Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Sunrise often signals the unexpected; NonStop in ascendance!

Recent travels created memories; for HPE NonStop, the coming of dawn bodes well for a spectacular and bright future for the new NonStop!

Memories of travelling the rivers and canals of Europe remain fresh. It wasn’t all that long ago and every time I reach for the phone there is a picture being displayed that does a very good job of opening the floodgates to these memories and they just come flooding in. I guess it would be unrealistic to expect that they will last forever, but all the same, one of the reasons any of us ventures far from home is to create new and lasting memories. On the occasion when this photo was taken, I had just strolled to the top of the boat and onto its “sun deck” to check on how far we had travelled overnight when I was greeted with this spectacular sight. I hadn’t expected to see this red a sky emerging with the dawn but it was hard to ignore!

While the passage of time seems to accelerate through the years, as I looked to the horizon from the boats sun deck all was peaceful and yet I knew that as we traveled deeper into the countryside there was a possibility for afternoon storms to develop. All the same, it was a scene that stopped you in your tracks even as it suggested a moment to pause and admire. To simply take it all in and yes, relax! It was only a short time later that the morning’s red colors faded and the clouds dropped out of sight leaving behind a radiant, bright blue sky!

When it comes to IT today, there are moments of brilliance that are oftentimes missed. Perhaps not to the extent of lighting up the morning sky, but definitely bright enough to catch the eye of those who may be close by. HPE has been very busy this year filling in many of the pieces first described in its vision and strategy statements and there is much the HPE community applauds. Clearly, just being the first to place as much emphasis as it did on Hybrid IT HPE placed itself ahead of the mainstream – yes, according to HPE CEO, Antonio Neri, HPE had been the “first to say world will be Hybrid.” However, it turns out that this was merely the first glimpse of what was to shine even more brightly with the passage of time.

Identifying and then labeling the world of IT as being a Hybrid world seems so obvious now, so much so that many IT professionals may have missed its significance. However, by 2015 HPE was already talking about Hybrid IT and when the company announced HPE Synergy, it was left to Neri to say:

“Market data clearly shows that a hybrid combination of traditional IT and private clouds will dominate the market over the next five years,” said Antonio Neri, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Enterprise Group at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “Organizations are looking to capitalize on the speed and agility of the cloud but want the reliability and security of running business critical applications in their own datacenters.” 

My earliest references to Hybrid Computing came in a post of June 8, 2015, when I described my impressions following the then-HP Discover 2015 event. However, going back to 2014 I wrote of how then-HP was introducing Converged Systems that were coming from “different development groups and delivering hybrids all nicely tested, configured and with a common operational interface.” However, a lot has changed during the intervening years, so much so that barely a press release is published without some reference to data processing being carried out on one form of Hybrid IT or another.

For the NonStop community, this is really good news as the coupling of a traditional NonStop system to clouds or the other way around, having a cloud, populated by virtualized NonStop, coupled to traditional servers is the realization of aspirations formed inside of Tandem Computers a long time ago! Whether you want to view NonStop as perhaps the first true programmable networking front-end processor or perhaps as an early entrant into the world of database servers, there really isn’t hiding the fact that NonStop was always deployed alongside something else. Such hybrid configurations helped prioritize software development, whether it was support for file transfer products like NDM (now known as Connect:Direct), SNAX CDF – the first and only implementation of IBM’s SNA PU4) – and monitoring software, like NonStop NET/MASTER.

Not every program in support of better integrating NonStop with what was beside it fulfilled the initial ambitions of the program, but as time progressed NonStop embraced open software and industry standards. In so doing, it became easier to program and operate NonStop and so it is today that under the oversight of HPE, NonStop plays a critical role in HPE’s Mission Critical Systems organization. Offering the ultimate in uptime, NonStop finds itself without peers when it comes to availability for true 24 X 7 operations. However, this is where the storyline diverges from the initial goals set for the original Tandem Computer. NonStop, the system, is becoming NonStop, the service.

As HPE’s Neri explained at HPE Discover 2019, when it comes to infrastructure available today from HPE then this is all about to change. “Everything-as-a-Service; any workload, anywhere!” Giving this a little more clarity, Neri said, “I am committing to you that in the next three years, HPE will be a consumption driven company and everything we deliver to you will be available as a service.” Even as we are adjusting to the new reality that NonStop is nothing more than a collection of virtual machines, exposure to those virtual machines will disappear behind infrastructure increasingly cloud-like in terms of “elasticity of provisioning”, or as we refer to it these days, composability. Infrastructure as software and as
manipulable as anything we interact with today – easily becoming just another set of selectable icons on a laptop or smartphone. Yes, I want the option to run 24 x 7!

For the NonStop vendor community this is both a likely attractive godsend even as for others it may prove to be unattractive. On the one hand, mess up the pricing and a vendor could end up simply migrating its customer base to a much lower priced alternative. On the other hand, suddenly demonstrating, testing and performing PoCs / Pilots can be undertaken by prospects without any need for expensive hardware purchases or software licenses. It’s safe to say that there are many wise heads now playing with the numbers to determine the optimal pricing for NonStop-as-a-Service, but for now, it hasn’t yet been established and I can’t take too seriously the pricing for NonStop on NS2 (virtualized NonStop (vNS) on HPE sourced ProLiants) all that seriously as it surely is just a one-off in order to bring the virtual NonStop to market.

There is a temptation however for NonStop vendors to explore building their own global “solution-specific” private clouds based on vNS. By now we have all read of OmniPayments building out such an environment as part of its deployment of OmniCloudX. “This has been a boon to OmniPayments as it has allowed us to support prospects introduction to OmniPayments including running PoCs and Pilots but also, during any period where they are without a NonStop platform, traditional or virtual,” said OmniPayments, LLC., CEO, Yash Kapadia. Some features of OmniPayments can coexist with other vendors payments solutions – OmniPayments  Preauthorization Engine / Fraud Blocker for example has been deployed alongside BASE24. “Having the option to capitalize on our approach to OmniPayments-as-a-Service in this manner,” said Yash, “goes a long way to endearing us with our prospects; no cash up front is always attractive for potential customers!”

Returning to Neri’s unambiguous statement, “HPE will be a consumption driven company and everything we deliver to you will be available as a service,” there is something else the NonStop community needs to consider. From every conversation that I have had since HPE Discover 2019 it is clear to me that the execution of this directive will involve HPE’s partners. Greenlake, and it’s portfolio of partners are at the fore in this regard even as Greenlake itself will be stepping into the business of supporting the edge and other infrastructure as a service. “We are at an inflection point in the market,” said Neri in a press release. “Everyone recognizes that customers want technology delivered as service, but they also want it on their terms. HPE’s unique approach to as a service, which empowers customers with choice, flexibility, and control, is driving HPE Greenlake’s tremendous success.”

Given Greenlake’s penchant for being able to point to a growing number of enterprises that it supports, the only question remaining for the NoNStop community is when Greenlake will point to HPE’s own IT organization to say, “HPE IT runs NonStop and supports the NonStop SQL/MX on the basis of DBaaS!” This scenario was covered during a discussion between the Greenlake team and a group of HPE Influencers at HPE Discover 2019, so fingers crossed that it will develop traction and indeed momentum inside of HPE as after all, every potential customer of NSaaS would want to know that HPE is “eating its own dogfood!” And in a way, you couldn’t point to a better reference considering how many support / maintenance contracts for Oracle were retired.

