As new NonStop products continue to be unveiled we all need access to services providers!

As often as we hear, “open to the elements” and we cringe, for NonStop users, open is a good thing – but it’s even better with help from service providers …

Well, the weather isn’t doing us any favors even if it is nowhere as bad as what we are looking at for the US Mid-West and East Coast It’s SuperBowl Sunday and with the venue being Minneapolis it’s safe to say it’s really, really, cold. Thank goodness the venue will be inside a dome, but just making the trek from car to stadium will be a challenge for many. Forecasters are telling their audiences that frostbite will set in within 30 minutes so spectators will need to be careful. And yet, it is football after all and many a time we have seen games played in atrocious conditions inside of stadiums open to the elements.

We want to be close to the action sometimes and feel as though we are truly involved in the game, but there are limits after all. On the other hand, more clubs are spending the billion dollars it takes to build a temperature controlled dome where the luxury boxes truly shield well-heeled folks from all that could mess with making sure they can pursue fine-dining even as the contestants belt each other into submission. Oh well, it’s only a game, but somehow there is a certain logic behind naming some playing fields colosseums.

Open to the elements; atrocious conditions, bordering on hostile no matter the temperature and all the while, working hard to improve services when it comes to food and drink and even the speed with which spectators can find their seats it continues to be all about the customer experience. It’s all happening at the stadium even as it is all happening for the NonStop user, even as it is a simple reminder of all the moving parts that make up a mission-critical application. Oftentimes, it is the combination of products and services that lead to success when it comes to that all-important moment when you interact with a customer.

I was first introduced to the game during my Universities “orientation week” during the Australian Summer of ’69. It was a replay, of course, but it was SuperBowl III, made famous by the “guarantee of victory” given by the Jet’s quarterback, Joe Namath. As this replay of SuperBowl III was being played in an air-conditioned theatrette, it was only natural to head on in as the temperatures out on the campus had passed well beyond 100 degrees. Since that time, I haven’t missed all that many SuperBowls even as any room with air conditioning has continued to prove attractive to me through the years. Indeed, as it has been reported elsewhere, upon arrival for my cadetship with the steelworks, I opted for EDP / MIS as the computers mandated an air-conditioned environment and a steelworks, in Australia, in summer wasn’t for everyone.  

Open to the elements? Even as I wrote the observation above, it reminded me of just how open to the elements our networks have become. For the NonStop community, there has always been something that needed to be “plugged in”, whether it was a network being terminated at a NonStop System or the NonStop System itself plugging into other systems within the data center. It mattered little over time as network protocols morphed to where they were similar with “what’s your IP address”, the only request we would make. But how much access to do we have with experts in just how to pull this all together?

While networks have been a focus of mine for quite a long time now, our systems too have become open. There is so much talk of late about REST and JSON and even node.js and serverside Java script. Applications have become a sequence of microservices and all those we connect to want to know what are the APIs and how best to use them. I thought providing a WSDL was all that would be required to support modern application deployments but the momentum behind WSDL proved short-lived. As for SOA / Web services, they too will be carrying that dreaded legacy label very shortly. But who do we turn to for expertise in these areas and about creating new applications?

With the SuperBowl a topic of many conversations this weekend even as it is a time to celebrate with family and friends, it also represents the very pinnacle of the game of American football or gridiron or simply the NFL. Scattered around the playing field are the best athletes the sport generates, each playing a unique position such that the very idea that “playing football” oftentimes can be oxymoronic.  Some play on the offense while others play on the defense even as others play on something coaches call special teams. Every position, either side of the ball, is labelled differently and calls for specialized skills so much so that teams have positional coaches for every position played. Unfortunately, IT is seeing increased specialization even as those involved have little by way of coaching staff to turn to and for the NonStop community, this is becoming a serious concern for every NonStop stakeholder.

HPE had its services offerings. but they were spun off and the services group they kept, what HPE now calls PointNext, has much bigger issues to address – simplifying hybrid IT, empowering the edge, etc. We have read all the messaging and seen the presentations but NonStop doesn’t quite fit the mold, at least, not yet. Even as NonStop pushes ahead with programs that make it easier to participate in today’s open world, the unfortunate paradox is that it requires specialists to properly set-up NonStop in order to make this happy. And into this environment, HPE has added yet one more parameter demanding specialist skills – running NonStop applications as virtualized NonStop workloads. Ouch!

Talking with TCM Solutions, Daniel Craig, he reminded me of how, “We all know of the spin-merge actions of HPE last year but even as these included the spin-merge of their former HPE Services group, together with the creation of a more specialized, HPE-focused services group, PointNext – formerly the Enterprise Group’s Technology Services – when it comes to NonStop there are numerous gaps that are just not being addressed by HPE.” In other words, according to Craig, “These gaps will likely present issues for some NonStop users – particularly those contemplating the move to virtualized NonStop – but at TCM we see them as opportunities for the NonStop vendor community to step up and provide expertise that otherwise may not be available to every NonStop user.

Yes, opportunities, according to Craig. For those in the managed services business, it has become clear that the need for specialist players and even coaches, is becoming paramount across the NonStop community. The above quotes appeared in a post of January 28, 2018, to the LinkedIn blog, Pulse and if you missed reading the complete post when it came out, you can follow this link:
Services, not just products - NonStop continues to push deeper into the data center.

The SuperBowl is probably over – yes, we are recording it just to see the advertisements, as living in America, there is no way we will miss hearing about who won. Open to the elements – how often do we hear this expression used in situations where bad news was about to be delivered. For the NonStop community it seems as though we have been exposed to the elements for a very long time and made the necessary adjustments. And yet, even as we expect to add even more “new logos” to the NonStop community, there is much more to be done when it comes to providing access to experienced NonStop professionals.

It isn’t so much a request for a cushy air-conditioned dome with great food being provided, but rather, a growing demand for experts who can help us make the jump required to the types of mission-critical operations we fully expect to see emerge in the next year or so. Fortunately, there are managed service providers stepping up who can really help us, no matter what position we play and for that, the NonStop community is well positioned.       

“And for TCM, this is all very positive,” added Craig. “We believe we are well-placed to provide the level of managed services due to our twenty plus year track record of designing and delivering managed services.” Whether it is traditional NonStop or even the new virtualized NonStop, it is still all about implementing and running mission-critical applications, and said Craig, “We are experts in NonStop and in how to build and run a secure, safe NonStop service and we expect to see many companies looking to us to guide them through this very important transition to the new, fully virtualized, world of NonStop!”

All I can add at this time of night is that well, it's time to fly like an eagle! 


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