Thursday, April 1, 2021

My paper chase; all for a view of the big picture!

Roadmaps always receive a lot of attention whenever products are being discussed particularly among NonStop community members. However, when was the last time we took stock of the bigger picture for HPE NonStop systems?

What began with a simple question ended up involving much more than I had anticipated! Conversations, checking under couch cushions, web searches and even visits to the local gas station. For a very long time now I have been using a yellow Hi-Liter pen to record the many North American highways Margo and I have traversed, but as we make plans for further travels this year and begin to think about packing our bags once again, I couldn’t find the marked map! Somehow our filing and retrieval system let us down – no way would we have thrown away that piece of memorabilia?

After the conversations had run their course I thought it best if I just get another map and start over, but where to get a map? What I needed was a simple fold-out map of the US and Canada that included all the major highways that crisscross this part of the continent. Turns out it is not that simple; as much as I wanted to see the big picture, supplies were hard to find. Paper maps are disappearing rapidly from store displays. Not even the local gas stations carry paper maps any more. Thank goodness for online shopping and after a couple of searches, Amazon found me the Rand McNally fold out map I so desperately needed.

I have covered the topic of product roadmaps more than once and I have no real intention of revisiting this topic yet again. I think we can all understand that product roadmaps are a desirable must-have when making strategic decisions. No point in going down a path if it’s poorly designed or worse, seeing no one else taking the same path. However, what I miss most is the fold-out paper map itself; being able to see everything laid out without any need to turn the page over or much worse, look for a different page altogether.

There have been numerous instances of late where I have been challenged over my enthusiasm for NonStop systems. Why should we consider NonStop as part of our long term plan? What role could a NonStop play that couldn’t be otherwise fulfilled by other products? How does NonStop truly differentiate itself in a world preoccupied with clouds? Fair enough; when it comes to the bigger picture however, NonStop continues to hold a couple of trump cards that continue to prove hard to beat. It may be hard to find a map of the US, but none is needed when it comes to seeing all the roads down which NonStop is travelling.  

While waiting for a service on my car to complete I came across a copy of that day’s New York Times. Picking it up it just felt good to be able to glance at headlines before settling on a story to read. As a third generation newspaper man I had almost forgotten how comforting it is to get newsprint on my hands. What I enjoyed most was that with a quick scan across the pages I knew in an instant what was taking place around the world. I could tell whether the focus was purely political or held a human interest story. I could tell whether an article was breaking news or just an opinion.

When it comes to NonStop systems there are so many things it can do but it only takes a quick glance of the big picture to recognize what it does best. And what is this big picture in 2021? For me, what I see is the edge and the core offering opportunities for NonStop in ways we have more often than not simply glossed over. Yes, I know it can do that and yes, I have seen NonStop customers deploying NonStop in that manner but in glossing over such deployments perhaps we are doing NonStop a disservice. It’s a powerful picture this edge to core and well worth reading in full before putting down the paper. Coming to terms with the big picture may not be easy but it really is a must for anyone looking at the future of NonStop in modern enterprises.

As I was chasing down where to buy a paper map of North America it also occurred to me that it wasn’t just the big picture such maps provided. It was in the myriad details that the paper map provided – where state boundaries lay and where mighty rivers flowed. Even the history of big cities in the middle of nowhere becomes a lot clearer as you see just how many highways, railway lines and rivers merged where today rises a very large city. These are details that are very important for anyone preparing to drive across the country. For me these many lines are important and if you need a reminder of the difficulties NonStop vendors face today when building mission-critical infrastructure just count the number of lines coming out of Kansas City. Or St. Louis, or even Denver, for that matter!

For the NonStop community the details have always been important. Even as the big picture highlights how there is an edge and a core, what might jump from the page are the many “hops” involved between edge and core. Security and the closing down of vulnerabilities is not a trivial matter. As a community, we are constantly bombarded it seems every day, with even more bad press about unauthorized intrusions taking place. Early on it was about working through the issues of what might happen if such illegalities occurred and making sure there was nothing of value to be mined but that’s sidestepping the main issue. Those many lines on the map connecting sites scattered around the planet aren’t there for dramatic purposes but rather as a reminder that our very business integrity demands we take steps to protect our enterprise.

When it comes to the big picture in this regard, the HPE NonStop system does provide value. Not only can we visualize NonStop out on the edge or deep insider the core, there is a real sense that NonStop offers a level of security that should not be ignored – it’s still a case of NonStop having never been compromised. Whether you are processing transactions at the edge or storing data at the core, there is a reason we cannot ignore NonStop. To answer those questions raised earlier - what role can a NonStop play and how does NonStop truly differentiate itself then we can be very clear about our response. Because no other vendor can do what NonStop does and do so out of the box – on delivery through to eventual deployment, NonStop just works and continues to work 24 x 7! As for my enthusiasm, aren’t we all proud to be working with today’s NonStop systems?

The map arrived from Amazon in due course. Baggage we haven’t used in a year is being retrieved from storage and being cleaned. However my chasing paper left me both bemused and more aware. I was bemused by how much faith I place in the paper I held in my hand even if just for a moment. I was also aware that I may be among the last generation to truly enjoy the feel of a map as it is unfolded. Fortunately, when it comes to HPE and the NonStop system there is nothing transient or old fashioned about anything involving NonStop – it truly is a system of and for the times, no pun intended. And yes, it truly has changed in ways that make it even more suitable for meeting the demands of today’s enterprises, non-stop!

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