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Is there a stone in your shoe?




Heterogeneous systems have been with us for a very long time. Ever since third parties began introducing their own lines of storage products or even plug compatible processors, the image of just a single uniform deployment of technology has proved to be a rarity. Adding to this spread of heterogeneity has been the evolution of IT itself, with a constant barrage of new systems, platforms and software leading to not just an increase in heterogeneity but a generational diversity as well.

When it comes to networking and communications, the IT world has been heavily influenced by the protocols that drive the internet. The predominance of all things internet connected has seen the Internet Protocol (IP) become so pervasive that it in turn has witnessed generational change. Humorists of late have taken to social media in this time of the global pandemic to suggest that TCP may be in decline because of the need for handshakes, with UDP being preferred due to its social distancing:

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Decades of purchasing technology solutions on the basis of best of breed haven’t helped. When questioned, most CIOs become guarded on the topic as they remain focused on meeting the ever-changing needs of the enterprise. Where best of breed came unstuck was the complex process of integration: APIs simply didn’t exist when this practice commenced. Even now, some solutions remain on-prem that are left isolated as the APIs delivered with cloud services simply don’t exist within these solutions. These technology solutions, as important as they might be, are more likely to be viewed as that stone in our shoe. We would like to get rid of it but even with the pain, the risk of being left behind is just too high.

Looking for a single pane of glass to help simplify the oversight and management of heterogeneous systems has likewise become more of a pain of glass: disparate systems, each with their own event messaging and command interfaces, make normalization approaches next to impossible. Over-reliance on what have become buzzwords has only muddied the waters further. According to Clint Boulton, Senior Writer CIO, in the article of January 28, 2020, 10 most misused buzzwords in IT, “When an idea catches fire, vendors seize on vague euphemisms to pitch IT leaders on their solution as The Next Best Thing. Who’s heard ‘We’re like the Netflix of…’ or ‘We deliver cloud as an innovation platform.’ And of course vendors do everything through a ‘single pane of glass.’ As if that makes things so much clearer … IT leaders lament the misnomers, misguided appellations, and liberal use of jargon to describe technologies, IT processes, and other infuriating catch-all terms.”

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The NonStop community with which we interact on a daily basis is well aware of the heterogeneous nature of today’s NonStop systems deployments. Taking it one step further, we have seen how hybrid IT has overtaken heterogeneous IT as the specter of cloud services looms large. Casting its large shadow over all aspects of on-prem data processing, this mix of traditional systems, private clouds and multiple cloud services providers has brought further attention to the “spaces in between.” Whether it has to do with networking, accessing remote storage platforms or simply passing data between systems, each comes with a unique set of problems and they aren’t always recognizable immediately.

The spaces-in-between covers a lot of ground! It’s all about synchronizing software releases across multiple systems. It’s all about testing the boundaries where systems “touch” to ensure security remains tight. It’s all about ensuring today’s APIs have universal support across all systems that make up the whole. How many times has TCM walked into a presentation room to see a whiteboard covered in boxes, clouds, storage stacks that are all connected via straight lines? All of them of the same thickness to boot! Finding technical staff that is au fait with the systems on both ends of those straight lines has become extremely challenging for most enterprises.

TCM is familiar with the NonStop community and the challenges that it faces. With customers spread around the globe, from the UK to Australia and from Europe to the US, it isn’t as if we have seen it all but rather, we fully anticipate seeing something new, otherwise our clients might not have called out to us for help. That stone in their shoe simply cannot be tolerated any longer and it may not be the NonStop system, but there are occasions where it is the NonStop. TCM has the experience and the access to those who can assist even when the enterprise is stretched to breaking point trying to simply stay current with all that it has let alone continuing down its path of digital transformation – a journey that many CIOs believe is the “ cure-all for modernizing legacy businesses,” according to CIO’s Boulton.

There is no escaping the heterogeneous nature of IT. We may not appreciate the benefits or indeed like the many choices that have been made over the years. Hybrid is just a further extension to the heterogeneity of IT and perhaps will be replaced at some point with something different again. For most enterprises, simply keeping up with the myriad variety of systems platforms and software is beyond them and watching the ongoing churn among IT staff isn’t helping. It comes as no surprise then when realization occurs that today’s modern NonStop systems are themselves heterogeneous given the presence of separate NonStop processors together with Linux (for CLIMs) and Windows (for Consoles). Not to mention the complexity of managing a virtual NonStop system’s environment with virtual machines and potentially varying underlying hardware possibly from different vendors!

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Fortunately, when it comes to the presence of these new NonStop systems within the enterprise, there are organizations to turn to for assistance and TCM is providing leadership in this regard. No single vendor has the experience to deal with all possible outcomes and to be clear, neither does TCM. The important differentiator however is TCM knows who to turn to within its organization and have straddled the spaces in between for a very long time. Not even that painful stone in their shoe needs to remain; TCM has integrated NonStop systems with the rest of the heterogeneous IT we encounter and will continue to do so. However, should that stone in your shoe be a source of irritation to you and your IT organization, don’t hesitate in reaching out to us here at TCM. It may be a case of simply swapping out the old shoe for something new!

And stay tuned to hear more from TCM as we delve deeper into this topic, and explore where these pain points are for most NonStop users. We want to build as wide a picture as possible of where most people find they are either constantly hitting a brick wall, or feel they are taking the long and bumpy road when a smooth short-cut is out there somewhere. If you have an opinion on any of these matters, drop us an email at We plan on building up both a better idea of the landscape that exists around the NonStop, and also develop the maps that will help us navigate them. Right now its an open discussion and we would love to hear your views, so let us know!