Tuesday, November 22, 2016

vNonStop – coming to a desktop near you!

NonStop Technical Boot Camp 2016 wrapped up a few days ago but with the start of a new week, it’s still very fresh in our minds. Did it meet all your expectations? Does the future of NonStop look bright for you? There are still many more questions but at least now we have so many more answers than ever before …

The NonStop Technical Boot Camp 2016 wrapped up last week and it left all attendees with much to think about. Not the least because attendance was, once again, up from the same event last year – more than 450 enthusiastic members from the NonStop community. And yes, there were plenty of NonStop users in the audience, which is a very healthy sign for all involved in organizing the event. My congratulations go out to every individual who in any way contributed to making sure the event went off without a hitch. More importantly, for those pondering the future of NonStop well, what can we say - the future now looks bright!

It was an easy drive for Margo and me this year – no sudden snowstorm in the Sierras and no road closures in the Rockies. We chose to take the northern route from Boulder, Colorado, that took us through Wyoming and then in to Utah and it proved easy going. It also gave us lots of time to speculate on what we might see and hear at the event as we drove westward to San Jose even as it gave us more than enough time on the return trip to Boulder to dissect what was actually said at the event. On the way over we were concerned whether it would be more of the same – generalities with soft dates but it didn’t go that way. On our way back it was more a case of now what! NonStop was staging a comeback unlike any of us had anticipated just a few short years ago.

Comeback? Seriously, NonStop re-energizing marketplaces? NonStop going virtual! NonStop inside the clouds! NonStop on the Edge! NonStop supporting Blockchain! There were moments during the event where Margo and I heard the very distinct sounds of an audience inhaling noticeably with surprise. As optimistic as I have been through the years – I’ve always been the “glass is half full” kind of guy when it comes to anything to do with NonStop – it’s clear that whatever restraints had been placed on NonStop have been well and truly cut. It’s now only up to the imagination of solutions vendors to find the boundaries of the new NonStop and even then, they will be hard to find. Just as importantly, it’s up to HPE marketing and sales to communicate a consistent message to the marketplace - #NonStopRocks!

Last year, it was all about Yuma and InfiniBand (IB) and the potential to couple NonStop with Linux in Hybrid Systems configurations, with just a side reference to the potential for NonStop to find a home as a guest of a virtual machine. Since then, Yuma has been productized as NSADI – NonStop Application Direct Interface – with middleware and solutions vendors openly discussing early adoption. One workshop, jointly conducted by comForte and DataExpress actually provided insights into what performance can be expected from using NSADI even as they openly admitted that there was even more work to be done before the real performance characteristics could be ascertained. When comparing IB to regular TCP/IP (over Ethernet and with CLIMs), the image that was presented was akin to comparing a multilane freeway with a well-paved two lane highway. Fill as many lanes as you can possibly do with IB and it looks as thought the performance scales linearly.

This year, it was all about virtualization and the likely impact of Industrial IoT (IIoT). These messages were introduced by Randy Meyer, VP & GM Mission Critical Systems at HPE, who began by quoting HPE CEO, Meg Whitman. "If you can't name the problem, you have no hope of fixing it," she said and something that was repeated in an article published late last year in Business Insider and even with its roots in organizational aspects of HPE it applies equally to product development. For the NonStop community this has particular relevance – and yes, there are always risks in taking the initiative – providing virtual NonStop (vNonStop) has its roots in real needs arising in the telco industry (who want to virtualize everything) but also in the very real needs of HPE IT.

The photo above is of two servers, each with two sockets housing Xeon x86 chips with 14 cores running OpenStack software, including the KVM hypervisor. Providing the fabric interconnect was a Converged Ethernet switch supported by RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE). All off the shelf hardware and as you can tell, sitting atop a desk. The coffee cup beside the fully functioning vNonStop system gives you a good idea of just how much room these DL380 Gen 9 physical servers takes up and while a far cry from anything an enterprise might consider using in a production environment, just about every developer who saw the system wanted one to take home. Development, testing and QA as well as staging and piloting would all be good candidates for similar configurations and I fully anticipate such configurations entering the marketplace in the first half of calendar 2017.

