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The HPE Corner

HPE has strategic initiatives and yes, there is room for NonStop; when it comes to NonStop it’s now safe to expect the unexpected!

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There has been a lot of coverage of late concerning major initiatives by HPE in areas including Hybrid IT, Synergy, OneSphere, Superdome Flex and yes, The Machine. Hybrid IT received a major boost when it became a business group headed by a newly named President, Phil Davis. Formerly head of sales for the AsiaPac/Japan region when global sales was made up of just three Geos, he was promoted to head of sales for all of HPE only recently. The Geo model comprising Americas, EMEA and AP/J was replaced with a model that included the creation of eleven regions which on paper made complete sense, although there remained a couple of anomalies (mostly with alignment in Europe). With these changes already implemented, Davis was then given the nod to head Hybrid IT business group which consists of just three business units -Hybrid IT Infrastructure, Software-Defined & Cloud, and HPE Pointnex. In addition to these three units, there are also units interacting with the marketplace as part of this group – Global Operations and Global Sales.

By now, this is well understood by the NonStop community, even though HPE isn’t disclosing just how many of the eleven regions are actively involved in selling NonStop systems but as history so often reminds us, best guess is that it’s only four or five of these regions that are generating 90% of NonStop revenues. And that’s about as good a guess as any of us outsiders can make at this time. But suffice to say, talk to any HPE managers associated with NonStop and they will tell you that business is good and growing. But what of Synergy, OneSphere, and Superdome Flex? It’s safe to assume NonStop participates within the Hybrid IT business group and that it continues to play a prominent role in Mission Critical Systems – now headed by Jeff Kyle – but this doesn’t say a whole lot about NonStop’s participation in HPE’s strategic initiatives. Or, does it?

When it comes to HPE’s Strategic Initiatives, the “revolving carousel” has settled down following the elevation of Antonio Neri to CEO. Simplifying the transformation to Hybrid IT is still playing well with enterprises but beyond that, what else has risen to the status of Strategic Initiative? According to one financial analyst, there is a need to start at the very top and he began a recent report by noting that:

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is optimistic about its portfolio of products and services, which enable enterprises to store and analyze data that can be leveraged to improve customer experiences, reduce costs, and increase productivity. HPE aims to transform enterprises and help customers connect data from the core to the edge and the cloud.

As enterprises are looking at a mix of private and public cloud environments to meet requirements, HPE is focused on making hybrid IT simple. The company’s key priorities are to help customers optimize core IT environments with software-defined technologies and integrate the same across multiple private and public clouds.

What follows however, leaves a lot unsaid. According to this analyst, among those offerings that can be considered a part of the Strategic Initiatives, apart from Hybrid IT include:
Infosight, which is a predictive AI (artificial intelligence) technology;

OneSphere, which is a software management platform that allows enterprises to deploy and operate on-premise private cloud environments and public cloud capabilities;

Intelligent Edge (think Aruba) that is the world outside the data center. It is where enterprises interact with their customers, where employees congregate, and where companies manufacture their products.

The story really doesn’t end there and returning to NonStop, as part of Mission Critical Systems and a participant in Hybrid IT, what gives it a play in anything strategic at this time? Turns out, more than likely it is the work being done on virtualization and yes, the work being done with NonStop SQL/MX that will elevate it to being a more than viable option when it comes to DataBase-as-a-Service (DBaaS). If you have been attending HPE events where NonStop has been presented or even if all you managed to get to was a RUG meeting, you will have heard a very consistent message about the work being done in support of a major overhaul of NS SQL. Yes, it’s playing an important role within HPE’s own IT department and yes, it’s underpinning the “Strategic Initiative” that is Mission Critical Distributed Ledger (MCDLT), otherwise known as Blockchain.

However, there is still one more important role left for NS SQL to play and that is with respect to virtualization – if the whole point of HPE’s Strategic Initiative is to help simplify the transformation to Hybrid IT, then virtualization looms large on the radar screen and multitenancy becomes a must – according to Wired Magazine, “On the business side, is multitenant” and it blossomed quickly as it made it easy to keep on adding database users. “Multitenancy is the term describing when a single instance of software serves dozens or hundreds of users / customers at the same time,” added Wired and oh yes, “Besides their efficiency, multitenant services can scale easily.” Even so, critics will call out that there are downsides to multitenancy, particularly when deployed on public clouds, including security and the lack of support for popular languages of the day – “Take; the service doesn’t support applications written using the standard SQL language used by grown-up databases,” notes ZDNet and quoted by Wired. And they can get expensive in a hurry as well!

When we look at the strategy of HPE and at its mission and messaging, transformation to Hybrid IT will continue to hold center stage for quite some time. However, as foreign as it may sound to NonStop users, there is really an important consideration to be recognized here: NonStop itself is undergoing a transformation to a hybrid! It is easy to envision over time some applications running in part or in whole on a traditional NonStop system such as NonStop X while other applications – particularly those that may be data driven – running virtually on any x86 derived servers you care to name, packaged up as a cloud or not. These x86 servers may ultimately end up in Synergy and may come under the management eye of OneSphere. They may even end up running as a workload on a Superdome Flex with massive amounts of directly addressable memory. So yes, when it comes to NonStop in the coming years (and based on what we have already seen over the last couple of years), expect the unexpected and anticipate the extraordinary but what you shouldn’t discount at any point is the business determination that 24 x 7 operation remains as much a strategic imperative for enterprises as NonStop tucks in nicely within HPE’s own strategic initiatives!