NonStop Migration: Should you stay or should you go?

In 1982, a band called THE CLASH sang, “Should I stay or should I go now? If I go, there will be trouble, and if I stay it will be double . . .” and it’s possible some NonStop customers may think it is better to stay on the NonStop i boat rather than migrate but over time that decision will cause them to miss out on new features and enhancements coming to the NonStop X product line.  HPE NonStop recently announced the end of sales for NonStop i, our Itanium product line and of course it’s natural that customers are starting to ask if it’s time to migrate and to contemplate what the effort to migrate might involve.

The good news is that the migration from Itanium to x86 on NonStop is a simpler migration than platform moves for NonStop have been in the past. Anxiety about change is natural, but change can be a positive thing for your business when done correctly. The good news is that you do not have to figure it all out or make the change happen alone. We have been beside you as your partner from the beginning and we will stand beside you to make this transition successful for you. We have created a new Customer Migration Assistance Program that can help any customer in any country around the world to have a successful and smooth migration.

Many types of questions come to mind when looking at moving to NonStop L-Series Operating Software on NonStop X, or Virtualized NonStop. These questions could include any or all of the following:

      • What’s involved to make my application run on the L-Series operating system?
      • Are all the partner products I depend on now available on L-Series?
      • What are the differences between major partner products on J-Series versus L-Series?
      • Our NonStop person just retired, we’re not sure we have the right skills on board to migrate.
      • We depend on Communications protocols like SNA and X.25 which are not supported on NonStop X.
      • We love NonStop but are starting to think we will have to move off the platform eventually because we aren’t sure we have the ability to pull off the migration successfully.


This article attempts to demystify the effort involved in migrating to x86 and clarify what HPE NonStop can offer to help you make this migration smoothly and successfully.

What are the benefits of migrating?
With any technology change, there are benefits in staying current with the product version most actively being worked on by the vendor. For NonStop, this is no exception. L-series is the new OS in town and our Engineering efforts will focus on it as we move forward. New products, enhancements, improvements and larger efforts to make NonStop products more efficient will all be done on the L-series product line. NonStop X has been available for four years now and last year HPE sold more NonStop X servers than NonStop i. Because the L-series release is the same for Virtualized NonStop, migrating to NonStop X, makes any future options for Virtualization, Cloud and other future DevOps trends easy to move onto. A move directly to Virtualized NonStop from NonStop i is also quite possible and not much different in terms of work, but for simplification during this article, I will refer to migration as going from NonStop i to NonStop X where NonStop X will represent any x86 based NonStop target platform including Virtualized NonStop.

The L-series product line already performs faster and more efficiently than J-series. NonStop i servers will continue to be supported for some time to come of course, but the focus will be on bug fixes, problem resolution, etc. We’re already seeing some challenges on the horizon to continue to source hardware for the J-series platform as time goes by. We have no plans to move the platform to another Itanium chip. So a migration means availability on a long term x86 platform for NonStop, and running your business on the fastest most flexible software platform we have ever built.

What should I worry about first?
It’s simple. Worry about your application and its environment first. What language is the application written in? Do you have the source code? Do you have a clean build / compilation environment for your application? Are the dependencies for your application well known? What is the skill set of your staff supporting NonStop? Do you need help from HPE to answer these questions? What is unique about your environment and how dependent is your business on the application’s data?

The truth is that some applications with code 100 files may just run on NonStop X as L-series also supports code 100 or TNS objects. Most applications can run simply by rebuilding the code for the L-series RVU. Some applications may be large (sometimes monolithic) and complex to prepare, while others may be more modular and made of smaller object files. To complete this story, the L-series platform also provides the Object Code Accelerator (OCA) to convert them into native instruction set.

When planning migration it’s tempting to want to add work that you have been considering for some time to the project, such as a migration to SQL/MX from ENSCRIBE or eliminating your green screen GUIs in favor of Web based interfaces. While these projects might be worthwhile, our recommendation is that you try to minimize changes to your application and application environment as much as possible and stay focused on just what is needed to migrate. This approach can help you have a smoother and more successful migration by eliminating risks that other projects could introduce that end up delaying or impacting the migration and further confuse the analysis if a problem should pop up. You can always plan modernization projects after you successfully migrate to the new platform.

What is the difference at the base level between J-series and L-series?

Here is a summary what’s different at the compiler and tool level between J-series and L-series.

TNS/E vs TNS/X Functionality Native TNS/E (J-series) development environment is similar on TNS/X (L-series). TNS/X native development tools have all the functionality of the TNS/E native development tools. In some cases TNS/X tools have added functionality.
TNS Functionality Non-native (TNS) TNS programs are supported on NonStop X and can be run in interpreted or accelerated mode. Object Code Accelerator (OCA) is available on NonStop X to support the latter mode.
Languages C, C++, COBOL and pTAL languages are supported on NonStop X. Full support for native-mode cross-compilers on the PC are supported. C11 and C++ 11 language standards are supported in NonStop X compilers only.
What’s different? Enterprise Toolkit (ETK) is not supported on NonStop X. If your development environment is based on ETK, you need to migrate to NSDEE.

