This year, as was the case last year, the annual NonStop Technical Boot Camp 2021 (NonStopTBC21) became a virtual experience. No surprises really about this even as many members of the NonStop community held out in the hope that it would be a return to an in-person event. No surprises too that even with the lateness of the transition to virtual, along with the promotion of the event being free of charges for attendees, there were 1,000 participants maybe more.
There were several references made during the event itself of even more community members gathering around the monitor of those who had registered. I heard too of at least one instance of the event being projected onto a big screen in an office conference room so all NonStop enthusiasts could hear first-hand of what was being presented. Once again, our thanks go out to the NonStop team members and to the Connect organization for adapting as quickly as they did to pull together a virtual event that still had 75 presentations covered.
This time last year I provided an update following that first virtual event, NonStop TBC20. At that time I wrote that going virtual had been a long time coming, but all indications suggested that the NonStop community was seeing a resurgence of interest in all things NonStop. So much so that it compelled the NonStop team together with the NonStop vendor community to dig deeper into the properties and capabilities of the premier real time mission critical product suite from HPE.
However, it was also the first time that we heard concrete evidence that NonStop would be participating in GreenLake. Under the overarching umbrella of a Digital Transformation (DX), it was Jeff Kyle, HPE VP and GM, Mission Critical Solutions who spoke about getting to the “As a service model” option wasn’t going to be absent of NonStop. “Fully twenty percent of everything we do with NonStop today is being delivered via GreenLake.” This year, Jeff talked of how he would be expanding on what he talked about in 2020 providing the NonStop community with an update on those items referenced when last he presented.
It would be hard to miss that Jeff talked about his organization being the Data Solutions Organization and a reference to the importance of data within his organization. There was no assumption made of the lessening in importance of mission critical, but rather, expounding on the data solutions aspect, brought into focus the role data plays as we entered the age of insight. Perhaps just as encouraging to the NonStop community, particularly those who had heard Jeff previously state that when it comes to NonStop, data is created on NonStop, was how the NonStop team would be expanding its marketplace focus. In addition to traditional Financial Services and Retail markets, the NonStop team would be pursuing greater participation in Healthcare and Manufacturing.
The addition of Lusis Payments to the GreenLake program and then introducing abat+ as a solid manufacturing play that featured NonStop were the clearest indication that this expansion into new markets had substance behind it. Hopefully, the community will hear more manufacturing with perhaps inclusion of largescale warehousing together with transportation at some time in the future. However, with what was presented it was encouraging news to the community as it continues to look to the HPE team for greater marketing support of NonStop.
Before the NonStop TBC21 kicked off, members of the NonStop community openly expressed their opinions about what they would like to see covered at the event.
“Over many decades, the NonStop community has remained cohesive and familial, thriving in large part because of periodic face-to-face interactions,” came the response from Tim Dunne, NTI’s Global Director Worldwide Sales. “Although the pandemic has temporarily impeded in person gatherings, I remain optimistic participation in TBC21 will yield renewed and expanded confidence in the NonStop as the ‘bet your business’ solution for payments and infrastructure. And like everyone else I suspect, I would like to hear more about GreenLake.”
“During any TBC, I am always looking for what HPE will introduce and obviously we also look forward to finally meeting the customers,” said ETI-NET COO, Sylvain Tétreault. “This year I am expecting to hear even more about GreenLake which I think will expand the customer base. That should be interesting.”
“Customers have been embracing virtualization and the cloud more than ever before. GreenLake has helped carry that momentum and make it a reality for NonStop,” came the response from XYPRO Chief Product Officer and CISO, Steve Tcherchian, CISSP. Steve added, too, how “XYPRO and HPE have been working together to provide an end-to-end ZERO Trust security model and I’m looking forward to customers adopting a modern, secure, regulated cloud platform for payments and other workloads based on NonStop.”
Participants in the event would have been hard-pressed not to hear more about GreenLake and the moves being made by the NonStop team to ensure the entire NonStop community knew of the new options open to them when it came time to add or upgrade their NonStop systems. There was always going to be the option to acquire traditional NonStop systems along traditional financial lines but now there will be the option to access a lot more NonStop for your buck via the pay-as-you-go model championed by GreenLake.
In the coming months, you will see metrics and an API added to NonStop to better support participation in GreenLake by the NonStop vendor community. This will put many NonStop vendors on exactly the same footing as the NonStop development team to the benefit of those in the NonStop community who really do want to, as HPE executives describe it today, bring the cloud experience to them. In part or in whole, whether hybrid or multi-cloud, the options are now out there to be leveraged by the NonStop community in unexpected ways. Perhaps more importantly, this cooperation between NonStop and GreenLake sends that all-important message to the NonStop community at large – HPE continues to make big investments in NonStop guaranteeing a prosperous future for NonStop in the years to come.
After the event, these same vendors had even more to say.
“Even though we didn’t get a chance to see everyone’s smiling faces in person, TBC 2021 was a fantastic event where we discussed technology trends, security, and our shared commitment to modernization of the NonStop platform,” said Steve Tcherchian. “It was great to see so many new ways to harness the power of NonStop and HPE Greenlake to deliver new business value to customers through Payments as a Service, AI, ZERO trust integrations and more. All this effort in innovation and R&D ensures mission critical applications and workloads for NonStop customers continue to operate in a secure and regulated environment.”
“I was expecting a discussion about GreenLake, and that’s what they did. I learned a few more things about GreenLake; I think GreenLake will be good for new sales,” said Sylvain Tétreault. “I have already started to see some deals coming through GreenLake which gives customers easier access to all the products offered by HPE. I think GreenLake contributed in attracting more attendees that then joined us in our presentations for the new products like QoreStor and Nova.”
“NTI leadership was impressed and indeed, encouraged, given significant participation by the NonStop community during this unique period of our lives,” said Tim Dunne. “Although travel may be temporarily impeded, interest and commitment to NonStop remains unaffected. Whether we return to Burlingame in 2022 or participate in the event as it goes hybrid, NTI liked the focus HPE was now placing on data.”
As for my own observations then among the highlights were the solutions coming to NonStop, including participation in the GreenLake program. I have to also admit that I was among the many who enjoyed the somewhat playful banter at times that entertained us all whenever NonStop team members Justin Simonds and Keith Moore took to the virtual stage. Hearing all about abat+ had to be a first even as I have to admit that the path vendors like IR are going down to better assist every NonStop user in a world that is increasingly hybrid sends a positive signal to the NonStop community.
When talk turns to hybrid and with the prospect that perhaps next year’s event might be hybrid, it is a clear sign that the return to normalcy following the global pandemic will see many different approaches being taken when it comes to events. Like many of you I long for the return to in-person events even as I know that this is the favored approach of Connect. Perhaps it will occur, but then again, it may simply be too early to tell. What I am confident about however is that yet again the NonStop community will turn out in force no matter the model that is embraced by those organizing NonStop TBC22. Even as the reality sets in that the virtual in one form or another is here to stay, I will continue to support it even as I continue to interact with you all. Here’s to our next gathering no matter what form it takes and here’s to a continued bright future for NonStop!