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 – 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!!! 

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