Visual INSPECT is replaced by NSDEE’s visual debugger on NonStop X for native programs. For debugging non-native debugging, use TNS visual debugger.

There are also some new utility names, some changed or new parameters and options, and new names for the public libraries that support TNS/X RVUs.

Communication protocols that are not CLIM-based are not supported on L-series RVUs. These include native SNA, legacy IPv6, ATM, and X.25. HPE recently announced the addition of uLinga products to the NonStop pricebook. Ulinga can minimize the work involved and allows customers to continue to have SNA and X.25 support on NonStop X. See a later part of this article to learn more.


For different subsystems, compilers or tools, the following grid gives some examples of what to expect in more detail. For full information please check the appropriate NonStop manual.


Tool or subsystem name
TNS/E Native Environment (J-series)
TNS/X Native Environment(L-series)
Guardian C compiler
OSS or Windows C compiler
c89, c99
c89, c99
Guardian C++ compiler
OSS or Windows C++ compiler
c89, c99
c89, c99
Guardian COBOL compiler
OSS or Windows COBOL compiler
Guardian pTAL compiler
OSS or Windows pTAL compiler
PIC linker
object file examination utility
command line debugger
Native Inspect (einspect)
Native Inspect (xinspect)
PC Debugger
NSDEE, TNS visual
Guardian SQL compiler
OSS or Windows SQL compiler
Data Definition Language
PC Native mode cross compilers
C/C++, COBOL and pTAL
C/C++, COBOL and pTAL
Integrated Development Environments (IDEs)

What about NonStop Partner products?
Are you dependent on software you purchased directly from a NonStop partner for your application to execute? What product are you dependent on and how are you dependent? Are you an ACI Base24 customer? Are you an IBM MQ-series customer? Do you use Shadowbase, GoldenGate or DRNET for disaster recovery support of your application environment? Do you depend on comforte or XYPRO technology for Security related products? Do you use Prognosis, Web ViewPoint or MOMI? The good news is that all these products and many more have been tested and are supported on L-series. In some cases, the version of Base24 or MQ-series supported on L-series may impact your application. For some customers this is trivial, for others this is significant.

In all cases, HPE can help. We have relationships with these partners and can bring them in to advise or help you. We can bring in staff to help you. If you are using a smaller, less well known product and depend on the partner who created it, reach out to them to find out if they already support L-series. If you need our help we can work with them to help them test their product on NonStop X.

Are you dependent on SNA or X.25?
If you use SNA/SNAX protocols or X.25 protocols today on your NonStop i system to communicate with other companies, you may also view moving to NonStop X as a problem and expect to have to rework your application to use TCP/IP for these communications. The good news is that HPE has recently added uLinga to our pricebook for both SNA and X.25 functionality on NonStop X. Now, as part of your migration, you can purchase uLinga from HPE and have a solution that your application can use without making any changes to the application itself. Both products are quotable as this article goes to print and will begin shipping in late July/early August. For more information on how these products work, you can check out comforte’s website.

What is the NonStop Customer Migration Assistance Program?
The NonStop Customer Migration Assistance Program recognizes that each of our customers has a unique business and a unique application environment. You may need a little assistance, like an advisor standing in the wings to take your calls and advise your team what to do or you may need significant help to modify your application. You may need to modify hundreds of TACL macros or need a very strong technical team brought to evaluate your environment and complete the work on your behalf. The Migration Assistance Program is about helping you build the unique plan for your business and executing it to a successful migration. HPE NonStop has brought together some of our strongest Service Partners to provide access to over a 1000 NonStop experts around the world available to you to help you with your migration.

Any team would of course include some of our own HPE personnel from Pointnext, the ATC or our Solution Architect teams supplemented by Product and Service Partner staff when needed.


Who are the NonStop Partners engaged in the Migration Assistance Program?
In addition to the NonStop Product Partners who sell software through HPE or directly to customers, we have engaged 12 Service Partners who specialize in providing services to our customers on the NonStop platform. You can now engage these partners though HPE with a Statement of Work, or by working with the partner directly.

The following chart provides more information about them:


Company Name

Location/Areas of work


URL and Contact Info


California / U.S., UK, EMEA

QA effectiveness and  testing on NonStop



Hungary / Eastern Europe

Application development work on NonStop



Netherlands / WW

NonStop Education and Training

Formal education and on the job training for customer staffing on NonStop as part of Service provided.


