Thursday, February 13, 2020

It’s time for three more wishes for NonStop!

Three years have come around rather quickly this time but it’s still worth thinking further ahead when it comes to our wishes for NonStop in 2023!

Celebrating each New Year comes with a lot of obligations. It’s not just a case of staying up late to enjoy the fireworks, although, I have to say, I haven’t managed to do that very often – my trip to Sydney to see its firework display being the most memorable exception. Then there is the mandatory popping of champagne corks and celebratory hugs, and more, and it was only a few years ago when Margo and I took to the streets of Key West to witness its approach to welcoming the New Year, where we were quickly educated about crowd control. However, perhaps entering each New Year is even more memorable because of the tradition of making a wish. Whether it’s embracing a new diet, spending more time at the gym or simply deciding to spend more time outdoors, each of us makes a wish / resolution of one kind or another.

Having written this, it seems only appropriate that I segue into the focus of this post – it’s a post I always approach with enthusiasm. I write it only once every three years, but even now, with the rate of change accelerating perhaps I need to consider providing an updated list of wishes at the start of each year. Imagine for a moment, as some pundits are declaring, what IT might look like in the future if the cost of computing does indeed go to zero. How far would you like to see computing go in terms of interacting with everything we do? On the other hand, what if it meant that NonStop could run everywhere and anchor all applications we would then be relying on round the clock, every week, every month, every year?

However, before taking a deeper dive into my next three wishes, it struck me that with the beginning of a new decade and as we move deeper into the twenty-first century, what predictions others had been making that were more general in nature. As a CNN Business report published, Nanobots, ape chauffeurs and flights to Pluto. The predictions for 2020 we got horribly wrong that weren’t shy about reporting on the shortcomings of some predictions. “According to various experts, scientists and futurologists, we would have landed on Pluto and robots should be doing our laundry by now. Oh, and we'd all be living to 150. ‘Futurists and technology experts say robots and artificial intelligence of various sorts will become an accepted part of daily life by the year 2020 and will almost completely take over physical work,’ Elon University noted in 2006.”

Furthermore, and just a little closer to home and to reality, it was also reported by CNN that “in 2000 (futurist Ray) Kurzweil also predicted that computers would be ‘largely invisible’ and ‘embedded everywhere - in walls, tables, chairs, desks, clothing, jewelry, and bodies,’ by 2020.” What doesn’t escape our imagination is that indeed, we are close to entering an era where robots can do many of the tasks we do today and much of the information we gather and the transactions we execute will be guided by AI somewhere in the background. If only we could get rid of those dreaded chatbots, we might be able to see better uses of data and ML / AL becoming beneficial to us all. One last prediction as reported by CNN: “In 2000, Eric Haseltine wrote in Discover magazine that written signatures would be ‘considered quaint’ by 2020, replaced by biometric IDs, including iris, fingerprint and voice-recognition systems.”

Back in posts to this blog in 2008 I managed to squeeze in two separate quotes by legendary baseball manager Yogi Berra. In the March 2008 post The path well-trodden – to Mandalay Bay! , where I wrote hesitantly about which NonStop products will gain traction with the community, I wrote that when making predictions we might do well to remember Berra when he said, “It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” It was only a matter of a few months later in the June 2008 post It's still the same, just different! where I wrote about strategy and setting directions, I again referenced Berra noting how he once said, “If you don't know where you're going, chances are you will end up somewhere else.” When it comes to NonStop it is indeed tough to make predictions about the future of NonStop even as it’s perhaps even tougher to state categorically where NonStop is headed.

Putting all of this aside for one moment, there is still value in taking the information the NonStop team has provided in presentations given to the NonStop community in 2019 and extrapolating a couple of highlights that in turn can be used to anchor further conversations about what might happen over the course of the next three years. Naturally enough, in the preview post of July 30, 2019, Three more wishes coming soon – the path ahead for NonStop I dropped a few clues as to what I might be covering in this post. But then again, in the short time that has passed since that post was published, events have intervened to the point where the direction has changed and the predictions taken on a different meaning.

If we are looking to start then it is useful to look back at what three wishes were documented on February 13, 2019, Three new wishes for NonStop that address the next three years! To summarize, these included predictions that NonStop users would be buying more NonStop X systems and in migrating to L-Series OS, begin looking at virtualized NonStop. As for NonStop vendors, it was an admonishment to them to lift their game not so much because they were slipping behind as much as it was an encouragement to keep up with NonStop development. When it came to the NonStop development team, the predictions here would be that we would see more education, training, mentoring and promotion and this was to be driven by a need to better educate the industry (including the press and industry analysts) about the new NonStop! So, how did we do?

