2021. What an interesting year. With the world turned upside down by a pandemic that seemingly had its sights set on...
Challenges for the HPE NonStop team …
Attendees at recent NonStop community gatherings will have heard many upbeat projections about NonStop. Among the comments that have been made by the HPE NonStop team are the following:
- The NonStop business continues to grow around the world
- The X based servers have now reached > 50% of all server shipments
- Virtual NonStop has become “real” and is implemented
And even remarks to the effect that:
- The business was the largest and most profitable of the HPE Mission Critical Server business in FY 2016 as well as in FY 2017
- We have an exciting future view of NonStop products.
This all begs the question – as a community, are we seeing a new dawn for NonStop? Is the tide turning in favor of NonStop not just in the marketplace but equally as importantly, inside of HPE? Have the recent organizational changes seen key NonStop managers elevated to lofty positions of influence where the message of NonStop will be hard to extinguish? If you have been paying attention to the news stories following the promotion of Antonio Neri to the top job of CEO then you would have heard that recently he told CNBC Squawk Box analysts that he is, “an engineer by trade and loves technology but (also) likes to use technology to disrupt things (and) to change things.”
You may have missed how passionate Neri has become about all things HPE and if you haven’t watched this interview with Neri on CNBC, then you should take ten minutes to do so:
Being passionate about all things HPE is one thing, but NonStop? When you look at the current organizational structure within HPE you will quickly see, high up the chart, figures well-known to the NonStop community– Ric Lewis, Randy Meyer, Jeff Kyle, not to mention Synergy and the position occupied by former NonStop R&D VP, Sean Mansubi. All great folks and all with more than a working knowledge of NonStop! If there ever was a time for NonStop to grab more of the spotlight, that time has clearly come. And yet, something fundamentally different is happening with NonStop – HPE is openly talking about NonStop as a Service (NSaaS) adding it to the growing list of options when it comes to the best way to consume NonStop.
The HPE NonStop team has pushed NSaaS to the goal line and then pulled back; to make it those last couple of inches, it’s now clearly going to be up to the NonStop vendor community. In many ways, determining what to do with all that the NonStop team has provided is best left to those building products for NonStop but, all the same, watching this transition occur must be challenging for the NonStop team even as it’s taking the team into a new territory. While Neri professes his liking to disrupt things and to change things, it may take a while for the NonStop team to profess a similar fondness for disruption and change.
In an upcoming opinion paper of mine that will appear in the Fall, 2018, issue of the BITUG magazine, I write of how putting “the words appearing in HPE NonStop PowerPoint slides as well as the commentaries that are beginning to appear into context, it may be wise to take a good long look at what NSaaS really is. According to those members of the NonStop team using these PowerPoint slides, it really is a case of NSaaS being more a Platform as a Service (PaaS).” Make sure you read this upcoming issue of the BITUG Magazine as there is a lot more said on this topic, but the important fact remains, NonStop can be consumed as a PaaS and in some ways, when compared to alternate PaaS offerings, according to one HPE source, “it definitely is more on the PaaS side, but I’d call it PaaS++ due to its potential flexibility.”
It isn’t as though the NonStop team isn’t doing anything as they are busy prototyping the models discussed at RUG meetings this year. The most popular approach has to do with “press a button” – perhaps an icon on your smartphone – to create a NonStop System based upon VMware and vNS. According to the folks at TCM, “A working prototype of a ‘one-button press’ creation of a NonStop Systems based upon VMware and vNS exists today in the labs, but perhaps HPE may struggle to get this to market as pricing could be a challenge; they don’t want to jeopardise their traditional NonStop market. Furthermore, current HPE sales teams would probably struggle to make inroads into new target markets where the size of the opportunities are much smaller. With these challenges, perhaps it will be up to the NonStop vendor community to take vNS to market?”
In the October 7, 2018, post to the NonStop community blog, Real Time View, Time spent in the desert … the topic of NSaaS resurfaces:
NSaaS and DBaaS has been appearing on HPE NonStop slides for quite a while now and for good reason. It is the future of NonStop for new users – yes, it allows the NonStop net to be cast much wider in the past, as NSaaS doesn’t require any initial capital outlay. It’s a cost-effective way to ease into the world of fault tolerance for those who may have remained on the sidelines when it comes to the future of NonStop.
The news here for the NonStop community is that while HPE NonStop is assembling the pre-req building blocks, it isn’t likely that HPE NonStop will be delivering the finished product. Again, think about it – the Nonstop team sorts out how to deliver vNS and comes up with an acceptable pricing model but then there is the hardware and all the services and support that this entails. There is no expectation that HPE will be proactive in supporting vNS on Lenovo or Dell or anything custom built for an enterprise.
All of which is to suggest yet again, that this is going beyond the charter of NonStop development and can only continue with partner engagement which again, has become the mantra of the new HPE under Neri. “This has been a company that has been built with our partners,” said Neri in a recent interview at the company’s Global Partner Summit 2018. “We continue to be that way. We are not changing that strategy. If anything we want to do more with you, through you. I always say I consider you as part of my sales force.”
Surprised? No, we shouldn’t be as it is this consistency under Neri – disrupting, changing and yes, partnering – that is further tangible evidence of the way HPE and indeed NonStop will leverage the warmth of the spotlight shining on it. So, no surprises as the NonStop community begins to accommodate the presence of the NonStop vendors in their future plans for consuming NonStop any which way they want … and if that’s the dawn of a new era for NonStop then it’s a dawn that for many in the NonStop has been long overdue.