Texas / U.S., Latin America and WW

Application development and Managed Services


California / U.S., Latin America, Caribbean 

Application development and Managed Services.  Can provide test system access if needed as part of a service.

PayX International

EMEA / Eastern Europe, Middle East, Americas and Australasia

Payment Application development and services


Singapore / Asia Pacific and Japan

Application development and Managed Services


Florida / Latin America, Puerto Rico and U.S.


Application development


UK / Europe, UK, Middle East

Application development,  Managed Services and Education


US Consulting Services, Inc

Florida / U.S., Latin America

Application development and Managed Services


(formerly Paxus)

Nebraska / U.S. EMEA and Asia

Application development and Managed Services


Texas / U.S. and Latin America

Application development and Managed Services


How does the Migration Assistance Program work?
So first step is to set up a call where HPE can talk with you. This is mostly a listening session so we can understand where your concerns are, what type of project is needed for your migration and what type of skills you are looking for to help make the project a success. Sometimes this can be quickly and easily worked out in phone calls whereas in other cases we may suggest a workshop where we come to your office and meet with your technical team in person for a half or a whole day to talk through all aspects of the project. From the workshop or phone discussion meeting we can derive a general program plan, size the effort and ultimately the cost to you as the customer. We would then review that with you and modify the plan as needed.

A second step would be identify all the players in the project, including anyone we might suggest be hired for the project duration from our partner companies. If staffing additions are recommended, we will provide resumes and background information on the people we are suggesting for the project. You get to ultimately decide who will be involved in the program, what role they will play and how they will be involved (either arriving in person to work on premises with your team, or participating remotely through teleworking to code, or act as advisor/guide for your team.)

When this is understood and settled, a Statement of Work is drawn up by HPE and we sign that agreement together. The agreement also includes criteria on checkpoints during the program and deliverables that we agree will indicate a successfully completed project. Note: there is no set price for Migration Assistance as each job is customized based on your requirements. Job price will vary based on the size and scope of the project, what you need help to do and the skill set required.

In general the Migration Assistance Program is about getting your application eco-system moved to NonStop X as efficiently and easily as possible and making you productive in the new environment quickly. This is why we try to do a thorough job of understanding your situation and responding to it. This is why we advise not to try to add other modernization projects to the work at the same time. While we can provide services to modernize your environment, we recommend that they be done after the migration is complete as separate follow-on projects. This helps to minimize risk by reducing the amount of change.

Just to be thorough, as part of this article I have provided a list of NonStop services that HPE Pointnext provides today that are related to a variety of needs beyond just Migration. You can find out more about any of these services and their cost by contacting your NonStop Sales or Solutions Architect.

What are the next steps I can make to take charge of my future?
Contact your NonStop Sales or Solutions Architect to discuss what might be involved to migrate your environment to NonStop X. He or she can arrange a Migration discussion by phone or an in person workshop to help analyze the effort that may be involved and work out a migration plan that is customized for you.

The NonStop business has always stood by our customers with the goal of being a partner not just a vendor. If you are successful, then we will be successful. HPE NonStop is here to help you succeed in realizing the full value of your investment in NonStop. So whether you choose to go to NonStop X now or to stay on NonStop i and move to NonStop X later, when you do migrate, you can do it with confidence and not have to worry about having your trouble doubled.

Exhibit A: HPE NonStop Services Available through Pointnext




Start-up & Upgrade Services



Installation and Startup Services

NonStop Server OS Upgrade

CME/Telco Deployment

NS2 installation and Startup Services



Review & Planning Services


Capacity Planning Services

Operations Review

Performance Review and Analysis

System Review

Migration Assessment

Migration Planning



Availability Services


Availability Assessment for NonStop Servers

Availability Partnership for NonStop Servers

Remote Database Facility (RDF)



Storage Services


NonStop XP Implementation

Virtual Tape Solutions

Data Sanitization



Remote Performance Services


System performance reports and analyses

Network monitoring



Custom Services


T-Services – T-Move, T-Rent, T-Swap

Advisory Consulting Services

Custom Site, Planning and Deployment

Staff Augmentation

Specialized Training



Cloud Services


Virtualized NonStop Planning Service

Virtualized NonStop Foundation Service

Virtualized NonStop on VMware readiness validation Service

Startup Service for Virtualized NonStop

Virtualized NonStop Migration Services

Virtualized Tape for Virtualized NonStop Services



Security Services


Security Review

Volume Level Encryption

SSH and SSL Services

Merged Audit Services



  • Karen Copeland

    Karen Copeland has worked in the NonStop business since 1983, holding individual or management positions in IT, Software Engineering, QA, Application development and Product Management. In her current position she is responsible for the Worldwide Product Management team for the HPE Mission Critical NonStop platform.

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