Tuesday, December 25, 2018

What did you do in this season of joy?

Australia is a big country offering many options – we need to talk to others before deciding where to go; isn’t this true also of how we deal with the new, bigger NonStop product offerings?

With as much time as we have spent these past few weeks in and around Sydney it seems we are still only scratching the surface when it comes to all that the city has to offer. Ask anyone what place or event is worth attending and the responses vary as widely as the landscape itself. Australia is truly “the big country” and if there are any Texans curious about the relative size of the states making up Australia, at 1,021,478 square miles Western Australia could be home to three and a half Texas size states. Even the state of Queensland could house two and a half Texas size states (and seven Great Britains, not to forget, five Japans). Making sure you see the best of Australia quickly becomes a head-scratching exercise for many visitors to its shores unfamiliar with the size of Australia. 

Determining where to go and setting priorities has always been the challenge for anyone visiting Australia for the first time. We have seen the shell-shocked look on the faces of many first-timers to Sydney as they begin to take in the scope of this magical harbor city. What I continue to be drawn to is just how well Sydney’s city fathers move to ensure the old blends with the new and even if it is just façade architecture, as it is most of the time, older buildings still hold their charm. The hotel we will be staying at the end of our Australian tour is relatively new, but it is very well integrated with the original post office retaining the charm of a past era.

I ended my last post with comments about the real challenge for NonStop and its meeting the rising demand to process transactions is where exactly NonStop systems of the future will be stationed – closer to the core or out on the edge? However, absent in this post was any reference to what real NonStop users were doing with NonStop today – what were their agendas and how enthusiastic were they about the path chosen by HPE for NonStop development. With as much focus as has been directed on HPE’s plans and to some extent, what the NonStop vendor community is doing, as the year winds down it’s a good time to look back at what is happening across the NonStop user community.

The agenda may have changed following the news from the NonStop Technical Boot Camp that the Nonstop i family was being phased out and that increasingly, it will become harder and harder to place orders for new i systems. Not entirely unexpected, but this will translate to a lot of deals being made in 2019 for NonStop X systems, so much so that the move to NonStop X will accelerate. Many enterprises are committed to purchasing only the latest systems on offer, so this decision by HPE to pull back from aggressively selling NonStop i systems is going to see many more NonStop users pivot towards NonStop X and the L-Series Operating System (OS) and stack.

Like those first-time visitors to Sydney looking at what others are choosing to do during their “3 perfect days” in the city, it is expected that there will be many NonStop users looking to see what others have been doing of late as they check out the steps they will need to take to migrate to NonStop and to the L-series OS. After the past couple of years of quietly pursuing migrations there are a number of vendors and users opening up to what they have done and of the number of orders for NonStop X systems and it’s L-Series sibling, virtualized NonStop (vNS), that have been placed. Did you catch the news at TBC of how NTI, for instance, has placed firm orders for multiple copies of vNS? Did you hear too of NTI’s plans to move quickly to create a virtual playing field for both vendors and users alike to check their own next steps into the world of virtualization?

One of the highlights, from my perspective, that came out of TBC was the news about just how many user presentations sponsored by OmniPayments were given. With powerhouse users like Visa, JCPenney and Evertec providing updates – and yes, I know with a certainty that JCPenney was all about NonStop X – there is no excuse really for not knowing what’s happening within the NonStop community. To read more of this, check out the post to the OmniPayments blog, OmniPayments covers a lot of ground at NonStop Technical Bootcamp; customers step up to talk about experience with OmniPayments! You may just be surprised by what you read and just like NTI, OmniPayments too is heavily committed to rolling out NonStop as a Service with its solutions available on the basis of SaaS via its OmniCloudX offerings. And in support of this, it’s NonStop X that holds center stage.

What is apparent here when it comes to what NonStop users are doing and what is determining the direction they take it has as much to do with partnerships as it has to do with products per se. The former reluctance of some very big middleware and even solutions vendors to put in the heavy lifting to support the Intel x86 architecture is now history with these products now supporting the L-Series. But as impressive as the many NonStop user presentations were at TBC, it’s still good to be able to read about migrations published as user case studies. Over the years, these have proved to be hard to come by as many enterprises are reluctant to put anything in writing that could be mistaken for a product endorsement and yet, when these case studies do appear they are worth their weight in gold.

Raymond James can best be described as a diversified financial services holding company with subsidiaries engaged in investment and financial planning, investment banking and asset management. This is how the Raymond James company describes itself in a case study talking about its migration from multiple Itanium-based NonStop System i systems to multiple x86 NonStop System X systems. “Stepping up from the two-dual core NB54016 systems and the one dual core NB54008 and bringing in to Raymond James two 10 CPU NS7 and two 4 CPU NS7 systems was a significant increase in performance,” noted (Raymond James’ Senior NonStop System Engineer John) Trizis.   

“Important for the business, on the other side, was how the data has been archived and purged: deleting archived data from seven years ago it’s being done by purging 100MBytes of data. When it comes to archiving today’s data we were talking terabytes, which is thousands times more than 7 years ago. Raymond James had to recalculate its storage needs not only for the present backups and archives, but also for the future. And again, this is where working with ETI-NET really helped.” This is how Raymond James described the work that had to be done as well as some of the challenges it faces when addressing its data needs now and for what they expect to see in the future as part of user case study just published and in the public domain.

“There wasn’t any hesitation on the part of ETI-NET to support us. Unlike other NonStop vendors we had worked in the past with who were slow to move their products to NonStop X, ETI-NET did the upgrade fast and efficiently. So we had no concerns whatsoever about the ability of ETI-NET to support us,” added Trizis. “Yes, we did look at other vendors in the NonStop space, but given our history with ETI-NET, we felt confident that staying with them was our best course of action.” All of this information including the quotes by Trizis is contained in a user case study that has been made public, but if you missed it, just email ETI-NET COO, Sylvain Tétreault, as he would be only too happy to get a copy of the user case study into your hands.

These references to user presentations given at events and user case studies appearing in the media are important reinforcements of the success and indeed the enthusiasm and passion that are hard to hide. NonStop migrations will be a big deal in 2019 but it’s good to see as many enterprises as there are referenced here that are willing to talk about their experiences with migrations and the professional assistance they are getting from their partners. It’s always a good sign for any community that its users are willing to talk and I am anticipating that we will see more such case studies appearing as 2019 gets under way. And we should all be encouraged to see this move to publish and we should all be quick to ensure our management is seeing the referenceable material as it appears in various media.

As we fine-tune our own agendas for NonStop even as we continue to enjoy this joyous holiday season where celebrations dominate our conversations, let’s be sure we keep our eyes open to what our colleagues are doing when it comes to moving up to NonStop X. There should be no excuses out there when it comes to knowing what is going on, so let’s get in front of any conversations within our own enterprises. Yes, NonStop continues to add value for mission critical transaction processing even as it has few peers when it comes to executing 24 x 7 – and let’s keep the season of joy rolling in 2019 as we make the big moves to NonStop X!  

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