Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Another milestone – and yes, milestones are coming along all too often!

For Pyalla Technologies, LLC major business milestones are being passed more often of late – hopefully, there are many more still to appear! 



On Monday, August 20, 2007 I posted for the first time to this blog. It was an introduction, naturally enough, and something that had started as a suggestion by the ITUG board of directors. There had been an ITUG board meeting in Chicago and as I was just hanging around at the time; being a former Chairman the board kind of tolerated me. To this day I think their suggestion was to give me something to do and as an encouragement for me to return to my hotel room.

At that time of that first post I introduced myself as RT Writer, a reference to the presence of a column in The Connection of the same name as this blog – Real Time View – and of how this was going to be RT Writer’s blog. But so much has happened in the intervening years that my use of the handle RT Writer has for all sakes and purposes, disappeared. A relic, if you like, of former times when the NonStop community operated differently to how it functions today.

The picture above was the one I used with that very first post and in a way, proved to be an indication of a topic that worked its way into many of the story lines. Taken of me while seated, waiting for the start of the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix, wearing a rather unique cap – supporting Australia’s Mark Weber as he raced for the Jaguar F1 team – it would come as no surprise that for almost a decade I not only became a fan of open wheel racing, but that together, Margo and I found our way onto race tracks in the US behind the wheel of a number of different vehicles.

But this really was never the main story line, as so much has happened across the past 12 years that it’s impossible to highlight all of them. From the time immediately following the acquisition of Tandem Computers by Compaq through to the “merger” with HP to the slit into HPE and HP Inc. to what can now only be referenced as the offloading of non-core products, to compare it with being on a rollercoaster ride is simply overrating such rides.

Starting my thirteenth year well, all I can say is that as I hung on to that rollercoaster that today is HPE, the storylines materialized right before my eyes and there was no lessening in the many twists and turns that HPE executed that gave me something to post about. One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from the book (and now a film) The Art of Racing in the Rain, by
Garth Stein:

“That which we manifest is before us; we are the creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves.”


I cannot recall a single month where something didn’t occur that was worth posting to this blog. And yes, as many were written out of ignorance as were written with intent – and intention to always ensure the spotlight shone brightly on NonStop. For good reason there have been stories to write featuring NonStop as it has demonstrated an amazing ability to keep on transforming with each new architecture and to embrace wholeheartedly each new technology. NonStop thrives to this day as it meets a fundamental need of business – don’t fail me when I most depend on you! Simple and yet, the hoops through which other solutions jump only add complexity to where the solution becomes fragile – just ask any business who has tried to scale Oracle RAC!

Looking back at the first post in 2007, by way of introduction I covered some of my early work and in so doing, I referenced a number of colleagues from my earliest days with Tandem Computers. As I said back then,
most of you know me - I have been involved with the NonStop server since my early days at Netlink Inc. out of North Carolina. The company's R&D center was in Sydney - but as we looked for additional funding we ran across Tandem Computers and eventually, Tandem made an investment. I was so impressed with the folks I met (folks like Andy Hall, Jeff Tonkel, Suri Harish, Chris Russell, Bob Marshall, and so on) that I returned briefly to Australia so that I could join Tandem. Yes, we truly are the creators of our own destiny!

When I started writing these posts, having a social media presence and posting to blogs was very much in its infancy. When I introduced myself to others in IT and told them I was blogging, the assumption was that I was simply chronicling life events. It came as quite a surprise to hear that I was blogging in support of a community and that I was covering products, technologies and architectures and yes, marketplaces.

Why would I be doing this and surely, this cannot be a real job, right? In fact it was back in 2007 when I was on stage at the ITUG event in Brighton that some of my colleagues bemusedly informed me that I had referenced this blog many, many times. It was only later that I heard from one of them of how, at that time, they hadn’t fully realized the impact blogging would have on a community.
You may recall that it was Mark Twain who encouraged others to:

 “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Today, the blogs I support and to which I regularly post anchor the business of Pyalla Technologies which shortly will be celebrating yet another anniversary. And it’s an important anniversary as in October, it will the completion of a decade of providing articles, commentaries and yes, blog posts for the NonStop community, the Payments industry and yes, even HPE.

I have only just recently been asked if I had plans to revisit my paper on the true cost of ownership of today’s modern NonStop systems to add a section or two featuring virtualized NonStop. This would be something I would like to address and hopefully, I will find support within HPE to pursue this as honestly, the paper I wrote back in 2012 can still be found on the HPE web site -
NonStop offers the lowest TCO in its class for complex mission-critical applications Up until very recently, some data points in this paper were still appearing on HPE NonStop PowerPoint slides.

There are times where I struggle to fully comprehend some decisions taken by HPE, but the good news is that HPE has created a community for bloggers and social media influencers so there are now colleagues I can turn to for additional insights even as this group has a HPE management team supporting them so I can dig even deeper into the background. Having this channel means that I am less likely to speculate too far outside the lines even as some of my posts may have puzzled some readers!

At all times I have tried my best to prepare the community for what I truly believe is about to happen. There have been times, I must now confess, when HPE has asked me to shut down a discussion as my speculation has touched on a topic HPE was not prepared to let develop within the community – if you have ever known about the
Osborne Effect then you know why HPE becomes concerned whenever this happens.

Overall, it’s been a fun time creating these posts for this NonStop community blog. NonStop survived the spin-merge of a few years ago when non-core products were offloaded to Micro Focus – clearly, evident of the high esteem with which NonStop was held inside of HPE. NonStop then thrived when support of Intel x86 architecture was delivered and yes, took another giant step forward when it was announced that NonStop would be a collection of virtual machines.

And now, we are preparing for NonStop being made available on the basis of “as-a-Service” even as it will be available for deployment on the core and the edge. “Exciting times,” as Jimmy T was fond of saying? Yes it is and even now, with this post, I have no intention of letting up on my coverage of HPE, Mission Critical Systems and NonStop! And why should I? After all, business continues to find value in systems that simply don’t fail when they are most needed.   

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