It seems like it was just yesterday that we posted to this blog about “resting easy” for the summer. In that post we observed how change had happened incrementally in the data center – servers were updated, disk capacity expanded and communications protocols standardized. But now, with the increasing popularity of clouds, it is prodding us to take notice. NonStop systems aren’t immune to the rise of the cloud computing model and NonStop users are looking at how best to integrate with clouds. Resting easy was a reference to just how well DataExpress goes about moving files securely and reliably to the point where few folks are even aware of its presence in the data center. This may explain why, following recent user events, it has come to our attention that there are still many NonStop users totally unaware of DataExpress.
Shortly you will be reading in the November, 2016, issue of Tandemworld about similar observations which came about following a number of questions asked of us during the recent NonStop Technical Boot Camp. Do NonStop users still move files? Will reliance on public clouds reduce the requirement to pass information between business and external agencies? Will Blockchain eliminate the need to move files at all? Is DataExpress continuing to address legacy needs with no role to play in the future as IT changes to embrace “everything as a service?” Turns out that in the discussions that followed the most important item raised concerned DataExpress itself – what does it really do?
In the Tandemworld article, we wrote of how, strictly from a user perspective, there are still many NonStop installations relying on scripts and simple utilities to move critical business information. Those charged with responsibility for ensuring the safe and timely movement of files can often comprise a whole team of support staff – it’s time to reconsider the approaches being taken by many enterprises as there are solutions available to fully automate the process no matter whether these enterprises are dependent upon SFTP, IBM Sterling Connect:Direct® (formerly, NDM) or something else that is completely proprietary to the enterprise.
Our vision for DataExpress remains unchanged even as we begin to see the impact of IT turning to clouds. DataExpress represents one such solution that fully automates the process of moving files and it has been deployed in numerous highly sensitive operations where the failure to move a file comes with penalties and where companies, in some cases, are moving tens of thousands of files on a daily basis. Not surprisingly, in this environment you only want to hear about something that didn’t work and DataExpress can provide immediate notification via whatever channel is preferred when such a situation occurs. However when months, even years, pass by and there have been no transmission failures, it’s easy to see why the presence of DataExpress can easily be overlooked.
Regulatory bodies and other financial institutions still require businesses to provide updated information. While new technologies like Blockchain may herald the arrival of a new data base model and anchor financial ledgers and manufacturing supply chains, making it a lot easier to securely perform transactions involving multiple parties, these regulatory bodies and financial institutions still want to see a file and for good reason. It’s part of record keeping and government agencies at all levels – federal, state and regional – need to interact with so many companies that there is still no substitute for a file. Just as today we continue to email each other, it’s still very much a world where there is a beginning, a middle and an end, and files represent the cleanest manner in which to record the passage of transactions as they move around the globe. Only recently, the U.S. Federal Government settled on NDM as the vehicle to deliver files to their agencies.
However, we do see clouds having an impact on even the most conservative of companies. What we don’t see is DataExpress solely addressing legacy needs because as Technical Boot Camp attendees can attest, DataExpress is at the forefront of testing with new NonStop APIs to move files between NonStop directly connected via InfiniBand (IB) to Linux as well as between NonStop and Linux and / or Windows when they are present within a cloud.
The presence of databases within companies is being rationalized and the numbers of databases is dropping significantly – HPE acknowledged that at one time, they had 25,000 databases present across their enterprise – and yet, changes to their content not only needs to be replicated and backed-up internally, but reported to external bodies as well. All we are seeing with the arrival of clouds is new places to move data to, and therefore new opportunities for DataExpress!
As we observed in a post in the October issue of the new publication, NonStop Insider (and referenced in our last post, DataExpress to participate in NSADI Workshop at Boot Camp 2016), in addition to just NonStop and Linux systems, we will see a mix of NonStop and private clouds. To support this NonStop and cloud reality, we are moving forward to having additional solutions in place to address this changing landscape – DataExpress Cloud Access (DXCA). With DXCA, NonStop users will still run DXNS on NonStop but have DXCA available running inside the cloud. What this would provide is the ability to deploy files into the cloud, safely, securely and in a fully automated fashion under the oversight of DataExpress and from there, files could be moved anywhere applications or users need to access them.
Summer is behind us, autumn’s leaves are blowing away and winter is fast approaching but when it comes to resting easy as the balmy days of summer encourage, the change in seasons really doesn’t detract from all that DataExpress provides today, and into the future. Conversations will continue with each new technology that surfaces but in the highly regulated world all companies operate in, there’s always reports to complete, boxes to be checked, and files to be moved. And DataExpress, even as it evolves to meet changing IT landscapes, sees no change to its overall vision; DataExpress moves the data securely, reliably and on time.