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The Continued Evolution of NonStop

HPE and Connect host 2016 NonStop Technical Boot Camp and users and vendors continue to be impressed by how quickly NonStop is evolving …




IR has enjoyed a long relationship with NonStop, dating back to the days when monitoring a Tandem Computer represented little more than checking resource usage and making sure processes hadn’t been stopped. Today monitoring addresses every aspect of an applications’ performance where visualization of every component is important for our customers. However, the lines between where NonStop ends and where an adjacent system begins are becoming blurred and increasingly, our customers are coming to the conclusion that when it comes to monitoring a key solution on NonStop, such as payments, they will want to see a lot more than just what is happening on NonStop.

Following 2015 NonStop Technical Boot Camp we came away with the understanding that change was happening very rapidly. We heard all about the transformation to a hybrid infrastructure even as we saw the results of early adoption of the new NonStop X systems. We also heard for the first time about virtual NonStop (vNonStop) and of plans to leverage vNonStop within HPE by its own IT group. We took notice as HPE executives explained how NonStop was becoming the best software platform on the planet and we particularly took notice of just how strong a role OpenStack was playing across all of NonStop with the Linux and KVM Hypervisor playing a key role in enabling vNonStop to come to market.

It was shortly after 2015 Boot Camp ended when we posted to the IR blog that, when it pertains to hybrids and the birth of a new technology lifecycle, two things stood out for IR; one was the use of language – no longer did HPE presenters talk about modern, but rather, contemporary; no longer did they talk about commodity, but rather, industry standard; and no longer did they talk about roadmaps but rather, product plans. Perhaps even more importantly, we heard about visions for NonStop and we can’t recall when last anyone walked to the podium to articulate a vision for NonStop as not surprisingly, it implies longevity of a product extending beyond any visible horizon and a first for NonStop in a very long time. To our ears, this represented a new NonStop with a whole new language and it would seem that this represented just a starting point for HPE.

For 2016 NonStop Technical Boot Camp we set up our stall a short distance away from where NonStop development was demonstrating vNonStop running on a couple of standard ProLiant servers that were connected in a manner to support RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) – a technology that was only recently promoted as a new direction for NonStop fabric interconnect. And yet, here it was being demonstrated and from the size of the crowd always present at this demo, there was no escaping just how enthusiastic the NonStop community was to see vNonStop up and running on commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, just as HPE had promised it would less than a year ago.

In the weeks that we have been back in the offices, IR sees opportunities for NonStop to attract even more users becoming a reality. However, there are clearly challenges ahead for HPE not the least being pricing and deliverables. How to order vNonStop and how it will be distributed seem to be the major talking points among users and vendors alike, but they aren’t coming as a surprise to NonStop product management. Discussions are already taking place to address these customers’ concerns and it looks more than likely that with pilots and proof-of-concepts already under way, sometime mid 2017 we will see early deployments.

It is our understanding here at IR that the rollout of NonStop X systems will remain the primary focus of NonStop product management and development. We recognize that while there will continue to be customers for NonStop Integrity blade systems depending upon Itanium chips, there will be a number of customers who prefer to move to NonStop X converged systems and we are prepared to make sure Prognosis runs and supports NonStop X. However, we also recognize we will likely run into our first vNonStop deployments towards the middle of 2017 and it is with vNonStop that the lines that already being blurred between NonStop and adjacent systems become even more blurred.

Customers will want to see their NonStop applications even as they will want to visualize NonStop together with the virtual machine within which it runs and the hypervisor supporting the virtual machine. Our biggest customers will not likely be considering vNonStop for production purposes in 2017 and we suspect it will be more like two years before meaningful insertion of vNonStop into production environments happens but IR will be taking steps to ensure Prognosis sees it all. Perhaps, next year, at 2017 Boot Camp we will be able to say a lot more, but in the meantime, what we are prepared to acknowledge is this increased activity across all of NonStop development is certainly encouraging to see and is highly motivating to everyone here at IR.

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