There is really no such thing as a typical NonStop vendor, just as there really isn’t all that much overlap in products’ functionality. However, it is these different product offerings opening up the options available to NonStop users as broad and as rich as they are today. Walk around the tables or through the booths of participating vendors at NonStop events anywhere in the world and while the banners and other signage may remain somewhat familiar there is much that is happening just out of sight. Work is always going on to ensure even the most familiar sounding products continue to provide improved value ensuring the NonStop systems of today are every bit as well-served as were the NonStop systems of earlier times.
Visitors to any big city will tell you that, after an absence of a couple of years, the skyline looks familiar even as it looks a little different with new buildings filling in some of the gaps in the skyline and older buildings have been given a facelift. City skylines that uniquely identify a city are constantly changing, and as they change they leave us with the impression that down at street level much is happening. Manhattan’s skyline looks familiar but within that famous island the skyline we see today is a lot different from what it was just a decade or so ago. Point is what we see as memorable often doesn’t give us the complete picture.
When it comes to NonStop and managed file transfer products, what we might think is familiar territory may also prove to be a lot different when it comes down to the details. As all around it changes, managed file transfer solutions that securely oversee the movement of files between systems need constant refinement. New platforms, new services and new utilities and protocols that enterprises rely on for delivering the content to their business partners, customers or government agencies have to be addressed – it’s a never-ending process of accommodating change and when it comes to moving files, the silhouette of the file “skyline” is ever-changing. Who really predicted NonStop would be ported to the Intel x86 architecture? Who really predicted that someday, NonStop would run just as happily atop virtual machines as it has done for such a long time atop traditional machines? And who would have thought the community would be talking about serving up NonStop as a service?
All the while, NonStop users are looking for product stability within these changing environments – if new capabilities being introduced by platform and systems vendors cannot be readily leveraged by middleware and solutions vendors then there is always the possibility of it opening the door to other vendors. When it comes to DataExpress, the challenges that present themselves with change are always monitored by us for possible upside potential (for the NonStop user) but even here, it is retaining the overall stability of the product that is paramount to the DataExpress development and support teams. Moving files securely and on a timely basis is every bit as mission critical as all other solutions running on NonStop.
“Product stability is always on our minds as we move to embrace changes,” said DataExpress CEO Billy Whittington. “At all times it is important for us to ensure our NonStop customers never experience issues in the face of their customers.” There are times where DataExpress faces similar issues as all other NonStop vendors when something just introduced doesn’t quite behave as it should and then, according to Whittington, “it’s all hands to the wheel as we pour over dumps and traces and work through the problem.” While it isn’t a regular part of the daily routine within the office, DataExpress like everyone else in the NonStop community welcomes the changes taking place with NonStop (and there have been plenty of changes of late), “seeing something new being deployed by our customer is always a time where we err on the side of caution and watch what transpires as any instability in our product can have serious repercussions for the NonStop user and for us.”
The support side of our DataExpress team, like the development side, becomes an integral part of our customers “team.” By this, we mean that over time and as the confidence in our knowledge of managed file transfer becomes more apparent, the customer consults with us more frequently. Increasingly, and with greater familiarity with DataExpress, they look to us to help them gain even more from the DataExpress product. “Simply put, customers of DataExpress with years of operational experience begin looking at ways to combine routine execution with new file types, new communications protocols or even new platforms and this is when difficulties can arise,” said Whittington. “However, working with the customer as part of their team, our support folks get a good inkling of where or how the project may run into difficulties in time to provide workarounds and fixes.” Yes, it all has a ring of familiarity about it but rarely do we see one NonStop customer running DataExpress exactly the same way as any other NonStop customer.
Of course, being part of our customer’s development and support teams and enjoying a seamless relationship with them ensures that not only do we get an inkling of where we may need to step in and take a look but it’s also fertile ground for new ideas. Our product roadmaps through the years have been liberally populated with new features as a result of requests coming from these teams. Interacting with our organization simply is just another way for them to get more from DataExpress in a timely manner. “We are always listening to them for ideas about what more we can provide,” said Whittington. Part of the reason why DataExpress has participated in the NonStop Technical Boot Camp (TBC) events over the last couple of years has been to help us stay atop the changes coming from the HPE NonStop team and we will be returning to Burlingame again this year.
It surprises many members of the NonStop community that we have been in business for as long as we have and it surprises them too that our focus has always been on providing superior management of the file transfer process no matter how many files are involved. There are DataExpress customers moving tens of thousands of files each day – sometimes as many as a hundred thousand files – and to do this day in and day out they have to have a stable, reliable and yes, complete product that supports the very latest product offerings from HPE. Given all that we have seen from HPE over just the past two years and with our customer teams looking to move to NonStop X and even virtualized NonStop, we are excited by our prospects for the coming year and if the HPE NonStop team pulls more new products from its hat at TBC, we will be ready for them and for the exchanges that will follow with our customers.
Having said this we are only too happy to talk to others in the NonStop community about Data Express and if this is something you need to take a closer look at in order to streamline your own file transfer operations, then call or email us as we would be only too happy to become part of your team as well.