Saturday, April 20, 2019

Modern Marvels …

It may be big CATS tearing up the landscape but when it comes to mission critical marvels, HPE has more than one product offering that is a true marvel!

Houses are being built all along our street. While the street is called Sanctuary Drive, for now it offers very little by way of sanctuary as the noise and yes, the vibrations continually interrupt whatever we happen to be doing. Yes, you can argue that with modern machines what used to take weeks with pick and shovel can now be completed in a matter of hours (all contributing to keeping costs in check, of course). Sometimes you can be misled into thinking there is a battle of some sort raging just outside your door Today’s modern marvels in engineering are changing the local landscape on a daily basis and just watching them can leave you breathless!

A long time ago I worked for a Caterpillar distributor in western Canada and the only regret I have is that I never took advantage of opportunities to learn how to drive the big CATs. These massive vehicles that are quite capable of reshaping any landscape in short order have become tools we just cannot live without. Driving on the interstate highways, there is often a new piece of heavy equipment we haven’t seen before strapped down tight onto a big rig and these gigantic instruments of change have become so specialized that it’s hard to figure out what they do. Fortunately, I no longer have any ambitions to try my hand at driving one of these monsters and it’s only as an aside that I refer to a quote from the somewhat doomed movie, Mortal Engines, “An Engineer is no match for a Historian with his dander up!”

Well, there are occasions when I too get my dander up. It didn’t used to take much at all for me to take a swing at someone, a practice that got me into a lot of trouble at high school. However, reading a recent tweet from HPE that asked the question, “What makes HPE Superdome Flex a mission-critical marvel?” aroused more than just passing interest. “Discover the reasons in this blog: ,” the tweet continued. When I followed the link to the HPE web site, I was somewhat amused by the subheading, “HPE Superdome Flex server gains momentum since launch with industry collaborations and enhanced features using latest Intel technologies.”

In support of the statement, HPE Superdome Flex “a mission-critical marvel,” HPE lists SAP HANA, Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server users as all beneficiaries of HPE’s “in-memory computing capabilities of Superdome Flex are also attracting software developers themselves, and why we have made a “sandbox” available to reimagine what's possible.” All very well (and reasonably fair for HPE to state) but then there was this closing commentary, “Building on the path to Memory-Driven Computing, our next generation Superdome Flex is the result of thousands of engineering team-hours. And like all 
HPE mission critical solutions, with a common objective – to help customers go further, faster, 24x7. Our innovation journey continues.”

The link to HPE mission critical solutions takes you to a HPE web page covering mission critical systems where it doesn’t take long to find information about NonStop. What are clearly on view are references to SAP HANA, Oracle Solutions and NonStop Solutions – a big step up for the HPE team. “Fault-tolerance, always-on operating systems that eliminate the risk of downtime in continuous, mission-critical business environments,” is always a good read.

However, when you dig a little deeper and look at the opportunities presented today from running both NonStop X and vNonStop, it would be nice to reference how you don’t need Oracle any more as you can easily swap out Oracle for NonStop SQL as the HPE data center has done. And yes, wouldn’t it also be nice to note how in a virtualized world, the NonStop transaction processing system could easily be configured to front-end the SAP HANA in-memory database. In other words, elaborate a little further about how NonStop does a lot more these days than running payment switch software (even as it continues to do a terrific job of doing exactly that).   

However, what really gets my dander up, whether you consider me a historian or an engineer as seriously, I am neither, is the reference HPE makes to all HPE mission critical solutions, having “a common objective – to help customers go further, faster, 24x7.” Seriously? I remember a time when Compaq slapped NonStop on a whole range of products that didn’t improve their status as much as it took away from the real NonStop product offering. Diluting the value of 24x7 and applying it equally to all products in the mission critical portfolio is doing nothing more that diluting the value proposition of NonStop – you cannot add availability to a system; it has to be designed into the whole stack from the beginning.

NonStop continues to defy industry norms and as such, continues to be a mission-critical marvel. That isn’t to say what HPE has engineered into the new Superdome Flex isn’t marvelous – it’s massive scale-up properties together with virtually unlimited memory – are testament to fabulous teamwork performed jointly by HPE and former SGI scientists. However, it’s hard for me to ignore just how well-suited to the monocle of mission-critical marvel NonStop just happens to be as well.

You want scale-up then marvelous, you have Superdome Flex; you want scale-out then equally as marvelous, you have NonStop. Both product offerings bring to the market superior execution, no matter your business requirements and while there can be a strong case made to bring a private cloud to Superdome Flex and run database in-memory, an equally strong case can be made to bring your customer facing applications to NonStop. You can start with processing just one tps with the full knowledge you can grow to processing one billion transactions over the course of a month. And much more – with no need to resort to the complexity clusters bring with them. How cool is that?

Now that my dander is well and truly up, let me continue. It’s hard to get the attention of business leaders when your product is buried deep within your web site. With all the news surrounding Apple and the Apple Card for instance and the relationship it has with MasterCard it was a great time to talk about MasterCard pumping as many transactions as they do through NonStop! The reliable network MasterCard has in place can scale and should those billion pockets worldwide that are home to an iPhone see an Apple Card drop nicely into the same pocket then yes, we have a huge opportunity for NonStop to shine.

I am only speculating here about the MasterCard relationship with NonStop and its potential to support Apple Card as I have read absolutely nothing about it coming from HPE. It’s no secret within the NonStop community that MasterCard has NonStop systems deployed in support of card processing and switching. But wait, there’s more to the story here. At a time when the HPE NonStop team are working feverishly to add more applications to NonStop, payments and payment switches continue to do well and with as much publicity as there currently is surrounding fintechs, it is no secret that I am working on numerous social media channels bringing the message of NonStop to this community. If you missed reading my articles, you may want to check the publication Fintech Futures web site by simply following this link -

The bulldozers and backhoes have finished for the day and it’s all quiet on Sanctuary Drive. These marvelous machines turn undeveloped earthen plots into building sites with the foundations they need for stability and future growth. Across HPE, NonStop is proving itself the equal of any marvelous machine and when it comes to transaction processing, Apple Cards or not, there is few mission-critical systems that can match NonStop for true 24x7 operations. And just as importantly, look at the user groups supporting NonStop – take the temperature of the community on any given day – and you will quickly come to the same conclusion as all NonStop users have reached. You want a mission-critical marvel? Then look no further than NonStop and if you are still vacillating over the future direction of NonStop then look no further than HPE’s own IT and the commitment that HPE has made to NonStop.

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