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As we enter 2016 here at DataExpress, we are, like most companies across all industries and verticals, refining our vision, objectives and goals and of course, most important of all for many within the NonStop community, strategy! If there’s anything at all that can be considered as a consistent message coming from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), it’s the enthusiasm about the company’s strategy. Yes, HPE has a vision but more importantly, execution has been priority number one for HPE. HPE has followed a course that ensures everyone knows where they are headed and it’s safe to say, it’s all focused on helping enterprises transform to a hybrid infrastructure. What is occupying center stage is HPE’s support of private clouds particularly when made an integral part of the solution for the transforming data center – a blend of legacy systems with more contemporary server farms configured in support of private clouds.
At DataExpress, with our core business focused on securely moving files, what is in the works at HPE is always of interest to us. Our customer base today includes some of the biggest users of NonStop and there’s no discounting just how effective the presentation of HPE’s strategy will likely prove to be – these large enterprises consider HPE a key business partner so it’s inevitable that some of the messages to do with strategy will gain a foothold. Transforming to hybrid infrastructure? It’s really just a case of how many enterprises share the same vision and when it’s HPE CEO, Meg Whitman, making the statement that “IT strategy and business strategy are no longer separate, they have become inseparable … every business is a technology business today,” the number of enterprises buying into hybrid infrastructure is sure to climb.
When it comes to vision, HPE has made it very clear that it wants to help every enterprise embrace the “Idea Economy” whereby new ideas are translated into new business opportunities (with additional revenue streams) over a much shorter period of time. We hear no arguments from enterprises about this as a vision – the struggle to find new revenue streams is always a challenge. Having them turn into positive cash flow quickly is an even bigger challenge, of course. As we see it, this strategy of transforming IT to a hybrid infrastructure is in response to, “Market data clearly show(ing) that a hybrid combination of traditional IT and private clouds will dominate the market over the next five years,” as one HPE executive explained it during HPE Discover, London.
In our December, 2015, postwe made a reference to questions raised by Martin Fink, EVP & CTO, HPE. “Do we need a new strategy?” Fink asked before answering his own question succinctly by saying, “Not for the next ten years.” And this more or less sums up our initial impression of the HPE Discover, London, event – it looks like the course for NonStop is set and the new HPE doesn’t appear to be wavering from its mission to make NonStop as contemporary a system as possible.
The course for NonStop? Now that HPE has fully executed on its goal of making NonStop a software platform (NonStop will continue to be sold as a complete system, with an inclusive, integrated stack, for many years to come),  with no dependency on HPE proprietary hardware, NonStop is moving to embrace independence from infrastructure. In talking with HPE, infrastructure has to do with the servers, the interconnects and networks, and storage and a reference to HPE’s desire to offer a collection of disaggregated resources that can be provisioned on the fly in order to satisfy the demands of an application. This has a lot to do with virtualization and we believe that HPE is signaling a strategy shift for NonStop (to better align with HPE’s overall company strategy) where it will support NonStop running on real systems together with an ability for NonStop to run on virtual systems, something Fink noted in his presentation at the NonStop Technical Boot Camp, has already been done inside the NonStop labs.
“At DataExpress, seeing such consistent messages coming from HPE about visions, strategy and goals is very encouraging,” said Michelle Marost, President, DataExpress, LLC.” In presentations we are already giving we note how DataExpress can run on both NonStop (DXNS) and Open (DXOP) platforms, depicted by HPE as making up a hybrid system in whole, or perhaps in part.” Furthermore, added Marost, “We are drawing up plans to test DXOP on the NonStop OSS personality with an end game in mind that perhaps not all of DataExpress NonStop needs to run on NonStop even as we acknowledge that some of our DataExpress Open Platform could benefit from the platform resilience of running on NonStop.” Even as HPE is giving a loud voice to the value provided by its hybrid infrastructure, DataExpress sees value being provided in DataExpress as hybrid infrastructure.
Nothing will change for DataExpress without cooperation and the full support of our existing users – vision, strategy and goals are all very well and good on PowerPoint slides but it will be the acceptance by enterprise IT that ultimately decides the fate of HPE and NonStop.  We see all the pieces coming together, and are impressed with the strides HPE has taken executing against its strategy, but having been in business as long as we have, DataExpress will still be relying on the requirements coming from its customers. We see the need to be ready to support our customers as these requirements arise but at the very least, we are now a whole lot better prepared than we were just a year ago and for that, we should give HPE a little more credit for their message delivery than many others are prepared to do – yes, we now see NonStop as strategic and that’s a good message to come away with!