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The HPE Corner

It is official – there is Virtualized NonStop joining NonStop X and it was all on display at the 2017 World Mobile Conference, Barcelona

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Now we have it – it’s official. vNonStop was simply a project or code name for a serious revisit of the very fundamentals of NonStop. No longer grounded in the physical realm requiring real, unique, machines we can all touch and feel but rather, set free to run “virtual” as guests of hypervisors and running in virtual machines on an industry standard x86 hardware. Virtualized NonStop is now a product – the virtual world beckons us all! The NonStop community was given a glimpse of this potential change in direction for NonStop during an executive keynote presentation at the 2015 NonStop Technical Boot Camp but there were many among the NonStop community skeptical at best and worse, downright hostile about taking away their NonStop systems.

In the Jan – Feb, 2017 issue of the NonStop community magazine, The Connection, the NonStop editorial (or letter, as it was later described) by Andy Bergholz, Senior Director of Development of HPE NonStop, there was no ducking the issue. vNonStop was real but now with an official name – Virtualized NonStop. “This is probably the last time that you’ll ever see or hear me say ‘vNonStop’ by the way, wrote Bergholz. “The official name will be Virtualized NonStop.” Furthermore, wrote Bergholz, “By the time you read this letter we also will have shown a demo of vNonStop running CMS Mobility Management software to HPE’s Board of Directors in Houston and taken it to the Mobile World Conference (MWC) in Barcelona. In addition we will have started customer beta at ATC and will have launched our first on-site customer beta at a major Telco in Europe.”

Yes, Virtualized NonStop is real all right and there are sites already evaluating this new environment of NonStop for their own use. CMS may have many meanings within IT and Telcos but for HPE, it simply refers to HPE’s Communications & Media Solutions products. The reference to CMS and the demo is a reference to the Telco CMS apps, HLR and HSS that may be better recognizes as subscriber services. As Bergholz reported from the event, “We did launch HPE Virtualized NonStop at MWC. I met with many customers that were current NonStop customers as well as several that do not currently deploy NonStop. Our customers are very excited about our vision for NonStop. Our virtualization story and Database Services story resonate well with them.”

What the HPE NonStop development team has also done is essentially created a cloud environment within the NonStop Advanced Technical Center (ATC) facility, something Bergholz was only too happy to discuss. As it relates to customer interest, with this ATC cloud offering, many NonStop customers and prospects can check out Virtualized NonStop for themselves to determine just how it may apply to their own IT environments. And it has a lot of support from with HPE. “HPE Virtualized NonStop has quite a bit of interest with several customers signing up for our private cloud at the ATC and one customer deploying the solution on prem (Beta)”, said Bergholz. “HPE continues to recognize the value that NonStop brings to the overall business. We need to continue to work on growing the overall business by tackling adjacent markets and getting more applications on platform.”

It was only natural for the NonStop development team to head down the path to Virtualized NonStop. Having exerted considerable energy to complete a successful port to the Intel x86 architecture and completed the roll-out of the latest family of NonStop systems, NonStop X, it was inevitable that the next step would be taken to free NonStop from any further hardware constraints. And the success that the NonStop development team is so tantalizing close to realizing with wide acceptance of Virtualized NonStop is helped considerable in that all the APIs applications depend upon to run on NonStop X are the same as supported on Virtualized NonStop.

“It just runs,” is the new mantra from NonStop development. “If your application runs on NonStop X then it will run on Virtualized NonStop!” No application changes are required in order to move to the virtual world and in so doing, be free of any proprietary hardware. There may be NonStop customers and prospects that are a little skeptical of this claim but that’s exactly what the ATC has been set up to validate. And already the list of those vendors looking to validate their solutions is growing even as there are numerous vendors taking serious aim at the IaaS and SaaS marketplaces.

Recently we read of major outages happening among even the biggest of providers of cloud services. Despite the best of intentions a simple operator mistake took away access to the S3 storage option of Amazon Web Services for a very large portion of the America’s cloud-dependent population. Availability is still a requirement of all mission critical applications and where it is the intent to run such mission critical applications in the virtual world, the availability of Virtualized NonStop is something that cannot be easily ignored. Will HPE score big with Virtualized NonStop? Will the NonStop development team grab more than its fair share of the spotlight for a change? It’s all likely and for many in the NonStop community, each new step taken by NonStop development will be acutely watched and evaluated. However, for the near future, this team has already scored a big win – Virtualized NonStop is now a real product!