Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Ten years, and counting …


Pyalla Technologies, LLC is celebrating ten years; it’s been a long journey but with HPE NonStop the storylines kept on coming …



This will be a fun month for Margo and me as we celebrate Pyalla Technologies, LLC.’s tenth birthday. When the company came into existence we were still commuting between Simi Valley, California, and Boulder, Colorado, but with the changes that took place over the course of the decade that Pyalla has been in business have been monumental. Almost nothing from our first weeks remains the same. Nothing. And it continues to surprise our clients, colleagues and friends that the storylines not only continue to develop but remain fresh and by most accounts topical so that the NonStop community checks out the articles posts and commentaries that appear each month.

When we look back at our office in Simi Valley and recount the number of times I headed to the local Starbucks for what I said at the time was “inspiration”, but in all reality, was an excuse to catch up with the local coffee club, it’s not so much a blur but rather a retelling of a time that was so different to what exists today. Not just for Pyalla but for business in general. Ten years ago iPhones were still new and very much untried and the iPad was still a quarter or two away from being announced. The prospect that IT would become so heavily influenced by what we all carry in our hands wasn’t a consideration back then.

As for our Boulder office it was substantial, with plenty of room to spare. Whereas Simi Valley was an upstairs alcove overhanging the dining room, in Boulder we had a lower level multi-room suite. With external entrance – perfect for a doctor’s office but way more space than we needed and yet, over the course of a few short years, we grew into it. The challenges that came from those early days were simply finding clients and three of them stood out and indeed, without them Pyalla may not have made it to its tenth birthday. In time, we left Simi Valley and our business life became a lot more straightforward. No matter the manner by which we started the best part of all was that yes, we were open for business!

Ernie Guerrera of NuWave kicked us off with a small contract to help out with collateral and a presentation. Then it was the work put in by Dr. Michael Rossbach of comforte that really helped kick things along and working with the comforte team was when I realized we could make a go of this – Pyalla could play a role within the NonStop community. Business picked up considerably when IR, under the then leadership of Mark Brayan, engaged with Pyalla. After that, the business really picked up. Even as we made Boulder our sole office and ceased commuting between California and Colorado, there are plenty of anecdotes noting how we continued to drive back and forth across America. And there are many posts where cars and road trips anchored the storyline.

With Pyalla we made a decision to stay focused on the NonStop community, with one small diversion that took Margo into supporting nonprofit associations. Focused on NonStop, as we were, didn’t detract from our interest in payments given that Margo and I had ties back to the payments processing industry. As a consequence, we have grown the attention we give to financial institutions to where we are now contributing articles and posts to payments-focused journals on both sides of the Atlantic. Naturally enough it was easy to cover both the NonStop and payments communities, as in many instances, payments meant NonStop! But even so, there have been times when editors of publications like ATMmarketplace and Fintech Futures have raised an eyebrow over the unabashed support I gave to HPE and NonStop.

Ten years, and counting … But here’s the deal; there has been little that has been constant when you look at HPE and NonStop. The headlines just kept on coming and there was no lessening in newsworthy stories for the whole ten years Margo and I have been covering HPE. Back in October, 2009 when Pyalla first began, NonStop on Blades had only just been announced back in June, 2008 at the HPTF event in Las Vegas. NeoView was still going strong and all six then HP data centers had been built and populated with NonStop Blades supporting the embryonic first foray into the world of OLAP and Data Warehouses.

S-Series NonStop was winding down and there were huge changes about to happen inside of NonStop development. In no way could you intone that there was a shortage of stories to write and they kept on coming each and every month. The success of Pyalla in hindsight had a lot to do with the early work Margo and I had put into creating a NonStop focused blog – this blog, Real Time View, that now has seen more than 500 posts – that in reality was an extension to a column I had been writing for the previous two years for publication in The Connection. It’s now been replaced with a new column, Back for more … that continues to this day. But what drives Pyalla today? What makes working with Pyalla an option for many members in the NonStop vendor community?

“Congratulations! You have created a huge following among financial customers,” OmniPayments CEO, Yash Kapadia, wrote recently and while Margo and I welcomed these kind words from Yash, it does reflect the full ten years of time and effort we both put into the company. There are well known statistics available today from America’s Small Business Association (SBA) including “30% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 50% during the first five years and 66% during the first 10.” Phew, made it! But the point is, and to echo Yash’s sentiment, it is all about creating something of value and I think Margo and I, after a fashion and a lot of trial and error together with some disastrous undertakings, have kind of figured things out – and they are working for us.

Now, before you go “Good grief, Richard …” I am making a point here to highlight that in today’s economic reality, having skills in the NonStop marketplace are no longer enough to stay fully employed. We have lost count of the number of emails asking both of us about opportunities around the world for NonStop programmers – it’s tough out there. Add an aging population along with well-meaning statements from IT corporations concerning right-sizing the employer age-pyramid, and the landscape isn’t pretty. And yet, the demand on NonStop folks isn’t going away, but rather, it’s being redirected.

Have you thought any more about HPE’s stated directive that for every product in the HPE portfolio, there would be the equivalent as a service. XaaS, as some inside HPE are calling it and a reference to “Everything as a Service” will be with us all in three years’ time – who will industry be turning to for help with such a transition? I have to say, everyone who is still reading this post – begin your preparation as you too will become an important component in any successful transformation to XaaS. When you look at growth opportunities among the NonStop vendor community there will be a strong uptick in valuations among all those who aggressively pursue the services opportunities that are bound to arise.

It may sound cold, perhaps a little corny, but there is a popular saying within industry that, “One common path to success for many small businesses is to find a niche market and establish a dominant position as a player in that niche.” Or, something like that and, for many decades, this was a core strength of NonStop. The NonStop systems were participating and being deployed worldwide in support of mission critical applications and became the go-to-solution for everyone who needed fault tolerance and a true 24 x 7 supported operation. This still holds true for all those enterprises looking for such straight out of the box – nothing can compete.

Pyalla’s niche, if it has one? This past decade has taught us one important message – no matter what, sit down and type. Our niche is storytelling. Not everything will be a masterpiece and there will be times when the storylines are hard to find but like every pursuit in business, there is no substitute for simply doing what you love to do. And those storyline; they will come … Along this journey Margo and I have been helped many times over by many and there really isn’t enough space to list them all. Perhaps another time: Our next goal? How about twenty five years?

Who knows but one thing Margo and I agree on – NonStop in one form or another; bladed, racked, virtualized, core to edge and beyond, whatever – it will be here as fundamentally, no other approach to providing fault tolerance out of the box has proved as successful over time. And with that, all we can add is that yes, future storylines? Bring them on … 

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