For the past couple of months I have been very much focused on HPE messages looking at HPE's vision, strategy and goals as they pertain to Mission Critical Systems. This is the organization where NonStop systems reside and as we all come to better appreciate where HPE is headed it's clear HPE is very much committed to NonStop. Not just as a complete system, but as software and perhaps further out as services.
Central to this is the stated objective by HPE that enterprise businesses will more than likely favor hybrid clouds made up of traditional IT together with a mix of private and public clouds and that HPE's sweet spot will be where traditional IT intersects with private clouds. For many reasons HPE doesn't expect to see these businesses committing solely to public clouds nor has HPE an appetite to play catchup to others, already prominent in supporting public clouds. It simply doesn't make sense to HPE executives to invest in public clouds.
Perhaps now, with an appreciation of where HPE is headed, interest lies more with what HPE is actually delivering, as its vision, strategy and goals have become better known. But the big question for the NonStop community – vendors consultants and users alike – is whether hybrid cloud development will include NonStop and just how active a role in the transformation to hybrid cloud solutions will NonStop play? In other words, is NonStop going to be on the team or left sitting on the interchange bench?
Financial analysts have already begun dissecting HPE's plans even as the financial results of its first quarter, operating apart from HP Inc., have been released. According to one publication tracking HPE, Seeking Alpha, in the update of March 6, 2016, HPE's Recent Quarter Isn't The Only Thing Going For It, analyst Kevin H Li observes how, "In terms of their actual growth prospects, or the business ventures that they will be pursuing, the future looks to be calculated and strategic. They are aiming for ventures within their means."
Furthermore, says Li, "One of the main ways I think they will be able to take advantage of the coming few years is their decision to heavily move towards hybrid cloud development, which aims to integrate both public and private cloud systems for businesses that aren't necessarily ready to take on a full-fledged cloud system atmosphere. I think this will actually become an incredibly lucrative decision for them."
Li then closes with, "Their hybrid cloud systems will likely cater to a large crowd. Research firm Gartner believes that ‘about half of all cloud enterprise developments will have hybrid cloud developments by 2017.'" The Gartner report referenced is a couple of years old, but even so, taking a new look at the report, Gartner Says Nearly Half of Large Enterprises Will Have Hybrid Cloud Deployments by the End of 2017, Gartner acknowledges that. "‘Virtualization reduces capital expenses, and standards and automation reduce operational expenses,' said Thomas Bittman, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. ‘However, taking the next step of adding usage metrics, self-service offerings and automated provisioning requires investment in technologies without a significant reduction in operational cost.'"
Deeper into the Gartner report there is more said about private clouds and virtualization. "‘Vendors are promoting private cloud computing as the next thing for infrastructure and operations — and it is, but only for the right services,' said Mr. Bittman. ‘Virtualization is a horizontal, very broad trend, impacting a high percentage of IT infrastructure. Private cloud is a specific style of computing that will leverage virtualization, but is not appropriate for all services.'"
I have been giving webinars for the past three months that have focused on HPE NonStop deliverables. Ever since the news broke that "NonStop was the best software platform on the planet" and that "NonStop would be independent of the infrastructure," it become very clear that HPE was not done with its investment in NonStop. The $250Million investment made to port NonStop to the Intel x86 architecture appears to be only the starting point on the journey to mainstream NonStop, but what was once talked about as running in the labs, has begun surfacing at recent marketing events and it's surprising many businesses, including those already leveraging NonStop systems.
As I was finalizing the last of my webinar presentations delivered just a week ago, and now available view on demand, news broke of HPE demonstrating publicly NonStop running in a virtual environment on Commercial, Off-The-Shelf (COTS) hardware. Nothing more than ProLiant's, with Linux and KVM, and NonStop running as promised free of hardware and infrastructure. The event was the Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona, Spain, and according to the promotional material for a session, Transfer to a hybrid infrastructure attendees were encouraged to, "Visit this demo to learn about the future of highly available and massively scalable infrastructure for your core network. This is a live demonstration featuring a potential HPE virtual NonStop environment with x86 COTS hardware. Touch and see virtual network core functions of HPE I-HSS and INS."
The applications referenced were popular NonStop applications sold to the telco market, but the point being made by HPE was that bold predictions about visions, strategy and goals were all well and good, but perhaps the news the NonStop community wanted to hear was that yes, NonStop was in the game, not on the sidelines and that yes, NonStop R&D funding was continuing and that there were big plans for NonStop when it came to the transformation to hybrid cloud infrastructure.
This holds tremendous promise too for IR with Prognosis. As Gartner rightfully acknowledged, when it comes to fully deploying hybrid infrastructure including private clouds, "Taking the next step of adding usage metrics, self-service offerings and automated provisioning requires investment in technologies." And this is exactly where Prognosis has a prominent role today – visualization of combinations of systems and networks, including virtualized, that will soon be familiar territory for all NonStop users.
There still is a lot more to be revealed by HPE and there's still a long shadow being cast over the transformation to a hybrid infrastructure by The Machine. But all the indications are there – NonStop is very much playing a vital part on HPE's team for enterprise businesses everywhere.