Friday, January 24, 2020

What industry vertical comes next for NonStop?

As is so often the case, the NonStop community is looking at where growth will occur next; simple answer? Everywhere …

Traversing the continental United States as often as we do it’s easy to forget what we have seen along the way. From North Carolina’s Outer Banks to the San Francisco Bay, we have pretty much seen it all. In the last year, we chalked up some 50,000 plus miles in our vehicles and each time we pull back onto the driveway of our Windsor, Colorado, home much of what we have seen becomes little more than a blur. From the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, to the massive salt works outside Salt Lake City and then the many transportation hubs between there and the Mississippi, you would be hard pressed to think of anything other than the immense diversity of industry between the coastlines that define America!

January is almost at an end and already, Margo and I are thinking about the upcoming European NonStop HotSpot 2020 - Conference & Exhibition. It will be a surefire way to kick of the year. Taking place in Berlin it will certainly be a drawcard for most of the European members of the NonStop community even as it will prove popular with the NonStop vendors. As for your team from Pyalla Technologies well, you guessed it, we will be participating and hope to be able to catch up with all of you. Take this as an early reminder as once again, I have been invited to present an update on behalf of NTI, an opportunity for which we have to give the NTI team a big thank you.

While covering the NonStop community has been a priority for Pyalla for many years now – it’s hard to accept that the company has been in business for more than a decade where the only downside we can admit to is that yes, you guessed it, Margo and I are both ten years older. But then again, we all are a decade or more older than when we first began blogging just prior to a similar event, the European ITUG summit that was held in Brighton, England, back in the fall of 2007. Admittedly, this was a couple of years before we created Pyalla and yet, with those very early faltering steps towards a career in writing, writing blogs has essentially defined us. However, with the connection we now enjoy with the NonStop community globally, one question continues to be asked. Where will NonStop make its next big impression on an industry vertical?

Our most recent trip to San Francisco, with extended visits to Silicon Valley, gave us an opportunity to pause for just a moment and to talk openly with colleagues and friends about what might be next for NonStop. As the picture above so accurately portrays, to enter the rest area we had to leave the freeway. Isn’t that a reminder that to really see what’s happening all around us, we do need to step away from our daily routines? No surprises here, I have to admit and I am probably not the first person to make this observation, but when it comes to NonStop systems today, they can support almost anything that involves a transaction; an interaction between end users (including consumers) and a service.

NonStop is many things to many industries, but before looking more deeply into what industries really benefit from NonStop I can’t help being amused by an interaction between two actors captured in an episode of Burke’s Law that ran in the mid ‘60s. In the episode “Who Killed 711?” the detective asks a murder suspect:

“What is it?”
“Well, it’s my therapy. I’m still perfecting it.”
“What does it do?”
“What’s it for?”
“Well, nothing — nothing. I mean, that’s the beauty of it. Every machine in the world does something, but not mine.”

Even after all these years, it makes me think of what was talked about in the labs of Tandem Computers as folks began putting together that very first NonStop I system. What does it do? Well, it doesn’t stop, for starters, and yes, that just has to be therapy for many data center managers of the day! Yes, you can go home of an evening and no, the system will not fail you. Good grief, you won’t even need all those system and infrastructure personnel you employ today – it’s just that simple to use. Forget your mainframe; Tandem Computers delivers the intelligent front-end you have been looking for all this time. That mainframe may go down but transactions processed by your Tandem will just keep on going either stand-alone and saving exceptions for later transmission to a reinstated back end or switched to another back end machine as network connections support.

Today, NonStop systems covering more than one generation of servers, dominate the financial industry. The undisputed champion of never failing to process an online transaction whether initiated at an ATM, a POS, a mobile phone or from you laptop, wherever you happen to be. $3.6+ trillion of credit and debit card “charge volume” each year. The largest retail payments processor in the world runs NonStop just as three out of the four top gas stations’ acquiring networks in the US likewise depend on NonStop. Just stop and think about it – you go online and purchase goods or even services and your card will hit at least one NonStop system, no matter where you happen to be in the world.

Leveraging this distinct advantage with financial institutions and taking it to other industries though has proved elusive in recent times. In the past it was easier to talk about the presence of NonStop in Telcos, Healthcare even Newspapers. Not to forget that quickly the sizable footprint NonStop enjoyed at Stock Exchanges all over the world. Changes in leadership, changes in ownership and changes in priorities have all had an effect, but here’s the truly great news for NonStop: it’s no longer a case of looking for that next killer solution that leads to domination in a market vertical. The reality is that ever so gradually, NonStop is becoming a presence in many industries. Who could have imagined NonStop in transportation – from ticketing to tracking baggage! It’s all being done on NonStop and its taking place in Europe, Asia and America; railways, airlines, car rental firms – NonStop does it all!

Who would have imagined there would be a call to install NonStop in support of a bakery and yet, that has already happened. Who would have thought lines of robots would be managed by a NonStop? Who would have thought one of the world’s largest container seaports would be overseen by NonStop systems?  And who could have possibly imagined that technology companies would be dependent upon NonStop for mission critical application support?  Manufacturing, transportation, distribution and much more – it’s all about solving current business problems where the business needs to be in business 24 x 7 to remain competitive. Killer applications? Think more of an ever-adapting killer server that can be deployed as either a converged or virtual system.

Every machine in the world does something, but only NonStop does it unfailingly. When you take the time to step back and look at what is possible – and who hasn’t seen HPE’s Franz Koenig give his presentation, NonStop – The art of the possible? – the only ingredient missing is us! As a community we hold the key to the future of NonStop. Our testimony over what we can do with NonStop is all that is required – case studies and references sell C-levels everywhere. When it comes time for the European event in May, I have to believe Franz will be providing an update and if as yet you haven’t seen it then make sure you do. Furthermore, make sure your company hears about it as the message here is just as much about letting every company running NonStop today know it isn’t alone in so doing. Isn’t that cool?

For many of us, attending the big events held each year are times to pull off the freeway and into a rest area. It’s a time to take a breather and catch up on what others are doing. It’s a time to take a good hard look at what the NonStop vendor community is providing. And it’s a good time to simply take it all in – every NonStop in the world really does something important. Will you be looking to apply your NonStop system to the benefit of your company and in so doing, bring NonStop to yet another market vertical? And when you do, let us all know as I am confident there really isn’t any impediments in the way to NonStop processing every transaction that emerges in this brand spanking new decade!

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