Just as relevant and very timely was the keynote presentation given by former Tandem Computers leader, Dr. Tim Chou, who titled his presentation Precision Planet. Focused on IIoT, Tim walked the audience through the major transition from the Internet of People to the Internet of Things giving us all an appreciation that things aren’t people! Already there are more things connected than people and it’s only going to skew even more favorably for things versus people with the passage of time. “Things can be where people can’t (be)! Things have (way) more to say! Things can talk more frequently! Things can be programmed, people can’t!” And yes, Tim introduced us all to the prospect of a future with considerable “Digital Exhaust” and on the drive back to Boulder, never out of site of eighteen wheelers, this image of digital exhaust never left us.

Will there be a role for NonStop out on the edge? Will HPE provide Edgeline products capable of running NonStop? With the addition of new Edgeline products supporting Xeon and capitalizing on Moonshot packaging, we will soon adopt to IoT edge solutions that are both lightweight (buried in walls, etc.) as well as heavier weight servers spread throughout the network performing real time analytics. Of course, this plays well to the team at Striim and after meeting with Sami Akbay, EVP & Cofounder at WebAction, Inc. (the company behind Striim), “it’s really a different kind of analytics that’s taking place out at the edge – light or heavy – but one that the NonStop community should be very familiar with as it’s real time and transaction centric.” Perhaps those HPE solutions architects involved in very early stage consideration of NonStop on the Edge have something going for them after all!

Real breakthroughs with NonStop and more importantly, real breakthroughs in addressing customer problems – yes, we have plenty of business problems we could name and where NonStop could be a solution – provided plenty of material with which to work and as the week unfolded, I was able to post numerous times to the LinkedIn group, Real Time View. If you missed any of these posts, they have been summarized (with links to all of them) in a new post to the LinkedIn blog, Pulse. Check out: The week in review – a successful NonStop Technical Boot Camp, 2016 or cut and past this link into your browser: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/week-review-successful-nonstop-technical-boot-camp-2016-buckle?trk=mp-author-card For each of these posts I included words from songs current and past as it’s just something I tend to do – see if you make the same connection with these popular lyrics as I did.

As Boot Camp came to the last night, there was a Reception and Casino night held on what had been the exhibition floor. Suddenly transformed into a fun venue where attendees could pursue their favorite Casino game whether Roulette, Craps, or BlackJack trying their best to bluff their fellow gamblers, it provided a much needed lighthearted forum for further networking. All the while, it was hard to ignore that vNonStop system we all had seen running in the corner of the exhibition hall. There was no faking or bluffing going on here among the HPE NonStop team – this was the real deal and a completely new approach to supporting NonStop that has all the potential in the world to take NonStop in a completely new direction.

And of course, seeing it on the floor of the Reception and Casino venue, it would have been hard for any of the attendees not to think of the lines from the Bog Seeger song of the 1980s, Still the Same:

A gambler's share
The only risk that you would take
The only loss you could forsake
The only bluff you couldn't fake

At a time when there is news of Global Temperatures Are Mostly Fake and of Record Crushing Fraud From NOAA And NASA after reports of readings from non-existent sensors, covering half the planet, were revealed and a situation that “would get them fired and probably escorted out of the building by security at many engineering companies.” And yes, at the same time, news too came of Facebook having released Inflated Ad Metrics, Fake News at about the same time that the U.S. population began to suspect data may have been faked with election polls in the lead up to the election, it’s good to see that vNonStop hasn’t been faked in any way – getting HPE to show its hand may likely get you vNonStop on x86 servers in ways we could have only dreamed about just a short time ago. And yes, it may even be coming to a desktop near you very soon!


Anonymous said...

On the mainframe, entusiasts build Hercules for fun and now is a baseline for developement. Now would be very, very appreciated to see a developer toolkit for nonstop for free or for a simbolic fee. That consist of at minimum:
- Guardian with OSS
- Java
- Pathway
- itp
- netbatch
- and all possible compliers (c++, p/tal, cobol)

This will bring atention to new developers and would be the base to sell new devices and for HP to retain the 24/7 business.

undy said...

wtf are all these links to the ridiculous "realclimatescience.com" site doing in this post ?

Why undermine your own credibility by mentioning these fools ?

Good grief.

Richard Buckle said...

Wow - and what else, perhaps? I think (from memory) part of the partner program HPE now has in support of NonStop much of this can already be negotiated .... HPE?

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 ...