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The HPE Corner

HPE reduces the risks and seriously improves the rewards for NonStop users migrating and modernizing.

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hpe corner - apr 19 -1

To continue with last month’s sailing theme and how technology has helped modern sailors to take on the roughest of storms there is still a very good reason for you to want to think twice before heading into the Artic in winter to see the northern lights. As we have all watched spellbound a Viking ocean cruise ship battled the elements that seriously threatened the vessel it was a reminder that no matter the investments made in those technologies, things can go horribly wrong. It will be some time before we learn the cause of why four engines simultaneously failed. It not only brings home the truth of unintended consequences, it tells us all you can try to position yourself for a smooth ride but then Mother Nature steps in and all the best planning in the world comes to naught.

NonStop vendors have been talking for some time about how HPE will go about growing the installed base of NonStop, but what is the plan to see many more users embrace NonStop is probably the most often asked question by vendors. And it isn’t without justification. These vendors have seen the tremendous investment HPE has put into NonStop over the past decade, but to what effect? There have been “new logos” added here and there – a promisingly larger number coming out of AsiaPac / Japan, but they have only represented very small gains for NonStop and oftentimes it’s arguable that the gains have been more than offset by the losses. As one consultant familiar with NonStop noted recently in a conversation with NonStop Insider, the responsibilities of the data center manager today reflect knowledge and experience developed and refined decades ago – the “risk : reward” quotient isn’t encouraging for those data center managers wanting to keep their jobs!

Clearly, when it came to the cruise ship navigating the Artic it’s turned out that the risks proved too high and by all accounts, future voyages into the Artic in winter have been put on hold. You can score one down to Mother Nature if you like, but in reality, it was a case of trying to appeal to Viking’s traditional (and somewhat) adventurous community, those individuals with 20 or more cruises taken with upscale cruise lines. When it comes to technology in general, the old adage holds true – introduce something new and / or something different to your own users first. Ideally, deploy these new and different technologies in-house supporting applications users can readily identify with first before heading into stormy waters. Mother Nature may not be looking over your shoulder but there is definitely parties prepared to ensure entering the marketplace will not go smoothly. When it comes to the new NonStop – the new NonStop X systems as well as the virtualized NonStop systems – surely the most receptive audience lies within the larger HPE installed base. Formerly made up of HP-UX users, with a touch of Linux and Windows, doesn’t it make sense to pitch the “option system” that is NonStop directly to this very large community? Doesn’t HPE have home court advantage when it comes to pitching NonStop to these users?

Having spent time with former colleagues at Nixdorf during the time they entered the IBM Plug Compatible Mainframe (PCM) business, I was reminded that Nixdorf sales didn’t go directly after IBM accounts but rather, Nixdorf accounts reaching the upper limits of their midrange systems who were considering jumping ship, so as to speak, to IBM or one or another PCM vendors. It was in the 1980s when even the likes of Phillips (from a subsidiary, Two Pi Corp) and Olivetti (from IPL Systems) were offering PCM solutions, so watching Nixdorf make such a move into the IBM PCM marketplace seemed the right thing to do. And for a while, Nixdorf did exactly that around the world as they convinced their big established customers to deploy their 8890 PCM. Ultimately, every PCM vendor fell fowl to the massive market swing created by the arrival of Unix, but even then, PCM vendors like Nixdorf embraced VM and threw in various Unix like kernels as an option.

If you are a student of technology history you can appreciate the value inherent with a large installed base and HPE has one of the largest. You can also appreciate how easy it has been for HPE to prefer value over volume given just how much promotion HPE has been devoting to messages about value. And of course, as the conversations turn more eagerly to migrations and along with migration, further modernization, including bold embracing the services and API model, these messages from HPE about value can be readily validated. When it comes to value nothing provides more value today than NonStop and perhaps the investment HPE has made in NonStop reflects a gradual shift in emphasis for NonStop – perhaps the current HPE customer base being courted with Hybrid IT, Synergy, Composable and Software-Defined Everything is simply being set up to see the real benefits of turning to NonStop for all mission critical applications. Possible? Wouldn’t take much to convince many in the NonStop vendor community that this was indeed the case.

Sailing holds a special place in the histories of many countries. The spirit to go beyond the horizon and explore distant lands has been a risk many adventurers have been prepared to pay down through the ages. The most recent incident with Viking is just the latest example of where the rewards didn’t quite pan out – one sure fire way to avoid mishaps at seas is surely avoiding going to sea in the midst of violent storms – and notoriety is following the company. When it comes to technology and the major vendors, going after markets dominated by others can lead to success but it’s a high risk option and one where the potential value can be eroded very quickly.

On the other hand, for a vendor like HPE with a global presence easily there is already a huge home field advantage – a community readily consuming HPE’s message of Hybrid IT, Digital Core, Cloud and yes, NonStop. While data center managers will always have a huge responsibility for aligning business with technology, those already familiar with HPE will see little downside to embracing the new NonStop – traditional or virtualized – with HPE there to ensure there vessel will not be consumed by the changing currents and mounting waves of technology ready to scuttle their IT plans. For many within the NonStop community it’s a brave new world as they look to deploy virtualized NonStop and yet it is the future. And remember, with all that has transpired we can all relate to the words of the song:

I sailed an ocean, unsettled ocean
Through restful waters and deep commotion
Often frightened, unenlightened
Sail on, sail on sailor