Sales of NonStop X really took off in 2019 and new services in support of modernization and migration were introduced. Virtualized NonStop has come through some serious PoCs and contracts have been signed. Virtualized NonStop too has been the subject of a HPE video that is now live and can be viewed at -

Or, if you prefer to view this video on Youtube, that too is now an option

Furthermore, HPE Mission Critical Systems (MCS) marketing has published a new post on the subject of virtualization and Virtualized NonStop that can be found at -

This uptick by MCS marketing is refreshing to see in that it is a tangible sign that NonStop is very much a part of HPE’s modernization program. When you think about it this is one aspect of my wishes for NonStop through the years, that are coming to fruition, even as it has been an area of interest for most of us – well done HPE and the MCS team!

As for NonStop vendors, they did indeed step up their game and the NonStop community now sees more vendor products included in the NonStop price book than ever before. As for NonStop development, including the Mission Critical Systems (MCS) marketing team, we have seen three videos produced promoting NonStop even as at major events, symposiums and boot camps, we have seen presentations being given that were designed to educate and challenge. The changes that I wished for in that post of three years ago have mostly come true even if looking back, they weren’t all that aggressive in terms of measurable deliverables.

However, this all changes with this post as, once again, we go out on a limb. Predicting the future may indeed be hard but then again, it’s also an opportunity to begin a whole new conversation on NonStop. To put headings or titles to these latest three wishes, then perhaps these will prove helpful: Three Platforms, One Channel and yes, Transparency. HPE has laid out its vision and is executing a strategy that targets June 2022 – their own three year plan if you like, that was launched last June at HPE Discover 2019. When it comes to transforming the enterprise and delivering Hybrid IT based on a model that calls out Data, the Core and the Intelligent Edge, everything available today at the Core will become available for the Edge and everything in the product portfolio that is software will become available as a service.

And now for the wishes that I have for the next three years!

Firstly, NonStop will be an option on all primary systems from HPE: Three Platforms - from ProLiant, to Synergy, to Apollo! In some instance this will result in NonStop “morphing” into just a feature of these product lines whereas there will be other instances where NonStop as software will be present on a co-processor plugged into massive amounts of shared data. Virtualized NonStop will hold the key and in so doing, proves that there will be no limits as to where NonStop can be deployed; consider this as a key deliverable within the framework of everything running at the Core will become available at the Edge. Within the Core or out on the Edge, enterprises will have options and it is only reasonable to expect NonStop to gravitate closer to where the action takes place – the Edge. 

Secondly, NonStop will find its place (and role) within HPE Greenlake: One channel!  The recent announcement of Greenlake Central is setting the stage for delivering on the promise of everything as a service. If all goes to plan, this will make NonStop available through major channel partners and combined with the new gateway / console model, almost any business manager will be able to choose to run mission-critical applications on NonStop. HPE will retain a dedicated sales force in support of NonStop but in time, as HPE gains experience with NonStop participation in Greenlake, the emphasis will likely shift to this sales force becoming more integrated within Greenlake.

Thirdly, there is still a lot taking place within the data center where you will see progressively greater usage of private clouds: Transparency in that you may not know where NonStop is running and it won’t matter. We are still seeing the majority of NonStop users deploying NonStop on traditional converged systems, but very quickly and because of the cost savings from reliance on standardized automation, orchestration and provisioning and yes, management and monitoring, NonStop on private clouds will prove popular and in three years’ time, begin overtaking the presence of NonStop on traditional systems. We will see a clearer understanding of how enterprises can benefit from infrastructure and middleware running on NonStop such that DevOps will be able to include NonStop deployments complete transparently – and hasn’t this always been an ultimate goal for NonStop?

When it comes to starting a new conversation on NonStop, perhaps it should begin with the new mantra being repeated in all high level presentations on NonStop: Industry Standard, Software Defined, Cloud Optimized. Yes, NonStop? Won’t Stop! That too conveys a lot in just a few simple words. So, to really put it out there, I see a future for NonStop that even the newest member of the IT organization can assemble new services using Java or Python or Ruby together with tools that are being widely deployed today across the IT organization including the likes of Puppet, Chef, Jenkins, Salt, Ansible, Kubernetes, Docker, Nagios, Cloud Computing and storage platform, and Infrastructure as a Code.  Yes, the barriers have come down to where today GIT and Jenkins run on NonStop just as NonStop can interface with Ansible.

NonStop on all systems! NonStop in all channels! And yes, NonStop becoming transparent, disappearing as it were, into the cloud. All that is then left to ask: Are you ready? 

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