Cloud-watchers and early risers who look at sunrises all know that over the span of just a few minutes, the sky will change. What was once just a foretaste of the day that lay ahead will be replaced by the sun itself. What may have been in the shadows comes into full view and more often than not, is a spectacle all unto itself. For the NonStop community, for now we can only see the sun’s corona – it’s outermost layer – but we all know the substance that will follow. However, just as we know what will transpire with the sun each morning, NonStop is ascending and for that, it has to be said that HPE was not only first with Hybrid IT, first with Converged (and later, Hyperconverged) and first with Composable but it must also be said, first with delivering fault tolerance to the cloud!    

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Three more wishes coming soon – the path ahead for NonStop.

So, another three years have passed by and I find myself writing a preview of what I will likely focus on in eighteen months’ time – my next three wishes for NonStop!

It wouldn’t be fair on my family if I said 2019 had been a routine year for Pyalla Technologies. It started with the return flight from Sydney, Australia, and continued with three separate trips to Europe plus a lengthy road trip to Las Vegas for HPE Discover 2019 combined with stops in southern California and participation in N2TUG back in Texas. The miles have added up but all the while even as the adventurous life continued to unfold, there was so much news coming out of HPE that scarcely a day passed without a discussion or two over what it all means.

Margo and I have our roots firmly anchored in NonStop, dating back to Tandem Computers where Margo had risen through the development organization all the way to the COO role under the stewardship of Bill Heil when Bill headed the NonStop Software BU. As for me, I sampled Tandem from inside almost every group within the company, starting with roles in sales and marketing in a country outpost, followed by a program management role in development, a short stint in product marketing all followed with a management position in product management. All of which is to say, between Margo and me, we have seen an awful lot happening with NonStop over the many decades we have worked with the platform.

Then again, according to my family, whereas Margo knew exactly where she was headed I was always on the lookout for the next fork in the road.  However, being part of the original S-Series program team, representing networking, I was privy to the major pivot away from traditional packaging of systems to where we introduced ServerNet, externalized WAN connections while integrating LAN connections and yes, switching from custom chipsets to MIPS Risc processors. Listening to Bob Horst explaining “worm hole routing” was an experience all of itself and in case you ever wonder about it, the introduction of ServerNet led to InfiniBand.

I recently came across an interesting explanation in a Linux focused Gentoo Wiki article:

“InfiniBand is a high-speed serial computer bus, intended for both internal and external connections. It is the result of merging two competing designs, Future I/O, developed by Compaq, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard, with Next Generation I/O (ngio), developed by Intel, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems. From the Compaq side, the roots were derived from Tandem's ServerNet. For a short time before the group came up with a new name, InfiniBand was called System I/O.” 
I only reference this explanation over the origins of InfiniBand as I have been asked about it many times ever since NonStop X was announced, but the story continues as today NonStop also supports RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) which is proving to be very important for the future of NonStop. When it comes to predictions and wishes it’s good to know about the underlying mechanics. After all, as this is important when it comes to breaking down barriers and giving NonStop the new label I have really warmed to, NonStop: No Limits!

With this reference to predictions and wishes, I am not entirely sure when the idea came to me to speculate on the future of NonStop but it was back in February 12, 2008, with the simple post, "My Wish" for NS Blades. In that post I wrote of the three wishes I had for the NonStop of the day and every three years since that post, I have provided an update under the general heading My Three Wishes (for NonStop) and you can click on the label Wishes (right-side of blog and all the way to the end) to see them all. However, predicting the direction in which HPE will point NonStop every three years left a whole lot of time without any further updates so it was only in the July 19, 2013, post Are our wishes still important? that I started previewing what to expect in the next update, eighteen months later. To see those prior previews, just click on the label Wishes - Preview.

With this introduction complemented with a little background information, what then will I be wishing for in February, 2020?  In my previous post of July 25, 2019, to this blog, Working on my rewrite; NonStop evolving its endgame (for now)! I let slip a couple of ideas that I had, not the least being the complete morphing of NonStop into a feature accessible by everyone needing solutions that run 24 x 7, forever. I referred to this as one possible goal for NonStop labeling it, NonStop: Endgame a play, obviously of the success of the film, Avengers: Endgame. But before providing more details about what my three wishes for NonStop will likely be when they are addressed in February 2020, let me be very clear.

In this previous post already referenced above, I do add the words, “for now!” And that’s important too as there will be many more endgames to follow. For now, however, focusing on the immediate future makes a little more sense as we should be able to see how any outcomes covered here could come to pass. Wishes are only of interest if the connections to them are real and the leaps of faith required are anchored in believable technology. Although, when I wrote that first post,
"My Wish" for NS Blades I predicted that when it comes to wishes:

“…my first wish is to see HP BCS deliver on the slideware Martin Fink first unveiled as the “Shared Infrastructure Blades” package. This is where any mix of NonStop, HP-UX, Linux, and Windows Server OS’s will be supported.

“…my second wish is to see a hypervisor introduced where NonStop can be configured as a “guest OS” in much the same way z/VM is used on the IBM mainframe. The trick here is to see this introduced without marginalizing the traditional association between NonStop and the hardware with respect to being fault tolerant.

“… my last wish … then wouldn’t it be advantageous to users if interrogation of the incoming transactions would direct mission critical transactions to NonStop, important informational but not quite mission-critical to a Unix or Linux, and voluminous inquiries to Windows? A variation on today’s workload balancing products, but supporting a transaction profiling capability that once set up, learns about the overall mix of transactions, and automatically adjusts the OS configurations on the fly?”

Remember, I posted this back in February 2008 following the announcement that NonStop would be running in HPE Blades. This was at least half a dozen years before the announcement of NonStop X and well before there was any discussion about the potential for virtualized NonStop (vNS).  So, where is NonStop headed? In general, the die has been cast. In my opinion then we have passed the stage where NonStop as software any longer surprises. That horse has definitely left the barn and you can barely see the dust it kicked up in the process. However, here is where it gets very interesting – the go to market plans and the sales channels. HPE has done a good job with the architecture and the technology but the shift in focus is going to be on selling NonStop far and wide. As HPE CEO Antonio Neri is telling us at every opportunity of how HPE is pursuing high-value opportunities for HPE products and is no longer building for the high-volume market place. Nothing in the HPE portfolio provides greater value to IT and the business than NonStop. 

Here’s the scoop – HPE is transforming technology, people and processes and economics. This in the eyes of HPE executives is a sustainable journey and as such, brings focus on data, the edge and cloud. Three families of systems – ProLiant, Synergy and Apollo provide the building blocks and address what’s needed on this journey. Anticipate therefore, that the NonStop: Endgame (for now) will see NonStop on ProLiant, Synergy and yes, Apollo – all driven naturally enough by customer demand. We still have the topic of memory-driven computing that leverages The Machine and that too will see potential for NonStop but that is a technology that will find its way into the Apollo platform. SGI, Cray and maybe more will all have access to The Machine and it will push specialty processes including GPUs and perhaps Quantum to the perimeter of massive amounts of memory. But even here, when you study the details of the graphics provided by HPE to date, there is a space to plugin NonStop where situations call for 24 x 7 message handling (and yes, data).

