Dear NonStop community,
I’m glad to take my pen for this edition of The Connection magazine for multiple reasons. First the theme of this edition being on manageability is right on target with a significant complexity happening in the industry currently. Over the years we did not question how manageability has been implemented. In general, a product comes with its own manageability interface. This interface is typically available in two types, a command line interface (CLI) and a graphical interface (GUI). There is therefore a one-to-one mapping between the product and its manageability which makes life complex for system admins and DBAs who often must learn each product’s specific interface to operate the whole system. Historically there has been efforts to solve this problem and many examples may come to your mind. NonStop had a brilliant approach with SCF, a single common interface to administer many different subsystems. Another option is that GUIs are highly reducing the requirement for knowing specific syntax. A third smart option is a generic management product such as Web Viewpoint providing a single monitoring interface experience yet accepting plugins for various underlying sub-products. Worth noting was the attempt with SNMP to formalize the manageability layer and some of it remains here or there mostly for monitoring and alerts, much less for administering. Other promising examples such as Java Management Extensions (JMX) API or Ansible show how this topic is much harder to solve on a broader level.
Then came the cloud and smart phones. In both experiences, a very limited set of manageability options are exposed. The experience is great because manageability is reduced to a generic set all of us can understand. Create, edit, send, or delete a message. Create, update, or delete a database. This reminds me of Microsoft Word. We all can use it with ease, its interface is graphical and intuitive enough that we can all edit a text, make some text bold and publish something that looks good enough. Does that mean that more advanced functions are not required anymore? In the case of Word, obviously not and you will have to learn some of those and in some cases, you may have to be qualified in a specific domain to even understand the terminology of the functions. Just as GUIs do not replace CLIs, cloud interfaces are not obsoleting existing manageability tools because the advanced functions are still required by the sys admins, DBAs or support personnel that need to troubleshoot the most complex issues. The net of this is, the cloud is adding another set of tools but is not replacing existing ones.
They are a number of positives however. First the cloud is promoting a delivery model that is as-a-service and that model brings a fundamental shift. As I pointed earlier there is a one-to-one mapping of product and their manageability. With as-a-service however self-service capability requires to go beyond a single product. If I take the example of DBaaS as we implemented with SQL/MX, creating a database will automate the user creation in Safeguard. We abstracted the complexity for the end user to have to learn Safeguard but at the same time we also cross a boundary. Now what looks to be managing a database, is also doing user management which would otherwise be a separate manageability domain assigned to a different person (sys admin vs DBA). The benefits are immediate, reduce the workload of the sys admin, improve productivity of DBAs, and dramatically increase your applications agility. This context self-promotes automation APIs in the manageability layer.
Now when I look at this complexity and reflect on NonStop, I believe we’re doing quite well. I cited several examples already above, but we also know how we’re enjoying the single system image from our NonStop OS which means unlike other platforms any manageability tool is cluster enabled by default. Another part I believe we’re doing well is related to security. Today it is not enough to just secure your critical files or data. Any access into the system needs to be secured because you don’t know what path hackers will take. How your manageability integrates with security becomes essential and to gain to that integration requires partnerships. As an example, I can mention our HPE NonStop SQLXPress product, a perfect example of collaboration between HPE and XYPRO bringing manageability and security executed in a single integrated tool.
And with this said, this gives me the perfect transition to talk about the coming TBC 2022 event where you will be able to verify that these are not just talking points, but we can give you the proof points on the examples discussed above. For example, we will have real live demos such as the new Shadowbase plugin for Web Viewpoint or Secure database management with SQLXPress. Like we’ve seen here, improving the customer experience in manageability is not isolated at the product level but needs collaboration of the different actors. That is also something that happens with events like TBC. An enabler for collaboration to solve the most complex issues in the industry. This is certainly not optional!
And there is much more happening at TBC2022. Click here to find out more and looking forward to meeting you all there!
Take care and share the NonStop knowledge!
NonStop Product Management
Hewlett Packard Enterprise