Were you to have been asked that question some years ago, the answer most likely would have bee “I’m not sure”....
HPE NonStop – one partner’s perspective
When traversing the locks encountered on Europe’s rivers and canals, there are a couple of them that are so high that those aboard river vessels are forced to crane their necks to see the sky above. Not wanting to miss anything, it became a photographer’s “must snap.” Rising more than eighty feet they not only represent a marvelous feat of engineering but serve as a reminder that no task is too difficult. Need to elevate a vessel over a mountain range and to open a canal between otherwise remote rivers? Not a problem. In conversations of late that have occurred between HPE, the NonStop team and NonStop vendors, executives at many of these NonStop vendors have been craning their necks too for a glimpse of what lies above.
It’s all very well to site through carefully choreographed presentations by HPE executives, but is HPE heading in the right direction with their Cloud and Hybrid IT strategy? Or, do they have it all wrong? Is HPE downplaying or simply ignoring other prominent industry leaders when it comes to the importance of Clouds, particularly public Clouds, to the enterprise? Even more interesting perhaps to enterprise leaders, where will HPE stand when all the obvious issues over public Clouds get fully addressed – privacy, security, data integrity and much more? If these questions as yet haven’t arisen in your IT organization then they are bound to arise at some point this year and it is simply good practice to be aware of them and to be prepared to respond.
Advocates of public Clouds are becoming more vocal. The world will simply revolve around Amazon, Microsoft and Google and it’s only a matter of time before you find your enterprise moving all of IT to one of these public Cloud providers. However, in the simplicity of all of these questions and issues lies complexity almost beyond belief. There are regulatory obstacles to begin with, even as there are cultural issues to be faced when it comes to privacy and indeed many competing states looking to ensure data never leaves their borders. When you sink a “data center in a tube” into the sea, as Microsoft did recently when it sunk such a capsule off the coast of Scotland where cooling all those servers is cheaper, then how do you really know where your processing and data will end up? No, the complexity that public Clouds mask so effectively isn’t lost on HPE nor are enterprises expected to totally commit to public Clouds in their current form, or perhaps ever. Point is, there will always be mission critical systems that enterprises value above all else that will be kept close to the enterprise. Not for the faint of heart will this complexity be left unaddressed as we see data centers continuing to be upgraded in place.
HPE NonStop has a mission and it is executing well on its strategy of ensuring NonStop retains its place inside the data center. This mission delivers two options – continue to run traditional NonStop on the servers you hold dear that are supplied as a complete system by HPE or stretch a little and run virtual NonStop on anyone’s x86 servers, provided they are to spec as mandated by the HPE NonStop team. It’s now becoming common knowledge that virtual NonStop has successfully been brought up and tested on Dell and Cisco servers and this is only the beginning. As the benefits of composability normally associated with Clouds becomes better understood and indeed appreciated within an enterprises IT organization, then the work done recently in testing NonStop on HPE Synergy will likely find supporters as well. And of course, more recently, HPE demonstrated NonStop running on Edgeline servers as it puts together go-to-market plans in support for completely different markets. HPE NonStop’s mission is clear – not only will you have options, but you will be able to indulge your enterprise with taking baby steps towards Clouds as little or as much as you need.
If as yet you haven’t seen the latest video HPE has produced featuring just NonStop then you may want to click on the link provided here. While it is predominantly focused on the finance services industry, there is much that is applicable to other industries as well. And if you wanted to know more about NonStop and Blockchain, this too is referenced in the video as were references to NonStop being always adaptive, open, with transaction integrity supporting options including cloud flexibility, mobile banking along with the fully integrated hardware and software solution we all know so well:
However, the question remains –what will be the likely impact of the Cloud on NonStop? Clearly, anyone studying the economics of Clouds soon realizes that there is little to be gained financially when you subscribe to a Cloud service and need all of the Cloud resources supporting your solution up and running 24 x 7. This was the topic of a recent article NonStop Trends and Wins (NonStop and Cloud Computing) by Justin Simonds, Master Technician, that HPE published in the July – August issue of The Connection. In that article you will read:
“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.
“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.”
Which brings us back to the argument: yes, you can run NonStop in the Cloud but would you want to? Perhaps the best response to this may indeed be coming from the NonStop vendor community realizing that with the Cloud – private, mostly – and with virtual NonStop, they can offer their products on the basis of “as-a-Service” and with the work the NonStop team has done to enable this, particularly when you look at NS SQL and at the new SQL Data Base Services (DBS), then this has merit. Getting new applications onto NonStop up and running and into production without requiring any initial investment in NonStop is certainly becoming an attractive proposition for some that are new to NonStop. Already two NonStop vendors have declared their intentions to go down this path with already one of them enjoying initial success providing access to their solution in this fashion.
HPE may not have all the answers when it comes to the Cloud. It may be unintentionally clouding the issue with some of its Hybrid IT messages. However, the Cloud isn’t simple nor is it competitively priced for any enterprise looking to run mission critical solutions in support of their business. To this end, the baby steps being taken by some within the NonStop community to gain experience and knowledge of virtualized NonStop is a win-win for all involved. It may not be the Cloud as is commonly described, but there is nothing to hold those enterprises heading down this path to build their own private Cloud running NonStop.
In his article, Simonds adds more about wins for NonStop, including:
“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.
“In fact, we even had some recent healthcare customers recommit to NonStop.”
And ultimately, isn’t winning new business for NonStop what is most important of all for the NonStop community? Clouds will continue to have an impact on every enterprise – just make sure you know the real story and don’t let the new language disguise the real story here: service bureaus and mini computers are making a big return albeit wearing new badges!