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The HPE Corner

HPE is making it a whole lot easier for NonStop users to justify continued investment in NonStop systems.

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The open question among NonStop attendees of the most recent Regional User Group (RUG) meetings has revolved around investments. This is not so much a question to do with whether or not HPE is investing on NonStop so much as it is about members of the NonStop user community investing in NonStop – more precisely, investing in people in support of NonStop. For most members of the NonStop community, HPE answered the investment in NonStop systems question the day they announced the port of NonStop to the Intel x86 architecture – a hefty investment by HPE by all accounts – that was followed a short time later with the news that HPE was enhancing NonStop so that it would run on virtual machines. So the question revolving around investment is not really about the NonStop platform anymore and that’s a good thing for the NonStop community.

An anecdote from HPE VP & GM, Mission Critical Systems, Randy Meyer, concerning modern programmers not being aware that they were programming NonStop, hit home for a group of attendees at one recent RUG meeting. As the story went, hiring college graduates familiar with programming languages like Pearl, PHP and Python. These are script languages – open source languages that as of today have been ported to HPE NonStop systems and together with support by NonStop of Java, represent a break from the past. According to Meyer, HPE could put these programmers to work on NonStop in an instant generating curiosity when it came to persistence as it pertained to databases – NonStop SQL specifically. It is now not unrealistic to consider hiring college graduates today to tackle the creation of new business logic for execution on NonStop systems. Combine the presence of these script languages with an updated SQL environment as is the case with the latest releases of NonStop SQL/MX, and you have all of the ingredients needed to be productive on NonStop with little additional handholding required.

There is always a strong argument to be made in bringing in NonStop talent as system and platform architects but when it comes to programming, with the right tools, frameworks and libraries available, the “mystique of NonStop programming” lessens considerably. HPE will readily admit to hiring programmers like these to work on their own NonStop development teams and that shouldn’t surprise anyone. The magic of NonStop is now hidden behind the APIs associated with TMS/MP (Pathway), Java and NonStop Java Server Pages (NS JSP), as well as NS SQL. Furthermore, when it comes to the solutions available from multiple solutions vendors, they all come with strong graphical user interfaces in support of routine tasks such as configuration and monitoring. Needing to scour the bushes for a team of TAL programmers may be the view of some CIOs but according to HPE, the need for TAL programmers is no longer a pre-req for further deployment of solutions on NonStop.

For many years, in an attempt to attract more youthful buyers to the cars, GM ran an advertising campaign for Oldsmobile, “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.” Much the same can be said about NonStop today as new generations of programmers are being introduced to NonStop. If you really want to uncover more of the mystique of NonStop and you really are determined to create NonStop processes then perhaps you should be talking to members of the NonStop vendor community rather that to enterprises recruiting application developers. The basic building blocks are still very much the same – a monitor process that checkpoints and stateless processes that can be run anywhere on the system, ad nauseam. In all reality there is little that stands in the way of taking popular games and porting them to NonStop – the basics are pretty much all present on NonStop to go down this path should you be so inclined.

Talking with the team at InfraSoft after bringing to market the uLinga product – an extremely complex communications software offering made up of networking APIs, protocols and services whereby applications previously written to SNA APIs no longer need to run over SNA protocols but instead, over TCP/IP – conversations quickly turn to open source. “We couldn’t have achieved what we did in the timeframe given us without leveraging to the hilt modern programming models,” said Infrasoft Pty Limited Managing Director, Peter Shell. “uLinga just wouldn’t have happened and we don’t see any moves by other vendors to hiring programmers other than what are coming out of universities and colleges today and I can guarantee you, there isn’t a TAL programmer among those graduates!” Access to skilled NonStop programmers is no long the gating factor when considering new development on NonStop.

Continued investment in solutions on NonStop is now a lot easier to do. HPE has done a good job with NonStop to make sure whatever choice we have made with regards to our development environment, NonStop can accommodate. There is still reason enough to have someone close at hand who knows NonStop and can provide guidance when needed – there have been many instances where straight ports have proved less than an optimal when the source was poorly architected to start with – but overall, smart programmers will continue to smart programmers even as the tackle developing and deploying solutions on NonStop. As Infrasoft’s Shell remarked, “the challenge for today’s programmers is now less about NonStop even as it remains more about good programming methodologies and investing in NonStop shouldn’t be viewed in any other light than bringing the best mission-critical properties to bear on business problems that truly can benefit from running on NonStop!”