In my last post, Servers: Big Data, Clouds and Hybrids are changing landscape but Prognosis sees all, I referenced my imminent departure for Las Vegas where HPE Discover 2016 was being held. Now that I have returned from HPE Discover 2016, I can honestly reiterate that indeed, we are watching a sea-change under way at HPE. Furthermore, it was impossible to miss the focus given to the key messages of Big Data and Data Analytics, Clouds (together with hybrids infrastructure), Mobility, Virtualization, Security and Open Source which all were heavily represented in the program. Or as HPE phrased it – Transform to a hybrid infrastructure, Enable workplace productivity, Empower the data driven organization and Protect your digital enterprise.
"There is a mission critical renaissance! Your Digital Core is critical to business transformation!" In a slide under the title of What Randy (Meyer, VP and GM, Mission Critical Systems, HPE) wants you to know came these bullet items followed by "HPE is committed to Mission Critical Solution innovation." Again, renaissance, transformation and innovation appearing together on a single slide as part of an introduction to mission critical systems and where NonStop occupied center stage, particularly when innovation was stressed, may be a surprise for many but this is indeed what was the key take away from this year's event.
Multiplatform? Open Source? Database as a Service? HPE IT, now a big user of NonStop X systems, even as it transitions to virtual NonStop? There was no escaping the notion that not only was a sea-change under way but that what was lifting the HPE boat was an oncoming tsunami of innovations, all aimed at giving HPE users valuable solutions to better help them embrace what is coming. "Tomorrow belongs to the fast," said Meg Whitman, HPE CEO as she came onto the stage for her first keynote address. "Today, digital transformation," said Whitman describing the focus of her first keynote address whereas, "Tomorrow, digital disruption!"
With so much being presented, and clearly, NonStop becoming the subject of considerable investment within HPE, the sea-change was definitely going to prove disruptive but just how disruptive would it be for today's NonStop users? Perhaps some comfort could be derived when Whitman added, "We believe that in the digital age, infrastructure is more important than ever."
After all, NonStop has been provided as a package where hardware, software and infrastructure were part of a tightly integrated stack that had been tested, delivered and supported in a way that gave NonStop users a real sense of stability – NonStop were systems a business needed just to stay in business. However, disruption simply doesn't sit well with these NonStop users nor does it take the edge off concerns already being expressed by the NonStop vendor community.
Fortunately, when it comes to multiplatform hybrids and virtualization, as disruptive as these may at first seem, there is clearly going to be enough time to properly absorb what HPE plans for its mission critical community. HPE is very aware of the sensitive time implications coming from the changes under way – NonStop the system, NonStop the software and yes, NonStop the services. Split in this fashion, the implications on hardware, software and again, infrastructure aren't lost on anyone familiar with NonStop.
Representing three distinct flavors of NonStop, their introduction will occur over the next two to four years with the more critical components becoming available as orderable products likely to happen only as we close in on 2020. The desire to take a baby-step approach isn't lost on anyone in the HPE NonStop product management and development teams.
This is not a signal that the NonStop community should ignore all that is being communicated by HPE but neither is it a signal to panic over what is planned for future releases of NonStop. There will remain two distinct families of NonStop systems – the current line of NonStop i systems as well as the newer line of NonStop X systems. I am expecting that the NonStop i systems will remain viable options for many NonStop uses through to 2020.
I anticipate NonStop X systems finding a home at new customers of HPE mission critical systems even as I anticipate select deployments of NonStop X as development, test and PoC systems for the more established NonStop users. As for embracing virtual NonStop this will be totally driven by solutions and there's no shortcuts that can be taken here – solutions vendors have to get on board and see the market opportunities before anything more than testing of the waters takes place.
In my last post I closed with noting that with its history of multiplatform support, Prognosis can bring the pieces together in a manner that will be a great help to those charged with monitoring applications. Furthermore, I emphasized how depicting what is in flight and what may be "outside parameters," will continue to look very much as it does today with traditional servers.
This is the message for NonStop users of both NonStop and NonStop X systems, particularly when it comes to those mission critical users running payments solutions. There are immediate cost advantages to deploying the newer NonStop X systems but if all you are requiring are just a couple more blades, investments in cabinetry and internal infrastructure may make the purchase of a couple more Itanium blades an even better investment from the cost advantage.
Navigating sea changes can result in being lifted, accelerated and making surging to the fore possible. However, they can also overturn the vessels of those poorly prepared for them. With as much emphasis HPE is giving Big Data and Data Analytics, Clouds, Mobility, Virtualization, Security and Open Source it is still the message of transformation to a hybrid infrastructure that speaks the loudest when it comes to the baby steps NonStop users prefer.
It may be a mission critical renaissance, as Randy Meyer observed, but closer to home it's going to evolve over time and for vendors such as IR, where Prognosis is already providing valuable insight into mission critical transaction processing environments, it remains a case of staying focused on the needs of its NonStop customers. And this hasn't been lost on any NonStop users who have continued to stay close to Prognosis!