Monday, May 4, 2015

The road to Vegas and further discoveries …

Big picture reveals are always important and for as long as I can remember, the major draw card for any event involving NonStop has been an opportunity to see the bigger picture emerging. However, 2015 HP Discover will likely see more attention given to HP than to its products and just for that, it’s bound to draw a Las Vegas size crowd!

May will be the first month of 2015 when I haven’t been to Vegas. Conferences and events have been the primary attraction and I have covered them in previous posts – both the post Of hubs and spokes; of niches, clouds and beyond the horizon; it all looks good for NonStop X! and Read the news? NonStop information presentation powered by InkaBinka! Of course, visiting Las Vegas also gave me additional material for posts to our social blog, Buckle-Up-Travel, where I am pleased to say, readership has steadily climbed this year – something I am putting down to there being less talk about cars on track and more about business considerations that arise from these many road trips. If you would have told me that 2015 was to be the year I spent more time in Las Vegas than in northern California I would have been very surprised.

On the eve of 2014 HP Discover I blogged of how I had written posts from the exhibition floor many times in the past and that it looked likely that, one way or another, I will be at it again this year! Among the many traditions at such events are the vendor dinners and cocktail gatherings, where unfettered exchanges take place on just about every aspect of technology, and there is always a variety of venues involved. For more, look back at the post,
Mow down barriers, rip out legacy! What’s coming to NonStop will surprise … and yes, as in 2014, I have my fingers crossed that I will be able to attend once again.

As the community has acknowledged for the past couple of years, HP Discover isn’t a replacement for ITUG events of the past – to some extent, the “flavor of ITUG” lives on with the
NonStop Technical Boot Camp and in 2015, the event returns to essentially its roots in San Jose. However, there’s always a sprinkling of NonStop community members at HP Discover, but this event’s main attraction has always been getting a firsthand glimpse into the HP “bigger picture” and for NonStop to even be mentioned is always a cause for celebration. On the exhibition floor there will be a new NonStop X system on display with some well-known faces on hand to provide information on NonStop to those attendees still not familiar with HP’s sizable investments in one of the better enterprise systems on offer from HP.

There is a culture within the NonStop community that thrives on events and it’s good to see not only the return of the Boot Camp but the continuing enthusiasm for regional events planned for all four corners of the globe. Even as I write this post, the Connect GTUG - IT Symposium held this week in Munich is all but wrapped up for the year and I am hopeful that I will be able to bring news from that event after I catch up with the HP NonStop product management team that was in attendance. According to comForte Marketing VP, Thomas Gloerfeld, when it came to the big news coming out of this event, “the roadmap for NonStop X clearly showed an accelerated plan for both 2 core and 6 core additions to the NonStop X product line and that these would likely be introduced before the end of HP’s financial year.”

The first ITUG event I have ever attended was held in 1992 at Nice, France. It’s something that I will not easily forget as alongside my monitor, I still have the coffee mug given out at that 1992 ITUG Spring Conference at the Nice Acropolis. As a newbie to ITUG events I was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of all who participated even as it represented many firsts. Wine was freely provided during lunch that led to less-than-anticipated attendance at afternoon sessions. I was on a booth, alongside Tony Bond of SDI, demoing the very first release of NonStop NET/MASTER even as, across the passageway, Steve Killelea of IR was demoing an early release of Prognosis – on color screens, too, as I recall – in his irrepressible best form!

Checking into my hotel I couldn’t help but hear the ruckus that was coming from the adjacent bar and sticking my head around the corner, there was Pete Schott, Randy Baker, and Gerry Peterson – essentially the brains trust behind the sales and support for all Tandem Computers sold at that time. This was my first encounter with 24 X 7 “networking” at the bar, an essential part of every ITUG I attended after that – for many an integral part of the culture that was NonStop!

