It was an observation made by other individuals presenting at this year’s Regional User Group (RUG) events that caught our attention and set in motion some thinking by those close to DataExpress that perhaps, after all, the references to virtualized NonStop workloads signified more than just a change to NonStop. The comments about everything happily running on a stack of x86 servers somewhere with all the prerequisite components deployed to allow the provisioning of virtualized NonStop (vNS) almost at will, as the need dictates, coexisting as it may with any other workload capable of running atop x86, that illustrated for us just how far convergence has come of late. And by convergence, here at DataExpress we mean how single-architecture systems, racked and stacked ad infinitum, can play host to anything that we care to run – a far cry from when we lived in a world of best-of-breed, silo-ed servers!As a development organization very much focused on moving data and supporting some of the biggest NonStop users in North America, we often aren’t cognizant of all that is taking place in the world of NonStop. Here at DataExpress we are fortunate enough to have team members attending RUG events who are very good at communicating all that is transpiring on NonStop but even so, it’s not until we hear from our customers directly that all the pieces come together in a cohesive manner. Take the path, for instance, that led to the unveiling of the latest member of the NonStop family, the NS2 (and not to be confused with the former NS II). First demonstrated as essentially a play-thing for developers and possibly, a way to ease into the world of virtualization (for those in the NonStop community concerned about the potential to really mess up the configuration), it has now materialized as an orderable, supported, NonStop system. Who could have predicted this turn of events just a few years ago. Digesting the news of NonStop embracing the Intel x86 architecture, now stepping even further back from its former proprietary days to embrace virtual machines with the same ease of deployment as it currently does with traditional systems!
But here’s the thing about all of this, it’s data! Convergence isn’t just happening at the systems level but around data – as HPE has been publicizing of late, time and data are the new currency (of business). Once you start moving all the pieces around data at the very heart of IT operations then it begs the question, do I have access to all the data I now need? Where’s that file? How come I can’t open this data set? DataExpress has seen this all before, but not quite this dominant for data. In the time when we had the hub and spoke model for IT, with host computers and regional, distributed data processing, files proved to be the best way to move data albeit, back when this model was prevalent it often involved physically shipping tapes between sites. Now, a system with a much smaller footprint may be running multiple instances of NonStop and any number of open systems, including Linux and Windows. The path between them may be very short but the files still need to be moved. And this is the sweet spot for DataExpress!
It all comes back to workloads. Could we see our major customers electing to initiate an instance of vNS whose only task is to move files? Could we see our major customers electing to run DataExpress NonStop (DXNS) in just one system surrounded by DataExpress Open Platforms (DXOP) in the open systems running alongside NonStop? Could we even see virtualized NonStop workloads supporting DXNS initiated one per target end user such that the level of parallelism would be unimaginable? Possible! But the news here is that we are on the verge of seeing a new world of NonStop unfold and given the data centric model being espoused by HPE, the future of DataExpress looks not only assured but on the threshold of thriving! Convergence? It isn’t just for systems – compute, storage and networking. It’s not only for software – operating systems, supporting middleware stacks and application. It is about a new way of thinking of just how granular we can make deployment of applications in support of our business and then optimizing them to meet the many trade-offs having to do with performance, recovery, security, etc. that play just as important a role across all of IT and as it does so, you simply cannot discount the importance of data around which all the workloads revolve.
At this time we not only want to continue the dialogue we have begun with our customers but also with all those in the NonStop community who are only now beginning to realize the significance of vNS. We see a bright future for NonStop and we see an even brighter future for DataExpress. At this point we can only reiterate the closing statements in last month’s post; it may now be all about data but it’s still very much availability and the fault tolerant properties of NonStop that has kept NonStop illuminated brightly on HPE’s radar. If you would like to know even more about Data Express then reach out to us or to our partner, comforte. Either way, we would be only too happy to talk to you!