In other words, if your sales models are leaning heavily on channel sales then those vendors already in relationships with HPE for specific products are all going to have the option to check the box, as it were, to have NonStop enabled for a solution. Any solution; it’s an always-on, always-connected world that is only becoming even more connected! So, just a finite number of systems families with an infinite number of channels – a model that will only prove successful when NonStop isn’t complex. In closing then, look to see NonStop become more deeply integrated with the hypervisors and metal and see the APIs simplified to where NonStop: Without Limits is only a click away! Stay tuned for all the skinny on this coming to you in February, 2020! 

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Working on my rewrite; NonStop evolving its endgame (for now)!

An opportunity to enjoy a “BizCation Voyage” through the heart of Europe gave us the chance to interact with communities and in so doing, gave us pause to consider one possible NonStop: Endgame as of right now!

For the past two weeks Margo and I have been crisscrossing the industrial heartland of central Europe. It’s been a fortnight of canals, locks, bridges and yes, you guessed it; Europe’s major rivers. Starting out in Amsterdam, we travelled down the Rhine River for a couple of days before entering the Main River. From there it was a simple case of entering the Main to Danube canal with its impressive locks that lifted our craft over the continental divide, as it was called, but at less than 1,000 feet high unimpressive to us Coloradans, our travels ended with a couple of days of floating on the blue Danube.

Our time in Europe saw us interacting with clients at both ends of the journey both of which contributed to us better understanding the current political climate of this part of Europe even as it added another chapter to the adventure that has Margo and me thoroughly engaged in for quite some time now. And did I mention climate? If you missed the news flashes of the past week or so, Europe is hot! Even the political and commercial interests can’t match the heat of the day as the weather has been brutal of late. However, afloat on major rivers as we were meant that there was always some relief from the heat blowing across our vessel.

The picture above was of Margo and me atop a peak looking down on the Danube and the Buda side of Budapest. The last time we were both in this city was back in 2003 when we attended what was then called an ACE customer conference that was put on by ACI Worldwide for its European BASE24 customers.  As part of the Insession Technologies team, we participated as ICE and WebGate were making a very real contribution to the BASE24 product line. However, two major world events coincided with this conference, the first being the chaotic scenes in Baghdad’s Firdos Square during the Iraq War as we all watched the television coverage of the fall of the statue of Saddam Hussein (April 9, 2003). The second was far more upbeat as on April 12, 2003, Hungary held a referendum on joining the European Union where the proposal was approved by a huge majority of voters – over 80%.

It takes very little by way of inputs to get Margo and me reliving the past, rethinking the events of long ago even as there is always a time to simply stop and look around at what is happening today. Naturally enough, it takes even less time before we look at the prospects for the future and when it comes to HPE, the company and its products and services, it was an awful long time ago that I traveled to Los Angeles to hear then HP CEO, Carly Fiorina, talk at HP World, 2002 (after the Compaq acquisition) to hear that HP was “focusing its energy on reducing the cost and complexity of infrastructure. HP is going to aim its collective resources and talent at reinventing the IT value proposition for its customers and will stake its claim on being the company that offers the best return on IT.” As for today and yes, the future, well HPE is shaking things up and if you have missed the news flashes, reinventing the IT value proposition has taken on a whole new meaning as we get closer to 2020.

Twenty-twenty! And we aren’t just talking about our eyesight either. Although we very well could be talking about it but no, looking back at 2002 who would have thought that two decades later HPE would be working on its rewrite. For anyone who has been to HPE events to hear HPE CEO, Antonio Neri, talk about HPE it’s always about the people, the team and the culture that is front and center of a Neri presentation. And as a starting point, it sets the scene for why HPE believes it can execute on its vision and strategy and why the industry should in turn have confidence that HPE will deliver. There’s a lot being rewritten and fortunately for the NonStop, in the new script there is a whole chapter devoted to NonStop!

It would be remiss of me if I didn’t throw in a few lines from the song by Paul Simon, Rewrite:

I'm workin' on my rewrite, that's right
Gonna change the ending
Throw away the title
And toss it in the trash

Fortunately, for those who have been following HPE for as long as I have and I have participated in almost every event HPE has held between 2002 and yes, 2020, then it’s fortunate for us all that the script Fiorina developed was tossed in the trash! Well, most of it anyway. Why? The world is no longer focused on general purpose computing and the need for one vendor to build out the entire solution for IT has lessened. The slowing of Moore’s Law (the end is nigh!), the rise of multiple viable platforms and yes, the massive shift of focus from hardware to software means that any desire to become a leading IT vendor means that decisions need to be made and the path HPE is taking is one where its focus is even tighter than ever before on the IT value proposition.

There comes a time when all parties recognize that a major sea-change is under way. There is considerable talk among industry watchers about pivot points and disruptive technology. However, there is a reason why such phrases are being used just as there is a reason IT vendors are becoming more selective in the technology investments they are making. The smartphone and the advent of the cloud have both proved to be extremely disruptive and yes, the need to address today and tomorrow in a financially responsible manner has IT pivoting towards Hybrid IT РIT has to embrace the new even as it continues to run today. You may be tempted to dismiss this as marketing hyperbole or even clich̩ but for the NonStop community, we are all witnessing a time when we have to rethink what NonStop really is all about Рwhat is a NonStop solution going to look like in 2020?

While there has been much excitement in the movie industry over the global success of the latest superhero movie Avengers: Endgame, it is a reminder that in all things there is an endgame that has to play out before everyone lives happily ever after, but in IT, this isn’t quite the case. Endgames come and go as the cyclical nature of technology sees the underlying tectonic plates fracture and disappear. But it is clear to many members of the NonStop community that an endgame is in sight for NonStop. In time, the traditional hardware offering will lessen in significance as NonStop itself becomes an attribute of something much bigger. You may even think of it as a new beginning for NonStop – certainly, the “rewrite” has still to define the special role NonStop will play in a world where everything runs 24 x 7.

On this note, if I was to speculate then in my opinion, NonStop support of applications running 24 x 7 remains its biggest feature. Forget about the hardware redundancies, the dual paths, the electrical separation / isolation and yes, the underlying infrastructure as a whole. Reliability of the systems, whether packaged as a private or public cloud or simply a server, will reach a point where building these systems is well understood across the industry but the software? Enabling your Java or Perl or C/C++ code to run fault tolerantly (and there will be faults as after all, hypervisors are software, you know), still has tremendous advantaged not the least being that your data center manager can sleep at night. Yes, here’s the new script – click the icon that says 24 x 7 and you call up an underlying process that is fault tolerant, courtesy of NonStop! That’s it – as a developer you no longer are aware of NonStop and need no special training to leverage. Wow! Or better still, cool!

There is an ending for NonStop as we know it, but there is also the coming of a NonStop that we will all understand but is one where the special magic has been hidden behind the veil. There is a script emerging too and it’s positive. The smartphone and the cloud may have proved to be disruptive but think of NonStop as your “antacid” solution! Suddenly, the costs we associate with NonStop disappear – everyone can exploit the reinvented IT value proposition and isn’t that what we all want to see. About the cost attribute, much will be written between now and 2020 but already, the consumption pricing models under consideration are beginning to have an impact on the NonStop community. The sea change is taking place – do you see it and have you trimmed your sails? Perhaps it really was the influence of the time we spent in Europe, but as we thought more about NonStop then imagine it, NonStop for Everyman!     

