Heading to the West Coast – NonStop to shine!

Bags are packed and we are well on our way to San Jose for the annual NonStop Partner Symposium; expectations are running high that virtualized NonStop becomes the topic of the show …

There are times when all you can think about is what is going to come next! Over the course of the last week or so, we sold the company command center – our much-loved RV – along with our trailer and track car – yes, our equally much-loved Corvette. We have trimmed down to where we no longer have motorcycles, track toys and the “second home.” Not surprisingly, it’s allowed us to focus on what comes next and while we still have more cars than we have garages, we are making progress. After a fashion, that is. 

If you have as yet not read the latest post to our social blog, Buckle-Up, you may want to follow this link to read the full story -
The song remains the same … In the previous post to this blog, I wrote of simplification and in so doing, skipped any reference to what was actually taking place a lot closer to home. The reason for that had more to do with parts of the transaction not being fully executed and I didn’t want to preempt an eventuality of none of it  taking place. Defeat, snatched from the jaws of victory, was very much on my mind at the time.

One of the most iconic photos from any sporting event of the past couple of years was that of the sheer exuberance of Australian Indy Car driver, Will Power. As he crossed the finish line he let loose with an almost primeval scream knowing he was not only the first Australian racer to seize car racing’s most prized trophy but that after winning championships, many individual events and a huge number of pole positions, he had finally clinched the prize he had sought after for so long. And yes, Wil won the most recent event in Portland, Oregon, yet again.

No matter the sporting event, expectations among the participants run high that yes, after what may be as little as a few seconds, they will come out as winners. Going into the event there will always be those favored to win – the frontrunners as they are often labelled. But then again, there are upsets – if you follow Cricket how could the Australian team possibly lose the third test match against England? As one sports commentator remarked before a Super Bowl game, “we just have to play it out for the full 60 minutes!” Or as we often like to say in motor racing, “to finish first you first must finish!”

Gridiron, cricket, motor racing and much more all crown winners at some point. When it comes to technology, time in the spotlight can be fleeting indeed as change overtakes change! It’s as if we are just warming to one new technology that is being introduced to the IT community when something else arrives that makes further exploration a moot point. It’s as if we simply put away the manual we were reading in order to clear space for the new arrival. However, this has been a part of every IT professional’s life since the first punch card and paper tape arrived on the scene.

For the NonStop community, we understand that sporting references can only go so far. Not for the NonStop community are primeval screams of excitement being uttered as we watch something completely new being unveiled. When it comes to excitement, the NonStop community holds a lot back and for good reason. Restraint is simply a reflection of how critical a role NonStop plays in enterprise strategies. For good reason they call applications running on NonStop “mission critical” as outages are not part of the game plan of these enterprises. Mission critical is often considered business critical as outages disrupting business can be catastrophic for all stakeholders.

On the other hand, going into the major event season for the NonStop community with the NonStop Partner Symposium followed by the NonStop Technical Boot Camp add clarity to product roadmaps for the coming year and perhaps longer. It was only a few years ago that HPE funded the expensive exercise to port NonStop to the Intel x86 architecture. ServerNet was replaced by InfiniBand which in turn was complemented by Converged Ethernet as NonStop added support for virtual machines alongside of traditional machines. Who would have guessed that any of this would be taking place? As for NonStop SQL, who could have imagined it being optimized to support virtual machines with functionality to support DBaaS?

NonStop has had to run the race; it first has had to finish! And as we head to the NonStop Partner Symposium, what new things will be discussed? Of course, for those vendors attending this NonStop sponsored event, the presence of signed Confidentiality Agreements means we will be all waiting for the NonStop Technical Boot Camp before we know more and yet, as I recently wrote in the September issue of NonStop Insider, the smiles and indeed the level of enthusiasm for NonStop exhibited by vendors will tell a story we will all understand!

As for what I am anticipating hearing more of then my list is quite small. Clearly, the biggest issue facing the NonStop team is communicating exactly what consumption pricing will mean in a virtual world. We all want to have the option to consume NonStop any way we want and at any time when we need it, but at what cost? Suffice to say, the NonStop vendor community shares a common interest in this topic as for many of these vendors their very livelihood will be determined by just how balanced these pricing models truly become. But I am expecting the NonStop team is across this and have developed a number of scenarios that will benefit all members of the NonStop community.

It’s hard to ignore HPE CEO Antonio Neri who began his presentation of HPE’s Q3, 2019, financial results with, “These results reflect our momentum as we take deliberate steps to shift our portfolio to higher-value, software-defined offering delivered as a service.” It was only a few months earlier at HPE Discover 2019 that in his opening keynote address, Neri also said, “by 2022, everything on offer by HPE will be available as a service; this is our vision and now we are working on executing as we pivot to ‘a-a-S’ for all of our products!” Last time I checked, NonStop was still a participant in HPE’s mission critical systems product portfolio so it will be a participant in this vision.

The NonStop vendor community is watching this development very carefully as they will be impacted. Drop the price too low and it will be hard to fund future development; hold a price too high and there will be no market for NonStop-as-a-Service (NSaaS). We are all hopeful to hear of a “Goldilocks price” whereby everyone is happy with prices that aren’t too low or too high, but just right! And that’s the challenge that has befallen the NonStop team about which we hope to hear more.

I expect to hear even more about NonStop SQL – I suspect that there is still more to come from the database team. The Data Base Services (DBS) I suspect isn’t a done deal and what has been revealed to date is just a starting point. When the conversations among the vendors become really animated then it’s usually because the conversation has turned to applications – where are the new applications coming from? Who is investing in NonStop? What really makes the porting of applications easy is when there is compatibility at the database level and I suspect that we will hear more than just enhancements to NS SQL but of applications leveraging what’s new with NS SQL.

And then of course, there’s virtualized NonStop itself – while its early days it’s my belief that successfully transitioning NonStop to the virtual world and have it support multiple hypervisors is key to the longer term participation within the HPE product portfolio. By 2022 “everything on offer by HPE will be available as a service” means that NonStop will be a participant. No excuses. No exceptions. We have only seen the start of this effort and now we have to simply cheer from the sidelines as this is a race that NonStop first must finish. And finish, competitively. As for me, I have high hopes that indeed NonStop will succeed in this undertaking and we will see NonStop deployed in ways unimaginable only a short time ago.

News on pricing; news on SQL and yes, news on virtualized NonStop! No small feat to pull off major updates in all three areas but I am anticipating hearing much more on all of the above, plus more on topics I have as yet not really thought long and hard about. And that’s the real message of NonStop Partner Symposium – not only is change overtaking change but the unexpected is to be expected! And with that, it’s back out onto the highway as we continue our drive to HPE HQ – and yes, we certainly do know our way to San Jose!


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