Monday, June 4, 2018

Summer is a-comin' – ready for HPE Discover!

Summertime and the number or RUG events heats up as we look ahead to HPE Discover; will we see you there?

Having recently downsized our home and moved further north, we had to find somewhere safe to park our vehicles. We have moved out of Boulder and now live just outside Ft Collins, really close to the Ft Collins HPE offices on E. Harmony Rd – just one freeway exit north of us. Margo’s reaction in the photo is one of surprise mixed with a little disbelief that we could indeed fit everything into our new 20’ X 50’ heated and secured storage garage. Yes, the RV, our trailer and Corvette along with our remaining motorcycle cruiser have it good and it means that on sunny January days, when the temperature along Colorado’s front ranges can climb as high as 70 degrees, we can go camping!

But forget winter, summer is now just a matter of a few weeks away and with summer almost on us, events, symposiums and conferences take center stage for the NonStop community. Shortly we will be getting in the car and driving to Dallas for N2TUG. I have already posted about this event back on May 10, 2018,
Road Trip – old or new it doesn’t matter; it’s the journey! However, in case you missed that update, I am anticipating a number of surprises not the least being an opportunity to catch up with Jimmy Treybig, the founder and creator of Tandem Computers.

While we are often reluctant to recognize our past, IT should always be cognizant of its pioneering leaders, especially when their influence can still be felt four decades later. Mind you, not every technology breakthrough left an indelible mark on IT – can you recall the excitement IBM created when it unveiled its breakthrough with Josephson Junctions? While these devices were going to exploit superconductivity, quantum tunneling and Josephson effects they operated at temperatures about 4 degrees above absolute zero – “temperatures that are very challenging to achieve in operation.” A computer that just didn’t fail seemed to be a pipedream to many all those years ago even if it didn’t need anything quite as exotic as IBM’s proposed new technology.

What is more important with the arrival of fault tolerant computing is that it opened the door wide to transaction processing that was both reliable and easy to program. Overnight an ecosystem of solutions vendors rushed to exploit its capabilities in many markets – from healthcare to newspapers to supply chains to banking. The former Tandem Computers built an Alliance Program around this ecosystem and published a guide to applications that at one point was more than an inch thick. The number of vertical markets served by today’s NonStop systems may be down on the numbers of the past but the value is certainly back to where it was in the heydays of Tandem Computers.

It is indeed a rare occurrence for a technology to remain influential for as long as Tandem / NonStop continue to be to this very day. Ownership has changed through the years to where it is now part of HPE’s Mission Critical Systems business. This is an appropriate landing place for NonStop within HPE as there isn’t a better technology to support mission critical transaction processing than NonStop systems. This is borne out by just how many of HPE’s competitors target the NonStop marketplace. From mainframes to Linux clusters to hybrid clouds, it’s all possible to get close to fault tolerance but not out-of-the box and definitely not at the price point of NonStop systems. The industry is being put on notice of NonStop’s continued longevity with the announcement of NonStop as software – fully virtualized NonStop workloads can run practically anywhere!

N2TUG will certainly be entertaining – the Dallas team always ensures there is plenty to cheer – and the NonStop community in Dallas and the surrounding cities remain NonStop stalwarts with decades of experience with NonStop. Even so, summer is coming and with it major events as well as the phased introduction to the new virtualized NonStop and the SQL that is compatible with Oracle along with support for Blockchain / Distributed Ledger Technology. And if you want to see real-world demos and talk to those closest to the technology then there is another event you need to plan for – HPE Discover 2018, Las Vegas.

Returning from the drive to Dallas for N2TUG Margo and I will have only a week back home before repacking and heading for Las Vegas. Running from Monday afternoon through to Thursday morning, June 18 – 21, this is the place to go to hear HPE senior executive spell out the programs for the coming year. Last year we heard for the first time from outgoing HPE CEO, Meg Whitman, but this year and two quarters into his first year at the helm of the company, we will hear from the new HPE CEO, Antonio Neri. I had the opportunity to be present for HPE Discover 2017, Madrid, where Neri made his first appearance as a CEO and I can assure you, as a technologist guiding the fortunes of HPE, it is well worth taking time away from your regular business routines to hear him speak.

I have had an opportunity to address a number of communities both in person and via webinars. In fact, while in Dallas for N2TUG I will be providing a brief update on DataExpress, one of my valued clients, following a webinar with them in which I participated. I spoke to at GTUG on behalf of NTI and have provided updates on NonStop in a webinar with Striim folks. In all of them I made it a point to stress how thankful the NonStop community should be that HPE has a clearly articulated vision, is executing to a strategy that is extremely relevant in today’s business world and yes, most important of all, NonStop is a fully funded participant in the programs being driven by that strategy. And you will hear all about it at HPE Discover!

For too many years the NonStop community was left to wonder about the future of NonStop. There was more than one occasion when trying to find any presence of NonStop on the exhibition floor of HPE Discover was an exercise akin to treasure hunting, but even armed with a floor layout it was still hard to find, but no longer. If HPE Discover, Madrid, was a model for what to expect, you will find NonStop presence in multiple locations – there will always be somewhere to see NonStop converged systems but now, you will see NonStop anchoring demonstrations of blockchain following the deep port of R3: Corda to NonStop and NonStop SQL and yes, expect to see virtualized NonStop on display as well now that VMware supports virtualized NonStop workloads.

Once again, I will be a guest of HPE and as such, am extremely thankful for HPE’s generosity and support. I will be part of the independent blogging community and as such, be part of a small group HPE calls influencers. HPE will be providing us with our own meeting room where HPE managers will be coming to us to update us on their products and solutions. If previous occasions are any guide, we will even get to hear from real HPE users as well and this is always a fun time – bloggers are by nature inquisitive and since HPE opens the floor to questions there is no reticence on the part of any of those seated at the table to be forthcoming with questions of interest to them – as a heads up, watch this blog site during the week of HPE Discover for updates direct from the exhibition floor!
There is a very strong sense of anticipation whenever spring gives way to summer. Storage locker doors are flung wide open and stuff we put to one side for winter sees the light of day. In the coming days there will be a lot of miles covered and many HPE and NonStop stakeholders will be approached. But to think of NonStop and the people so intimately involved with NonStop from its earliest days still generates the excitement it did all those years ago and as I wrap this post, all I can think of are the lyrics to
an old Nat "King" Cole
What is so rare
As June in the air?
Summer is a-comin' in!
  Safe travels and see you in Dallas and yes, see you too in Las Vegas!

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