Monday, July 15, 2019

Gliding up the river; pushing deeper into the landscape

Infrastructure has dominated the conversations of late and for a very good reason – NonStop continues to contribute!

Traversing Europe via rivers and canals is always a cool thing to do and this time, we are actually getting to see the countryside in a little more detail than previously experienced. You see, way back in the early 2000s, we booked a river cruise to take us from Munich (Passau) to the Black Sea. Unfortunately, two days into the voyage we were advised upon arrival in Vienna that there would be no further movement of the vessel – the Danube had risen too high for the boat to fit under the bridges. Of course, we didn’t mind, as a week in Vienna was perhaps not too shabby a second prize! But it did remind us of the importance of infrastructure – don’t make the bridges high enough and your all-important tourist traffic stays put!

Business took us to Amsterdam and with a chance to check in on folks in Frankfurt and then spend some time in Budapest gave us the opportunity to play with the dates and to fit in a river cruise – we have visited these cities in the past but have never capitalized on yet another form of transportation. Already this year we have taken the train between Frankfurt and Munich and another train between London and Edinburgh. For the Trip to Las Vegas for HPE Discover, it was the company command center and then for the trip to Dallas and N2TUG, it was by plane.

All of which is to say that even as we all acknowledge the importance of infrastructure, it’s equally as important to know you have options. Choice is very important when it comes to optimizing data and processing and in this regard, the HPE NonStop community is particularly blessed given the investments of late by HPE in NonStop!

Have you visited the HPE web site recently? Have you looked at how HPE is bracketing its product lines with major topics of interest for IT?

Ignite – Innovation with Hybrid Cloud: Accelerate speed and agility with your right mix of Hybrid Cloud
Redefine – Experience at the Edge: From edge to cloud, securely connect users and things and seamlessly orchestrate apps and data
Unlock – Insights from all your Data: Turn data at rest into data in action. Extract the unseen value in your data with intelligent storage and AI
Proven Expertise – From HPE Pointnext services: Accelerate the transformation of you technology, people and economics

There you have it! In a couple of well thought-through phrases you have the focus on Hybrid IT (the Core / Cloud), the Intelligent Edge, Data and analytics and yes, Services. I have to say, though, the increased emphasis on Data (and Data Analytics) is coming at a time when we are coming to terms with the significance of the Core and the Edge, but it’s not surprising as HPE is putting a lot of energy into promoting storage. The only thing missing here is Security but as HPE is only too happy to acknowledge, security answers lie close to the metal and with the understanding that perimeters will be breached. It’s not surprising then to see it referenced as it is in HPE’s promotion of the edge.

Then again, the key words – Ignite, Redefine, Unlock and then Proven – are all emotive words. Passions truly do run high within IT whenever these subjects are raised and as a community it is good to see NonStop remains part of the conversation.  Ever tried talking to someone about security and suggest that perhaps it is all futile in the end and see what response you generate. I know of no other group within the NonStop vendor community as passionate about what they do than those NonStop vendors supplying security products. In a way, that’s good news for the NonStop community and yet, I come from the school that proposes making everything useless to the outside world – crack the safe and you will only find useless and incomprehensible dross!

However, even with these well thought-through phrases you cannot escape how it’s all about infrastructure and its ultimate success for HPE is dependent upon solutions vendors. For very good reasons HPE is not in the solutions business, although for a while, we all liked what HPE was doing for telcos with the solution that HPE was providing, but today, I can’t say I am aware of the status of this application. I have been told that before virtualization of NonStop was even announced the group responsible for this application has been busily porting to Linux and I am left to wonder yet again whether HPE’s teams are always on the same page. Nevertheless, I am a big fan of NonStop pushing deeper into new markets and have my fingers crossed for more news coming from manufacturing, distribution and yes, retail.

When it comes to infrastructure, I will leave it to former President of Insession Technologies, Tony Parkinson, for describing infrastructure best when he wrote to me recently suggesting, “You could build the most beautiful house in the neighborhood … BUT if it didn’t have the wiring and plumbing behind the walls, it would be uninhabitable.” Furthermore, according to Tony, “Tools, middleware and infrastructure technology are the lifeblood of any core banking system, payments platform, cash management project, FX Trading environment, etc. etc.” On this point, Tony is correct – tools, middleware and infrastructure are indeed the lifeblood giving sustenance to any application. In fact, major projects are initiated only when the infrastructure is in place to support them and HPE is perhaps wise to know that it’s time to “ignite” our innovation when it comes to Hybrid Cloud and a place where you find NonStop.

For me, ignition always goes with lift off – anyone who lived through the space race of the 1960s knows all about lift off and it’s more than appropriate for HPE to use such a keyword. It’s too easy to dismiss this as just more marketing hype but for the NonStop community the compelling story line here is that HPE ignited its own move to Hybrid Cloud when it elected to exploit the attributes of NonStop at the very center of its data center modernization program. For anyone that hasn’t figured it out already, Oracle and its approach to databases is pure legacy and the market is punishing Oracle for being slow to modernize. Its spending on companies has once again seen it taking large investment write-offs. If you missed it, check out Oracle shutting down the operations of its cloud applications subsidiary, Ravello Systems Inc.

I don’t want to call out Oracle specifically other than to say it fueled many new projects within HPE when it challenged the former HP over Itanium – a total misread of where the new HPE had planned to head all along. On the other hand, it is indicative of how brutal the infrastructure business has become where choice together with flexibility and speed-to-market command a premium today.  Did you read the July, 2019, issue of NonStop Insider where you would have come across interesting commentary from our own Randall Becker on infrastructure on NonStop and how easy the new NonStop is to embrace new development methodologies. Check out this latest issue - https://www.nonstopinsider.com/editorials/issue-3-10-editorial-july-19/

Ignite! Redefine! Unlock! Who says HPE marketing isn’t doing a good job these days? Having spent a short time with both the Chief Marketing Officer and the Chief Communications Officer of HPE while at HPE Discover, it was certainly refreshing to hear firsthand of how they were focused on revamping marketing across the board. The real story here is that we have a new HPE focused on the needs of enterprises and there is no question that the issues of the day for these enterprises are complex, requiring a delicate balancing act that appreciates the need to preserve traditional systems while introducing clouds, virtualization, containers all in a highly composable environment that helps them reduce the cost of IT at a time when IT is the center of all that they are doing. Yes, it’s a digital world and yes, it’s a world where IT differentiates all enterprises products and services. There is a future coming where no CEO will rise to the top job without time spent in IT.

Europe’s rivers give us a great way of getting around and a viable alternative to taking the train or driving. Yes, it’s a little slower but work into your weekend plans some time on a boat and you can cover a lot of ground by water – eve as you can observe so much infrastructure pass you by. For the NonStop community, NonStop will always be about infrastructure even as will always be about providing a unique blend of tools, middleware, databases, languages and much more that are the true lifeblood of IT. It’s preservation of all that is truly NonStop – availability, scalability, data integrity / security – continue to this day as NonStop moves to being a collection of virtual machines (along with traditional machines where appropriate).

