Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 – The last post!

Whether you are familiar with a bugle playing Taps or The Last Post, either way, finally, the sun is setting on 2020! Bring on 2021 …

When we first talked about taking a break during the 2020 Christmas to New Year holiday season, we had no intention of including breaks of any other kind. But then, Margo and I were unaware that lady luck would intervene and not in a positive manner. Whereas we had been checking out locations from Key West to Palm Desert (where we have previously spent the holidays), we are now reconciled to the simple fact that we will be spending time on the couch.

For those who follow Margo and me on social media channels you will have read of how Margo broke her leg in a bad fall while heading downstairs to our bar. I would like to say that a drink had been involved, but no, both of us had refrained as we were entertaining neighbors that night and it was Margo who was leading them downstairs where she had laid out a buffet that had taken all afternoon to prepare. We have still to determine exactly what led to what, but we all heard Margo’s leg snap the moment she landed on the lower level floor.

Margo has spent a lot of time as a volunteer for ITUG and perhaps, not as well known, as the Chief Meetings Officer of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) that was dedicated to  spinal and brain injuries (and their subsequent rehabilitation) so she knew all too well that a lot of time would be spent on the living room couch. We both made adjustments but it did put a different spin on recovery, 24 x 7, as there were no shortcuts to be found and there would be no tolerance for interruptions to the healing process!

Perhaps a sad way to segue to NonStop and what transpired in 2020. However, many members of the NonStop community witnessed first-hand circumstances much worse that a broken leg. As we kept an eye on various social media channels, it became obvious that the NonStop community wasn’t immune to what was taking place closer to home. The impact of the global pandemic was felt everywhere you turned and to read of HPE CEO Antonio Neri testing positive for COVID-19 just as this year’s HPE Discover 2020 event was about to kick-off reminded us that everyone was at risk, no matter their situation.

Each month I provide a short update for our clients. And yes, we are so appreciative of the group of NonStop vendors who have supported us through the decade plus Pyalla Technologies has been in business. It is appropriate at this time of year to express such thanks even as we look ahead to 2021 knowing that many of our clients are as uncertain as to what the future may hold as Margo and I happen to be. In this latest client update I wrote of patience and of how it’s in short supply for many of us – who remembers the famous tee shirt created at Tandem Computers by VP, Steve Schmidt? It had a lot to do with our growing lack of patience so long ago about which I will say no more!

Patience has never been my long suit. In fact, I have the level of impatience I have exhibited at times that has contributed to my less than stellar performance in some arenas. A sense of urgency has its place, but it’s so easy to step beyond that and to appear more than impatient. When it comes to 2020, with the end of the year fast approaching like many of you, I am only too happy to see the back of 2020 and to welcome the arrival of 2021. After all, as a community, we have so much to look forward to when it comes to NonStop.

Before the US military turned to playing Taps, the Last Post could be heard at day’s end and whenever the fallen were remembered. Today, among countries of the British Commonwealth it is still played as they celebrate Remembrance Day – a time to remember those who didn’t return from past wars. It is also played on ANZAC day in Australia and New Zealand and memories of it still linger with me to this day as my family returned to Sydney’s cenotaph (pictured above) to hear the Last Post being played.

When viewed in the context of 2020, it seems more than appropriate to finish the year of blogging with a similar title as yes, for 2020, this is the last post! We will remember you as 2020 ushered in not just the new normal but its duration suggests changes will be long-lasting and influence business in ways we could not have anticipated this time last year. Who could have imagined that ZOOM would dominate the conversation or that usage of tools like Dropbox and DocuSign would become commonplace? For many the even bigger topic of the day had to do with data and how it’s volume, together with its velocity, have changed the way we look at the core and the edge.

It was during 2020 that HPE informed us that data, data analytics along with Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) would be leaving the realm of research to go mainstream. That gaining actionable insights from massive amounts of data would be paramount for enterprises to not just be competitive but to be able to stay in business. In times when the business compass was spinning wildly and where finding true north was next to impossible, falling back on the data at hand was the only instrument available to us that would help us find a way through this global pandemic.

When it comes to NonStop systems we have to come to appreciate that they are now a hybrid-in-a-box. For NonStop converged systems delivered today, the redundant fabrics interconnect processors supporting the NonStop OS along with Linux and Windows boxes – Linux for storage and networking, Windows for consoles – something we often overlook when discussing NonStop. For NonStop virtualized, looking at the many cores making up a virtual NonStop, a similar mix of OSs is evident.

What this means is that the NonStop team knows hybrid and in so embracing, leaves the door open to other processors being added at some point and already, in previous posts to this blog, we have referenced the potential upside from adding HPC Apollo processors into the mix to better support the crucial analytics that enterprises need today. With HPC jumping the gun, so as to speak, and joining the GreenLake initiative (where NonStop already participates after a fashion), these things are all possible.

As 2020 comes to end and we look to 2021 for better news to come, NonStop isn’t without its challenges. The biggest challenge of all remains and it is a challenge we cannot ignore: The continuing relevance of NonStop is at the very heart of conversations across the NonStop community. Not that this community discounts the value proposition of NonStop but rather, communicating this value proposition to the rest of the enterprise.

Can NonStop exist within a cloud environment and bring with it the cloud experience with which enterprises are familiar? Can NonStop underpin a cloud and provide the same level of elasticity of provisioning enterprises value most with cloud usage? Can NonStop effectively tap clouds public as well as private as a resource no different from any other resource it taps today? Perhaps as just another external storage option that has no single point of failure? The answer to all of these questions that have challenged us of late is yes, NonStop can do this. 2021 could very well be a break-out year for NonStop in so far as we see NonStop present in ways we didn’t expect to see just a few years ago.

As NonStop became a software solution, it can be massaged in ways that will surprise us in 2021. What will drive the conversation will not be the challenges to NonStop per se but rather, the challenges enterprises face. Outages continue to be the nemesis of enterprises dealing directly with communities as each and every outage attracts unwanted attention across social media channels. There is nowhere to hide in 2021 when your system goes down. Communicating this value proposition in a meaningful manner will need the full support of HPE and perhaps with a new organization and new leadership, NonStop will attract the attention within HPE that it deserves.

This is definitely the last post to this NonStop community blog for 2020. However, this is not the last post for NonStop. When you consider just how many options now exist for NonStop deployments and how far the NonStop SQL database has come (describing just one NonStop subsystem), I am now wondering when we will hear the last post sounding for mainframes? For Unix? When you think about it, the transient nature of OSs is such that in time something better comes along. Aren’t you glad to read that with NonStop there’s no muted sound of the last post to be heard but rather, nothing better has come along!

And with that, our best wishes to you all for the coming year and may it herald greater opportunities to come for everyone in the NonStop community.       

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