Events tend to develop their own momentum as their programs unfold. Whether it is just a one day roadshow or a more elaborate gathering, the energy created through the almost constant interaction of the attendees is enough to stimulate side conversations that explore topics that may arise following keynote sessions and major platform and solutions updates. This was definitely the case with NonStop Technical Boot Camp 2022 (NonStopTBC22) where the NonStop community came together for its annual conference.
There are other HPE conferences held throughout the year that call on us to commit time and money for an opportunity to hear the latest news on all things related to HPE and to the IT industry, however, for the NonStop community to have the opportunity to participate in a conference solely focused on NonStop continues to elevate NonStopTBC22 to a position of being the premier event of the year. With a program created to touch on almost every aspect of interest to the NonStop community it once again succeeded in offering something for everyone.
In achieving this success the effort exerted by the Connect organization working with the HPE NonStop team was hard to ignore once again. Any casual glance of the program highlighted just how important it was to the NonStop team and how much effort the team gave to this conference. Throughout the event HPE team’s fingerprints could be seen on an agenda filled with HPE NonStop employees participants. For the NonStop product management team this was not just the premier event of the year for the NonStop community but for the product management organization itself. This was an event to shine and Product Management certainly did this year.
If you missed attending NonStopTBC22 this year then you missed out on an occasion that celebrated a return to in-person events. From the outset it was clear that this conference attracted a worldwide audience with as many new faces making an appearance as there were long term supporters – a surprise to all present.
There was an expectation that with the passing of the worst of the global pandemic there would be an uptick in interest in live events, but even so, looking out at the audience that gathered for the first day’s keynotes, it certainly proved once again that holding an event for just the NonStop community would still draw a crowd.
this year’s TBC was very much a ‘rebound’ event after
the pandemic and despite customer numbers being lighter
than expected, it was a successful event.
the customer delegates are comforte customers
and we took the opportunity to rekindle the relationships at TBC.
event was well organized and run (a big thank you to
the Connect team) and we’re very much looking forward to
next year’s TBC in Denver (and in Edinburgh).”
Director Partner Development & Marketing NonStop Solutions
As those present were often heard repeating throughout the conference, this rebound was indeed a special occasion that they were pleased not to have missed. When it came time for a key contributor to the event’s agenda of sessions, Mark Pollans, Senior Worldwide Product Manager, HPE NonStop, stepped onto the stage to launch NonStopTBC22, he too was pleasantly surprised by the number of attendees and the presence of those attending a NonStop TBC for their first time.
“When I stepped onto the stage as the event began, I asked the audience two questions, answers to both confirmed for me that we were overdue for a global face to face event. ‘How many of you have travelled from outside the US to be here with us this week? When it appeared as though a third of the audience raised their hands, I let out an audible, ‘Wow!’
“I then followed this with another question, ‘How many are attending a NonStopTBC22 for your very first time? Again I was pleasantly surprised to see about a third of the participants were raising their hands.”
Myself, having had the opportunity to be the ITUG Summit chair on three occasions during the transition from Tandem Computers to the days of Compaq and then attending as the ITUG Chairman during the merger of Compaq with HP, I am well aware of the demands that are placed on those tasked with creating the program agenda for the annual gathering of the NonStop community.
On the occasion of NonStopTBC22 Mark was helped out by the support of Wendy Bartlett, an independent consultant, with a lengthy tenure within NonStop development. Together Mark and Wendy were instrumental in walking that fine line between scheduling NonStop sessions with minimal conflict among NonStop presenters and with those from the NonStop vendor community.
At the previous in-person event there had been a Hackathon held for those software developers receptive as to what more they might learn about NonStop. Reviews following this somewhat competitive gathering of a small cross section of the NonStop software developers were mixed. While planning for NonStopTBC22, NonStop Product Management elected to take a different approach. Mark Pollans commented:
“Back in 2019, the previous pre-event hands-on challenge was a great addition to the TBC although the turn out wasn’t as high as we had hoped. For NonStopTBC22, we decided to see what could be done to make it a more inviting pre-event activity.
“No longer branded as a ‘Hackathon’ but instead as the ‘NonStop Design Challenge,’ the room was full of participants and the problem statement given to participating groups proved more than challenging.
