With summer officially under way, balmy days simply relaxing in the shade, possibly pool side, is a welcome respite as we reach the midpoint of the year. That isn’t to say it’s been perfect here in Dallas as we have seen it all; rain and floods, now the heat has picked up, but it’s not the changing weather conditions that have us all talking as much as it is the changing HPE all of us involved with NonStop are witnessing of late. No matter which web site, blog or news site you visit there’s rarely a day that passes without some observations being made on just how much is changing at HPE.For the NonStop community there’s a renewed sense of optimism as the plans for NonStop come into focus and it’s clear that the opportunities for running NonStop in the future will be significantly broadened. Having options is always good, but as of right now, our whiteboards are full of possibilities as we come to terms with the many programs HPE has initiated that involve NonStop. Not for the fainthearted is the notion that shortly we will be dealing with NonStop customers who are just using the NonStop software! And not for the procrastinator is the idea that HPE will slow down any time soon.
In the article we wrote for the June issue of Tandemworld, we touched on the diversity, the many programs we have become aware of, but mostly, we wrote about the speed with which HPE is executing to its plan. As for the high-level topics, perhaps the biggest take-away for us here at DataExpress is just how fast NonStop development is moving today. Executing on a number of very major programs it’s becoming an effort simply to keep up and that is news that we can honestly say continues to surprise us.
Who would have guessed just a few years ago that HPE NonStop would add a family of servers to its existing offerings – the NonStop X family; that it would embrace hybrid infrastructure giving vendors like DataExpress new options as to where the DataExpress product could be run – the InfiniBand / Yuma project; and when it comes to the news about NonStop running in a virtual machine as a product offering, very distinct from what’s available today on either NonStop i or NonStop X systems, vNonStop, well, we certainly were among the many vendors who truly didn’t see this coming!
For those new to the NonStop marketplace, such diversity may come as a surprise but in reality, we see this as exactly where HPE should be taking NonStop. Hardware is a commodity item with little to differentiate one vendor’s servers from another. There’s still some competition at the processor level with Intel and AMD watching each other very closely, but ultimately, the x86 architecture has won out and will power many data centers for at least the next ten years. With this, the spotlight has turned on the software community and whether it’s full-blown solutions or simple tools and utilities being offered, traction only develops once businesses see them running on x86.
Of late we have been asked by a colleague whether we are excited by what we are seeing. We have also been asked whether or not as a vendor we are stressed, or even panicky, over the speed with which HPE is moving. However, it’s probably best summed up as being a time of anticipation where we are somewhat relaxed from all we see – it’s going to take time to fully flesh-out as viable products from HPE, even with its own IT testing some of the new offerings, until NonStop as Software or NonStop as a Service have real product numbers and can be ordered from your HPE Mission Critical Systems salesman. Here at DataExpress we will continue working with our own NonStop users to determine their real-world priorities which will drive the priorities we need to set for our products.
When you consider just how NonStop systems are used today and how important it is to not interrupt the level of service they provide, since business in todays connected world can quite easily fail if the systems fail, we see no change in the way customers assess the suitability of new HPE Mission Critical System offerings. There will be many more NonStop i systems deployed before any of the businesses fully commit to the much newer NonStop X systems and this is a reality that is just beginning to sink in. How long has it taken for any new NonStop system family to become widely deployed in the past? The answer remains constant – years!
HPE faces the dual challenge of delivering product and delivering messages. Once you look past the products and come to terms with what is being offered then it quickly becomes a question of just how well-informed business executives have become – do they even know what the new NonStop system, software and services offerings are all about? And look at the different NonStop communities and their needs – will the same solutions sell well within the telco marketplace as they may in the finance or retail space? As these communities look to take different paths, with telco, for instance placing a major bet on virtualization, will the same bets be made by the financial community, manufacturing or transportation communities?
In this month’s article in Tandemworld, this too was something we wrote about. As we suggested, it will be a challenge for HPE as well – communicating the many NonStop options coming to market will be very important for every member of the NonStop vendor community. While we don’t believe it’s too late to alter the directions being taken by some of the biggest NonStop communities, it will require considerable focus by HPE’s Mission Critical Systems marketing and sales folks. So far, and following the early engagement by HPE Product Management with the NonStop vendor community, the early steps being taken look promising but there’s a lot more we hope to see eventuate before we can say HPE marketing is all over the new NonStop.
Full of anticipation, coupled with a little trepidation together with an acute awareness that we can react to what we see coming, we may not be quite as relaxed about the new NonStop as we are when relaxing by the pool this summer. But there is no denying that among the team here at DataExpress, there is excitement developing over the future of NonStop and indeed, if HPE gets it right in terms of capabilities, pricing, and in building a strong ecosystem then many of the bets we at DataExpress made going back several years look like they will be well rewarded!