We have been busy in our office here in Dallas, Texas. We have major updates coming out for our DataExpress products – DataExpress NonStop (DXNS) testing and certification on NonStop X resulting in a version of DataExpress for NonStop X users as well as updating DataExpress Open Platform (DXOP) with a modernized fresh GUI, representing the new face of DataExpress and adding new protocol support. Of course, we are working with our DXOP customers on the impact the GUI will have on how they set up the product as well as how the progress of file transfers is reported – we are always interested in the reactions from customers who are an important influence on the future direction of all of our products.“We are looking to our customers to green light this new version for DXOP,” said Michelle Marost, DataExpress President. “After all, we have further work we would like to do to the user interface, but before doing anything more it’s important for DataExpress to generate positive feedback about the progress to date. DXOP has to be easy to configure even as it encourages further usage. And it has to remain “familiar” to operational staff – it’s always important to us to ensure that there really aren’t any barriers deterring further adoption of DataExpress.” In time, and only after HPE development introduces support for Java 8 on NonStop systems, “DataExpress will look to make this new GUI available to DXNS users,” confided Marost. By then, current DXOP feedback will have been more fully evaluated and where it merits further work, will have been completed. While there is nothing surprising about the importance of strong vendor / customer relationships, having been in business for several decades, DataExpress is well aware of the criticality of creating and maintaining simple feedback loops that keeps both parties fully engaged. The company recognizes from all those decades of being in business that when it comes to securely moving files, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that meets all the needs of their customers. “Working with our customers to gain this feedback,” added Marost, “is super critical to keeping our customers happy with DataExpress that in turn helps us expand the role DataExpress plays in their business.” In an article we wrote for the February issue of Tandemworld we have included references to The Machine and the impact it is having on HPE in general, and just as importantly on NonStop systems. We write of the very lengthy shadow The Machine is casting across the HPE development landscape. Understandable, as so much of HPE’s R&D budget is devoted to bringing The Machine to market, but it’s also very clear that there’s The Machine itself – a physical, orderable, configurable system (likely to debut late 2019) as well as a culture or philosophy now emanating from HPE. It’s hard to see any evidence of late of the new HPE operating under the mantle of business-as-usual. While this may be of concern for many within the NonStop community, it’s also easy to see that this much-publicized HPE journey to a new computing model represents additional opportunities for vendors such as DataExpress. Transformation to hybrid infrastructure together with the emphasis on a converged infrastructure and even infrastructure as code (as HPE now promotes), opens the doors for consideration about where files are coming from and where they are going to – batching data into files will continue to be the optimal way for information to be moved even as the infrastructure around them keeps changing. The Machine may simply be the end game for HPE, but the journey HPE has embarked upon will see existing users provided with a rich variety of choice when it comes to running mission critical applications. Like many of our peers among the NonStop vendor community we too face interesting questions concerning choice. Will our customers benefit from our DXOP solution running under the OSS personality, or “will we be asked to maintain development of both DXNS and DXOP?” Having options is something we understand our customers like, but when it comes to the journey HPE has embarked upon we are cognizant of the need to bring to our customers the right mix of features for each platform, that “will see us walking a fine line between what makes sense to run on NonStop and what may make just as much sense running apart from NonStop,” concludes Marost. “And knowing what will make sense only comes from an open and trusted dialogue.” DataExpress isn’t getting carried away with expectations about The Machine. It makes sense just to track HPE messages associated with its development, but the timeline for availability is still a long way off and as history so often dictates, this timeline will likely move a lot the closer we get to late 2019. However, as the journey to The Machine continues there are likely to be substantial changes to the infrastructure including new software middleware and tools well before that date – consider how much has moved on the Converged Infrastructure front with developments surrounding OneView, HPE Synergy and the cloud-like capabilities being proposed for disaggregated resources. Morphing to meet the needs of applications, on the fly and in real time, without requiring redundant hardware! Again, for data to be in the right cloud-like configuration files will more than likely have to be moved and this will keep us busy for quite some time. None of what may materialize here, including the response we provide, would make sense to any vendor, even DataExpress, without there being a strong user and vendor dialogue. It’s a symbiotic relationship that ensures the viability of the vendor and as we look as far out to the horizon as we can, ensuring close cooperation with the users of DataExpress remains so important to us. Today, we are focused on supporting NonStop X systems as well as the new GUI, but tomorrow? It may be something far more radical, but even so, the experiences we enjoy today set the scene for how we will work in the future, and for that, we have nothing but the users of the DataExpress products to thank.