Its perseverance too in face of so many nay-sayers to emerge, modern and with options we had not thought possible just a short time ago, make it truly an impressive participant in HPE’s product portfolio. All of which is to say we can expect, as a community, to see NonStop pushing even deeper into the very heart of the IT landscape and of that, we should all be very proud of the ongoing commitment HPE is making to NonStop!   

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Some late-developing thoughts from HPE Discover, 2019

Pointnext; Greenlake; Intelligent Edge; OneSphere; OneView; Synergy; NonStop – yes, it was all covered at HPE Discover 2019 and cloudless has substance!

There was time enough to think back on all that was covered at HPE Discover, 2019. One of the side benefits in driving to big-tent marketing events like this is that the trip back will be one that will have you thinking no matter the distances covered. In our case, it was a matter of traversing deserts and mountains, not forgetting the many rivers in full flood following a really snowy winter. A winter, mind you, that continued to dump snow on us poor Coloradans right up to the last week of May. There’s even the possibility that there will be ski runs open for the Fourth of July festivities.

Following HPE Discover on this occasion there was little time to dwell on what was revealed as a trip to Grapevine, Texas, was required as the N2TUG Regional User Group (RUG) meeting took place a matter of just a couple of days later. No matter what you might think about HPE Discover and its place on the NonStop calendar, for those who work with NonStop as their main application platform, it really is a must see event, if for no other reason that seeing NonStop framed within the context of all of HPE’s product roadmaps.

This year, there was strong support for both the digital core and the edge. There was even stronger support for the ongoing transformation to Hybrid IT that seems to be on everyone’s to-do list as if traditional IT was simply going to have to get used to there being adjacent private clouds performing much of the traditional heavy-lifting that oftentimes overwhelmed even the biggest general-purpose computer. Interestingly enough, the concept of there being a general-purpose computer (including mainframes) rarely gets discussed any more, as though it is now a given among IT professionals that it takes an ecosystem of heterogeneous systems to run any enterprise today.

Takes you back to those bad days, doesn’t it, when we all thought running best-of-breed was the way to go. But no longer – it’s all about composition and about assigning the right workloads to the right resources and being able to remap on the fly as demands dictate. It’s about virtualization and containerization and –ization this  and –ization that, Oh well … and yet, when it comes to HPE following the split and the ascension of Antonio Neri to the top job, it is starting to look more and more like they know what they are doing as they return to profitability and to real growth.

Talking of drives back home and indeed of the possibility of ski weekends yet to come, there wasn’t a single day that was completely sunny and without clouds to be seen from one horizon to the next. Which is simply a way to introduce the topic of Cloudless; when closing his keynote presentation, Neri spoke of Cloudless computing! Were we all taken aback – more than a little surprised and yes, too, more than a little skeptical thinking at the time that this was perhaps just a place holder. A teaser, if you like, for a yet unnamed product about which there wasn’t yet a consensus over what to call the product? Talk about an edgy ending that left the keynote presentation hanging!

No sooner had Neri left the stage than tweets and posts began flying around the internet. Perhaps the best comment being one from a former colleague of mine who suggested Neri perhaps was Clueless. Harsh! But there is actually some substance here and it should be noted by the NonStop community that perhaps Cloudless Computing will involve NonStop. At one point prior to the big reveal of Cloudless, Neri noted how, “Cloud is an experience, not a product” and “at next year’s HPE Discover, we will be revealing the era of Cloudless” computing … As for me, I do think Cloudless is a place-holder and not necessarily a vision or even a solution so it will be interesting to see how this pans out in the coming months.

Cloud is an experience and not a product. It was more than a year ago when on October 26, 2017, Forbes magazine published an article What Is The Customer Experience Cloud? by Blake Morgan, a self-proclaimed Customer Experience Futurist, Author and Keynote Speaker. “The big push now is the experience cloud, which brings together things like customer data, digital experience, and personalization to create an efficient, modern way to monitor and interact with customers,” said Morgan. “By pulling in customer data from multiple sources, including websites, social media, and internal data, the experience cloud creates a comprehensive profile for each customer that employees throughout the organization can access to provide a great experience no matter how they interact with the customer.”

Given how today, Morgan wrote, “Customers don’t care if the person they are talking to works in marketing, sales, or IT — they just want to have a personalized interaction with the brand to build the relationship or have their problems solved … if a company is so siloed that it distracts from the service customers are receiving, customers will take their business to a place where they feel valued and respected … the experience cloud makes omnichannel marketing possible, and it makes it easier for brands to connect with customers everywhere they already are.” So perhaps this cloud experience thing has merit – perhaps it is all about the experience with scant respect for whether it’s a cloud technology or a cloud product or a cloud service?

However, for HPE to be as bullish as Neri was about Cloudless and having already expressed an appreciation that Cloud is an experience, not a product, what is going on? It wasn’t until I read yet another article in Forbes magazine, this time by Matt Kimball and published more recently on June 20, 2019, HPE Discover 2019: GreenLake, Edge, And Intelligence Rule The Day that I got a better sense of perhaps what Neri was alluding to. “Cloudless does not mean an IT environment without a cloud presence. Rather, it’s reflective of the future state of IT, in which data, applications, workloads, compute, and storage reside everywhere—on-prem, hybrid, public, multiple public clouds, and on the edge.”

According to Kimball who was present for Neri’s keynote presentation, “IT has to be able to manage this very complex environment simply, via point-and-click deployment and movement of workloads and applications based on data locality. Furthermore, it requires security from the point of data origination to the transformation into actionable intelligence. Lastly, it requires a brokering engine that enables IT to quickly determine where data and apps reside based on any number of factors including cost, governance and sovereignty, regulatory requirements, and more.” and with yet another reference to our siloed world, Kimball closes with “HPE’s strategy is to deliver the tools that enable IT to break down the siloes that exist between clouds.” Cloudless, so it would seem, is not about there being no cloud but rather, a sky empty of everything but yes, you guessed it, the sky. Cloudless!

It is into this brave new world that I predict we will see a new approach to NonStop – the need for fault tolerance isn’t lessened in any way when you realize that data, applications, workloads, compute, and storage will likely reside everywhere. Some of it will continue to be mission critical and need to run 24 x 7 – if you are to have it integrated and managed via “point-and-click deployment” then virtualized NonStop comes to mind very quickly and the prospect of there being a broker directing mission critical workloads to resources that run NonStop well, it’s not too big a stretch at all. NonStop would just as easily accommodate this world as it has easily adjusted to the new world of virtualization.

HPE Discover 2020 should prove interesting to say the least. Perhaps the prediction that Cloudless would be supported by the introduction of new products suggests that the main thrust of HPE’s energy will be around software and with OneSphere continuing to dominate conversations on the exhibition floor this year, I wouldn’t discount at all seeing a raft of new offerings coming from this group. Greenlake, where you will turn to for support of everything-as-a-Service, will play a big part in making sure whatever is developed can be consumed as a service maintaining HPE’s belief in the pay-as-you-go consumption models.

