Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Hope lost! But perhaps, not so fast … Echoes of Milton?


It begs the question, what next? In a world focused on ensuring isolation, going online seems right. Will NonStop meet the needs of those who just don’t want to stop? 




I have only just written a post for another blog site about hope. In that post of April 14, 2020 to ATMmarketplace, As our need for cash declines, will ATMs follow suit? I mused on how given all that is taking place –

“(T)hese nationwide shutdowns we read so much about aren’t helping with fostering hope. No, the hope of good things to come seems to have been thrown onto the back-burner and left to simmer out of sight.”

As much as I would like to say that I enjoyed waxing lyrical, in truth I was attempting to light a fire under hope, as like many of us on this planet, we were hunkered down, practicing social distancing and taking every step possible to ward off this global pandemic. It was while writing this that I caught references to pandemonium at which point, I recalled that it was Milton that penned in his classic poem, Paradise Lost that Pandemonium was the capital of Hell. Ouch … 

Reading poetry is not for everyone, nor is delving into the backgrounds of poets and of the times in which they lived. Even so, when it comes to looking into Milton’s verse, perhaps it’s worth noting that it was William Blake, the most brilliant interpreter of Milton, (who) later wrote of how “the Eye of Imagination” saw beyond the narrow confines of “Single vision”, creating works that outlasted “mortal vegetated Eyes”. Perhaps even more relevant to the events of today is the reference by the poet Wordsworth who “began his famous sonnet London, 1802 with a plea: ‘Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour: England hath need of thee.’”

Delving even deeper into the background for this post it can be traced back to the many stories being written about the fate of the cruise lines. It would be completely understandable if the next cruise ship launched in the coming months was christened “Hope for Better Times.” Or maybe even, “Hope y’all come Back, y’hear!” To suggest the population at large has lost hope in ever happily cruising again is perhaps one of the more obvious fallouts following the arrival of this global pandemic.

It’s a safe bet to say that none of us truly imagined that something like this coronavirus would wreak such devastation on countries. COVID-19, if you prefer, is a bellwether ringing in change no matter how blasé any of us might be about eventual outcomes. But then again, hope has been in short supply for some time now. When it comes to the IT industry in general and to HPE, its Mission Critical Systems group with NonStop specifically, how many of us trust he likes of Gartner any longer? Or any tech industry analyst for that matter? Along similar lines, what of Silicon Valley?

Whenever discussions about hope arise then it may have been slow developing, but the events of 2020 have helped little with promoting the idea of infallibility of tech. Yes, even as we take a good hard look around us, doesn’t it strike you that well, things fail? For the NonStop community it is still shocking to read that failure is tolerated and outages garner less attention than they once did. Is mediocracy the new norm? Or as Milton wrote, “What though the field be lost? All is not Lost.” Yes: Hope springs eternal!

Across the NonStop community we have a strong appreciation for how best to deliver solutions to best serve Mission Critical deployments. Business may have stalled but it hasn’t lessened its need to meet customer expectations. These expectations have evolved of late as more of us turn to our laptops, smartphones and even smart TVs to conduct business. Perhaps more so as we go about living with a dependency on our every need being satisfied with the ring of our doorbell announcing the arrival of just one more item needed to sustain us.

When it comes to necessary infrastructure then the markets are being primed to better appreciate fault tolerance. We know robots never get sick. Nothing ails them and they don't stop as perhaps we do but ultimately it is the consumer, that all important end-user, and less so machines that drives tech. In turn, tech will continue to drive Silicon Valley even as our hope is not so much anchored in pivoting and disruption as much as it is anchored in an expectation that our new lives will be as they were in the past, albeit very different. Social distancing: There is hope that the current dictates are eased but will we ever be happy to return to shaking hands? Giving each other a hug? Crowding into a conference room?

There will be much that is going to gravitate to electronic exchanges, be that ZOOM, Skype or any mix of social media channels you care to name that what will emerge is a new found appreciation of the value of virtualized everything. Underpinning it all will be systems and infrastructure we expect to have working no matter what. If hope truly springs eternal then isn’t the shape of things to come all about continuous availability? To this end, surely, with a system that won’t stop, truly primed for brighter days with NonStop?

Isn’t it time then to take hope off the backburner and reposition it front and center of our plans? “Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour: England hath need of thee.” So easily could this read NonStop, we have need of thee!” It could happen; the scene is set – do you have the energy and inclination to make NonStop a reality in support of your business infrastructure and solutions in 2020? The promise is clearly there and easily realizable. Once again it’s NonStop that, as a community, we all know, won’t stop!   

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