Looking back at the final post to NEWS / BLOG of December, 2015, we saw how we had made reference to Amazon. We quoted from a Wall Street Journal article Amazon Buys Semi-Truck Fleet to Shuttle Inventory where photos showed trucks branded with “the familiar Amazon logo with a smile on the side.” It would now appear that this was just a starting point, as a few months later, according to a Fortune magazine article of May 5, 2016, Amazon Leases More Planes For Air Cargo Network Amazon had, “partnered with cargo airline Atlas Air to lease 20 Boeing planes, which includes use of the planes, crew, and maintenance for seven years.”
Of interest to us here at DataExpress were the comments that then appeared in this later article, “Amazon currently relies on UPS, the U.S. Postal Service, and FedEx to deliver packages to customers’ doorsteps in a matter of days. But with the company’s expected delivery drones, new fleet of trucks, shipping cargo boats, and planes, Amazon is slowly taking over these operations …” In other words, Amazon would be continuing to move packages but now it had many more channels that it could leverage to be even more competitive than it has ever been.
Looking back at 2016, DataExpress has seen HPE NonStop systems begin to embrace a number of different channels, each with different cost / performance metrics. Whether our users’ preference was for LAN and / or WAN connectivity via TCP/IP and CLIMs or for a more direct approach utilizing the interconnect fabric via InfiniBand (with NSADI) or Converged Ethernet (with RoCE), it seems that what we are witnessing at Amazon has similarities with what we saw this past year at HPE. And for DataExpress such expansion in options being supported is always of interest and as we have already written about, we have been at the forefront of testing these new connectivity options as HPE has made APIs available to the NonStop vendor community.
DataExpress has always been about “moving the boxes”, as we securely manage the transfer of files but with Amazon pursuing ownership of the means whereby these boxes are moved, that’s where the similarities between Amazon and DataExpress end. To be clear, we are not in the file transfer marketplace but rather in the better utilization of one or more file transfer products our users have chosen. The decisions as to the file transfer product preferred is often left to the companies and agencies on the receiving end of the file transfers but we continue to be asked, “we already use FTP or NDM or something similar, why would we need DataExpress?”
For a very long time, Amazon has relied upon UPS, the U.S. Postal Service, and FedEx who in turn relied upon trucks, shops and planes. Even with its plans to add its own fleets of trucks and planes, there will be many occasions where Amazon will still contract with FedEx or similar service provider. Just as Amazon adds value by providing package tracking support, independent of the channel chosen, so too does DataExpress and this is a significant value proposition for DataExpress. After all, for data center managers, the only news that they care about is when something goes wrong. DataExpress tracks each and every step for the movement of any file whether by WAN, LAN or Fabric. Whatever the underlying transport is based on, it doesn’t really matter – customers can elect to utilize whatever is optimal to their needs, DataExpress just makes sure files get there, intact and uncompromised.
At this time, the thoughts of much of the population are on package delivery. There’s so much at stake when it comes to ensuring our loved ones receive their gifts before whatever deadline is being celebrated. And so much has changed – gifts have become technology focused even as priorities have been given to entertainment that is both fanciful and virtual. Creativity is being fueled in ways unimaginable only a few years ago and when we look back at 2016 it bears all the hallmarks of being a year of transition for everyone in the NonStop community. As with the choice we have today, over the delivery of our gifts, we have a future that includes not only real NonStop but virtual and that will more than likely spurn further interest in NonStop as companies begin embracing clouds – private and public.
In other publications we noted that, as we head into 2017, our DataExpress NonStop (DXNS) product has been validated on NonStop X and it’s now only a matter of time before we see one of our customers migrate to NonStop X. The news here is that any product validated to run on real NonStop X will run, unchanged, on vNonStop and that’s reassuring to vendors and users alike. Furthermore, and even more encouraging to the NonStop community, HPE is telling the market that NonStop has enjoyed double-digit growth for the past two years and that really is a remarkable story about a significant change in fortune for NonStop. DataExpress still thinks that there is much that needs to be done in terms of marketing and sales, but for now, as we watch 2016 draw to a close, the future looks a lot brighter than many of us thought possible just a few years ago.