The biggest Regional User Group (RUG) event for the NonStop community to date has been GTUG and the majority of presentations have now been posted to the GTUG web site. Taking a look at several of them, there is evidence to support that the HPE Mission Critical Systems group has become seriously vested in the future of NonStop – not surprisingly, as HPE reports a much faster decline in OpenVMS and HP-UX than anyone anticipated; it would appear that NonStop is beginning to make up the slack. DataExpress has been involved with NonStop for a number of decades and the changes to NonStop that have been made over the years have been incremental and evolutionary. However, there’s no denying that these changes have simply ensured the relevance of NonStop to those users who have chosen NonStop systems to run their applications. For the most part, attracting new users to NonStop has not been a priority for HPE and in some markets we know very well, HPE has opted to wind down support for NonStop.
Where Digital and HP once stood proud and had dominated the market, there’s no telling how disappointed the many protagonists of both these product lines must be as they watch the new HPE standing firmly behind NonStop. When you consider these changes in priorities within HPE there’s also no hiding that the future of the Mission Critical Systems will depend on NonStop attracting new customers. This is something the NonStop community has been seeking for a very long time and finally, NonStop may have just crossed the threshold into something very big.
Following GTUG’s event there have been a number of other RUG events including DUST, N2TUG, SCTUG and most recently, BITUG. We have had individuals from DataExpress participating in a couple but it was the reports originating in BITUG that we found particularly enlightening. As it was reported to us, Dave McLeod who heads NonStop sales in EMEA, told those assembled for lunch that yes, they are signing up new customers and if those present didn’t believe NonStop was growing then they “may as well go out and shoot themselves!”
Even by Texas standards this is pretty dramatic, but I think McLeod makes a very good point. What is being revealed at RUG meetings continue to impress us here at DataExpress, as it’s clear that a lot is happening. Watching as NonStop R&D reveals more about hybrids, virtualization and even Oracle compatibility (for NS SQL) in such public forums is definitely a break from the past and raises questions about just how much NonStop R&D can deliver, but on the surface, the image of a dreary caterpillar breaking free from its cocoon and emerging as a beautiful butterfly come to mind.
In the article we will shortly see published in the May, 2016, issue of Tandemworld, we comment on the significance of this amount of work being undertaken within NonStop development – it represents a major investment by HPE in NonStop and that is a very big part of what is surprising us! As we noted in Tandemworld, here at DataExpress we often talk of scale-out and scale-up but what the GTUG presentations remind us of is that the projects being pursued by NonStop development include those that help “mainstream” NonStop, pushing it deeper into major HPE projects. This integration with the rest of HPE represents a very healthy extension to what was previously on offer with NonStop – the butterfly is being welcomed into the bigger kaleidoscope, or swarm, of butterflies!
HPE has made it clear in all the presentations on NonStop R&D that not everything may come to fruition. Highly visible disclaimers at the front of the presentation do give us cause for concern, but then, when it comes to large public companies, the hand of the legal department can be seen flipping through each and every page. For DataExpress, we will continue to keep the pressure on the NonStop team to ensure Java 8 compatibility isn’t ignored as even with the hybrid configurations being proposed, we are anxious to see Java 8 on both ends of any hybrid equally as capable.
The Yuma project continues to hold our interest as anytime communications pipes are delivered, along with the promise of much greater throughput and performance – our customers will definitely be looking to us to leverage these improvements. We move files and we move them between NonStop and in many cases Linux. Having them installed, as adjacent systems, only provokes further thoughts about how big an advantage we can take when our customers come back to us and ask for support – spreading the loads across disparate systems will always imply there’s data to be moved. And we like this development a lot!
At BITUG, HPE told us of a new NonStop customer acquired last month with yet another new customer acquired this month. Also during BITUG, HPE told us that during the previous quarter there had been no sales of NonStop X systems but already this quarter there are 16 orders with a pipeline that is now looking very healthy. It’s only at RUG meetings that numbers like this are disclosed and even though they may be anecdotal, the amount of arm waving accompanying each revelation indicates that there’s nothing official about them (and not to make business decisions based on them), the revelations are impressive all the same.
Shortly, HPE will be holding its 2016 HPE Discover event in Las Vegas and we will be represented. It will take a few days before the full extent of all that is revealed will be analyzed, discussed and understood but there will be further surprises in store and of that we have no doubt. The topic of virtualization is very much on the minds of many within the NonStop community as it represents the biggest change to NonStop since it first appeared four decades ago even as it is further evidence of NonStop becoming a pure software play. But more about that will follow shortly in a future post to this blog.
In the last post we noted that with all that we are seeing, a new transparency in all that NonStop R&D is pursuing, there is very little chance of vendors such as ourselves winding up in a blind alley with NonStop. With even more technology, products and features revealed at these latest RUG meetings, particularly where it includes the capturing new customers, blind alleys are no longer the concern. Perhaps the bigger question every NonStop user should be asking of vendors is whether or not they have found the onramp as this alley is now a widening freeway and as we know all too well in Texas, speed limits are of little importance!