Tuesday, July 28, 2020

It may be chaotic but NonStop sustains business faultlessly.

Despite the gravity of a situation, levity can be found in apparent chaos. Sometimes, at least! But for NonStop, data gravity is already being addressed …

I am always looking out for interesting photos, doesn’t really matter the subject or what might be taking place that captures the photographer’s interest. When I came across this photo of a truck losing a load of literally thousands of bottles of beer, creating chaos on a local highway and led to its closure, I simply couldn’t let it pass by without a comment.

It takes little to throw well-oiled plans into disarray. Inserting such variables into books and movies is what keeps us on the edge of our seats. For me, anything featuring a velociraptor has me cringing and for anyone who has ever sat in a darkened theater watching The Lion and The Darkness had probably experienced something similar. But as a car enthusiast, seeing so much debris on the road would have me turning away from the scene in a hurry.

Obviously, the beer bottles were full of beer based on the amount of liquid on the road, but then again, I have to believe that whoever sorted out this mess found a bottle or two still intact. Scrolling down the file sure enough, there it was, someone taking respite while clearing the scene. Perhaps, chaos can have its own reward? Or, more relevant perhaps, even as times may look bleak, we can all make adjustments even if it’s simply sitting down on a case of beer to catch your breath.

News is now breaking that many of the NonStop user events planned for 2020 are being cancelled. The latest victim of the global pandemic; the news coming out of Germany that GTUG / Berlin event has been cancelled as the organizing team looks at other options. I dare say that no prospective attendee was surprised to read this as it had looked pretty grim for some weeks now. Americans were still not welcome in Germany and HPE wasn’t letting its folks travel, no matter the destination.

The NonStop user community’s annual summit – the NonStop Technical Boot Camp (TBC) – that for a number of years has been held at the San Francisco airport Hyatt looks to be on shaky grounds as well. Nothing definite as yet and Margo and I still have plans to drive from Colorado to California, but even so, if I was a gambler of any note, I would say the odds against TBC are beginning to stack up. Seems there is no staff at the hotel assigned to events as the hotel’s staff is mostly on furlough and that’s never a good sign. Maybe now is a good time to go look for a lost crate of beer and simply kick back and take it all in!

So much is happening for NonStop in 2020 that it’s important that we don’t lose focus. It’s been a very long time between drinks when it comes to NonStop taking on so many different forms. Converged, Virtualized Converged and Virtualized. What’s your poison, as they say! Better expressed as having choice over how best to deliver 24 x 7 offerings to  most critical of applications of the business, there are no limits as to how you pursue deploying NonStop. So long as you are a fan of Intel and the x86 architecture, we are now seeing steps being taken to run NonStop every which way that best satisfies the needs of business. You really have to dig deep into the history of NonStop before you find a choice between two NonStop products, let alone three.

We are all aware of the choices we have today and have been for some time even as 2020 has seen a number of businesses deploy virtualized NonStop on equipment already installed. Whether your choice of vendor is Lenovo, Dell, HPE or something else it matters little. All that is needed are x86 servers, access to multiple converged Ethernet connections and VMware and you can be up and running virtualized NonStop in no time at all and there are now multiple references that you can have HPE provide. Very little chaos about this and in today’s world where the focus is on bringing the cloud experience on-premises, it’s good to know that NonStop can be present as a converged system or as a virtualized system or both. After all, the Hybrid IT message is as strong today as when the concept was first raised, almost a decade ago.

But there is a wrinkle and it was covered in part in my last post to this blog, Changing rooms; cleaning house. Have you taken a good look at what NonStop delivers? You may recall the coverage given to the topic of data gravity and of the explanation that it is simply a reference to “a theory around which data has mass.  As data (mass) accumulates, it begins to have gravity.” More troubling for some was the reference made to 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.” I received a number of comments about the implications here for NonStop and of how I could have expressed the concepts and indeed the benefits for NonStop better than I did.

One way to think of this is that within the data center a particular data base implementation grows so big and is of such importance to the business that it behooves the business to relocate applications closer to the data. Nothing too surprising here! But it gets a little more chaotic when clouds are introduced, particularly when decisions are taken to move data bases to the cloud for better cost optimization of data. As one source explained it, “The shift of data to cloud and cloud-adjacent colocation environments is creating larger data gravity forces, making it harder to run applications and store data far away from those data nexuses.”

With NonStop now capable of being deployed on-premises as a converged system, very much along traditional lines, as well as a virtualized system residing on a private cloud, the Hybrid IT characteristics can be recognized; Data on NonStop in the private cloud; application on NonStop on the traditional system. The real issue however is not so much the on-premises Hybrid IT configuration described above but rather, when we begin considering edge-to-cloud and the recognition that applications are heading to the edge.

If we want actionable insight into our business it’s best to work with the freshest data; data that is created as transactions are processed, with those transactions being traditional from terminals we all know, the communication from a sensor or robot, or simply a mobile phone. Bringing the cloud experience to the edge now gets complicated. Left poorly-architected, it can quite easily become chaotic. No IT professional is suggesting we relocate the data base at the core all the way out to the edge – loading multiple copies perhaps – just as there’s little to be gained by pulling the application back to the core.

With NonStop you can have your cake and eat it too, literally! Yes, there are bakers running NonStop but that’s story for another time. With products like DRNet®, Striim, etc. there are vendor products that support data distribution whereby the forces of data gravity can be mitigated. You can easily select the data you want at the edge to be there when needed on NonStop on the edge just as you can just as easily select the data that needs to be forwarded to NonStop in the core. Almost Lego-like, you have yet more choices should data gravity truly become an obstacle to business.

It’s now quite the same as finding beer on the road after a traffic accident and perhaps the image of eating cakes isn’t going to work for you. However, what will work for you is NonStop in any configuration and at any location you care to choose. Flexibility? Agility? It’s all there and looking ahead with new ways to pay for NonStop via GreenLake about to happen, you have to ask yourself, why all the chaos? And no, there is nothing scary about watching NonStop becoming central to your edge-to-core initiatives in 2020. 

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