When you consider the mileage, you oftentimes forget the passage of time – wasn’t it Harrison Ford’s character, Indiana Jones, in the film Raiders of the Lost Ark who responded to the question from the leading lady, “You’re not the man I knew ten years ago” with, “It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage.” When it comes to 2019 my travels reached new heights. As for someone who advocates travel by car, I spent time aboard ships, trains, planes and yes automobiles too. It was all in the name of spending quality time with the NonStop community.
I attended numerous Regional User Group (RUG) meetings as well as visited with former colleagues and friends at both Nixdorf and IBM. I have spent time too with vendors in cities as far apart as Budapest and Los Angeles. However it was the major HPE events that provided the biggest highlights in 2019 as they provided a diversity of backdrops that left you in no doubt that HPE and in particular NonStop were investing significantly and were better conveying messages central to the future success of both. HPE was well on the way to supporting Hybrid IT even as NonStop was slightly ahead of the curve when it came to offering traditional NonStop as a software offering. In fact, even as HPE gives itself three years to execute on its vision of “Everything-as-a-Service” (XaaS), there is plenty of evidence to suggest NonStop is well along the path to achieving that goal.
From a HPE perspective, there was nothing bigger than HPE Discover 2019 and for those who took time out to travel to Las Vegas during the heat of summer, it held the promise of more news about HPE’s progress towards better equipping enterprises as they transform to hybrid IT. HPE delivered with many examples of successes to date being demoed in the “Transformation Zone” that we all know better as the exhibition floor. It was in this area that those familiar with NonStop received perhaps their biggest surprise of the year – separating the Intelligent Edge from the Core and the Cloud looked promising on PowerPoint slides but there it was for all to see, out in the open. NonStop running on the Edgeline 4000! An electrically separated two-processor Edgeline system running VMware and in the virtual machines that were configured, virtualized NonStop (vNS)!
The deal here is that many in the IT industry firmly believe that as the lines separating the edge from the core firm up, transaction processing will in all likelihood gravitate to the edge, and for good reasons – security, latency, reduced-bandwidth and much more! However it was just as believable that NonStop wouldn’t be a player on the edge due to numerous factors such as resource requirements and yes, cost, but watching as group after group, HPE manager after manager, stopped by for a demo, it is now safe to say that at HPE Discover 2019, NonStop made its mark as a viable candidate for deployment at the edge. Who would have imagined this just a year or so ago and from the perspective of the vendor community, what new challenges and opportunities this presents to us all!
Bookending HPE Discover 2019 were the big-tent NonStop events. With spring it was Edinburgh, Scotland, that played host to the European Technical Boot Camp (ETBC) with the even bigger fall event in Burlingame, California, where the NonStop Technical Boot Camp (TBC) was held. At these two events, the NonStop team was able to directly address audiences measured in the hundreds – TBC alone drew a crowd reported to be as high as 450 attendees! However, even as attending all of these events meant piling on the miles, it was worth noting that in Edinburgh, we experienced the warmest temperatures recorded that week in the U.K. even as fall weather in Burlingame was better than expected. Naturally enough, Las Vegas needs no further comments other than yes, it was hot. Perhaps this was further indication that NonStop was itself becoming a hot commodity and by this I mean hot as in “best-selling!”
In Edinburgh, at the ETBC, we all heard that as IT comes to terms with Digital Transformation and the world of Hybrid IT it’s becoming less about individual partners and more about ecosystems. Winning vendors are building out ecosystems that include many vendors who in turn are cooperating with other vendors. Success with the core NonStop business, as in evidence with the data provided by Neil Davis, HPE NonStop Enterprise Division Director, EMEA, is proving more than enough incentive for vendors to begin partnering-up to create their own ecosystems beneficial to us all! What this is translating to is that every stakeholder supporting the NonStop community is reaping the benefits of an expanding NonStop presence in data centers and that for many in NonStop is the best news of all!
When it comes to the recently held TBC the news here wasn’t so much about the product roadmaps as it was about the NonStop team’s execution – products are being delivered as business needs are being addressed. Who could have imagine only a short time ago that the pricing of NonStop X together with the complete NonStop stack could be lower than the cost of an equivalent configuration of Linux, Oracle RAC and x86 processors – the playing field has indeed been levelled. Can we add that the NonStop solution is “less messy” as one HPE executive told me at TBC than any other comparative offering. Yes, complexity is the foe of reliability and nothing works out of the box like NonStop!
It would be remiss of me not to mention that it took a lot of commitment to participate in all the events mentioned above just as it would be a major omission to ignore just how much support for HPE and NonStop came from the NonStop vendor community. Then again, it’s become obvious to all of us that HPE is throwing its support behind NonStop and that is perhaps the best news of all. The mileage may take its toll on all of us who stepped up to supporting HPE and NonStop in this fashion, but then again, I have to believe none of us who went on the road in 2019 aged all that badly. It is against this backdrop too that I have to believe 2020 will only be better as crowds attract crowds and if you missed any event this year you may want to reconsider your plans for 2020 as I can’t imagine the crowds thinning anytime soon. See you all next year!