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As you read this post the 2015 NonStop Technical Boot Camp is long past and with America fully in holiday mode we are expecting a lot of discussions to arise during the last couple of weeks of 2015. Clearly, by now, you have all read the many blog posts that highlighted the keynote presentation by Martin Fink, EVP and CTO, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, that he introduced as NonStop: The inside story.  Furthermore, we suspect you have also read of how Fink, some 10 years ago, nearly to the day, accepting the promotion to head the NonStop Enterprise Division (NED), was given strict orders for NonStop – Fit it, or Exit!There comes a time in any industry when the community senses a change in direction with a new purposefulness clearly articulated; NonStop is on the move! In talking to those in our company who participated, there was a sense of a new NonStop taking shape – one that still demonstrated leadership in terms of availability and scalability. Questions arose during Fink’s presentation about data integrity as hardware is now exhibiting vastly different characteristics from when Tandem Computers first came on the scene in the mid-1970s, but as Fink observed, nowhere else in the industry is such universal awareness of the value proposition of NonStop – Data Integrity, Scalability and Fault Tolerance – communicated by an entire community!
However, with the hardware supporting NonStop as good as it now is, the key message that came from Boot Camp is that, unequivocally, NonStop has transformed from a hardware centered offering to become a pure software play. And this has tremendous ramifications for the NonStop community as with the move to software, there’s really no distinction between running on real hardware versus virtual hardware and already, it was stated, inside the HPE R&D Labs NonStop was running in a virtualized world. Furthermore, with the emphasis on a Linux based virtual machine hypervisor, some of the properties of the NonStop OS were working their way into the virtualization solution.
All of which is to confirm that yes, NonStop is very much on the move even as it has undergone a considerable course correction. Being a pure software play means that it is proving relatively simple to have NonStop running on x86 based blades that are inserted into the system chassis right alongside other x86 blades running Windows or Linux. One of the most significant messages in support of NonStop that can be communicated to the industry at large is that HPE only invested in the support of x86 for NonStop; HP-UX and OpenVMS were not ported and if the figure of US$250 million is even close to the mark, it represents a sizeable amount of the HPE Mission Critical Server budget and all in the NonStop community should be very proud of the decision taken by HPE to make this move.
Hybrid systems comprised of mixes of NonStop, Windows and Linux sharing a common InfiniBand (IB) interconnect fabric (including the availability of separate X and Y fabrics for NonStop) was the centerpiece of many of the Boot Camp presentations with the early experience in the new Yuma API work being reported by those vendors involved. However, it wasn’t just Hybrids being showcased but also Big Data and Big Data Analytics with particular attention focused on IoT. Not surprisingly, there were numerous presentations by vendors already active in Big Data and the times when users thought NonStop would be immune to Big Data initiatives are coming to an end – there’s just too many projects under way from fraud detection to SLA monitoring to simple checks on the accuracy of data stored in remote databases under the oversight of data replication solutions.
In the November 2015 issue of the Tandemworld e/Newsletter, we wrote of how DataExpress would be the focus of one of the breakout sessions, with Susie Raye representing DataExpress along with Richard Buckle of Pyalla Technologies, LLC. We wrote too that you may have noticed, during their presentation, that the theme of last month’s article to Tandemworld found its way into Susie and Richard’s presentation. The similarities between the FedEx operation and what is delivered by DataExpress provided a powerful illustration of the benefits from deploying DataExpress. It truly was too good a visualization to let pass without some reference in their presentation, as the imagery alone conveyed the message of DataExpress we hope all in the NonStop community now recognize.
DataExpress is responsible for moving items of commerce important to business everywhere as well as for moving the data supporting the transactions initiating the movement of commercial items. But what was really an important development was the recognition that data warehouses, stores and even lakes need to be loaded and all too often, this involves moving data from HTTP and FTP sites. As Rackspace recently reported, “After you have successfully created a new Cloud Big Data cluster, you need to get your data into the cluster so that you can put Hadoop to work” and yes among the places where you will find data residing is, “Cloud files, HTTP and FTP servers, local computers and other clusters.”
In other words, just as NonStop is on the move and just as FedEx is very much on the move, so too is data and there’s no end in sight to just how often data will be moved. This is something DataExpress has come to understand after three decades of experience and while this may be a surprise to many, it isn’t for those companies who have relied on DataExpress all that time. Hybrid systems? With DataExpress NonStop (DXNS) and DataExpress Open Platform (DXOP), we see these users having a richer choice of options as HPE rolls out its Hybrid systems offerings. Bid Data and IoT? With DataExpress, you have a secure, managed mechanism to ensure data gets to where it’s needed.
Contemporary NonStop X systems have much to offer – new industry standard fabrics, open computing based on x86, better price points and better scale out as well as the more traditional scale up – but what this all means is that there will be more data arriving at NonStop and with more data, increased requirements to move some or all data elsewhere. DataExpress may have been running quietly in your data center, out of sight and most likely rarely registering a blip of awareness in anyone. But take a look at where data is headed, now that it is on the move, and consider DataExpress – we securely manage the movement of data!