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TCM’s Viking Adventure

TCM visits VNUG and discusses how to address the NonStop skills gap




This September TCM attended the wonderfully named VNUG (Viking NonStop User Group) Event at Rånäs Slott, some 45 minutes north of Stockholm, Sweden. Those of you familiar with the Swedish language will have recognized the ‘Slott’ (translated as Castle) which suggests a less than urban setting, and you would be right. After a very pleasant drive through sun-drenched farmlands, one suddenly finds themselves striking upon meticulous avenues, gently making their way through clipped gardens and over meandering streams, before emerging out of the woodland to be greeted by a rather handsome, stoic manor house (which we would later learn is one of the most well preserved in all of Sweden).

Needless to say, first impressions suggested a very different type of NonStop User Group meeting. Indeed, this was to be this case, in what turned out to be a very charming and worthwhile event.

Beginning with a choice of Education or Golf day on Monday, my colleague and I took one each, with your intrepid author opting to sample the delights of Sweden’s leisure activities. Being a Scottish-based company, we at TCM are of course well versed in all things golf, but I am not ashamed to say that faced with the absence of driving gale-force winds, of rain that seems to hold a personal grudge and hills that beckon you upwards, only to reward you with a view of how far your beleaguered legs have to go to carry you home… I struggled immensely. My years of conditioning on the hills and thrills of Scottish golf courses did not adequately prepare me for the gently slopes, smooth undulations and perfectly manicured greens of this enchanting course. Combined with spotlessly blue skies and barely a hush of wind, I was left firmly out of my comfort zone. Despite being unable to adapt to these perfect golfing conditions (which I was led to believe are actually commissioned by the VNUG board each year), it was all round a very enjoyable experience and a challenge I’m sure will be taken up again in the near future.


Tuesday marked the official beginning of the VNUG conference. Though the numbers may have been smaller than other NonStop User Group meetings, this was by no means a poorly attended event. Indeed most of the Nordic Region’s NonStop customers were well represented and were treated to a wide range of informative presentations from HPE’s “The changing world of databases” and “The Future of Cloud Computing” to OmniPayment’s “Fraud Control” and Gravic’s “Shadowbase Zero Downtime Migrations”. HPE too rolled out the big guns, with Head of NonStop EMEA, Dave MacLeod and Worldwide NonStop Product Manager, Mark Pollans both providing insight into the future of NonStop.

This was TCM’S first visit to VNUG and it was also the first chance for us to deliver our new presentation – “Adapt or Die: The NonStop Skills Gap” – a lighthearted look at an increasingly pertinent issue, the crux of it being: as NonStop looks set to grow, how will we support this with the currently contracting workforce? TCM has some ideas regarding how to tackle this, ideas that we expand on in the presentation. If you want to hear more, keep an eye out on our Linked In group (LinkedIn – TCM NonStop Experts) where we’ll post a video recording of ‘Adapt or Die’. Otherwise we’ll be presenting it at the upcoming NonStop Technical Boot Camp in San Jose, so we’ll maybe see you there.

Wednesday saw VNUG wrap up, with a pleasant prize draw where TCM once again supplied a nice bottle of its hometowns namesake (Glenrothes) single malt and in the late afternoon sunshine, it gave one time to reflect on the real sense of community that our beloved NonStop platform encourages. Something quite unique and something TCM firmly believes needs to be cherished. Echoing the sentiment of what we discussed in our presentation, it’s this very unique, intangible spirit that has held NonStop together through the years, and it’s this very essence that we must protect and maintain for the future generations of NonStoppers. It’s up to all of us to figure out how to make this happen.