2021. What an interesting year. With the world turned upside down by a pandemic that seemingly had its sights set on...
HPE NonStop Corner – one partner’s perspective
In a just-published interview of September 3, 2019, in the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Three ways HPE is preparing for the future, according to its CEO , based on an interview with HPE CEO Antonio Neri during HPE Discover 2019 much was made of HPE Next. This is a reference to a streamlining of HPE people, processes and even the transformation of HPE IT through products and services that kicked off under former CEO, Meg Whitman. However, it was crafted by Neri in the time before he ascended to the CEO role so it’s essentially his program and he refers to its early success every opportunity that comes his way. And central to HPE Next, according to this article in the Business Journal is being:
“able to deliver ‘as-a-service’ (the) management of a company’s compute, storage and network resources across public and private clouds and edge devices — part of a long-term plan that he calls ‘cloudless’ computing.”
As if to better explain what this HPE Next program means to everyone working at HPE, the Business Journal then quotes Neri as he explains how:
“Microsoft Corp.’s Satya Nadella, because of his work moving the company to focus on cloud services: (Nadella) said, ‘Our strategy is cloud, and everything we do will be to align behind Azure,’ pretty much. He understood that other parts are important, but he said, ‘Everything’s north star will be Azure.’ Here it’s the same thing. Everything we do will be to deliver everything as a service.”
Nothing ambiguous about this at all! No escaping “everything we do (at HPE) will be to deliver everything as a service.” The challenge, of course, for the NonStop community is twofold, perhaps more. Many members of the NonStop community can quite rightly argue that since the very first ATM was hooked up to a NonStop application, the intentions were clear – delivering a much-needed service to end-users more reliably and securely than ever before. Throughout the history of NonStop dating back to the earliest days of Tandem Computers, it was all about ensuring uninterrupted services so this new mantra, indeed vision, of Neri is not something too different yet again. Not so much delivering the application but the whole NonStop stack as well. Is this a return to the days of “service bureau” offerings? Well, not exactly! It can only be truly achieved this time around in a fully virtualized world where the connection between the services being provided and the resources supporting the service are completely transparent to the process – you simply don’t know where everything is taking place. Good news for NonStop? Well, proceed with caution as some mission critical applications may still be best served by traditional systems on-prem and the banking / ATM example may be a case in point where it’s better on-prem.
The second challenge for the NonStop user has to do with cost. When you line it all up on paper and have responses from your favorite cloud service provider, the costs could very well be higher to run a true mission critical application within a public cloud. How so? Well nothing comes for free – if you seriously want to lockdown all the resources you need to run your mission critical application to the same degree as you do with your on-prem deployments, you save very little. Same amount of compute, storage network – even same footprint for those already into server farms – and yes, there is likely to be some duplication at the staffing level as you have your own “flight deck / command center” that not only oversees the user experience but the performance of your cloud service provider. Challenge? Selling to senior management that everything as a service delivered out of a cloud will more than likely cost you!
On the other hand, for those heavily into the development of applications the opportunity to access the world of software on the basis of an as-needed service represents a big productivity boost. For far less cost than previously budgeted for, developers have access to so much more. In the case of Azure, there are enough components to support the building of almost any application, including modern payments solutions, and they will still all run on NonStop – from my perspective it’s only a matter of time before we can download to our desktop the equivalent of a desktop NonStop stack simply for the purposes of building and then testing a software release. Indeed, I have to believe there are those within the NonStop community who consider this to be old hat and have been doing something similar for some time.
Everything as a service to your end users is probably better understood in terms of vendors delivering product to the enterprise, more so than an enterprise delivering product, as a service, to its end users as this has already been achieved for most enterprises. It is big news when it involves major enterprise vendors like HPE. As Neri is quoted as saying to HPE employees, according to the Business Journal:
“That means even the company’s engineers have to reconsider their mindset when it comes to designing hardware, he said. ‘(They) think about density, they think about faster, cheaper, better. They think about, obviously, security,’ he said. ‘But now I need to think about how I make sure that compute delivers outcomes faster through as a service model, and everything else has to align around that. The same goes on the storage side. It’s not about the storage platform, it’s about data management and how you consume it as a service.’”
One aspect to all of this is buried deeper into the dialogue and within the marketing promotions that follow. Executing on this plan involves adding intelligence at many levels – it’s a loop, if you like, where one outcome feeds another. You start with a simple service and in time that service delivers more. How so? Think again on the future role of analytics and deep learning that will play on ensuring “everything as a service” to the enterprise makes sense. And this will definitely include NonStop where increasingly the conversation among the many NonStop vendors that make up the NonStop community is turning to analytics. Whether it’s those vendors moving data around or those vendors monitoring NonStop or even those that are delving deeper into providing better security, you can’t ignore the analytics side of the equation. And for good reason; as we strive for greater simplification of IT we are adding so many more moving parts that continuous analysis is a function that masks the complexity. Becoming simpler and easier to use let alone be capable of being delivered on the basis of a service is complexity multiplied many times.
Fortunately none of this is lost on either the NonStop team or those vendors in the NonStop ecosystem. The evolving infrastructure bears the brunt of the heavy lifting when it comes to delivering everything as a service, but ultimately, this infrastructure is evolving to better ease the whole process of delivering applications. This is perhaps the ultimate goal of all that is covered here – being responsive, flexible and quick to adapt as we remain customer driven and indeed customer centric is a goal of enterprise IT. It will be very interesting to see in the coming months just how well NonStop participates in HPE Next and in meeting the goals HPE has set when it comes to everything as a service; no question about it, by 2022 NonStop will be a player as nowhere have I read that “able to deliver ‘as-a-service’” excludes NonStop!
And with that, perhaps it’s an opportune time to remind everyone to make plans to attend the NonStop Technical Boot Camp (TBC). From my perspective, hearing all about NonStop and its participation in such an important program as delivering everything as a service, will make the time spent in Burlingame, California, well worth any discomfort travelling to the West Coast may entail – looking forward to seeing you in Burlingame, California; November is now only a few weeks away!