All of which is to say that on our drive home in the company command center, the conversation was lively. But here’s the thing – NonStop is very much in the conversation and having recently proved capable of running on HPE Synergy as well as on the Edgeline EL4000 (neither of which are products, just yet), there’s no limit to where NonStop will show up next. Excited? Again? You just have to be very pleased with how this is all playing out for the NonStop community and if you hadn’t thought about attending HPE Discover 2020 you may very well want to think again about staying away and missing perhaps one of the biggest HPE reveals of all time! 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

All that was revealed at HPE Discover 2019

Las Vegas, HPE Discover and the heat was on – HPE lights a fire as it goes Cloudless; really? Find out more …

Summer in Las Vegas is not for the faint of heart nor is it for those who may be prone to fainting. Fortunately, for those who happened to have made room reservation in either the Venetian or the Palazzo, there was never any real reason to step outside. As has been our routine for the past couple of years, we drove our company command center down to Las Vegas, camped out in one of the RV sites, but with reason prevailing, we slept in air conditioned bliss inside the hotel complex. This isn’t to say we never left the facility, but rather, only when HPE arranged for social outings to popular venues.

This year I returned to HPE Discover as a guest of HPE and as part of the HPE Influencer program. This is a group of mostly bloggers, pulled from many disciplines,  that have an interest in all things HPE – some of these bloggers have impressive numbers of followers, with one gentleman having in excess of 750,000. Kind of makes my nearly 3,000 followers (on LinkedIn) rather tame. But before I get into specifics, the HPE team that looked after us did an excellent job and I have to thank Laura Mackay and her team and Katie Boydston as well as Rebecca Wissinger – you put on quite the event for us.

As the days unfolded it seemed almost unnecessary to leave the confines of the digital and social marketing area as the bloggers had been provided a room for themselves where coffee talks were regularly scheduled. This location meant we were very close to the HPE Labs stand on the exhibition floor and also very near the Mission Critical Systems area, which this year seemed to have gained more visibility than in past years – you couldn’t miss it if you were walking down the main aisle upon arriving on the exhibition floor. Of course, having NonStop on the stand was encouraging with Mark Pollans and Roland Lemoine handling the interactions with the attendees. Nearby was Keith Moore who was surprising many attendees with an interesting display of just how versatile NonStop had become while explaining how NonStop was up and running on an HPE Edgeline 4000.

For those looking to this blog for regular updates, it was HPE’s preference for all bloggers to tweet throughout the day and if you missed the activity (and my tweets) just go back to twitter and search handles #HPEDiscover and HPEinfluencer and you will see tweets on all the topics with myself doing the best I could to keep NonStop visible throughout the event. Having said this, I have now returned to adding updates to LinkedIn and of course, there will be even more coverage of HPE Discover in the upcoming July issue of NonStop Insider.

Three items stood out above all else and they proved to be the highlights too of the keynote presentation given by HPE CEO, Antonio Neri. This was expected of course and had been advertised in advanced as being the place to be to hear big announcements from Neri. And no, he didn’t disappoint. However, what surprised many is that Neri began by providing an update on culture and the concerted effort underway to build a culture that revisited the former glory days under Hewlett and Packard and that energized the whole company as it tackled some very challenging projects.

The big news here is the change in culture to where it has become more inclusive, empowering teams to pursue the vision of HPE in ways that produced results faster and it was evident in all the conversations I had with HPE – it’s a complete change from just a year ago. Simply stated, the fear of doing something wrong had completely left HPE and teams were now excited once again by the programs they were advancing. Oh yes, HPE now is a company committed to its partners and to the many channels available to it to get product to market.

So what were the highlights? What were the big stories? After learning that indeed the culture of the company was the soul of the company, once again we heard of data being the new currency of the enterprise. And data was driving everything, make no mistake about it! Neri told us too that HPE was succeeding with its strategy now clearly proven correct and ahead of the market, so much so that HPE was now first in Hybrid sales, first in Hyperconverged deployments (HPE SimpliVity) and yes, first in Composable Systems (HPE Synergy). Addressing the HPE partners who were present, Neri than added how there was now opportunity at the Edge – since acquiring Aruba, it makes the HPE offerings at the edge the best digital transformation partner for you!

Once culture was covered and the presentation moved on to the product portfolio two items stood out. Firstly, there was an update on the vision – Cloud, Edge and Data – with the news HPE was committed to providing everything as-a-Service very, very soon. It will be a challenge but this is where GreenLake comes to the fore and where the announcements were made that GreenLake, which had started out being offered through partners (to enterprises), was being expanded to include robust edge offerings on the basis of as-a-Service as well as infrastructure in general being offered on the basis, too, as-a-Service. This is all part of HPE pursuing a transformation in the economics of products (i.e. the way we consume products) that is up there with the digital transformation of technology and people and processes.

This will be challenging for NonStop users, but the more I heard from HPE, I came to realize the challenge will be for existing enterprise customers. New logos to NonStop, on the other hand, unfamiliar as they will likely be with all things NonStop may find this a good way to begin their NonStop journey. And when you think too of the implications of Hybrid IT, it is almost a certainty that your enterprises will need outside help so I can see the services side of HPE growing significantly, particularly as they are focused on very clear missions with little need to be concerned about legacy as those charged with providing services to legacy IT users have already been incorporated into DXC Technologies. 

The second item that caught my attention was the news that everything running in the data center was to be supported by the edge – if you had your favorite solution overseen by corporate IT expect to see options provided for running that same solution out on the edge. As an aside, for many of us it came as news that out at the edge, increasingly there will be mini-clouds present as really, clouds are an “experience” more so than just a product or technology. Interesting indeed – and a lead in to what HPE is describing as a future that eventually becomes Cloudless. I for one am not expecting to see a HPE Cloudless product line, but anticipate this being a place holder for something big as Neri promised more on an exciting new pursuit at next year’s HPE Discover event.

For the NonStop community, GreenLake may prove worth watching as the prospect of HPE IT, where NonStop has such a strong foothold, indeed becoming a showcase for the comprehensive nature of GreenLake may soon be real as it promotes HPE “eating its own dog food.” However, that isn’t certain but what is more assured is that NonStop will be seen at some point productized and supporting multiple Edgeline products. It’s a real case of showcasing that everything running in the data center will be supported at the edge and there is nothing more reflective of the complexity of the data center than NonStop. Should be interesting to see how HPE builds its go to market plans for such a NonStop offering.

Our bloggers pavilion on the exhibition floor was where the coffee talks were held throughout the event. Perhaps the most impressive coffee talk came towards the end of the event when we were gifted the presence of both the CMO and the CCO – Jim Jackson, HPE’s Chief Marketing Office and Jennifer Temple, HPE’s Chief Communications Officer. As Temple observed even as the change in culture was becoming palpable, “As a company, we believe in getting out in the community; it’s part of our heritage and we are doubling down on it!”

Perhaps closing with this is as good a place as any and to bring together the many threads that made up this year’s HPE Discover event. HPE is executing major pivots – to customers, software, services and to its people; customer first and customer outcomes represent a big change away from the mentality of box sales but as with every major effort looking to become a more confident, leaning-in, organization – it’s going to take more time to see how well the execution holds up, over time. Perhaps most important of all, NonStop still makes it to the final slides of the show – as specialized, mind you - but for the NonStop community, making it onto any slide at this level of presentation is always good news!   

