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NonStop CEOs have their say

Shawn Sabanayagam, Tributary Systems, Inc. (TSI)

NonStop insider


What is the business of TSI and how do you work with the HPE NonStop team today? HPE is a partner but you have others – how would you rate HPE today?

Tributary Systems (TSI) founded in 1990 has been serving the NonStop market for 28 years!  TSI is in the business of providing enterprise computing customers with turnkey data protection solutions specifically, data backup, restore, archive and disaster recovery. Our focus is to provide data storage solutions that meet the fundamentals of the platform we are backing up.  We began developing integrating turnkey data storage solutions for the NonStop (Tandem) platform and served the NonStop market exclusively for many years.  Today TSI has patented software defined data backup solutions capable of backing up all HPE and IBM proprietary platforms including NonStop, VMS, IBM Mainframe, iSeries and all open environments with a single virtualized, tiered and cloud enabled solution. This, along with the ability to backup large amounts of enterprise systems data and vaulting it to any S3 compatible cloud with near line storage performance, makes TSI and its solutions unique in the market place.

TSI became an OEM supplier of backup storage hardware, backup management software as well as support, sustaining engineering and repair services to Tandem Computer Corporation first in 1997.  Subsequently, TSI extended the OEM relationship to Compaq NSD and HPE NED.  TSI’s OEM supply agreement with NonStop has now been in continuous effect for 20 years. Today, we work with HPE Manufacturing in Singapore, Product Management in Palo Alto and the global HPE sales organization.  HPE is a great partner of TSI and the NonStop platform and customer community are largely responsible for shaping our company and its solutions over the years as well as who we are today.  HPE is one of the easiest partners to work with and serve in the market place.

What have you learnt about NonStop this year that has you excited for the future of NonStop? Will NonStop continue to play a dominant role when it comes to your product development at TSI?

We first learned about vNonStop more than two years ago and were excited that HPE and NonStop Product Engineering were continuing to develop and move the platform and operating system forward into the virtual and cloud deployment areas. We still believe the primary enterprise use case in production environments for NonStop’s largest customers will be conventional on-premise deployment for some time to come. However, test/dev environments readily lend themselves to virtual deployments of the NonStop OS. Then this year, we learned about a defined role NonStop can play in HPE’s support of blockchain technology.  This is by far the most interesting and exciting thing we have heard about NonStop in years! The platform is ideal for supporting the implementation of blockchain in selected industry verticals. We hope to learn more in the coming weeks and months on this development.

NonStop plays an important role in TSI’s product development.  Not only is NonStop still the core business of TSI but also serves as the center of the company’s expertise with its employees.  As HPE develops NonStop as a platform, solution and OS, TSI will be at a minimum in lock step but more likely innovating in the data backup/restore/archive and DR areas especially with enabling NonStop customers with cloud migration and cloud native data management while maintaining or improving the platform fundamentals of availability, scalability and data integrity.

There are significant trends and innovation happening in the data protection market place today.  With statistics such as 90 percent of the data in existence in the world today having been generated in the last 2 years and 80 percent of the new data being generated being unstructured, the future of data backup and archive is object storage.  While much of the non-enterprise data is well on its way to the cloud, enterprise customers like NonStop customers have been slow in moving their mission critical data to the cloud, especially public cloud.  The reasons for this are lack of control, visibility, security and the variability of costs associated with access of that data in a typical public cloud tier such as AWS. TSI has invested heavily to bring to market cloud data backup, archive and DR solutions on object storage that address each of those shortcomings and will present these transformational solutions at the HPE NonStop Bootcamp in November of this year.  This is a truly an exciting time for TSI to be in the data protection market place and it is exciting for us to be able to bring some of these innovations to our traditional customer base of NonStop users.

What is the status of your work with NonStop X – do you have customers now? In the near term? And, do you see NonStop customers planning on upgrading to NonStop X? Have you installed NonStop X for your own usage?

TSI completed development and testing and GA (general availability) of its HPE OEM tape backup solutions prior to the first NonStop X system hitting the market!  Since then, we have qualified, tested and implemented all TSI solutions targeted for the NonStop X systems including our flagship Storage Director software-defined solution in multiple customer environments.  We have many customers with our solutions in production environments on NonStop X at present.  We see many but not all existing NonStop customers migrating to X.  We have developed a defined process and migration path in the data backup use case for NonStop customers migrating to X to make the migration easy and seamless.

What role do you anticipate seeing for the new Virtualized NonStop (vNS)within the traditional NonStop community? Will this be for testing and pilots or will this be for production systems? Will you be ready or do you have concerns? Do you see it having the potential to open new markets for NonStop?

At this time, we see vNonStop being very useful to customers and partners in a test/dev environment.  This is important to understand as test/dev is a crucial function to maintaining and developing applications as well as qualifying new storage hardware for existing NonStop customers.  Reducing cost and complexity in test/dev will promote the use of NonStop in the market place.  TSI is certainly ready for vNonStop and has been for a while.  As mentioned earlier, we have data management solutions in our portfolio today for cloud native applications that can reduce the data footprint in the cloud and automatically tier data within cloud tiers (such as EBS, S3, Glacier in AWS).  This can significantly reduce costs for customers and make data management within the cloud easier and simpler with better visibility to the user.  Adapting our data management solutions to vNonStop will be easy to do.

The possibility to open new markets and bring new customers to NonStop exists with vNonStop.  However, we believe the real potential to transform the use case for NonStop going forward may be with a role in blockchain technology.