Wednesday, March 25, 2020

NonStop – it’s all about trust and track record!


What comes to mind when you think about home court advantage? NonStop has the experience and yes, the top score when it comes to running mission critical applications! 



It has been almost two years since Margo and I last ventured onto a race track. Over the course of a decade we turned up at events in various cars but when asked, we both enthusiastically supported our beloved Viper SRT/10 as the true car of choice for track weekends. With regard to our favorite tracks, in time High Plains Raceway (HPR) became our favorite simply because it was our home track. Previously it had been a track out on the edge of California’s Mojave Desert, Willow Springs International Raceway (WSIR), which was our favorite and, for a time, it was our home track.

If you have seen the movie Ford v Ferrari (or Le Mans ’66 as it has been called in some markets) you will be somewhat familiar with WSIR as in that film they made extensive use of the property, but drove around the track counterclockwise – something we never had the opportunity to do. As we head into Spring here in the Northern Hemisphere there will be a lot of discussion about new cars finally hitting the marketplace, but here’s the thing; whether your intentions are to drive a backroad, commute, or take to the track today’s cars have become so good that you can do it all with few changes needed to your motor vehicle.

Put it down to standards if you like – almost everyone has a ZF or Tremec Gearbox and everyone has a cable they can plug into any cars industry-standard ODBII interface to see what’s going on and, if you have the skill and software, gives you the opportunity to re-program your car. Simple: It’s all standards based. Even so, you have some choices – Wilwood or Brembo brakes; Toyo or Hoosier tires; Pfadt or Bilstein suspensions. And it’s become very similar in our IT industry today – numerous architectures, infrastructure, utilities and tools and even message formats. All universal and all designed to ensure business keeps its eyes on what lies ahead.

Whether you call it a home track or a home field, there are advantages of competing on familiar turf. Or pavement! How often do we hear the cry go up, “Not in my house!” and this is where the conversation about the importance of standards intersects with the need for creating business value. If the cry of “Not in my house” aptly applies to sports contests how can we ignore a cry of “NonStop, won’t stop!” In other words, when it comes to projecting the true value that NonStop brings to business then it’s hard to ignore the decades of trust NonStop has created among businesses in general. No NonStop user can ignore how NonStop meets all the criteria businesses impose when it comes to availability.

In presentations given by the HPE NonStop team members it’s hard not to be impressed when they quote the likes of VocaLink (now a Mastercard Company) –

“It comes down to trust and track record. When you are running systems this large you have to find a way to be able to sleep at night and the only way you can sleep at night is to have exactly the right tools for the job. And for these really high performance, large scale, cant’ ever fail applications, NonStop is the right tool for the job!”        

However, possessing the best system for the business implies more than technology. You can have the most impressive hardware architecture and software implementation but if in its uniqueness it calls upon levels of skill not readily at hand, then CIOs and IT departments will likely shy away from the solution on offer. Fault tolerant computers arrived when hardware reliability was problematic and carved out marketplaces where business needed support for mission critical applications. Today, businesses have as pressing a need for reliability not because of unreliable hardware but because the sheer complexity of modern deployments has become fragile at best.

We may think modern cars have become complex, but in reality they are the sum of components and sub-assemblies tried and tested over decades. So much of what goes into modern cars is the same where the only differentiation is style, comfort and yes, perhaps color. Engineers and service mechanics can download manufacturers tools to a laptop and become familiar with your car in no time at all – even the codes generated by the engine control unit (ECU) have been standardized across different models. Modern cars are little more than computers – the engine is programmable, as is the transmission as are today’s electronic differentials. One report on the new Corvette talked of there being two million lines of new code just to manage the e-diff!

It’s easy to gain consensus from NonStop professionals over issues like trust and track record, but what is very new is that with the commoditization and standardization of NonStop as it transitioned to x86, is that it has opened the doors to modern development environments. The same teams employed to write and operate modern applications via programming languages, test tools and the like can direct those very same capabilities at NonStop. There are almost no remaining barriers to developing applications on NonStop using exactly the same stuff as have been used developing applications for other systems.
 
In her post to the HPE Community blog,
Modernizing the development world of NonStop applications, Karen Copeland, Manager, Worldwide HPE NonStop Product Management, made a point of highlighting just how far NonStop has come with respect to ease of programming - 

What may also surprise CIOs is how DevOps tools like Git and Jenkins can be used to develop applications even as NonStop developers directly interface with products like Ansible.

To which we can now provide an update to what has already been published by adding –

What may surprise IT management even more is that there are now groups within the NonStop engineering team working on NonStop middleware that are actively using GitHUB, Jenkins, Ansible and other open source tools for DevOps to deliver many new offerings for the NonStop platform.

If you have trouble with the above hyperlink, you can always cut and past the following link into your browser -


It makes a very big difference when it comes time to consider NonStop for your next project – there will be applications that continue to be mission critical and CIOs and IT departments do want to sleep at night. NonStop has always delivered the highest level of availability even as IDC continues to endow on NonStop the much coveted Availability Level 4 (AL4) -   where “AL4 servers will failover in a way that the user won't notice.”

The days of heading out to the garage to build your own race car are long gone. The need for heavy investments in cutting edge technologies does not exist for weekend excursions on a racetrack. We may have our home tracks and we may have preferences for simple things like oils, brakes and tires, but ultimately, there are lots of options when it comes to turning to off-the-shelf components and perishables. As for that Viper featured atop this post it will always hold a special place in our hearts even as it no longer resides in our garage.

When it comes to systems, HPE NonStop has pursued a radical program for NonStop embracing industry standards, including support for open source software. It demonstrates considerable flexibility in support of traditional converged systems even as it supports virtual machines. And now, the need for costly support and operations staff has been negated as well. When it comes to any home track advantages, there is no denying that for CIOs, it’s time to deploy NonStop, “in my house!”

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