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N2TUG 2023

NonStop Insider


Back in early 2020, Diane Funkhouser and I started to plan for our next N2TUG meeting.  By the time we got close to ready, we were finally convinced that it wasn’t going to happen. And soon after, Diane left HPE.   Along with Justin Simonds, who stepped in as the HPE Liaison to N2TUG, we tried to pull meetings together in 2021, and then in 2022.  But it turned out that we could piggyback on Connect Worldwide’s Virtual RUG meetings, and that was what we did.

Earlier this year, we tried again.  Without a clear idea of how many attendees or sponsors we could get; we gathered a list of venues so we would know prices.  We reached out to a good list of sponsors, and lo and behold had most all we would need within 24 hours!  That was all the confidence we needed to go ahead and plan it.

We settled on June 15th this year at the Hurst Conference Center in Hurst, Texas, adjacent to a Hilton Garden Inn.  Not quite the venue of the Gaylord Texan from years past, but it fit our needs quite well!  As we had missed the prior 3 years, the event theme was “Together Again After 3 Years,” with sponsors free to choose topics they felt the attendees would be interested in.  As a result, we got a very good mix of Security, Continuity, and Utility as a bonus.

After a nice hot breakfast with appropriate caffein and juices at 8, we settled into the main session room at 9.  After opening remarks by the N2TUG planning committee (President Bill Honaker of XID Software, Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Liaison Justin Simonds), the keynote speaker pair of Karen Ramirez, HPE’s North American Director of NonStop Sales, and Roland Lemoine, NonStop Product Manager took over.  Karen led off with a quick look at the 2023 Highlights for the NonStop division, and then Roland got deep into the Futures of the product line.

Attendees taking in the Keynote presentation from HPE

Next up was our Platinum Sponsor NTI.  Richard Buckle of Pyalla Technologies, their Industry Consultant, talked about Continuous Adaptation.  He also gave an overview of the newly-released Partner Portal.

Earlier, I mentioned our former HPE Liaison, Diane Funkhouser.  Since leaving us, she’s become very involved with a charity that is dear to her heart, and she brought a fantastic story of why that is.  She shared the story of Camp Esperanza, run by the Bridewell Foundation.  They provide week-long camping sessions for kids that are battling life-threatening disease.  Diane’s presentation gave insight to her own family’s successful fight against cancer, delivered as only Diane can!  Plus, everyone had a great chance to catch up with Diane, which was a big plus.

Diane Funkhouser sharing why she volunteers for Bridewell

We’re always excited to add new sponsors to our supporters.  2 new sponsors joined this year, and we are very thankful for their support.  4Tech Solutions couldn’t be there in person at the last minute, but sent Jack Di Giacamo to speak briefly on 4Techs’ product, and then to discuss Business Continuity and Ransomware from TANDSoft.  And Rich Greene from Ascert came to share their long-time success in Software Development automated testing, both on NonStop and beyond.

This view shows the whole meeting space, including sponsor areas

We had chosen the Hurst Conference Center as a smaller, lower cost alternative.  But it turned out to be a great value to us!  They had modern tech, good layout, attentive staff, and especially a great kitchen!  We had a nice breakfast buffet, a lunch buffet with Steak and Chicken (and a particularly sinful Chocolate Cake) and some creative hors d’oeuvres for the evening reception to go with the wine and beer.  It was all so good I forgot to get pictures!!!

After that lunch, it was a bit of a challenge to stay awake.  But Richard Conine of HPE took the challenge and succeeded.  His presentation was on the great challenges that Ransomware exposes, that affect even your NonStop systems, and what steps you should be taking to prepare.  Next up, Paden Holenstein of Gravic covered Shadowbase software’s many ways to manage important company and customer data.  Then we got a Security Update from Jeff Boyer of our Gold Sponsor XYPRO.

Mauricio Mier from OmniPayments followed with a discussion not only of their premier OmniPayments product but also of some tools to help with data sharing and systems management.  Ed Adams of comforte described how to identify all of the sensitive data you have on your NonStop systems. New sponsor Rich Greene of Ascert was next, and Peter Mehta from CSP gave the grand finale.  He discussed managing vulnerability as well as compliance issues.

The day of meetings drew to a close with door prize drawings for the end-user attendees that were still present.  Prizes were given by NTI, Gravic and TANDSoft, and we at N2TUG really appreciate it!

My biggest takeaway – the attendees were engaged throughout all of the sessions!  Seems that our members really missed the being together in-person, but that’s not too surprising.   And a final lagniappe, the sponsors and attendees all found ways to contribute to Camp Esparza to the tune of over $7,500!  Diane has since let me know that year 41 of Camp Esperanza (their 41st) is finished, and it was a resounding success.  In her words:

“Eighty-four campers had a fun-filled and memorable week of laughter, love and friendships. Plenty of air-conditioning and water activities aided in beating the heat. The new sound system, which replaced the 18-year-old dinosaur, sounded great and was easier to move about camp. Two therapy dogs joined the mix.

“There are 10 cabins at Camp Esperanza, housing campers from age 7 to 15. Each cabin accommodates 14 campers and 6 counselors. The generous donations from N2TUG funded an entire cabin at camp, plus bought the supplies for homemade ice cream, which is always a favorite at the cookout.

“I am so grateful to the generous N2TUG participants and sponsors for digging deep. My heart is happy!

N2TUG would not be possible without the generosity of all of our sponsors, or the great support from HPE.  In addition, the attendees that take their time to attend contribute to the success.  Thanks to all of you!

Tim Dunne and Cody Newton, from our Platinum Sponsor NTI

Hope we see many of you at Technical Boot Camp in Denver in a few weeks.  Also, keep us in mind next when we send you notice of next year’s N2TUG.  Given how well this year’s event went, we have some exciting ideas in store!