NonStop Trends & Wins
by Justin Simonds

NonStop – Covid-19 and Scalability

Well we at HPE continue to work from home.  I was doing that anyway so my only change was never going out.  When I do I’m complying with mask recommendations and washing my hands often.  My youngest son is worried about me, which is very endearing.  He always offers to do the shopping but every once in a while you just want to pick your own peaches.  I never appreciated a trip to the store so much.  I’m sure everyone has their own stories to share and hopefully, we may be able to share them at the NonStop Technical Boot Camp but we are still waiting to hear if that will be live or virtual.

NonStop continues to have success in both the payments and telco areas bringing in some good sales in both sectors.  We are also in discussions with a potential new software partner and are discussing the port of their software.  It’s nice to have some continuing good news to report during the pandemic.

If you do presentations or you give verbal reports one of the big items is story-telling.  The retention rate for presentations, sadly, is about 10% normally.  People just have too much to remember.  But if you can tell a story the retention rate goes way up.  People remember stories.  Stories are the way humans have always communicated and it is still the best way.  A good story is remembered and generally shared.  Why am I talking about stories?  Well if you followed NonStop over the years you probably have heard some interesting stories.  I mentioned one in my last article about the demo on our (Tandem’s) live network.  Some of the more memorable ones were the New York Stock Exchange on Black Monday.  Please see if you don’t remember or are too young to remember (smile).  It was Monday October 19, 1987, the DJIA (Dow Jones Industrial Average) fell 508 points (22.6%), accompanied by crashes in the futures exchanges and options markets. This was one of the largest one-day percentage drops in the history of the DJIA.  In 1987 Tandem had systems in the stock exchanges and the volume that day was so great that it appeared the systems couldn’t handle it.  The New York Tandem office shutdown and moved their office systems to the NYSE and added capacity online during the trading day circumventing an outage.  It was one of the legendary stories if you worked for Tandem.  Another one was the AOL (America OnLine) ramp up after the movie “You Have Mail” came out.  AOL growth went from 10% a year to 10% a quarter to 10% a month for a while and they were able to add processors while never shutting down their production system.  There was the The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in California where a bank called saying the NonStop system was down, but clarified the statement by saying the system was still running fine but the rack had fallen over.  All good and memorable stories but older stories.  So I was very interested to hear a new current NonStop story.  Some of our financial customers process unemployment checks for various states.  I was unaware of that.  When 2020 began, and boy doesn’t that seem like a long time ago?  Anyway at the start of 2020 unemployment was at a 50 year low.  These systems were just idling.  Then Covid-19 was upon us and unemployment rose to over 20%.  The systems had never been sized for that type of load.  A call came in on a Friday afternoon from the customer worried that the systems could not process the amount of data flooding in and unemployment checks, which were badly needed, might be delayed.  NonStop support was able to immediately license them for more cores.  An example of scale up. This does not require any reload the customer had twice the computing horsepower.  Cores alone would not solve the crisis so support shipped systems over the weekend from our inventory and installed processors and storage CLIMs onto multiple production systems while they continued to run.  An example of scale out. The customer was able to get the unemployment checks out in time and eventually generated a purchase order for the additional equipment.  I like this story because it shows scalability when you need it.  It also demonstrates NonStop commitment to our customers, which is for me the best part of the story.  A customer needed help and it was provided.  Concerns about an eventual purchase order would sort itself out after the crisis.  Tandem was a company that did the right thing for its customers.  The HPE culture is also about doing the right thing and being a force for good.  It’s reassuring to have a new story demonstrating it.


  • Justin Simonds

    Justin Simonds is a Master Technologist for the Americans Enterprise Solutions and Architecture group (ESA) under the mission- critical division of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. His focus is on emerging technologies, business intelligence for major accounts and strategic business development. He has worked on Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives and integration architectures for improving the reliability of IoT offerings. He has been involved in the AI/ML HPE initiatives around financial services and fraud analysis and was an early member of the Blockchain/MC-DLT strategy. He has written articles and whitepapers for internal publication on TCO/ROI, availability, business intelligence, Internet of Things, Blockchain and Converged Infrastructure. He has been published in Connect/Converge and Connection magazine. He is a featured speaker at HPE’s Technology Forum and at HPE’s Aspire and Bootcamp conferences and at industry conferences such as the XLDB Conference at Stanford, IIBA, ISACA and the Metropolitan Solutions Conference.

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