There's always something exciting in the air when IR throws its semi-annual sales update event. Exciting, because the energy of the participants is palpable and the business results are always upbeat – IR continues to fire on all cylinders. Walking into the meetings I was unprepared for just how successful a first half-year had turned out to be, and I was regaled by stories of success pretty much everywhere I turned. For me, the best news of all was that NonStop customers continued to invest in software, and even as IR is now a diversified software vendor the NonStop results more than matched the performance by other products on other systems.
In July of last year the theme had been a further development of the sporting metaphors, popular among IR executives. In the post of August 5, 2014, Kick-off draws a bigger field; shifting gears at an opportune time! I wrote of how in previous years the themes had included such catchy phrases as Game on!, Making the Dust!, and Shifting Gears! These were easy metaphors for me to grasp as they brought with them vivid images of cars – a focus too that I manage to work into my own presentations on IR. When I heard that the theme for this year's January event was Overdrive, with the explanation that it is a reference to a gear in an automobile that allows it to be driven at higher speeds. Furthermore, overdrive is also a state of great activity, especially in order to achieve something.
There is a lot more I could add on the topic of overdrive as through the years I have been involved in many projects where at some point, with the finish line coming into view, all involved threw as much effort as they could muster into the final deliverables of the project. The adage that missed revenue opportunities are never regained is one that is burnt deeply into my psyche and everything that can be done to bring a project across the finish line, on time, is worth the extra effort it takes. When driving a car competitively, you try to "straighten" out the track as much as possible, so you can be on the gas for as long as possible – lifting off the gas and changing down a gear even a fraction too early, and advantages are lost. So, overdrive? Yes, it's all about a state of great activity.
For the NonStop community, vendors and users alike, March is the month when NonStop X will begin shipping – a new family of NonStop systems always brings an air of excitement and anticipation. The first models will be mid-range, and that's pretty typical for the NonStop systems introduction – the bigger models will follow later, as well new entry level systems. Defining the models will be the number of cores supporting the Xeon x86 processors, with more cores for the bigger systems and less for the entry level. No real surprises here, but the new NonStop X systems will be utilizing standard blade packaging – the same used by both, Windows and Linux systems. Housing NonStop X blades alongside Linux X blades, for instance, in a common chassis will be a breakthrough for HP and will allow HP to package large systems similar to what today IBM ships as mainframes.
However, HP is not going to try to break into the mainframe market per se, as it is my opinion that in the modern world of IT, where there is a secure access from a variety of mobile devices, there's a real need for options when it comes to choice as to where to deploy functionality. Take security for instance, and the many challenges when it comes to securing access to vital information on databases deployed on the NonStop system, it may prove to be too late to check the authenticity of a transaction when it's already made it through to NonStop.
The option to utilize Linux X as a gateway / front-end has its advantages, of which the most obvious being the raft of choices from less expensive product offerings, and it will likely prove to be a boon for the NonStop community. And then, too, there's monitoring where having the option to run some monitoring components on Linux X while other components on NonStop X – presentation services in support of a single pane of glass come to mind – will likely prove popular for the same reasons as security split between Linux X and NonStop. Cost of deployment and operation may be significantly reduced, not to mention operations personnel familiar with Linux may be easier to find.
In the post of August 5, 2014, already referenced, that was published following the mid-year sales kick-off, I closed with observations about the emergence of hybrid computers as a viable alternative to both, legacy mainframes and the heterogeneous server clusters. Homogeneous solutions, as I noted at that time, have, for many companies, been long gone and for the successful data center manager choice of solutions and vendors are of paramount importance. In this environment, even as it shifts gears, my experience confirms just how Prognosis excels.
Updating this observation to better reflect the shift into overdrive, it's clear to me that Prognosis – with its success on platforms apart from NonStop and its presence in some of the very largest enterprises on the planet – will find even greater success among the NonStop community. It has always taken a lot of investment to bring the right choice in monitoring solutions to market and it's no surprise that Prognosis continues to track industry changes, such as we are seeing with today's hybrid systems and with NonStop X further continuing this trend towards greater hybrid system deployment.
Overdrive? A State of great activity, especially in order to achieve something? Definitely not observations lost on me or on anyone seriously reviewing existing IR's monitoring solutions for the upcoming NonStop X blades, nor should it be lost on anyone in the NonStop community. In the coming months as we know a lot more about the NonStop X family of systems there will be a lot to take in but clearly, any concerns we may have over monitoring options shouldn't be a worry to anyone – Prognosis has definitely shifted into overdrive with this latest system offering from HP.