It would be hard for any member of the NonStop community to ignore the messages coming from HPE of late – yes, simplifying hybrid IT is all about moving to virtualized workloads and when it comes to virtualized workloads, HPE NonStop development has done a tremendous amount of work to ensure NonStop transforms to being just another virtualized workload. For the NonStop purists this came as a surprise following years of experience with the NonStop OS running directly on bare metal, but gradually, following a lot of effort expended by NonStop development, even the most die-hard of NonStop traditionalists are beginning to see the merit in having the option to run virtualized NonStop.This is not to say NonStop will be moving away from providing converged systems as sales of NonStop X systems have gained momentum of late. Anecdotal evidence alone suggests some of the biggest NonStop users have elected to make the move to NonStop X and to the L-Series operating system and integrated middleware stack. This continues to remain a very important stepping stone, or baby step, as the most critical step to take is to move to L-Series as now NonStop development has assured the NonStop community that what runs on L-Series will see their options open up to include running NonStop on traditional IT systems as well as on virtualized IT systems. With no change to the applications!
As a colleague of ours just noted, when it comes to NonStop specific hardware, the “gig is up!” In other words, the NonStop community will have a much wider list of server options from which to choose when it comes time to run their virtualized NonStop workloads. You may elect to purchase servers and switches from HPE as HPE hopes you do, or you can go to any purveyor of x86 servers (with RoCE support) on which you will install a hosted hypervisor like OpenStack’s KVM or a bare metal hypervisor like VMware before deploying NonStop as a guest machine. The gig is most definitely up and it will call for new skills to be mastered by NonStop system managers even as it calls for updated management and monitoring tools at a minimum.
However, there is a lot that DataExpress finds attractive with this approach. Commodity servers racked high and all virtualized with guest machines any mix of NonStop, Linux and Windows. With the hypervisor resolving all the communications and network issues, it will be a relatively easy task to create paths between NonStop and Linux as well as NonStop and Windows. And the latency will be extremely low over the distances involved and with the protocols in place as Converged Ethernet – RoCE is a key component required for clustering NonStop – will prove valuable in other ways as well. DataExpress fully anticipates that among the biggest NonStop users, hybrids no matter how primitive at first will likely flourish as business owners of solutions optimize configurations to leverage the robustness of fault tolerant NonStop, even as they leverage the better performance of Java on Linux.
Hybrid IT is a major stepping stone towards an end game strategy for transformation already under way at many large data centers. This transformation has as its ultimate goal cloud computing and for many industry watchers, it is the combination of edge compute combined with cloud compute that will dominate the IT landscape for the next decade or more. Irrespective of Gartner’s recent prognosis that the edge will eat the cloud, for the majority of data center managers, a balance between the two will likely prove more viable longer term. However, getting to where even the best balanced edge / cloud IT structure is in place has to pass through hybrid IT as there is no desire for rip-and-replace approaches and this opens the doors to vendors like DataExpress where there are DataExpress NonStop (DXNS) and DataExpress Open Platform (DXOP) product offerings available today.
In a column to be published in the January – February, 2018, issue of The Connection, DataExpress CEO, Billy Whittington, noted that, “When it comes to transformation it isn’t solely for NonStop users looking to bring in clouds. For vendors like us with significant investment in Java, we are now giving serious consideration to running our DXOP on the NonStop Linux partition which supports Java and have it become a front-end to DXNS.” The reason this is being given serious consideration, said Whittington, is because, “We see this configuration as being beneficial not only for traditional systems but where there is a need to move files into virtual machines. We continue to be impressed with the robustness and flexibility of NonStop and it never ceases to amaze us whenever we see new life being given to NonStop. And we are not alone in being amazed as our vendor partners all express equal surprise tinged with a degree of relief – the investments that continue to be made in NonStop by the vendor community looks to be safe for 2018”
None of this will happen in the near term as DataExpress customers are only now weighing the advantages of migrating to NonStop X and the L-Series operating system, but that isn’t to say that virtualized NonStop will be too far behind as the expectation is that for 2018, there will be numerous deployments of virtualized NonStop to gain experience and to carry out testing of NonStop users mission critical applications. However, it is important for the community to recognize that we see this move to hybrid IT as being inevitable and that DataExpress is aware of the benefits that come with exploiting hybrids when they are made up of virtualized workloads. What is even more important for DataExpress is to ensure DataExpress users are aware of where we are headed with our products and to come to us with details of the expectations they have for hybrid IT. We would be only too happy to discuss the options for DataExpress as we see them today and to work with our customers and prospects to successfully deploy DataExpress in a manner that meets the new business needs. We look forward now to hearing from each and every one of you and we trust that we can jointly pursue this route as we all transform to the new edge / cloud world!