2021. What an interesting year. With the world turned upside down by a pandemic that seemingly had its sights set on...
The HPE Corner
The world of sensors is accelerating; to hear IoT referenced so many times at HPE events focused on NonStop systems has been rather surprising.
After all, there’s a very big difference between processing transaction inputs and sensor alarms. With transactions there is almost always a need to respond whereas with sensors, the majority of input is simply noise. Or, as this noise was recently described by former Tandem and Oracle executive, Dr. Tim Chou, simply “digital exhaust!”
The significance of the references to IoT by NonStop management is not accidental. Nor is it something to discuss just to fill in time on an agenda. More importantly, it has been the reference to the industrial, or enterprise, IoT that has framed the many presentations that have been given by NonStop management as even the most traditional of NonStop businesses will shortly face the full impact of IoT. Whether it’s in the retail marketplace, banking, manufacturing, health care or even the media and entertainment, almost everything that is shipped with a digital heart has the ability to broadcast a digital pulse.
The planning being done to accommodate a world of 50billion IoT devices, as is predicted to become real by 2020 according to Cisco (4.9billion connected things were already in use by 2015, according to Gartner even as they provides a more conservative estimate of 20.8billion IoT devices by 2020), is entering an early adoption phase but already many questions are being asked as to “the how” and even “the why” of being well-connected to IoT. The data that will be rushing headlong onto our networks is enough to frighten any prospective business looking to leverage IoT.
“How will all this data be transported? How will it be stored? How will it be analyzed? How do you search through it? How will it be kept secure and private? Each of these issues must be addressed,” asks Syed Zaeem Hosain, CTO, Aeris in his June 28, 2016, article in RCR Wireless News, How far is the hype surrounding claims of up to 50B IoT and machine-to-machine devices by 2020 away from reality? “Finding timely, actionable information within these vast data stores could be difficult and expensive. The costs of metered transport, storage and analytics have to be accounted for by industry, and distributed processing of information is vital.”
Perhaps the answer truly lies in just how we build out our networks and if the pundits are accurate in their predictions, the world is heading towards a network landscape populated by millions of “edge” products – intelligent router concentrators from a new branch of the networking tree. Smart, programmable (but with extensive AI capabilities) and everywhere! The new “Diesel Exhaust Fluid” of the network designed to mitigate any negative impact from so much diesel exhaust being generated.
But here is the looming paradox. Edge products will proliferate but they will be powerful and even as they are designed to ensure only what is required by business makes it into the “center”, each individual edge processor may be the equal in power as is found working in the center. As of 2017, you will be able to deploy edge products populated with multicore Xeon chips brining x86 architecture to the edge. And then the light goes on – not only is there a need to safely discard digital exhaust but there’s the more important need of ensuring critical, indeed life depending, events into the center. Business and even lives will depend upon events being handled by fault tolerant edge products that will exhibit all the important attributes we have so long associated with NonStop – availability, scalability and data integrity.
If anyone has had doubts about the future of NonStop and perhaps had concerns over virtual NonStop then rest assured. It will not be required of every edge product, but even as we work hard to suppress the digital exhaust while opening the channels for critical event messages, there will be edge products running NonStop. Potentially hundreds of thousands of them but eventually, millions of them – and this will change not only the software release and support model for NonStop but also the installation, management and oversight of NonStop as well.
HPE is introducing the community to NonStop and IoT for one very good reason and it should not be overlooked – NonStop can scale up (and down) as much as it can scale out – whether it’s on an edge product with two processors each with two cores or on a center product with sixteen processors each with fourteen cores. And it will all be vNonStop. And it will be exactly the same vNonStop. So yes, looking ahead to what we can expect to see being prototyped during 2017 we will see early adoption of vNonStop but don’t be surprised as to what is finally disclosed as being the target server for vNonStop as it may very well be out there, far from the center, thriving on the edge!