Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Predictions you may regret!

There have been occasions when my predictions have turned out to be way off the mark. And when it comes to technology I am not alone when it comes to straying afield. However, when it comes to clouds computing I have little doubt that there is a future for NonStop!
Predictions have a way of coming back to haunt you. Aggressive forecasts about what is going to happen next should be best left to professionals – the local television weather spokesperson. It was many years ago that we all laughed at the title of the James Bond movie “Never say Never Again” where after more than a decade’s absence (from playing the role) Sean Connery did indeed return to make one last appearance in the iconic role that has indeed defined his career; foolishly having said he would never play that role again.

The photo at the top of the page was taken by good friend Brian when we stopped by to watch an AMLS event in the streets of Long Beach – the subject of the April 26, 2010, post "What's in your container?" It depicts Margo and I standing near an Aston Martin prototype wearing the number 007, a connection hardly anyone would miss. After all, for many, Aston Martin, Sean Connery, and James Bond would be forever intertwined. Brian, his wife Jan, along with Margo and myself were attending the event to cheer on the Corvette team but we couldn’t resist the photo opportunity. As for diehard Corvette families such as ours, never a thought was spent on wondering about Aston Martins.

“The cars we drive are track cars – hard, yet fine-tuned; we’ll never have a luxury car,” so said Brian. And yet it was only the weekend before last, in between preparing the BBQ and bringing the food outdoors, when Brian found time to join me for a quick visit to the local Aston Martin dealership and where, accompanied by his wife Jan, ended up coming away with an Aston Martin Vantage V8.

If I had suggested to Brian that he was going to buy a car before dinner and yes, a supercar at that, I suspect he would have questioned what it was that I had been drinking. Not the usual take-away from a Buckle’s soirĂ©e. And what was that? Never say never, again?

Only a short time ago it had been in email exchange that I had with Bruce Williamson, a former colleague of mine that had influence two recent posts I had made to the blog, comForte Lounge. Readers may recall the exchanges I had over his prediction that when it came to end-user interaction with applications, according to Bruce, “the NEW iPad … IS the next corporate terminal!” After reading my posts Bruce then sent me an email that included an all-too famous quote from Robert Metcalfe, the founder of 3Com that I found very timely.

While working at Xerox PARC, it was Metcalfe together with David Boggs who invented Ethernet; an accomplishment I will always associate with him. However, it was the same Metcalfe who in 1995 wrote of how "almost all of the many predictions now being made about 1996 hinge on the Internet’s continuing exponential growth. But I predict the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse.”

Another case in point? And perhaps generating even more notoriety was a prediction made by Ed Yourdon as Y2K bore down on us. Yourdon is known as one of the lead developers of the “structured techniques” for programmers in the 1970s. As a budding PL/1 programmer I read the books and remember participating in rewriting several PL/1 programs without using any GOTO statements.

However, as in the case of Metcalfe, many only remember Yourdon for his much-publicized prediction of March 1998 (as Y2K was approaching and many thought the worst would happen), "New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and a dozen other cities are going to resemble Beirut in January 2000. That's why I moved out of NYC to rural New Mexico a couple months ago ... The government of the U.S. as we currently know it will fail on 1/1/2000. Period."

Failing to correctly predict my visitors would go out and buy an Aston Martin may never be something I will be remembered for and yet, for Brian, it will be something he will likely never forget. However, it does go to show how careful you have to be when going public with forward-looking statements or suggesting a situation may never happen.

Given the growth in participation across the NonStop community within LinkedIn groups and the readiness members demonstrate in posting comments, it is within LinkedIn groups where I take the time to promote posts. It was only a matter of days ago when I promoted the most recent post that I had made to the web publication, ATMmarketplace. In support of the post of April 24, 2012, "What I do with my money..." where I had suggested that the popularity of ATMs may have something to do with them not wanting to start a conversation, it wasn’t long before the importance of the presence of NonStop was highlighted.

If that global system didn't already exist for decades and rather was introduced only now, everybody would be full of delight about the amazing progress of modern IT and would probably call it ‘the money cloud’”, was the response from HP’s Gerhard Schwartz. “However, it would also be interesting to see how reliably that ‘money cloud’ would work if it was not dominated by proven NonStop technology ‘failsafe and virus-free’?”

Stressing the point, Schwartz posted a second comment sometime later, admonishing us all to consider that “global payments system which allows us to withdraw cash and to use our credit and debit cards anytime and almost anywhere on this planet have indeed the characteristics of a cloud: somewhere there must be some underlying infrastructure, but the vast majority of users don't know and have no reason to care.” For Schwartz, it’s “just strange that many people would strongly deny that NonStop has anything to do with cloud computing!”

It would be hard to miss just how many references to NonStop and to cloud computing I have made over the past couple of months. It would also be very hard to miss my enthusiasm about the value NonStop brings to any company contemplating deploying clouds – whether private or public. It may prove true that NonStop’s only role is to play on the edge (of the cloud) or indeed, simply come to rely on the cloud as another type of resource that it can capitalize on. No matter.

I suspect now that few within the NonStop community would want to suggest that NonStop servers will never participate in cloud computing. The more the conversations about cloud computing that include references to NonStop the better, as it’s only a matter of time before Google begins to return responses to searches about clouds that include references to NonStop. With this post, the odds continue to get stronger in respect to this happening.

The fact remains, however, and as Schwartz observes as well, NonStop has been providing capabilities akin to what populists are now calling cloud computing for many years. And what is worth acknowledging, and I have no illusions about this – the ATM networks spanning the globe, all networked, and where financial transactions flow without any end-user awareness of where the resources exist - is as much a cloud implementation as anything, or even may allude to.

HP Discover is now only a few weeks away and I for one will not be at all surprised at what is featured. No, I will not be surprised one bit to see NonStop and clouds stealing the limelight. Foolish as it may sound – but I will not say that it will never happen. Never again.  


Justin said...

Hi Richard, I don't know about stealing the limelight but I can guarentee you'll see NonStop and cloud. As you know we had a demo at Discover 2011 at both Las Vegas and Vienna. This year we will have a newer, refined persistent cloud demo running in the modernization booth. Please come by and see us.

Justin said...

A second follow-up. I just heard we added a customer session. Anyone interested in persistent cloud should plan to attend:

Title - Nonstop, Base24 and a Cloud Burst: A Proof of Concept

Persistent Cloud Services (PCS) has brought to the NonStop world the ability to provide a front-end to the Cloud through the use of TS/MP (PATHWAY to the rest of us). The Bank, in cooperation with HP and their Advanced Technology Center (ATC), performed a proof-of-concept (POC) to determine the viability of using PCS in a common NonStop environment - that is, incorporated with Base24. This session will cover the implementation of Persistent Cloud Services into a Base24 environment and will include performance impacts as well as the configuration of the PCS-Base24 environment.

For those that haven’t signed up yet here’s the link to Discover 2012

And if anyone reading the blog might be interested in a persistent cloud workshop they can go to: it is cleverly disguised as “Leveraging hybrid architectures in a mission-critical environment”

It’s time for three more wishes for NonStop!

Three years have come around rather quickly this time but it’s still worth thinking further ahead when it comes to our wishes for NonStop ...