For the past three months, I’ve had the good fortune of participating in events on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as at Regional User Group (RUG) events across the western U.S. states. In many ways, each event built on messages that first appeared at the European NonStop HotSpot – Conference & Exhibition, or as it’s better known, GTUG. Having been the biggest event, there were sizable crowds for each event, with the BITUG event in London pulling a big crowd, but it wasn’t that far ahead of other RUG events, including DUST (Phoenix, AZ), SCTUG (Los Angeles, CA), and N2TUG (Dallas, TX). And, of course, wrapping up these past three months was the big-tent marketing event just completed in Las Vegas, NV – HPE Discover 2016.
It’s no secret that I drive to most of these events, and one of the key benefits of these long drives is the opportunity to reflect. After weeks of enjoying scenic natural vistas, it’s the significance of two other vistas that has occupied my thoughts. HPE NonStop product management is openly talking about future deliverables, and what a vista that is proving to be, even as customers have begun buying NonStop X systems.
I spent many years at the former Tandem Computers, where I managed a small group of product managers focused on communications and networking products. During that time, I wasn’t allowed to discuss anything pertaining to future product directions. I had to focus solely on what was available at the time, and it was often difficult to stop short of revealing more than I should when customers pushed back on the products being offered. I knew we could talk about something interesting, but I had to bite my tongue.
What a difference today. Even with disclaimers about potential changes in the contents of presentations, it has really lifted the game for all associated with the development of NonStop. Most slide decks reflected a rolling, three-year window into new development.
Perhaps it all started at the NonStop Technical Boot Camp when Martin Fink, EVP & CTO at HPE, revealed what he saw during visits to NonStop development labs. Clearly, few knew of just how advanced NonStop R&D boss Andrew Bergholz and his team were with virtualization and support of NonStop running atop kernel-based virtual machine (KVM) atop Linux. On the other hand, perhaps it goes back to the early information coming from Karen Copeland, Manager NonStop Product Management at HPE on the Yuma project, now formerly announced as NonStop Application Direct Interface (NSADI), and the future programmatic support of InfiniBand in hybrid configurations.
There was also the reference to NonStop SQL/MX becoming more compatible with Oracle such that enterprises can now more readily consider porting applications to NonStop without concern about dependence on Oracle. Clearly, with a native alternative to real application clusters (RAC) available as an integral part of the NonStop multiprocessor architecture (along with its support of parallelism), SQL/MX just works better with less administrative overhead for less money, and that’s always good news for any CIO. At HPE Discover, this was the subject of separate confidential disclosure agreement (CDA) demonstrations, which drew crowds according to HPE NonStop product management and development present. HPE IT is now testing NonStop SQL on NonStop X for use across HPE.
However, it’s the inescapable fact that customers are now buying NonStop X systems in volumes that’s really the big news. HPE is committed to openness and industry standards, and the biggest investment made in NonStop for decades has seen it reemerge with a new family of systems all based on the Intel x86 architecture. And this family is proving consist of fast performers, with more than one user claiming total system utilization dropping into single digit percentages. What consumed 30% or more on Itanium now only consumes 7% to 8%.
At BITUG, we heard that 2016 customer orders have grown from two to 16 systems. Here in the U.S., the sales numbers have ratcheted up significantly. First, there was an order for four NonStop X systems in Kentucky, and then at DUST in Texas, we heard of another order for five NonStop X systems. Just as importantly, a well-known vendor of payment solutions software, had already ordered three NonStop X systems and has upped its orders for this year from four to six. Importantly, these sales result in new sales of NonStop, and these additional systems include some headed to customers. And the importance of NonStop X doesn’t stop with the vendors or with those placing these big orders. HPE NonStop sales focus for NonStop X is on new applications and new customers, and the NonStop community welcomes every opportunity for further growth in the use of NonStop.
Big investments by HPE in NonStop, and big orders from customers for NonStop X. Products in development that better support application ports, hybrid configurations, and clouds – all solid indications that HPE’s key focus areas of mobility, big data, security, and clouds match what NonStop vendors are looking for, as well as what NonStop customers need. Modernization? Tightly integrating NonStop with Linux and Windows? Sounds very modern to those who hear the story from NonStop.
The updates coming from comForte development for ClientServer Link (CSL) supporting “Yuma” and “InfiniBand” are just further evidence of the enthusiasm for NonStop across the NonStop vendor community. Following the announcement of NSADI, the scope of what can be done has been broadened. According to Thomas Burg, CTO of comForte, there will be opportunities for vendors to extend their product offerings to capitalize on these new NonStop capabilities.
What’s coming from HPE NonStop development is definitely exciting, so expect many more posts and commentaries to follow. It will take time, of course, for the NonStop community to absorb all that has been presented. For many, the most important message of all is that NonStop R&D continues as a priority for HPE. However, it is indeed very fortunate for the NonStop community that RUG events continue to attract a crowd and, in so doing, attract HPE NonStop professionals so information will continue to be forthcoming. And that perhaps provides the biggest vista of all.
For a deeper conversation about the future of NonStop, and what it will mean for your organization, just reach out.