News from HPE NonStop

It’s hard to believe that a year has gone by since we were told to shelter at home. I can imagine that everyone has their stories of hardships and challenges to share both personally and professionally. What I miss the most is the face to face conversations with customers and partners alike. There’s something about an in-person dialogue while walking from one presentation to the next or meeting someone new at the event lunch table. Sometimes without seeing those familiar faces in-person, across our extended NonStop community, it can create a sense of isolation, while at the same time enable us to hone our Zoom and latent telephone skills. I am confident in the resiliency of our NonStop community and look forward to the end of this hiatus of face-to-face events and seeing everyone in person very soon. As it has been said before, this too shall pass.

In the consumer product industry, new product releases are often accompanied by much fanfare, trying to create a huge “wow” factor based upon a new feature or two. While introducing new enterprise class products like NonStop systems, they typically do not have the same kind of wow factor, rather they do have what has become known as the “OOH AAH” element. And that can be a combination of looking forwards as well as back. Maintaining the NonStop fundamentals like availability, scalability, data integrity might simply be expected (“of course NonStop does that”) by many of our longer term customers, it’s definitely an OOH AAH factor to share with potential customers or customers new to our platform – we support code 100 object files without recompilation that ran on the very first NonStop systems more than 40 years ago. How’s that for commitment and longevity?

Last November at our HPE NonStop Technical Boot Camp All-Digital experience, we had our enterprise version of the consumer wow factor when we introduced two new NonStop systems: the HPE NonStop NS4 X4 and the HPE NonStop NS8 X4. In the most widely viewed TBC presentation worldwide, TBC20-001 – “NonStop Next Generation Systems” had its number of OOH AAH moments. In case you missed it or would like to share it with others in your company, here’s the link: While we weren’t showing off the latest smartwatch or the newest three lens phone camera, we certainly had a huge level of interest.

In summary, the NonStop NS4 X4 is replacing the NonStop NS3 which is going end-of- sales on 31 October 2021. While the NonStop NS8 X4 is replacing the NS7 which is also going end-of-sales on 31 October 2021, with limited add-ons for up to one year thereafter.

Customers will see a renewed commitment as the product line transitions to the new NS4 and NS8 systems while maintaining 100% binary compatibility with previous NonStop systems. These new systems are based upon Intel® Xeon® Cascade Lake microprocessors that are used throughout in both NonStop CPUs (compute) and CLIMs (networking and storage controllers). A key benefit of this introduction is that Intel Vulnerabilities are mitigated in the silicone of Cascade Lake microprocessor.

If you’re wondering about how we ended up with the new designs, I thought I’d share my insights as to how they came to be. We looked at everything from CPUs to I/O and from maintenance LANs to how the components are powered within the rack(s). We first choose the Intel Cascade Lake family of microprocessors. Then we choose a discreet architecture with a modern form factor of rack-mounted servers based upon 1U high DL360 servers for the NonStop CPUs. For the Cluster I/O Modules (CLIMs AKA I/O controllers) we decided to stay with the DL380 server format and a microprocessor upgrade to Cascade Lake as was done for the NonStop CPUs. We also took the effort to re-engineer our power layout with new vertically mounted PDUs to facilitate manufacturability and serviceability.

Before we release and launch a new system, each system goes through an extensive testing process. We perform unique integrated testing that exercises NonStop hardware and software in multiple stress and customer-inspired workload scenarios over long durations. The testing also includes simulated failure conditions. All this helps to ensure world-class NonStop quality.

At the time of launch, we moved into the well-orchestrated process of shipping a brand new NonStop system. Our NonStop SAs work collaboratively with customers to create a customized order that meets their specific requirements. Their order then gets sent to the manufacturing floor where the system is physically built and the customer’s software selection is installed and tested. Once all the tests pass, the system is de-energized and placed into a specially designed shipping container. After the system arrives at the customer’s site, it is unpacked and energized with the objective that it boots to the same state that it left the factory.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of the insights about the HPE NonStop business from my perspective. Now I invite you to sit back and enjoy this edition of the Connection Magazine where you’ll find many interesting reads. To begin with, we have the cover story “The Power of NonStop Data Analytics” by Joel Sandberg & Thomas Gloerfeld of comforte.

Then you’ll find some very fascinating case studies: “Near-impossible project was completed with the help of a modern development tool” by Thomas Oberst & Sascha Gross of abat+ and one about “How a parts distributor enhanced, transformed, and deployed its application by performing an HPE Shadowbase Zero Downtime Migration (ZDM)” by Paden R. Holenstein of Gravic.

Keep on reading a bit more and you’ll find the article from NuWave, written by Andrew Price entitled “Top 5 Trends in REST Services”, that will give NonStop users some use cases to consider as they plan out their projects for the year.

How could we have a magazine focused on NonStop without some mention of security? Thanks to an article by XYPRO, you’ll read about “Meeting Your Security Integration Objectives – CyberArk, ServiceNow, Splunk and more…” along with an article by Data443 Risk Mitigation entitled: “MFT – Legacy risks and future needs – how to protect the business”.

Rounding out the collection of articles comes an interesting infographic from Odyssey about “How to Win the HPE NonStop Upgrade Race”. If you’re unsure about where to start or what the key steps are along the upgrade path, have a look at the plan. And then we have a bit of a thought-provoking piece where my Ooh’s and Aah’s were coincidently quoted and also encapsulates the HPE NonStop strategy, past, present, and future, as observed by Richard Buckle in his article “Systems and Platforms: the lines in the sand”.

Onward we go into 2021…

Mark Pollans
Senior WW Product Manager
HPE NonStop

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  • Mark Pollans

    Mark is a Senior Worldwide Product Manager at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. For the past 13 years, he has been responsible for the NonStop system requirements, architecture, and orchestration of new product introductions.  During his more than four decade tenure with HP / HPE, he has held various management and engineering positions in R&D and marketing for hardware and software projects.

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