NonStop and Cloud Computing
Everyone and every company seem to be designing for the cloud. Of course “the Cloud” means different things to different people but in general I think we can agree that when the term comes up it means something like Amazon or Azure. One has the capability of quickly bringing up compute resources including servers, storage and networking. One will only be charged for what one uses and for how long it is used. One can stop anytime. The presumption is that this is much better than owning resources and having them sit idle, or at least not fully utilized. As usual, people want something that is available whenever they want it for as inexpensively as possible. For that they are willing to accept some risks including availability, security and an eventual, not immediate, database consistency. It is good, perhaps not great, but solidly good. NonStop is looking for customers and businesses that require great. NonStop has a long history of interfacing to “the Cloud”. In the early days Keith Moore and I were discussing the ‘Silver-Lining Architecture’ to protect resources that were on the cloud. This developed later into GuardianAngel where NonStop’s Pathway monitors were running serverclasses off platform and in the public cloud while still being controlled by NonStop with the inherent advantages of Pathmon – scale up (more instances) if response time started to slack off. Recovery in some instances failed. Automatic shutdown of instances as load decreased. Now with virtual NonStop we have real integration with a cloud, not ‘The Cloud’ (public), but a cloud (private) by allowing NonStop instances to be spun up, with several configuration requirements, but spun up nonetheless.
Still NonStop in the cloud remains an oddity since once spun up NonStop would remain up for as long as the application needs to remain up, perhaps for years. Not exactly the cloud model of wash, rinse, repeat but certainly within cloud guidelines. The possibilities are intriguing. Many customers have undertaken proof of concepts using various platforms and that trend is continuing.
In terms of wins, sales are going well. I don’t know (and couldn’t repeat if known) the numbers but I do see managers smiling which is generally a good sign. We have some vNonStop’s up and running in pilots and I expect a few to be converted to production systems. We have had a few institutions that indicated they would be migrating off NonStop that, after some long and detailed analysis, decided NonStop was still the best and most inexpensive platform and have recommitted to NonStop especially with the NonStop migration to X86 and subsequent virtual offering. After stringent ROI analysis of the new, proposed modern platform with the prospect of reduced availability, reduced scalability and potentially little to no savings, the ROI for staying on NonStop was clearly the best decision. In fact we even had some recent healthcare customers recommit to NonStop. I’m a personal advocate of more NonStop in healthcare so that was very good news. So strong sales, recommitment to NonStop, vNonStop progress and additionally there is some customer interest in the R3 alliance with SWIFT and their GPI standard. Global payments should be easier, faster with more traceability using these capabilities. Go NonStop.
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