Mission Critical Sept-Oct 2019 TheConnection

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It has been quite a while since I was given the opportunity to spend as much time as I have of late in my office. There is a nice feeling about having an opportunity to follow routines. We all live busy lives and there’s no doubt that having time to kick-around ideas with colleagues represents time well spent, but even so, there really isn’t any substitute for networking with those working with the products you cover in presentations and in articles, commentaries and blog posts. Shortly, the pace picks up considerably as with the arrival of the fall late in September, the number of gatherings of NonStop user groups kicks into high gear.

What have we learnt during the first half of the year? What have been the highlights coming out of events held to date? There is no question among those with whom I have been working that two items dominated the agendas – the news coming from HPE that everything on offer today will be consumed as a service and yes, every product (infrastructure, mostly, I suspect) will be available to run on the edge just as today it runs inside the core. Don’t get me wrong, these are very ambitions endeavors and given the promise that this will take place prior to HPE Discover 2022, but all the same, it does raise an eyebrow or two. HPE may indeed complete this leg of its journey as it simplifies the transformation to Hybrid IT but is the community ready? Are NonStop users and NonStop vendors digging deep into their own knowledge base to develop new products and features to benefit the NonStop community as this all unfolds?

However, once you have a separation between core and edge and as you shift your thinking to where edge is, as likely as the core, to have clouds albeit as some are beginning to describe it, clouds and mini clouds then talk quickly turns to the topic of files and databases. In so doing, talk then transitions to where moving data comes under the microscope even as transforming or enriching data takes on a degree of expectation bordering on excitement. Just think of what we can do now as data is being created in real time out at the edge should we be able to make it available to the analytics platforms that in turn have tentacles stretching into all of the data resources being maintained by the enterprise. Data not only become information but the trigger to new and innovative ideas that help business become more competitive.

In this September – October, 2019, issue of The Connection, you will find many articles assembled under the general heading of “Discovering meaningful patterns in NonStop data.” This lines up well with what the NonStop community is looking to do as NonStop users begin contemplating the retooling of their applications in support of “Everything-as-a-Service.” The argument goes that if public cloud providers can support business in a more flexible, cost-effective manner, where the much heralded (and indeed anticipated) elasticity of provision is on display, why not re-tool the data center systems to provide a similar level of flexibility at an equally cost-effective manner? If you happened to have attended HPE Discover 2019 last June you would have seen NonStop running on a NonStop X and directly opposite, on a separate kiosk, NonStop running on an EL4000 – a very simple package utilizing the Edgeline servers as supported by the Aruba networking team. To say that NonStop and the data being created on NonStop will remain the providence of just a few that are responsible for the oversight of NonStop is an outdated premise.

Quite to the contrary! There are vendors fully aware of the potential impact on business when data created on NonStop is made available for a level of post processing, also done in real time, where data can be examined and even enriched to where patterns and trends can be identified. Already we see those vendors with a long history in leveraging Change Data Capture (CDC) techniques that allow them to tap into audit trails, log files and the like and then move data to other systems – what the likes of NonStop vendors such as NTI and Striim are doing already. NTI is complementing its data replication products with products targeting data integration and data distribution. The recent addition of support for JSON, as part of PROVisioning with DRNet®/Vision, represents just the initial foray into this marketplace. Striim on the other hand, has developed a data streaming platform where the sources of data are as many and as varied as the targets. I have close ties to both organizations and can vouch for their different approaches having a bright future within the NonStop community.

These actions being undertaken by well-known NonStop vendors represent just the beginning as there are other solutions taking shape in the hands of other NonStop vendors. As HPE works with its major partners to ensure HPE can deliver everything as a service and as we all get to know the Greenlake initiative in more detail, the presence of NonStop may not immediately be a priority but it will be there all the same – after all, it’s hard for any HPE business to ignore how successful NonStop has been in supporting NSaaS / DBaaS within HPE’s own IT organization. It doesn’t take too much imagination to come to the conclusion that HPE and Greenlake will enjoy leveraging such a great example of a company fully exploiting their own products. The meaningful patterns HPE is already discovering are something only talking with HPE will reveal, but by all accounts, there is value being found even as HPE’s own transformation to Hybrid IT continues.

Yes, data is indeed the new currency of business and in looking at what HPE has accomplished, it’s hard to ignore the upside for the NonStop community in having a reference any member in the community can talk about. As fall begins arriving and many of us return to the road, meeting with many of you at upcoming user events, the conversations that arise as we network and connect with each other will be very interesting. And most interesting of all will be the responses to the questions – what does NonStop as a Service mean for you and how big a benefit to your business will opening up the data created on NonStop prove to be? I can only imagine what new products and services will be created even as I can only guess at just how well the new NonStop will be received. Is core-to-edge, everything-as-a-service made it into your plans? If it hasn’t there’s still plenty of time to reconsider!

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