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!!! 

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