Sunday, July 19, 2020

Changing rooms; cleaning house. Have you taken a good look at what NonStop delivers?

One thing that has accompanied the global pandemic is a complete rethink of where our applications and data reside. NonStop remains “in the house” supporting “workloads close to the data.”

With the global pandemic continuing to dominate headlines it’s hard not to think that the sky is falling. Perhaps Henny Penny was right, after all. Fortunately, nursery rhymes can only take us so far, but tragically there are many friends who really did have a piece of the sky fall on their heads as the world seemed to collapse around them! But what to do as we live, entertain and work all while practicing social distancing? Surely, there is stuff that needs doing! Can we take this time to clean the house? Change-up the look of a room or even change rooms so that the underutilized rooms become home offices? 

In the Buckle’s residence, there has been a flurry of activity to do with furnishings and decorations. After three years of living in our Northern Colorado home, there were just a few things missing and the flow still need improving. Compromises had been made for the benefit of a quick move-in but as with any expedient course of action, more often than not the results can be underwhelming.

Coming off the HPE Discover Virtual Experience and going through the notes Margo and I took as the event unfolded, a couple of statements jumped off the page. The biggest item was the news that so many applications continue to be run on-premise and what has moved to public clouds has just been the “the easy stuff.” Furthermore, data suggests that many CIOs rue the day when being expedient overruled being expeditious and compromises were being made for the sake of convenience. No, the sky wasn’t falling and CIOs haven’t been hit on the head. Surprised?

When we talk about compromises, perhaps that second or third data center really isn’t needed after all. Perhaps it’s just a better proposition to turn to a cloud service provider to run workloads of lesser importance. For NonStop users the solutions on offer from a number of vendors has meant that building out reliable links between multiple sites and having them essentially in-synch was part-and-parcel of their business continuity planning. No need to change anything in this room; our business critical systems and solutions are running just fine and no, we don’t need any additional staff. NonStop system managers are au fait with overseeing such setups. Now, leave the room!  

The most important message coming out of earlier HPE Discover events was on the topic of elasticity of provisioning. When it comes to clouds, discussion about any cloud experience focuses on speed, agility and just as importantly, the perceived simplicity in so doing. It’s just so easy to spin-up the necessary resources to run an application and it’s just as easy to scale-up to meet any additional processing needs. However, there is more at stake for enterprises running business critical applications than access to such flexibility. And again, more importantly, there is a cost – nothing about clouds comes for free!

There is a saying that you can’t have your cake and eat it too! Then again, returning to nursery rhymes, we all know these words:

Four and twenty blackbirds
Baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened
The birds began to sing …

When it comes to cloud computing, in reality when you peel away that tantalizingly sweet crust, those chirping birds want to be fed. You know, singing for their supper; we all know that when it comes to clouds, we pay! And there’s no way to stop that incessant chirping until we do. Point is, it’s not only a case of moving the quick and easy-to-do workloads conveniently to the cloud, it’s consideration of the least costly option. For many business tasks, the need for oversight, security and yes, compliance dictate taking a much closer look at the offers being made. For the NonStop community, apart from the obvious benefits that come with continuous availability and unlimited scalability, it has also been about performance, security and compliance.  

When it comes to throwing things away, improving the flow and adding a couple of deft touches to finish a room, I continue to stand in awe of items that suddenly reappear as if by magic. Discarded items on one floor somehow appear on another floor and yet, there is no strange magnetic anomaly that I can detect. Our home isn’t constructed atop a giant iron ore deposit and yet, it is still an odd feeling to pass an item that simply wasn’t there a short time ago. Gravity can act weirdly, sometimes! 

Until HPE Discover Virtual Experience I have to admit, neither Margo nor me had heard of references being made to “data gravity.” And yet, as a metaphor, it’s been with us since 2010. In a blog post back then, Dave McCrory, a former VMware and GE software engineer, introduced the IT industry to the idea of data gravity:

“Data Gravity is a theory around which data has mass.  As data (mass) accumulates, it begins to have gravity. This Data Gravity pulls services and applications closer to the data. This attraction (gravitational force) is caused by the need for services and applications to have higher bandwidth and/or lower latency access to the data.”

In writing about data gravity, Dave McCrory described a phenomenon in which the number or quantity and the speed at which services, applications, and even customers are attracted to data increases as the mass of the data increases. In a post of January 2, 2020, to vxchange, industry blogger Kaylie Gyarmathy suggests that:

“While data doesn’t literally exert a gravitational pull, McCrory used the concept to explain why smaller applications and other bodies of data seemed to gather around larger masses. More importantly, as applications and the datasets associated with them grow larger, they become more difficult to move.”

HPE’s CEO Antonio Neri gave further impetus to the impact data gravity was having on IT when he connected the dots between moving to the age of insight and the difficulties arising from data gravity:

“…we are now moving from the Information Era to a new Age of Insight that's driven by the next phase of digital transformation.

“To make the next wave of digital transformation a reality, our first priority is to address the workloads that must be close to the data – whether at the edge or in data centers.

“(Workloads) still lack agility due to data gravity, latency, and app entanglement. As a result, you have two divergent operating models – one in the cloud and one on-premises – while paying higher costs to maintain them both.”

Didn’t you see the sky falling down? Can’t you hear those blackbirds singing? For the NonStop community there are NonStop systems today that are running fine given that there is already the ability to have workloads present where data is created. With little impact on wither agility or flexibility. Together, these combinations of workloads and data more readily enhance business outcomes faster than otherwise achievable, cloud-based or not.

The beauty of NonStop that is often overlooked is not just its ease of use, simplicity, data base and more but rather, NonStop systems ability to be deployed everywhere – edge or core – running workloads close to the data and delivering on the promise of providing the insights that businesses demand. With as much talk as there has been of late concerning data gravity, moving data comes easily for businesses running workloads on  NonStop.  

Big or small, traditional or virtual, on-premises standalone or as part of a hybrid cloud, it matters little. And as attractive as data may be proving to be at your enterprise, fresh data created in real time on NonStop is just a connection away. After more than four decades accommodating the most demanding transaction streams, the now affordable NonStop doesn’t miss a beat.     And yes, in spite of the cautionary tales from fables and rhymes, today you can call up HPE and have your own NonStop for a song!


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