globe, quickly, efficiently and cost effectively, at a time where trying to find the resource to provide these solutions is, at times (and in places), impossible! But crucially, we are committed to doing all this whilst safeguarding the future of NonStop support by creating an environment that fosters innovation, sharing ideas and learning through each other.  As a specialist IT boutique, gaining in popularity right alongside much bigger, but more generalized, providers, TCM differentiates by its expertise in NonStop, and it has much to gain in 2017 and perhaps, in the case of TCM, my previous references to the craft beer industry should have also included references to the craft Scotch whisky industry.

No, we cannot ignore the lights shining brightly on NonStop nor can we just keep on doing what we have always been doing. With the clients that I have today I am being continually reminded that there is so much to be gained from increasing the marketing in support of NonStop which breaks down into simply funding the creation of more information on the value proposition of NonStop that is directed at the broader IT marketplace. This is something I am focused on for 2017 and after almost a decade of making sure that the lights brought to bear on NonStop are not lost in this broader IT marketplace. And talking of beer and whisky, here’s to a prosperous 2017 for all involved with NonStop and let those spotlights shine brightly!


Anonymous said...

I wonder how on the ball/commited HPE really is?

I teach about NonStop and my first class of 2017, next week, has been cancelled.

No students, as the Education dept forgot to announce the class :-(

Mind you the real education is all outsourced these days so what does HPE care??

Richard Buckle said...

Ouch - HPE failed to promote? That hurts - HPE, what happened?