Were you to have been asked that question some years ago, the answer most likely would have bee “I’m not sure”....
Pyalla Technologies anxious to see good days return for NonStop and with vNS perhaps we will see just that!
If in last month’s update from Pyalla Technologies there was a lot of space devoted to anniversaries, well this is it. The true anniversary issue; Volume 2, Issue #1! But this month, the majority of emails Pyalla received had to do with HPE and with what exactly is going on as part of NEXT. You may recall that HPE CEO Meg Whitman spoke openly of the plans for HPE post-split (from HPQ) and post spin mergers (with CSC and Micro Focus), but what exactly is NEXT? We have already seen the word NEXT appended to initiatives and groups – HPE Pointnext (formerly HPE TS), and pages on the HPE web site devoted to HP Labs simply called Next Next.
The HPE Next initiative is aimed at re-architecting and simplifying the structure of the company. According to Whitman, in her briefing of financial analysts following the publication of Q3 financial results, HPE “is benefiting from growing demand across key areas of the business. At the same time, she said she’s pushing to cut ‘layers’ in the organization and become more efficient.” And, “with fewer lines of business and clear strategic priorities, we have the opportunity to create an internal structure and operating model that is simpler, nimbler and faster.”
Perhaps, and somewhat coincidentally, we have also seen some movement on the way HPE organizes its sales force worldwide as the heads of both the Americas and EMEA Geos are leaving the company even as the head of AsiaPac / Japan has been elevated to oversee all of sales worldwide. And now there have been articles published that openly talk about there being not simply three Geos but rather, eleven regions and perhaps this is the first real glimpse of what cutting layers of organization may involve. However, like almost everyone else I have talked to this month, I am very interested to see what else transpires between now and the end of the calendar year as there is even bigger moves made to create a model that is indeed, simpler, nimbler and faster.
So far, there has been nothing forthcoming from HPE about NonStop and I am truly hopeful that the NonStop organization will come out of this organizational restructuring (and re-architecting) unscathed. Between Andy Bergholz and Karen Copeland you have a small group that has made incredible strides to ensure longevity for NonStop systems. We now have not one but two distinct product lines – one based on a complete package that includes HPE NonStop hardware with a second that is a software offering capable of running on any commercial, off-the-shelf, hardware. If we just take a step backwards for a minute to look at the musings and commentaries of only three years ago, the emergence of these two product lines could scarcely have been imagined. But it happened and there are a lot of good people enthusiastic about the future prospects of NonStop even as HPE pursues a strategy to simplify hybrid IT.
However, we are talking about real people here with real lives and for many of us, real friendships. We already have a very large bench of skilled NonStop personnel only too ready to step in and help any enterprise simplify their hybrid IT – for many years now, every NonStop system has been a hybrid and supporting hybrid IT has been what NonStop has been doing ever since the first NonStop arrived in the data center to front-end a mainframe. Unfortunately, to think that the ranks of this bench may grow in the coming weeks isn’t the kind of good news I would like to convey. However, there is a silver lining and a tremendous opportunity just around the corner.
For everyone in the NonStop community, the expectations are high that virtualized NonStop (vNS) will find much broader acceptance among those enterprises shifting workloads and data to clouds. For many, availability has been an issue and news of this cloud or that cloud suffering an outage doesn’t help. The potential for vNS to span multiple clouds will be a godsend for many enterprises, however they are going to need substantial handholding to ensure that the configurations that conjure up actually deliver the availability they expect. And this isn’t a situation where HPE will have unlimited resources to help – not even with HPE Pointnext will there be as deep a bench of NonStop knowledge as I know already exists in the marketplace.
The fallout from this expected transition from products to services is also going to be of benefit to those in the NonStop vendor community providing managed services and I expect to see their ranks swell in time. I don’t see NonStop playing a strategic role for HPE. Let’s be clear about that. Unless something extraordinary catches the eyes of HPE’s leadership (and perhaps support for blockchain may be the spark), what is more important is that there is a strategy for NonStop. This is a message I have been conveying to all of my clients and one I feel very strongly about – having a strategy for a product is quite separate from having a strategic product and while there are many within the NonStop community who may beg to differ, I see a future for NonStop and a future that will call for greater participation from many of you who may have thought the good days of NonStop are long gone!