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
It is not a surprise for anyone watching the flow of announcements coming from HPE to see so much emphasis being placed on the Edge. More specifically, the Intelligent Edge which centers today on the Aruba product line. In a press release of November 29, 2018, as covered in an article by the IDG / Computerworld publication, ARN – HPE moves enterprise customers closer to the edge reporter Julia Talevski quotes HPE CEO Antonio Neri as having said, “The enterprise of the future will be cloud-enabled and data driven, our purpose and the work that we do, will provide you with an edge-to-cloud architecture to manage and utilize all your data.”
There really isn’t any surprise here as Neri has been talking about this future of edge-to-cloud for some time. However, the continual reference to data-driven and the emphasis being placed on data, has considerable meaning for the NonStop community. For instance, NonStop is all about transaction processing and for many enterprises, it is the transaction processing applications that create much of the data that reflects real-world transfers of value – that is, consumer-to-business (C2B), business-to-business (B2B) and not forgetting, the increasing occurrence of person-to-person (P2P) interactions.
Taking place, as you like, at the firewall the data being continuously created holds tremendous value for the enterprise. Whereas once it was paper tape and punched cards that fed data to the digital processors at the core, today it’s all happening far from the data center. As Talevski of ARN reported, “According to research from analyst firm, Gartner, by 2022, as a result of digital business projects, 75 per cent of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside the traditional, centralized data center or cloud, up from less than 10 per cent in 2018.” This all points to just one thing – for mission critical applications, where timely responses are the order of the day, NonStop will become an integral part of the intelligent edge!
Far-fetched? Not likely! In a McKinsey and Company analysis published November, 2018, New demand, new markets: What edge computing means for hardware companies it observed the following:
“As connected devices proliferate and their capabilities expand, so does the need for real-time decision making untethered from cloud computing’s latency, and from connectivity in some cases. This movement of computational capacity out of the cloud—to the edge—is opening up a new sector: edge computing.
“Unlike recent technological advances such as cloud computing, where most gains were captured by just a few major players in the technology sector, edge computing creates opportunities across a breadth of industries. In addition, while much of today’s technical infrastructure is sector-agnostic—the same cloud that powers an ecommerce engine also powers the workflow of a bank—edge computing technologies need to be more specialized. For example, the data storage and computing power needed for precision agriculture will be different from that needed to run mobile, durable medical appliances or safety equipment in a mine.”
And yes, the data storage and computing technology needed to process credit / debit cards in real time will be different again benefitting, naturally enough, from the presence of a truly fault tolerant stack – NonStop being the optimal solution in this case. The same can be said too about ranks of industrial robots assembling cars 24 x 7! Point is, “untethered from cloud computing’s latency, and from connectivity in some cases” NonStop’s presence close to the edge will prove advantageous to all enterprises looking to improve their position with respect to better serving their constituency, be it man or machine. And HPE has done a lot of late to make this scenario more than likely – think virtualized NonStop (vNS) as just one place to start.
Smart computing at the intelligent edge will come in many forms and the processing and data storage capabilities will vary as much as the devices at the edge will themselves vary. It is not unreasonable to expect to see x86 servers populating nodes interacting directly with the edge – all part of the intelligent edge, of course. With software-defined everything prevailing, it is just as reasonable to anticipate a high degree of virtualization present at these nodes given how it makes the job of “provisioning” for a potentially changing population of edge devices a lot easier to do. It is only a small step required to expect that vNS becomes an option for those edge environments where processing and data storage have to be available 24 x 7.
Very little of this appears in any HPE official documentation and for it to happen, it will all have to be enterprise driven. HPE customers with or without NonStop today will have to request it – the task to validate NonStop running with HPE Synergy has little to do with whether or not it will work, but rather, what the business case demands in terms of availability. Much the same will apply to running NonStop at the edge. Build a business case that needs a lot of NonStop and it will happen. For now, this is all in the hands of the NonStop community and should the community become vocal about the potential for NonStop at the edge, I cannot imagine any roadblocks being erected anytime soon that would hinder such a project – just ask for it!
HPE’s Neri is very much focused on partners. Businesses that help advance the cause of HPE are more than welcome to bring their ideas to HPE. With the focus of Neri and his team on data, analytics and all of the infrastructure to make it all seamlessly deployable, seeing the NonStop community promote NonStop at both ends of the edge and the cloud, should resonate well with HPE management. After all, it is Neri that is taking this message to the industry, “our purpose and the work that we do, will provide you with an edge-to-cloud architecture to manage and utilize all your data.” Shouldn’t we, as the NonStop community step up to help out Neri in this instance? It just makes sense …
All opinions and observations expressed here are those of Pyalla Technologies, LLC,and are not provided by HPE employees.