Thursday, November 7, 2019

HPE NonStop team hits the high points at NonStop Technical Boot Camp (TBC) 2019


You can tell a lot about an organization from their body language and when it comes to the NonStop team, they have to be pleased by all that transpired this week …



Perhaps the best album that Bob Dylan ever created was Highway 61 Revisited. Many years ago Margo and I attended an event in New Orleans, the ATMIA annual conference for the financial community. As you can imagine it was focused on ATMs and it was the subject of the post, Covering all points on the compass, NonStop is hard to miss! ,but it had been our plan to drive up to Memphis via Highway 61 and that didn’t happen as the weather wasn’t the best and we were running up against the clock.

The highway, or as it may be better known as route, 61 follows the Mississippi River north out of New Orleans and is often referred to as the Blues Highway and had been on my bucket list for decades. What made Bob Dylan’s album so memorable were tracks that included Like a Rolling Stone, Ballad of a Thin Man, Desolation Row and yes, It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry!

“Now, the wintertime is comin', the windows are filled with frost
I went to tell everybody but I could not get across …”

Yes, wintertime is comin’ and yes, out Colorado way, the windows are filled with frost. More importantly though, I so do want to tell everybody about NonStop and about what was covered at TBC 2019 even as I am sure there will be those who don’t get the message of NonStop in quite the same way that I do. And that’s OK. Point is, to reference another Bob Dylan classic, the times are a changin’ and there is nothing like a major NonStop event to see all the evidence laid out … NonStop though is not doing one thing that perhaps these opening sentences (above) may suggest. NonStop ain’t singin’ the blues!

Driving back from NonStop TBC 2019 in late fall, the landscape we see as we cross Nevada and Utah gave us numerous reflections. And this was more than appropriate as Margo and I spent a lot of time reflecting on all that we saw. The first thing that struck us was the partner pavilion where NonStop vendors were only too willing to talk about their wares. We counted three or four vendors making their first appearance at the event even as we saw a developing trend among almost all of the vendors to build ecosystems among like-minded colleagues;  a sign of things to come and yes, all good!

It takes a lot to laugh; it takes a train to cry. For many it reflects a world-weary resignation or so Wiki suggests, I checked. And there is no denying that there are those in the NonStop community that have become a little weary of the criticism leveled at them whenever they talk about NonStop. But these days, nothing could be further from the truth. The move to the new NonStop X systems has accelerated and not just on a one-for-one basis, as many attendees told me of bigger systems being installed to handle bigger traffic volumes – stated as simply as I can, enterprises are doing more transaction processing than ever before and it’s showing!

However, it’s the back story that I have been following and is the one we need to be aware of – HPE will still sell you a NonStop i (Itanium) system but not for long and no, don’t try twisting the arm of your friendly salesman. Point is, the move to commodity hardware in support of NonStop is proving to be a great move on the part of HPE. The reason? There are no shortages of options when it comes to running x86 servers as almost all hypervisors run on x86 and so it opens the door to running NonStop along traditional lines in converged systems provided by HPE.

Alternatively, you can run NonStop in private clouds or even public clouds as virtualized NonStop can be deployed on popular virtual machine offerings, including VMware. However, just as we heard a lot about the uptick in popularity of NonStop X, virtualized NonStop (vNS) isn’t setting the world on fire. Well, not yet that is – and it’s not the time to resign ourselves to a solution looking for a problem. Where vNS will be marketed, in the shared opinion of Margo and me, is to enterprises already having in place mature virtualized frameworks.

Having said this, it may take some time for the NonStop community to become even aware of wins; vNS combined with DBaaS featuring NonStop SQL/MX represents a new way to market NonStop and in short, it will likely– in fact, this may prove to be the entry point for NonStop gaining a foothold with some of HPE’s biggest channel partners.

Yes, it’s more a time to laugh even if it takes a lot out of usto do so; it’s been a long time comin; but it’s here – NonStop gives us all options and that means we can bring the world of fault tolerance to applications we have been wrestling to make highly available, but only with a lot of effort – yes, it takes something really big like a hand-assembled cluster of clusters system. Yes, it takes something like this to cry!
As the TBC 2019 event proceeded, I posted to LinkedIn numerous updates, one for each day:




If you have as yet not read any of these updates you may want to take a look. Additionally, I posted to this blog, prior to the start of the event, Three things we may want to hear more about at the NonStop Technical Boot Camp (TBC) event! When it comes to the three things mentioned then there is a couple of updates I can now share with you all. If you don’t recall the three areas of interest then theywere vNS, XaaS (Everything-as-a-Service) and NonStop on the Edge.

Turns out that vNS, as noted above, was mentioned a number of times and was the subject of a couple of presentations (including one on VMware). But it was the keynote presentation by Jeff Kyle, VP & GM Mission Critical Systems unit, that perhaps gave us the best reason for vNS when he said the support for virtual machines is all about, “to be better connected and (more) easily managed!” Furthermore, it’s all about providing, “the best hybrid experience for our customers.” What I took away from this was that for NonStop to be more integral to the workloads being supported by IT, NonStop needs to be less isolated and participating more … running on x86 servers, within a server farm, would be a clear demonstration of NonStop’s ability to now play better with others!

As for XaaS then work has to be done. Even as HPE has committed itself to providing everything as a service by 2022, the NonStop team has begun telling us all that it will clearly be a gradual process that will in all likelihood involve a couple of NonStop partners working with HPE to build out the necessary infrastructure. As noted in my second update on LinkedIn, as best as I can tell from the discussions that have taken place, there will be no impact on the choice of tools and utilities NonStop users can elect to run. Your favorite vendor’s product will remain accessible should you elect to leverage Operational Expense over Capital Expense financing.

However, when it comes to the topic of NonStop on the Edge very little additional information was forthcoming. Perhaps this isn’t surprising as there is a lot to be covered before any such moves by NonStop to the Edge take place but as we become more familiar with HPE’s “Cloudless” mission we may find more attention directed towards NonStop. VMware at the edge and perhaps other options all suggest that as more and more enterprises come to realize that Operational Technology will meet Information Technology at the Edge, transaction processing will eventually move to where transactions originate. And remember too that HPE is committed to supporting every product available for the data center on the intelligent edge.

The more we reflected on the landscape unfolding before us on our drive home, the more we concluded that NonStop not only has been successfully transformed but that it is on the verge of becoming an option for all enterprises, no matter the industry or vertical. Use-case scenarios are all that are missing in our opinion and in the coming months; it’s almost as if we don’t really want to hear anything more from a NonStop product perspective but we do want to hear about how NonStop is being deployed in this new world of hybrid IT addressing core and cloud to the edge. And yet, the NonStop team should be congratulated for putting on a great event even as worked overtime to ensure we all got the message that “the best hybrid experience for our customers” means NonStop.

And what do you know? Looks like after reflecting on all of this, it doesn’t take a lot to laugh and those smiles we are wearing are for a good reason. Weary of the world of IT? Not likely and yes, #NonStopRules … OK!

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HPE NonStop team hits the high points at NonStop Technical Boot Camp (TBC) 2019

You can tell a lot about an organization from their body language and when it comes to the NonStop team, they have to be pleased by all th...