Were you to have been asked that question some years ago, the answer most likely would have bee “I’m not sure”....
Let’s talk about NonStop in new verticals and marketplaces!
For sustained growth, we need to become more active …
The marketplace for NonStop systems should now include pretty much every vertical imaginable. Talk with any member of the NonStop vendor community and talk quickly pivots to a broader discussion about who is using NonStop systems today and what could HPE be doing to attract more solutions vendors to NonStop. In general terms, these discussions can include a lot of frustration over the lack of progress being made of late – HPE just doesn’t seem to be investing in programs that feature NonStop and would encourage introduction of new solutions on NonStop. When you look back on the success of the former Tandem Alliance program and should you still have access to the book that listed all the vendors and products available for Tandem Computers, you would remember that it listed over a thousand vendors with even more products.
However, once you look beyond finance, retail and telco and then glance at a couple of deployments among manufacturers, transportation and media companies, the pickings are indeed very slim. It is all well and good to discuss the perceived “bad days” after Compaq entered the scene but that was a long time ago and the replacement of Tandem Computers by NonStop systems has produced a platform very much in tune with the needs of marketplaces where continuous availability is highly valued. We may lack industry momentum in support of fault tolerance and may even suffer from market ignorance about how beneficial fault tolerance really is but pulling back just a tad and viewing the IT landscape as a whole, it is hard to ignore that NonStop should be playing a much bigger role within nearly every IT department. Data centers should be well-populated by NonStop systems and NonStop should be at the heart of every mission critical application.
Walking the aisles of the most recent HPE Discover event in Madrid, even as I wore my old jacket featuring Tandem Computers with its support for a major sporting event, it was somewhat disquieting to hear so many HPE folks being unresponsive to questions about NonStop. When Home Depot was brought onto the big stage of the 2016 HPE Discover event in Las Vegas, and introduced to everyone by then HPE CEO, Meg Whitman, it was made very clear that Home Depot was a large NonStop user as well as a new Aruba user, there wasn’t any signage indicating to the attendees where to go to find out more about NonStop and as I was a member of the independent blogging community, other bloggers came to me for more information on NonStop.
Unfortunately, the spotlight that shone so intensely on NonStop was short-lived. Very quickly this spotlight refocused on other areas of HPE and in no time at all, references to NonStop were forgotten. And so it has been for a couple of years now – just a moment in the sun and then, nothing. So what should HPE be doing that would really be beneficial for NonStop systems and the NonStop community? We can blame the lack of press and the absence of analysis from the bigger firms, but is this anyone’s fault?
It’s unknown to many that I took an analyst manager from Gartner through the exhibition hall of the recent NonStop Technical Boot Camp and it surprised this person to see so many participants and equally surprising, we just happened to be there as a group of college students were walking the aisles. Gartner has not one industry analyst focused on NonStop these days, but this really isn’t surprising at all – Gartner aligns its teams with market verticals and technology segments, with few analysts actually tracking individual product lines like NonStop.
And yet, working closely with markets is a must for any successful product line – knowing what is needed and what must be addressed should be front and center of any development program and it should be driven by knowledgeable product marketers. With NonStop much of this responsibility has fallen to a select group of solutions architects who are amazing advocates for all things NonStop, but they have no financial backing to drive NonStop deeper into markets where NonStop should be playing a role.
Translation? They have no funds to support migrations and deep ports of popular and / or market leading products to NonStop. Their modus operandi is to find willing vendors to work with them and to carry all the costs but the pool of vendors willing to undertake such endeavors has gradually dried up. Not to put too fine a point on this but the reality is that taking NonStop to the market remains a very difficult proposition and with no HPE weight behind any promotional programs, vendors of popular and / or market leading applications simply are unaware of NonStop and its value proposition.
The question now for the NonStop community is whether or not we want to change this. As a NonStop user, are you looking at solutions that could be run on NonStop systems and making that a requirement for continuing support of that solutions vendor? Big NonStop users still carry an enormous influence in this respect, but rarely take the fight to solutions vendors. As a NonStop vendor, are we looking to forming co-ops where there is enough muscle to push and prod solutions vendors to add NonStop to their lists of supported platforms? I have always thought that there should be greater cooperation among NonStop vendors but their numbers have slimmed down to such a point that their focus is mostly centered on the status quo – ensuring they maintain reasonable revenue streams from the existing base of NonStop users.
What I don’t see happening is HPE changing any time soon. No longer a $125+ billion industry heavyweight today HPE is battling to sustain a $25+billion revenue stream. And yet, for all of the head-scratching being done among the vendor community, what remains as an unarguable fact is that the architecture of NonStop continues to be the best of all architectures for scale ou,t with fault tolerance, and NonStop SQL/MX is still the database best suited for the online, always-connected world we live in!
If you have been following the commentaries and posts from Pyalla Technologies these past few weeks you will not have missed how transportation has become a focal point for many of the updates that have been posted. Nor would you have missed the connection between transportation and blockchain distributed ledger technology (DLT) – this is a personal project of mine as it traces my own roots in IT. But it is just one industry as healthcare and travel / entertainment are also ideal verticals that should be given more attention by the NonStop community.
The good news here is that there are still many individuals prepared to take NonStop into new markets even as there are members of the vendor community who are looking to cooperate with others who already have a presence in target marketplaces. But a lot more needs to be done – more written about NonStop, more spoken about NonStop and yes, more overall evangelism featuring NonStop. We have product and we have focus and we have references and we have expertise – let’s put this all to a good use! So all that needs to be said now is – what can you do to help propel NonStop into the next period of sustained growth!
Cofounder and CEO
Pyalla Technologies, LLC