This past week the regional user group, MATUG, held its annual get-together in the former premises of EDS, now an HP facility. Representing DataExpress on this occasion was Pyalla Technologies consultant, Richard Buckle, and just as he did previously in Dallas for N2TUG, he journeyed to the outskirts of Washington D.C. and provided the attendees with an update on DataExpress and the value that comes from having a secure managed file transfer product installed. It continues to surprise attendees at these user events just how important the timely movement of files is for enterprises everywhere, and once again, there were those attending MATUG who were surprised to hear of DataExpress for the very first time. This time, though, some of the HP NonStop customers present were actually DataExpress’ users!In the NonStop roadmap presentation by HP were a couple of highlights that too surprised many in the audience. According to Buckle, early in the presentation was a slide categorizing the products we are familiar with today, under the heading of Continued Innovation. These included NonStop, HP-UX and OpenVMS. On the same slide was a second category, Transformational Advancements, where there was NonStop, Linux and Windows. The categories reflected what existed and what was to come – and only NonStop made the cut. The rapid decline of the Unix market together with the decision to license OpenVMS to a third party, effectively shifting responsibility for OpenVMS away from HP, means that only NonStop has a future with the new HP Enterprise (HPE).
What also came out of the presentation, again, according to Buckle, was a subsequent sub-bullet point Transformational Advancement, Mainframe Replacement. It’s been a long time since we have seen anything even semi-official be as bold as to suggest that among the HP product portfolio were options for mainframe replacements and this had us all thinking – what is a mainframe today? It’s probably safe to assume that only the IBM mainframe remains as a system whose properties still define the category, mainframe. However, increasingly, even IBM’s mainframe isn’t quite what was depicted as a mainframe just a decade ago as its journey now targets a much different end game for the mainframe – yes, it’s a hybrid world after all!
Greater consideration is being given to Linux and open source of late and we have seen more mainframe users looking at open platform solutions than ever before. The decision to support zLinux on the mainframe has certainly helped change the game for IBM. While they continue to develop on the Power chip and to some extent pursue proprietary technologies and architectures the presence of zLinux is helping many mainframe users transition away from complete dependence on older legacy middleware products and utilities. In many respects, the IBM mainframe became a hybrid well before HP announced project Yuma and the shift to include NonStop alongside Linux to form the HP’s own hybrid systems for the enterprise. And yes, HP too is far more committed to Linux and open source than previously witnessed and so we do see some parallel in what HP is doing to what IBM has pursued – perhaps this is the background to the new story of mainframe replacement.
In our upcoming article in the September, 2015, issue of Tandemworld that focuses on open source, we touch on this topic as well. In that article we reiterate how there’s no question that the pervasive nature of the Internet has changed much of our thinking when it comes to secure, managed, file transfer such as we provide today with DataExpress. Nor is there any question about the impact that SOA has had on application modernization, but as we look further afield then the movement to open source looks to be unstoppable as even major vendors like IBM and HP have become strong proponents of open source. For us here at DataExpress, plugging the gaps in our feature list encourages us to consider pulling from the open source pool but, like many of our customers, we still have to be judicious about the code we chose to include in DataExpress. The upside however is that we can respond faster to customer requirements even as we have the opportunity to share features between our NonStop and Open Platform instances of DataExpress.
In other words, the focus on Linux to one side, usage of open source is not just the domain of the likes of IBM and HP. Among the NonStop vendor community this is particularly the case and the NonStop community is benefitting as a result. In the coming months we will be looking to leverage this further as we start the journey towards a possible common code base for all three key platform of HPE – NonStop, Linux and Windows. Who could have imagined just a few years ago that it would be these three platforms that made the cut? And who could have imagined that with these three platforms, mainframe replacement would be included on the NonStop roadmap? With the NonStop Technical Boot Camp (TBC) now only a few months away we are wondering what next will be revealed by HP and the just-announced presence as a keynote speaker of HP CTO, Martin Fink, will certainly stir the pot further! We, like all other vendors in the NonStop community, can only imagine what will likely be revealed but whatever it is, HP’s journey seems real and one that is well worth following.