Sunday, May 22, 2016

NonStop on forward path – and it’s just not stopping!

Attending gatherings of the NonStop community remain a priority for me and getting the opportunity to join BITUG in London proved enlightening. NonStop is definitely on a roll and the NonStop community is enjoying a return to growth!

It was a quick trip to London. The BITUG Big SIG was the venue and it proved to be a popular event – congratulation’s to Kevin and the rest of the BITUG team for pulling this event together within the walls of Trinity House, a building I walked past on a daily basis back in the mid-1970s when I worked in London. Being called upon to give a 30 minute presentation and to man a vendor table, carrying as I did a collapsible promotional banner wasn’t completely unexpected and is something I do like doing.

Fortunately, with London as the destination, there was more than enough upside in making the trip to compensate for the time away from my office. Even though my time in the air these days has been trimmed to the bare minimum, I have to admit, there’s no other practical option than to fly when it comes to spending time with our European brethren.

The NonStop community certainly has an extra bounce in their walk these days, maybe even a swag. Having just come off participating in a number of Regional User Group (RUG) meetings in America, it’s great to see this recent uptick of interest in all things NonStop. If you missed my post of last week, “London Calling” to which I can add, “Anchors Away!”, which I wrote just before BITUG kicked-off, you may recall that I said I expected there to be surprises and that I wasn’t ruling anything out. As it turned out, there were surprises, not the least being just how popular the event proved to be with NonStop users – several faces I recognized from past events, but the majority of the attendees were new faces to me.

My presence at BITUG came about at the request of OmniPayments, Inc. CEO, Yash Kapadia. Even though I had been providing an update on the OmniPayment’s Fraud Blocker offering in America I was interested to see how big a crowd I could attract. Whether it was my personal charm or simply that the NonStop roadmap presentation given by Vanessa Kaupp, NonStop Program Manager, HPE, followed immediately after my presentation, the room was full. I have become well-versed now in what OmniPayments can offer and while there really isn’t any substitute for Yash presenting his own product, I was pleased that there weren’t any difficult questions thrown my way.

I am always asked whether payments solutions can be exported. Do products selling well in one hemisphere will prove successful somewhere else? There’s no hiding that the OmniPayments payments solution is doing very well in the western hemisphere with deployments across the Americas that includes one of the biggest deployments on the planet in support of one of the top three American banks.

If the numbers 40,000,000 transactions per day and 700,000,000 transactions per month do not impress you then perhaps you may want to also consider that this runs on NonStop and just happened to be a showcase migration from another well-known payments solution to OmniPayments. For financial institutions across EMEA considering their options, the numbers like these are sure to impress.

I posted to the LinkedIn blog, Pulse, of how BITUG gathers NonStop community together in London ... and about how I lost my way the first afternoon of my stay. I was familiar with the area but so much has changed, the cityscape was unrecognizable. I ended up hailing a taxi in order to find the offices of HPE where NonStop sales head, Dave McLeod, resided. Much of what we discussed was covered in the update he provided during the BITUG lunch but even so, the impression I came away with is of Dave as excited as I can recall over just how well NonStop X sales are going. I may have lost my way, but clearly, NonStop is very much back on track.

OmniPayments has been the primary reason for my attendance but manning at the OmniPayments table gave me the opportunity to catch up with other vendors. Prominent, as they so often are, comForte continued to be the center of many conversations about security and modernization. Shortly I will be posting to comForte blog updates on modernization so check this blog site over the next couple of days to see what I have to say about modernization, particularly as it pertains to modernizing networks.

If as yet you haven’t read my most recent post to the comForte Lounge blog, you may want to take a few minutes to check out the post, HPE NonStop Continues Driving Deeper Into the Data Center . “Yes, HPE has changed its business models, its culture, its funding of R&D, and perhaps most importantly for the NonStop community, its salesforce,” I noted. “Evidence of this, in addition to what we have seen with the rapid introduction of new NonStop systems as a result of stepped-up funding for NonStop R&D, has been the addition of sales folks charged solely with targeting new business opportunities for NonStop.”

