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The HPE Corner

HPE might support race cars but is it Competition Special?

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In keeping with the developing tradition for NonStop Insider in 2019, let us begin with an update coming from a parallel industry, automobiles. Perhaps there is no other industry that is as rapidly moving closer to conventional computing than the automobile industry as there is almost a never-ending stream of media updates on autonomous driving, vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V) and yes, security and the protection of privacy. After all, when my autonomous Uber ride arrives, I don’t want everyone to know I am off to a round of golf and not to the office!

HP ECorner Feb 19

Last month we referenced Formula E and the support HPE was giving to the Venturi Formula E-Team. Unfortunately, last time out in Santiago, Chile, it was bumped from the podium following an on track incident. Not to worry, but favorite of many in HPE, Sam Bird (pictured above), driving the Envision Virgin Racing Formula E Team took first place. Bird, you may recall, has been featured at several HPE Discover events over the years playing a key role in the HPE Partnership programs given that the Swiss-Swedish multinational corporation ABB is the event sponsor behind ABB FIA Formula E and just happens to be a major partner of HPE.

HPE’s involvement in motor sports and in automobiles in general dates back decades and the support for BMW in Formula 1 by Compaq was referenced last month. Today, across the NonStop community it is well known that the other German marques, Mercedes Benz and Porsche are perhaps closer to NonStop’s heart having deployed NonStop systems for a very long time in support of manufacturing and assembly of their cars at plants around the world. However, it was while watching the recent Rolex 24 At Daytona, where the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class was won by a BMW, that I became aware that auto manufacturers were further embellishing their brands to better reflect their market position. Familiar as we are with badges like AMG and M on Mercedes Benz and BMW days respectively, I noticed that BMW was now adding Competition Special to the famous M moniker.

As a community, users and vendors of NonStop have always considered the platform special. As for being competitive, this has always been an important part of the product line’s cultural roots – NonStop competed with everything in the marketplace when it first appeared in the mid-1970s. Whether it was then a minicomputer like a Data General or a Prime or even a Mainframe, including Plug Compatible Mainframes (PCMs), NonStop knew no boundaries: It was indeed the “NS – Competition Special!” But what exactly does being a Competition Special imply in today’s world of Hybrid IT transformations about which we hear so much from HPE? Is the very thought of NonStop retaining anything special about how it supports IT outdated in any way?

It only takes casual observation of what is being covered in the media of late to know that around the world there have been significant outages that have disrupted transportation, banking, retail and eCommerce applications where very quickly the culprit has been identified as the computer and its associated network. There is no escaping the inherent fragility of today’s IT deployments. The push to an all-public cloud environment may be a viable option for some businesses but for the enterprise user it’s a non-starter. Whether it’s security, privacy or simply conforming to regulatory requirements, there will always be a computer presence within the confines of an enterprise data center.

The exact split between traditional computing and such private cloud computing that develops is still to be seen but when it comes to describing what enterprises consider Hybrid IT, there is always all three elements included – traditional, private and public clouds. For many within the NonStop community there is their own emerging definition of Hybrid IT that includes the presence of a traditional NonStop system together with a virtualized NonStop running happily within a virtualized private cloud. Such configurations treat the virtualized NonStop as just another resource to be tapped more than likely for housing the NS SQL database with its multitenant support. Yes, that will be special to many NonStop users who can see it providing a competitive edge not only from the perspective of scaling out and being available but also being a proven cost effective option.

Of course, badges never tell the whole story. In time, the meaning of the GT badge on coupes became so diluted that every car delivered had a GT option whether it is warranted or not such an embellishment. Today, the “private badges” carry more weight along with a price premium to match – we know a Porsche GT3 RS is going to be something special even as an Audi RS3 will have some race credentials. When it comes to computing, there is no equivalent that can be pointed at that helps us know much about which enterprises will gravitate to the model and there isn’t any industry excitement around a limited production special computer.

Computing doesn’t reward enterprises that pay a premium to have something truly different to everything else. That’s not what is at stake when we discuss what being special might mean. There is no price premium for NonStop. And yet, NonStop by its very nature will always be a little different as it is fault tolerant but the NonStop that has evolved from this fundamental differentiator is the best solution for mission critical applications in a world where everything is connected and where every computer is turned on – 24 X 7 computing after all, demands something special. And competitive …

HPE is committed to Hybrid IT even as it is committed to providing a variety of solutions addressing mission critical computing. For the foreseeable future, there will continue to be a need for special computers to handle mission critical transaction processing and this is where HPE anticipates NonStop shining brightly. HPE is often asked about its plans for NonStop even as the NonStop community flocks to product roadmap presentations, interrogating every descriptive box and date appearing in the PowerPoint slides. And this is very good thing as spectators to a different kind of race, it’s still very good to know that your Competition Special is just the solution any enterprise needs today as they continue to deploy Hybrid IT.