Call it juxtaposition serendipity. Unpacking my bags following this year’s pan-European E-BITUG event in Edinburgh, Scotland, I happened to place this year’s celebratory coffee mug alongside one that I scored more than two decades ago when the European ITUG Spring Conference was held in Nice, France. The dates may indeed be separated by the years, but not the sentiment. The tradition that underpins these annual events is hard to ignore. The HPE NonStop community is well and truly alive and thriving with the return to in-person events.
I have often written about the NonStop community and it never ceases to amaze me the number of times I have been asked the simplest of questions: Are NonStop systems still in use? Arguably the second oldest surviving computer architecture, behind only that of the IBM mainframe, there must be something special about NonStop that continues to fuel the global interest in fault tolerant computing. The reality is that to date, nothing has appeared to knock NonStop off its perch as being the premier offering for those enterprises where failure is not an option.
Likewise, I continue to write of how the NonStop community really is a community of likeminded individuals. Whether your interest lies in the bowels of the NonStop kernel, the manner in which development is pursued or simply in the latest iteration of user interfaces, there is no hiding the community genuine enthusiasm for NonStop systems. This community however isn’t a homogenous group as it is comprised of those who depend upon NonStop for the support of their mission critical applications together with those who build the infrastructure, tools and utilities and applications that continue to drive the sale of NonStop systems. Then naturally enough there is the HPE NonStop team itself as well as the Connect community team that keeps these events going throughout the years.
For some time now we have seen the elevation of the term Business Resilience. It was only recently that I was made aware of there being an industry standard definition of Business Resilience – ISO 22316:2017. It was describes as being “The ability of an organization to absorb and adapt in a changing environment to enable it to deliver its objectives and to survive and prosper.” According to the consultants at PwC, “Business Resilience builds on the principles of business continuity but extends much further to help enhance an organization’s ‘immune system; fend off illness (to) bounce back more quickly.’”
I addressed this topic in some detail at E-BITUG in my presentation comparing it to the need of successful sporting teams to embrace offense together with defense. The combination of fault tolerance with business continuity has become an accepted combination for the defense of NonStop but when it comes to business resilience, this is where the offense comes into play. Analysts have for some time assigned numerous attributes to business resilience, but among the many such attributes when it comes to NonStop I find that like any good offense, the need to anticipate, absorb and then adapt separate a winning team from one simply following a playbook’s basics. Offense? In today’s ever-increasing world of hybrid IT, the concept of having a team isn’t lost on anyone and developing a capability to neutralize unwarranted intrusions into IT and indeed, take steps to isolate such threats rendering them harmless, mandates different components working well together.
Enterprises may have the best procedures in place to recover from such intrusions, including those defined as ransomware, but isn’t it a better scenario to have in place the components that don’t let these intrusions happen at all? However, building an effective offense isn’t solely about individual NonStop vendor solutions so much as it is a call for the creation of NonStop partner ecosystems of likeminded NonStop vendors who share common goals in this regard. Working in adjacent markets where cooperation with those who are alongside makes sound business sense has become a topic of great interest among the NonStop community and became the subject of numerous conversations during E-BITUG. Yes, it is with business resilience and the emergence of additional ecosystems that the elevation of continuous adaptation is gaining momentum. Absorb and adapt has become a lot more that a rallying cry in a changing environment.
When the NonStop team began adding partner products to the NonStop price book, the goal was straightforward. For many NonStop users, just having a single entity to contract and to work with for software that met all their needs, seemed an ideal outcome from such a move by the NonStop team. However, today there are more NonStop partners not listed by the NonStop team as participants and this quickly established a playing field that was anything but ideal. Coming at a time when the message of business resilience promoted teams and ecosystems, there was a brief moment of uncertainty coming from the independent NonStop partners. Fortunately, the NonStop team provided a workable model that has proved easy to follow. “There are enough ecosystems to go around,” came the refrain from NonStop team members just as there was the recognition that with multiple ecosystems, “everybody wins!”
Considering the history of NonStop it matters a lot. “If we don’t have a healthy, competitive ecosystems, our history has taught us that we could very well be out of business.” While these observations didn’t come as a surprise, they certainly helped encourage early discussions among the independent NonStop partners. In my presentation, the first plenary session of the E-BITUG event, I highlighted how one NonStop vendor – in this case, NTI – had commenced building a supportive ecosystem in the months before last year’s NonStop TBC. The discussions then continued through the course of TBC. Among the vendors showing the most interest in the conversations started by NTI about ecosystems was the team at CSP Security.
Having an ecosystem that tilted the playing field back to become more level was a good start but how then can we best communicate its presence in the NonStop marketplace? Simply adding a second and then watching the possibility of others appearing, may be in the best interest of the NonStop community but how best to keep HPE organization informed? The NonStop price book was one source of information about product offerings but it was only part of the story. The full support of HPE behind the GreenLake initiative only further added to the incentive of ensuring that information about the entirety of the NonStop vendor community was being communicated. CSP Security took advantage of E-BITUG to launch the Global NS Partner Alliance. “More choice, more flexibility, easy-to-find references to all the independent NonStop vendors with product offerings providing healthy competition to that being offered by the NonStop team.
For those who will be attending CTUG next month expect to hear more about this initiative as there will be further updates from CSP and NTI. And this is why the NonStop community continues to thrive. It is a community open to new ideas, new solutions and new ways to do business. It wasn’t just the return to in-person events or the appearance of celebratory coffee mugs that has the NonStop community looking ahead to events yet to happen, but rather the knowledge that NonStop is every bit as resilient as the picture being painted for business as a whole. Yes, I will be a CTUG as I will be at N2TUG and in the fall, this year’s NonStop TBC conference. I sure hope I get to see you as this latest conversation on resilience has only just begun!