McLeod is beaming over recent successes and yes, his is not the only face to be seen as there are some faces I hadn’t seen before at HPE Sales Team and I came away thinking that over the next year, McLeod will be adding even more. NonStop is on the ascendancy and seeing this develop, as I did in EMEA, is particularly encouraging as news from some countries had indicated that an erosion of the presence of NonStop was under way.

However, proceeding down this path may prove to be premature as I sense there is more than one current NonStop user looking to change that is weighing their future plans – yes, if you haven’t already noticed, the Unix market is on an unrecoverable downward spiral. Placing all your chips on the Unix square probably wasn’t the best decision to make – somehow, and against all odds, the best odds are squarely back with NonStop.

For as long as I can recall much of the angst over staying or not staying with NoNStop has had to do with recruiting and retaining staff. Whether it was memories of the miniature bottles of Scotch whisky on their table at last years’ Boot Camp – 18yr old Glen Livet single malt, as I recall – or the sight of a much bigger bottle being given away to one luck user, I just had to stop by the TCM table. NonStop users in the western hemisphere may not be as familiar with TCM as those NonStop users in EMEA are, but TCM is providing a much needed consulting service focused on keeping as many NonStop systems operational as possible.

“Quite simply, we are the NonStop experts (and) we are at the forefront of NonStop support,” says the TCM web site and the more I talk with these folks, the more I tend to believe them. And no, not for the opportunity to sample another fine single malt! For a company that has been in business for as many years as it has been, TCM still proved to be a surprise package and if like me, you would like to know a little more about the company, check out the web page About TCM.

The presence of such a sizable organization focused solely on services in support of NonStop systems should assuage any misgivings about whether access to skilled NonStop personal was problematic and I plan to take a much closer look at the full scope of TCM’s offerings in future posts. I am not sure when my next trip to London might happen but I do know TCM folks are planning on attending this year’s Boot Camp and I am sure I will catch up with them once again.

It would be remiss of me if I forget to mention conversations I had with ETI CEO, Andy Hall. It’s no secret that ETI has wrapped up a couple of acquisitions. It’s no secret too that ETI would like to do more nor is it a secret that HPE executives would like to see a number of NonStop vendors become much larger. For Andy, seeing how positive on NonStop McLeod has become is very encouraging and as I walked away from my conversation with Andy, I just had to wonder, what’s next for ETI? 

Much of what is becoming central to the messages emanating from HPE NonStop sales has to do with hybrid computing. From the most senior HPE executives on down, the message about transforming to a hybrid infrastructure continues to resonate at every user event where HPE has a presence. In a recent HPE promotion for a joint HPE and IDG presentation, Use Cases for Hybrid IT Enablement , this message was strongly reinforced by the following observation. “The right hybrid delivery strategy is based on standards, built on a common architecture with unified management and security, and enables service portability across deployment models.

Just published in a paper aimed at CIOs, co-written with HPE, The Changing Face of Mission-Critical IT in an Always-On World, “More than six in 10 respondents to the IDG Research survey of 200 IT and business decision makers said mission critical has increased in importance as an IT investment focus over the last two years.” In case you were wondering whether HPE was behind NonStop and supporting it in the media, scroll through this paper to where customer use case scenarios are covered and the very first reference is of how Rabobank banks on HPE Integrity NonStop to ensure 24/7/365 global operations.

Perhaps HPE NonStop sales head, McLeod, has a reason to have an extra spring in his step. Perhaps too NonStop vendors are turning out in force to promote products and services in support of NonStop. And did I mention too how there were new, young faces stepping up to take ownership in the NonStop marketplace – no more gray hairs among those I talked to, from HPE’s Vanessa Kaupp to TCM’s Daniel Craig, to a number of those at comForte.

Youth is definitely on display at NonStop. And perhaps their presence in support of NonStop as much as the messages coming from HPE and the community are an even bigger cause for optimism over the future of NonStop! I may have lost my way on arrival in London but when it comes to NonStop, the path forward is very clear. And yes, from the smiles evident on faces everywhere, this path forward just doesn’t stop!  

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