“If you were unable to attend NonStopTBC22 Design Challenge, then you missed out on a fun time - educational and challenging for sure, and still a fun time that celebrated NonStop. With a successful activity completed, it sets the bar higher for next year’s event where we look forward to even more participants.”
Mark wasn't alone with his comments as Wendy went on to say, how she "was pleased to see the range of possible solutions from the four teams and that judging wasn't easy especially given the potential real-life tradeoffs that would have to be made about time and effort required for initial development versus ongoing maintainability and adaptability. There will be an article about the challenge in the next issue of The Connection."
Perhaps the most intriguing one of keynote presentations was that given by VP and Lab Director, HPE Systems Architecture Lab, Cullen Bash. With a title of The Tech Side of Sustainability, his presentation opened with observations of how compute was not keeping up and that the days of silicon were definitely numbered.
“Exponentially increasing (volume of) data multiplied by exploding data sources multiplied further by shrinking time to action (is giving rise to) massive advances in computing power NEEDED EVERYWHERE,” was perhaps the most startling slide of his presentation. This was creating a dilemma when it came to power and cooling that was driving the sustainability open question as to how best improve energy efficiency from edge to supercomputer to cloud.
What many attendees caught onto quickly was that the insights provided by Cullen Bash were indicative of what would likely trickle down to the NonStop community. With the days of silicon numbered NonStop, along with other platforms dependent on compute, would likely become beneficiary of research into the use of photonics.
“Today’s data-intensive applications have an insatiable demand for data movement, consuming too much bandwidth and energy for electrons,” said Cullen Bash. This isn’t the first time photonics have been mentioned by those from HPE labs, but in the context of sustainability, the likelihood that this research would apply to HPE’s products seemed just as inevitable as was the lessening of enthusiasm to keep stacking chips one atop the other.
Getting the glimpse into where HPE Labs was headed? Priceless! It often takes an exposure to where IT as an industry is headed to generate as many conversations as it provided immediate answers. Nowhere could the NonStop community go to hear a more illuminating presentation – no photon puns intended – that at this year’s NonStopTBC22.
If you missed attending this year then planning for next year might be advantageous, as I have to believe there will be others from HPE Labs invited to participate in future NonStop events.
As for my own personal drivers for attending NonStopTBC22 then I can look no further than the inaugural gathering of the Tech Forum, Business Integration and Analysis. Given how this starts with data movement and how the understanding of the NonStop community is that analysis will be off-platform and where HPE Apollo servers are likely candidates to help out, starting a conversation on how to map this to real world solutions seemed an obvious start to this journey.
While this Tech Forum was up against major NonStop product updates and even as the hotel provided ample refreshments, including numerous adult beverages, it was pleasing to see the participation by Roland Lemoine of NonStop product management together with a number of vendors actively engaged in supporting the NonStop community with data movement solutions.
This is a Tech Forum that I will continue to promote and to update you on how and what the NonStop vendor community is doing to support what are next steps to further elicit support from the NonStop user community. We hope to see users joining this connect group through registering via the Connect web site – look for references to the Tech Forum Business Integration and Analysis under the web site’s Community tab.
I only reference this as the NonStop community has a long standing tradition of supporting SIGs and Birds of a Feather and now, with Business Integration and Analysis being a continuation of this tradition (with Connect championing such gatherings), it represents a positive development for everyone.
The work that continues with NonStop Product Management already looking ahead as is the Connect organization – will we see you in Denver next year? Will you be in Edinburgh next May for the European-centric eBITUG? I have committed to participating even as I have already penciled in NonStopTBC23.
There is a lot of time to consider whether you will participate in either or both events, perhaps going so far as to consider giving a presentation – NonStop users are always welcomed with open arms according to Mark Pollans. Is what took place this year encouragement enough to fuel even more enthusiasm about events to come?
As Mark Pollans told me, “where else can you go to get as much information on what’s happening in the world of NonStop than at an international NonStop Technical Boot Camp; you just have to be there to hear and see for yourself!” If you missed out on this years’ conference in part or in full then don’t miss out on what will take place in 2023. Take this as your open invitation - we all look forward to seeing you!