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Off to HPE Discover: “It’s Vegas, baby – Vegas!”

If it is June and it’s very hot then it’s Las Vegas and time for HPE Discover – will we see you there? Follow me with hashtag #HPEinfluencer

Whether you head to Las Vegas for the entertainment or the restaurants, it matters little. It could be the attraction of the shows and concerts or the sporting events. No matter which way you look at it there is the ever present temptation to win big on the floor of the casino just as there is the temptation coming from a bar almost everywhere you turn. Yes, I’m writing about Vegas, baby – Vegas to quote a famous refrain from a popular movie (Vince Vaughn shouts this to Jon Favreau in the movie Swingers)! For the NonStop community this may not be truly the event of the year but for any party interested in knowing more about executing to a vision and delivering on product roadmaps that are all central to HPE’s strategy, this show is a must!

If you are reading this and the event is yet to start then you would be finding us somewhere out on the road between Colorado and Nevada. Once again we will be depending upon our company command center to get us to Las Vegas safely and if all goes to plan, we will be overnighting on a number of Walmart parking lots – west of the Mississippi this is the thing to do when you just want to cover lots of miles. Having said this, the one constant at this time of year is the heat – so once in Las Vegas we will be checking into the Venetian Hotel not only for its closeness to the exhibition floor and the meeting rooms but because of the superb A/C on hand.

The RV is only part of the story as it’s simply our choice of transportation into and out of Las Vegas. Yes, we like to drive and yes, we like our home on wheels when it comes to retiring for the night. But this year we are again guests of HPE as we join our fellow bloggers making up the HPE Influencers group. HPE does such a good job of getting us all close to the action – our coffee talks make this trip exciting all by themselves. And before I forget - a very big thanks this year to Laura Mackey who is putting this program together and making sure all our needs are being met.

I will be representing the bloggers focused on Mission Critical Systems – in particular, NonStop systems – but I will also be pursuing other product and service offerings of HPE. Who wouldn’t want to hear more about the upcoming acquisition of Cray and who wouldn’t want to see how Superdome Flex is developing? And yes, The Machine continues to evolve and with each event, HPE unveils just one more working piece of this dramatic change to the way we think of computing today. HPE Labs continues to be a highlight for me; expect to see plenty of photos from the exhibition hall as the event unfolds.

Have you been following the tweets coming from HPE? Have you seen some of the early promotional emails that have already begun in support of different presentations? Of course, Connect will be out in force and they have a program for the Connect user community and there will certainly be sessions provided for those members of the NonStop community who may be present – make sure you visit Connect booth as it’s not too far from where HPE houses the HPE Influencers and past experience suggests there is always a crowd hovering around the Connect booth and there is always quite a number of familiar faces and while I am not sure what NonStop systems will be on display, there is always one or two NonStop product managers nearby.

Talking of tweets – my handle is
@RichardKBuckle and from 2019 I am working hard to drive the number of followers I have past 2,000. Looking at the numbers of followers of my peers in the HPE Influencer group, there are half a dozen or so with thousands of followers so let’s make the NonStop community more visible. HPE will be broadcasting the tweets by the Influencers - follow #HPEinfluencer as well as the changed hashtag, #HPEDiscover) on Jumbotron screens erected throughout the center – exhibition hall and meeting spaces and wherever there are places to simply sit down and relax. If you have as yet not been to a HPE Discover event, the pace is fast and the atmosphere electric!

This will be my eighth or ninth HPE Discover event (counting 2017’s participation in HPE Discover, Madrid) – I can’t recall missing any since HP Discover 2011. Discover events, HP and HPE, follow three HP Technical Forum (HPTF) events that ran from 2008 through to 2010. At these HPTF events, there was still a semblance of user group engagement as they were the beginnings of a move to combine all of the then-HP user communities following the acquisition of Compaq, but no more. Like myself, a guest of HPE, so too is Connect a guest of HPE and no matter the size of its presence on the exhibition floor, NonStop presence at HPE Discover is still an opportunity to present the NonStop story to all and sundry!

I was posting about the 2010 HPTF event on June 11, 2010, Modernize? Evangelize! and I mused about the following year’s HP Discover 2011. Even as I had concerns about just how visible NonStop would be at an event as large as was being promised, it was left to Steve Saltwick, then of HP BCS/NED Marketing, who “finally convinced me of the value proposition. ‘Just think about it,’ I recall Steve advising, ‘this event in June will be the best opportunity we will have to impress on a much larger community the value that comes from using NonStop!’” Nothing has changed since Steve made that observation – HPE Discover continues to be a place where NonStop has an opportunity to impress a really big audience and my own presence, wearing as I do every NonStop badge and button I can find, in the HPE Influencer briefing sessions cannot be missed!

What will be the big items covered in this year’s event? Where will the focus be directed and in which organizations will the big announcements be generated? Already HPE CEO Antonio Neri has tweeted that there will be “Five advantages to be on the watch for: GreenLake pay-per-use innovation, InfoSight intelligent storage advantage, composable cloud, high-performance compute innovation, partnership and customer choice innovation.” Neri also told CRN reporter Steve Burke as you can read in a June 3, 2019, article
Antonio Neri: 5 Innovation Advantages To Look For At HPE Discover that, “You will be amazed at the innovation we are going to bring to Discover; more innovation in storage in terms of intelligent management platforms, more innovation in terms of edge with edge computing.” Neri also told Burke to expect that, “the biggest innovation you are going to hear from us is the pivot to as a service on everything we do.”

As Margo and I drive into Las Vegas we are expecting to feel the heat, as in the past, temperatures have routinely climber well above 100F mark and perhaps this is only appropriate when an event as important as HPE Discover is being held – and yes, members of the traditional press will be in attendance alongside us bloggers and I am hoping that Burke is nearby. It would be good to catch up for a chat with him and to hear of his observations about this year’s event. That too is one of the big reasons for attending HPE Discover – the networking opportunities are on a scale unlike any other event held during the year. There will be many stories coming “hot off the presses” I expect, but if you want to read of my own NonStop spin on all that is covered at HPE Discover then make sure you check back in to this site as I will be posting updates regularly throughout the week – yes, the heat from the nearby dessert is going to experience competition as HPE Discover certainly is going to be every bit as hot!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Celebrating the 500th post to this blog …

Live an adventurous life and you will write interesting stories!

“Welcome to RT Writer's blog - for all things related to the ITUG Community.” If this catches you off guard, this is the first line I wrote in my very first post to this blog back in August 20, 2007 - a post I simply titled Introduction. It’s been a long time since I used the handle RT Writer, although there are still a number of longstanding loyalty sites where it remains in use. It’s also been a long time since I opened with a reference to the ITUG Community. It may not be obvious to everyone however, the URL for this blog just happens to be ITUG-Connection.blogspot.com – accident? No, not really! But then again, with this post I am celebrating my 500th post for the NonStop community.

If you look back through the posts you will read a little about the history of how this blog came into being. On the other hand, if you missed it all or simply don’t have the patience to go scrolling through the previous 499 posts, it all came about at a Chicago ITUG board meeting, following my last year as the ITUG Chairman and the suggestion was made for me to turn my regular column in the Connection magazine into a blog. Having no clue whatsoever as to what this would involve I said yes. In no time at all I had ITUG board members asking me to slow down the number of posts as they didn’t have the time to read them all; today, it’s a case of three or perhaps four articles appearing each month in this blog. However, the best thing I ever did was to secure the agreement of the then Finance Chair of ITUG to become my editor – Margo Holen. Many thanks, Margo for the dedication and hard work to make my many musings readable!