ITUG Nice was also the first time that I ran across longtime Tandem and NonStop supporter, Bill Honaker, even as it proved to be a place where I was introduced to  Chris Rooke and Gary Sabo with whom I was later to become more closely connected, as I moved on from being a development program manager to a product marketer. It was also just another milestone in a long journey that saw my involvement with Tandem and NonStop user groups that spanned more than a quarter of a century. The culture that I witnessed developing around a fault tolerant architecture I never anticipated holding sway over as many smart people as it continues to do for as long as we now know it has – clearly, there’s a lot more going on here than many of us care to acknowledge. Do we simply hang around for the trinkets, the tee shirts and coffee mugs? Or is it far more meaningful than that?

What I am anticipating hearing more about is the ongoing process to split HP into two companies – HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. News continues to trickle out about the split and yes, for the NonStop community the news here is that the CTO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise will be Martin Fink, an executive with very strong ties to NonStop, dating back to when he was head of the NonStop Enterprise Division. Just in the last couple of weeks we saw Hewlett Packard Enterprise President and CEO, Meg Whitman, unveil the new logo and colors for Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

In the news release posted to the HP web site,
Introducing Hewlett Packard Enterprise Whitman tells the world about, “What I love about our new logo design is how it stands out among our competitors. The color we picked is no accident. I wanted us to stand apart …The other thing that stands out for me is its simplicity.” And yes, apparently HP Inc. retains both the current color scheme and logo that we all associate with HP.

So maybe at 2015 HP Discover there will be an abundance of trinkets, the tee shirts and coffee mugs reflecting the new branding unveiled for Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Perhaps what the culture of NonStop has always cherished – the trappings that reinforce our identity – will receive a new injection of life! Will we see green tee shirts, green coffee mugs and yes, green backpacks and hold-alls? Personally, I am hoping that there will be items that are truly unique as I have an office full of bags, notepad binders and so forth, but I guess I will just have to wait. Maybe this isn’t the bigger picture many in the NonStop community want to hear about, but it’s significance to users and vendors alike shouldn’t be discounted – HP splitting into two corporations is a very big deal.

In an age where every business is being told to focus and to stay true to their calling – just look at how rapidly GE is being dismantled in the post Jack Welsh era. In the New York Times article of April 13, 2015,
Jeffrey Immelt Is Putting His Own Stamp on Jack Welch’s G.E. reporter, Steve Lohr, references Noel M. Tichy, a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, who said “Where G.E. is going to end up is back to the future.” According to G.E. as reported by Lohr, “It has been a lengthy and often humbling corporate journey animated by the recognition that G.E.’s real strength lies in industrial engineering rather than financial engineering.” Comparing HP to G.E. may not be accurate but you can see in HP’s plans to split the consumer-focused retail business from the corporate business is also a return to the industrial engineering that put HP on the map in the first place.

Culture is important for user communities and we have all witnessed that in the time we have spent with ITUG and now Connect, but it’s also very important for companies like HP. A strong culture is the glue that binds a company and helps cement its place in business – there’s nothing worse than to simply not know what value a company provides in a marketplace. As I look ahead to 2015 HP Discover and the events that will likely overtake all who attend this year I will be very much focused on what lies ahead and how this is communicated – it should be hard to miss, I expect.

However, having said this, I am acutely aware that for those looking to hear more about the latest feature for NonStop or Linux or Moonshot or even The Machine, the references to the transformation under way at HP may prove overwhelming. And yet, this is bound to be the big picture we all need to see and comprehend before any other consideration is made. This may very well be the last HP Discover but on the other hand, it may prove to be the very first of something even more worthy of discovery – Las Vegas, that city of ultimate illusions, may yet have one more rabbit to pull from its hat after all!

1 comment:

Richard said...

If you want to know more about the April trip through Las Vegas and what caused a major change to the itinerary, check out the latest post to Buckle-Up-Travel blog:

The trips we plan but seldom stick to!

It’s time for three more wishes for NonStop!

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