Monday, April 10, 2017

NonStop and Hybrid IT; a natural for HPE!

HPE continues to emphasize the three pillars of their strategy, hybrid IT; the intelligent edge; and services. It’s only natural for the NonStop community to look at where NonStop fits and it is clearly hybrid IT.  

Coincidences and somewhat serendipitous situations often occur in our lives. For almost no reason at all, something will just appear or simply happens which take us completely by surprise to the point we are oftentimes left scratching our heads. “Didn’t see that coming,” being the operative thought whenever this does happen. And yet, perhaps it is because we have something on our minds that we become more sensitive to such incidents and let them take on more meaning than we would otherwise grant them. 

Stuck in traffic on a minor road in Boulder, Colorado, waiting for the traffic lights to change, I just happen to glance at the license plate on the car ahead of me – AUSS1E. Go figure; there is another Aussie in Boulder. What a coincidence! But then again, Boulder has attracted residents from all over the world – if you like to climb rocks, run marathons and cycle to the top of 14,000 foot peaks, then this is your place. It had only been a short time before that occurrence that Margo and I had been taking a serious look at the possibility of taking some time off to travel back to Sydney but no, Margo wouldn’t accept this coincidence as a sign that we should move quickly to confirm our tickets.

Out of a newly formed habit, I am now looking at the badges on cars to see whether or not they are hybrids as, in the city of Boulder, hybrid drivetrains seem to be everywhere. It is like buying a new car in black thinking your choice is unique only to return to the road and find almost every instance of the model you chose is black – why hadn’t I seen so many of these cars before? The HPE strategy anchored on hybrid IT continues to be the center piece of pretty much every official communication coming from HPE executives and that is no coincidence. If you have as yet not taken a good look at all that is happening around HPE and missed the emphasis being given to hybrid IT then you may just want to do a search. You may be surprised by what comes back as a result – it’s everywhere!

Among the more common definitions of hybrid IT to be found on the web are the explanations that tell us that hybrid IT is an approach to enterprise computing in which an organization provides and manages some of its IT resources in-house but uses cloud-based services for others. Gartner, on the other hand, has been a little more adventurous when it said that hybrid IT is all about transforming IT architectures and the role of IT itself and that hybrid IT is the result of combining internal and external services, usually from a combination of internal and public clouds in support of the business – a reasonable push promoting new-age IT as being solely based on a combination of private and public clouds. HPE, on the other hand is very public in its messaging that hybrid IT “is designed to accelerate your business, not work against it. (Hybrid IT) leverages the best of traditional IT, private cloud, and public cloud to enable the right mix to meet the needs of your business.” To hear more from HPE on hybrid IT, you may want to visit HPE’s web site and check out the pages, Why Hybrid IT?

Including traditional IT as part of hybrid IT is important. Very few enterprises I have looked into are preparing to dump their entire current IT infrastructure in favor of private clouds even as they turn to public clouds for some additional resources. Private cloud usage will come, but initially, it will be integrated with existing IT infrastructure if for no other reason than these enterprises will be looking to parallel run some applications – particularly those less-than mission-critical initially - and for a number of these organizations, the potential cost-savings may not be immediately realized. As with the introductions of all new technologies, architectures and services, there could very well be an escalation of expenses before they trend back down to what the industry believes should be achievable. Personally, I am suspicious of anything that looks too good to believe as in all likelihood, for many enterprises it will be exactly that; too good to be true!

Then again, looking around at what NonStop customers are considering it’s no coincidence that they are talking about mixing NonStop with open systems such as Linux. For many this is a first step down the path to hybrid IT. Concerned about the possible additional expenses involved, it’s almost a no-brainer to trialing applications spilt between NonStop and Linux, especially when Linux applications can now more readily capitalize on NS SQL running on an adjacent NonStop system – for data critical to the business, having access to a fault tolerant SQL on NonStop may be among the most cost-effective ways to get a toe in the water with respect to managing a platform that straddles two different operating systems. Clouds may still be a ways off for most NonStop customers but building expertise this way will prove highly beneficial down the road.

Ultimately, what HPE is promoting as hybrid IT, combining traditional IT with simple Linux server farms followed naturally enough by a mix of both private and public clouds seems the more realistic approach to take. Remember Sun, all those years ago (at the height of the dot.com boom), when one of its chief scientists “coined the phrase, ‘The network is the computer!’” as reported in the media? Well it’s just not that simple and so it is with hybrid IT – the data center is no more a cloud than the network was a computer. Our teenage offspring may think that their smartphones only need the net to function but IT professionals are fully aware of all the systems operating, mostly out of sight, on the other side of that net.

HPE CEO, Meg Whitman, when addressing financial analysts recently, following the release of the Q1, 2017 financial results, stated for the record that, “during the past few months, we’ve been preparing HPE to compete aggressively following the spin mergers of ES and software. To that end, we’ve been making significant changes to our organization, all during the final intense months before the ES separation and as the Software separation (was) underway. In just the last quarter, we’ve reshaped the entire Enterprise Group business to better drive the three pillars of our strategy, hybrid IT; the intelligent edge; and services.” While none of us could say that we didn’t see this coming but a trimmed down HPE focused on hybrid IT is really good news for NonStop and I can’t help wondering – is what we are seeing implemented within HPE’s own IT where NonStop is playing a very serious role, a foretaste of what’s to come for NonStop?

In other words, call it coincidence or call it simply serendipity, given the right amount of attention (with just a little more illumination coming from the HPE spotlight), is there more NonStop engagement within HPE than we may have previously thought? Is there traction developing between NonStop and the major initiatives supporting the three pillars of the HPE strategy? Now, as I look around at the NonStop community that I know so well, I am beginning to see signs that NonStop is doing a lot better than many are prepared to acknowledge. It didn’t even take me buying a NonStop system of my own – yes, please, in black – for these signs to be recognized.

Traditional NonStop systems operating in combination with server farms and clouds? NonStop, a part of hybrid IT?  Solutions looking to leverage the latest with NSADI for better execution across NonStop and Linux? From everything I am seeing of late, then yes! And more, yes! No matter how you look at the events unfolding there is more sightings of NonStop than I have seen in a while and for the NonStop community, there is a lot to be thankful for and gaining more and more of HPE’s mindshare is probably just the beginning. After all, when you think about it – with NonStop and the CLIMs dating back a decade or so - what other group within the HPE Enterprise Group has more experience running hybrid IT “in a box” than NonStop does? As best as I can tell, even with more than one glance at the greater HPE, no other group whatsoever!    

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