That first post generated a couple of responses and I have elected to include two of them here. The first was from then NonStop product manager, Wil Marshman, who worked directly for me when I managed the then Tandem Computers communications and networking group of product managers – note, it was a group comprising three product managers and it was just for wires protocols and services. Wil’s sentiment was much appreciated at the time:

Wil Marshman said...

It's going to be interesting to see whether "Tandem customers" pick up on and use the new Web2 technology. It has the potential to enhance the feeling of community that many of us old-timers appreciate. Moreover, we may be able to find ways to create real value with it.

I have enjoyed a great relationship with the NonStop team through the years and not only with product management but with development, the field and even with adjacent technology groups, the tech center and HPE labs. I once quoted from a popular movie that, "If you live an ordinary life, all you'll have are ordinary stories. You have to live a life of adventure." And from the days of Tandem through to Compaq and now to HP and HPE that followed, it would be rather glib of me to say that life with NonStop hasn’t been a life of adventure! Who could have imagined all those years ago that more than a decade later I would be still writing articles focused on NonStop?

Among the other comments published for that very first post is one that I find rather interesting on many levels. It came from CAIL’s CEO, Ron Thompson, and it continues to resonate with me to this day:  

Ron Thompson said...

... with your background, you certainly have considerable insights into the NonStop / Tandem space. Since we have a shared interest in expanding the community, let me know of opportunities to collaborate.

If Ron has been one thing when it comes to his work with the NonStop community it would be his consistency. While even now Ron has those members of the NonStop community who know his story well it may come as a surprise that, even then, Ron was passionate about exploring new ways to expand the NonStop community and to do so by redirecting much of the conversation away from a purely technical in nature to where the needs of the business took priority. If you read the upcoming June issue of NonStop Insider, you will see a further update to this quest of Ron’s, whose passion for the NonStop community hasn’t lessened in the slightest.

If you looked at the blog and thought about printing the entire blog (as I once thought of doing before going on vacation), be prepared to sort through more than 2,000 pages of posts – actually, on A4 it’s more like 2,500 pages. Point is, there is barely a topic that hasn’t been covered and if you need supporting collateral for any presentation to your management, even with the passage of time I am sure you will find at least one reference and / or one quote that will support any point you care to make about NonStop. I am often left wondering how it came to be that the NonStop product line, the NonStop organization and yes, the NonStop community could be the source for so many interesting stories. You may not have read them, all but there will be more than a handful I suspect that have helped you through the years. Yes, you could say, living with NonStop has proved to be a life full of adventure!

It was only a matter of weeks after launching this blog that I was giving a vendor presentation at the Euro ITUG event in Brighton, England. To the amusement of some attendees, there was a group high-fiving (or close to that) each time I mentioned that I was now writing the blog – little did any of us know at the time, however, that in time it would become the foundation for a new business endeavor and to continue with the theme of leading a life full of adventure, I would be launching Pyalla Technologies, LLC, and going into business for myself. At the time of my presentation in Brighton, I was working for GoldenGate Software and it wasn’t till much later that my former colleague and today, good friend, Sami Akbay acknowledged that perhaps my enthusiasm over the value blogs provided as an adjunct to conventional communications channels was not fully appreciated but today, clearly it is a very important channel and almost every NonStop vendor today maintains a blog.

Pyalla has followed a similar upward trajectory as has this blog but it would be remiss of me not to thank the first three clients that I attracted and it was all as a result of this blog. First and perhaps surprisingly for others, it was Ernie Guerrera at NuWave that helped get Pyalla off the ground. At around the same time it was Dr. Michael Rossbach who dropped by our house to talk about working with comforte which began a very long relationship with a company about which I still think very highly. Finally it was through the voice of a friend - Marty Turner - talking to his friend that led me to a meeting with Andre Cuenin of IR that opened the door to yet another lengthy relationship that continues to this day. Management at IR may have changed through the years but the featured product, Prognosis, continues to dominate the payments and infrastructure markets worldwide wherever NonStop has a presence.

I continue writing posts for my clients to post to their blogs even as I develop interesting stories for industry publications like ATMmarketplace and FinTech Futures where clients’ products are featured on a regular basis. Among my solutions-providing clients, OmniPayments has been with Pyalla the longest and for good reason – they continue to help sell NonStop solutions and more recently, have become a VAR for NonStop systems in select markets. Providing potential customers with a number of options, when it comes to deploying NonStop (including virtualized with OmniCloudX) is a plus and over the many years we have worked together, I have come to enjoy our partnership with Yash.  

When news first broke of the decision by the HPE NonStop team to partner-up with NonStop vendors to launch a Migration and Modernization program, I was very pleased to see some of my clients become leading players. I also jumped at the opportunity to help publish the NonStop Insider digital publication – yes, Margo has been the Managing Editor from day one! While perhaps not on quite the same scale as this blog in term of number of articles, very soon we will be hitting the publication of the 50th issue, which is quite a feat in itself and yet further testament to the commitment the NonStop vendor community has for all things NonStop!

It hasn’t all been heads-down, nose-to-the-grindstone stuff – it has been a lot of fun coming up with ideas for the next story. It has been a lot of fun at times as ideas are bantered around among Pyalla’s clients. Nevertheless, NonStop remains the key ingredient in everything that has transpired in the years that have passed since that first post in 2007. Who would have guessed NonStop would have survived the cut that saw non-core software pruned from HPE – and indeed thrived as a result of HPE’s own IT committing so strongly to NonStop.

The appearance of a virtualized NonStop offering alongside traditional converged NonStop systems and  SQL/MX becoming a DBaaS offering (with multi-tenancy) together with the new capacity on demand options and the emergence of embryonic consumption pricing offerings are all helping take NonStop into a new, adventurous world! Yes, NonStop has indeed been leading an adventurous life any way you care to look at it and evidence of this is everywhere you turn these days. Through all of this transformation of NonStop it still has been very much about the fun that permeates within the NonStop community and is visible every time the community gets together, as this latest ETBC Edinburgh event so clearly demonstrated.

In bringing this post to a conclusion I couldn’t help but notice one particular recommendation of me published in LinkedIn very soon after the first post appeared in this blog. It was from a colleague of mine who right along with me has shared similar adventures and with whom I traveled around the world more than once. It was Mark Hutchens who wrote these lines which I think pretty much sum up much of what I have been conveying in this post, the 500th post to Real Time View: 

I first met Richard when he was Managing Director and he recruited me as Sales Manager for Systems Technology / Netlink and had the opportunity to work closely with Richard where I saw firsthand his creativity at work. He certainly knew how to throw a lunch ... And Friday night beer-busts were certainly lively with Richard around ... And of course, he became a beacon for the press looking for interesting stories to report!!! 

Sunrise often signals the unexpected; NonStop in ascendance!

Recent travels created memories; for HPE NonStop, the coming of dawn bodes well for a spectacular and bright future for the new NonStop! ...