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Modernization is a “must pursuit” for NonStop users

IBM: “With its vacuum-tube control electronics, the RAMAC  
(for “random-access method of accounting and control”)  
occupied the space of two refrigerators and weighed a ton.  
It stored those 5 million characters on 50 hefty aluminum.” 

For the better part of the past two centuries, there is barely a time when modernization isn’t the subject of conversation. Attend any gallery opening, any new musical, or any open house and very quickly the conversation turns to whether or not the item represents modernism. In other words, is it an indicator of things to come or is it just more of the same? There are those that abhor modernization just as they embrace the classics but no matter which camp you happen to be in, it would seem that there is a ruler out there that clearly marks out the distance between what is modern and what is not. 

When it comes to the IT industry, there is barely a year that passes before something new comes along. That’s just the nature of IT and has been an ever-present characteristic of IT for the past seven decades. We may have put a spaceship in orbit using human computers, but these days, nothing ventured is without a commitment to high technology. A recent image of the deployment of just a single IBM 5MB hard drive delivered in 1956 was noteworthy in that it took a team of four engineers just to move it up a ramp and onto a delivery truck!  

For the NonStop community, it appears that the prospect of modernization became a serious consideration once the Intel x86 Architecture was embraced. Lingering in the back reaches of the minds of many members of the NonStop community is a growing realization that HPE NonStop is becoming a software solution. A thought that became real with the support of HPE Virtualized NonStop.  

However, as modern as these progressions appeared, modernization today is about the software more so than any hardware considerations. But again, embracing x86 wasn’t the end of modernization as the software in use on HPE NonStop today has been undertaking a period of modernization that is perhaps even more impressive. In part, this has been driven by the arrival of cloud services but closer to home, the move by HPE to support its entire product portfolio on the basis of “as-a-Service (XaaS)” has many NonStop users taking a closer look at the optimal manner in which they acquire and deploy HPE NonStop. A path that, as of now, is via HPE GreenLake and already HPE NonStop with HPE GreenLake is becoming quite popular among NonStop customers looking to modernize the infrastructure and platform. 

There are many sources that the NonStop community can turn to for updates on this NonStop modernization journey. This publication, The Connection, together with the Connect Now eNewsletter and the NonStop Insider digital magazine are all providing insights into how this journey started and where it is likely heading. There are numerous blogs from NonStop vendors and consultants addressing this topic. However, it is the HPE Community Blog that frequently addresses topics of interest to the NonStop community and these past couple of months, there have been two posts focused solely on modernization – modern application development and deployment on HPE NonStop.  

In the October 14, 2022 post of Vikas Kapoor, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, HPE, IA and Labs, HPE NonStop makes IT modernization easy, he references Sridhar Neelakantan, NonStop Sr. Product Manager responsible for middleware, languages, and tools. “A perception of what it means to be modern is deeply embedded in the mindset of IT professionals today,” said Sridhar. “NonStop development priorities and innovations have ensured that software developers have all the tools and utilities at hand that they would expect to find on any modern, connected, platform.”  

Vikas then notes how, “In environments where continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) is practiced, there are now no practical limitations to what can be implemented on NonStop systems. A review of the tools and software available today for any developer working on NonStop will go a long way to substantiate the successful modernization of the development environment for NonStop and all that is deployed on it.”  

What is called out specifically falls under the headings of languages – think C/C++, Python, and the Java ecosystem; APIs – including APIs in support of extreme transaction integrity (externalized from TMF as Java Transaction APIs or JTA), data persistence via the Java Persistence APIs (JPA) and the Hibernate dialect for the SQL/MX.  

Then there is the support in place to obviate awareness of fault tolerance from the act of developing. This now includes for the C and C++ programmer even mechanisms that make it easy to implement Process-Pairs that further contribute to applications running 24 x 7. The Fault Tolerant Interface (NSFTI) takes care of the NonStop specific API calls and bindings that will uplift any ordinary C / C++ application to become a Process-Pair considered by IT professionals as the highest level of availability attained through software programming.         

This post of Vikas was followed on February 14, 2023 by a follow-on post from Sridhar who took up the topic of What comes after development? Simplified deployment for HPE NonStop applications. Opening with the all-important observation about what makes HPE NonStop software stack, NonStop, Sridhar notes how, “In deploying new applications it’s of particular importance that nothing must ever compromise the key NonStop attributes of availability, scalability and data integrity as oftentimes NonStop is the direct external interface. It is where touch points between the enterprise and users occur and where fresh data is created. HPE NonStop is at the center of what matters most: data.” 

Again, the Java ecosystem is highlighted as are the many new tools and services provided by the HPE NonStop team that make deployment easy. Reference too is made to the HPE NonStop API Gateway for better integration with the rest of IT. With what the Java ecosystem on NonStop (NSJ and its friends) now supports, there is no need for specialized NonStop skills to tackle the porting and then deployment of any Java-based mission-critical applications. Regardless of whether porting or developing, deployment is made easier with the modern Java-based tools and support services available today on HPE NonStop. When there is a commitment to DevOps, then these NonStop developers can be assured that the tools that they are familiar with are supported for the entire NonStop stack. 

Perhaps, though it is Sridhar’s quote of HPE Master Technologist Justin Simonds that strongly resonates with all of us, “Modernization, when we used to speak about it, was platform based — modernize the interface (no SCOBOL), modernize the language to C or Java (no TAL/COBOL) and finally modernize the database. This ‘next generation’ of modernization is about the system fitting into the new cloud environment. This leads to DevOps, Git, Jenkins, etc. So, modernization at the company level rather than the platform level and not just a modern application has more to do with fitting easily into the modern environment.”  

To read these important posts in full simply follow the embedded hyperlinks or copy these URLs into your browser: 

When it comes to the NonStop community then indeed the pursuit of modernization is an extremely important and relevant quest. Our disk drives may no longer require a team to deploy just 5 MB of storage but there is no telling where the modernization of the IT journey will take us. However, one thing is clear: HPE NonStop’s parallel journey to modernization shows no signs of easing any time soon.  


  • Richard Buckle

    Richard Buckle is the founder and CEO of Pyalla Technologies, LLC. He has enjoyed a long association with the Information Technology (IT) industry as a user, vendor and more recently as a thought leader, industry commentator, influencer, columnist and blogger. Well-known to the user communities of HP and IBM, Richard served on the board of the HP user group, ITUG (2000-2006), as its Chairman (2004-2005), and as the Director of Marketing on the board of the IBM user group, SHARE, (2007-2008).

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