Delegates have returned from the major NonStop community event in Germany and for many, absorbing all that was addressed by HP NonStop executives and product managers is still being absorbed. What was once in the shadows and only alluded to is now in the open – yes, new entry-level members of the NonStop X family will become available a lot sooner than first anticipated and yes, deployments of hybrid computers featuring NonStop will enter Beta programs in the fall. However, the presentations and workshops that surrounding the public unveiling of the Yuma program gave cause for even more discussion and as the date for 2015 HP Discover, Las Vegas, draws nearer there's expectation that even more will be revealed.
The previous post, published May 06, 2015, It's event time – NonStop meets in Munich featured significant updates for the NonStop X program. In that post, it was clear that the news of the first member of the NonStop X family of systems making it to General Availability (GA) status had ignited renewed interest in all things NonStop. Most important for the IR community, the conclusion to the post noted that whether you are already across the heterogeneous nature of HP's Enterprise system offerings or not, these upcoming events will go a long way to reinforce HP's strategy for the enterprise and having Prognosis already in use today supporting such heterogeneous deployments (and fully tested on NonStop X) should set very much at ease the minds of all data center managers running NonStop.
Heterogeneity looks good in slideware, but what is the real story? And more importantly, what is HP doing to expedite the flow of information across heterogeneous boundaries? There's always be a rich choice of networking options for connecting different systems – when I first worked in IT at the Steelworks in Port Kembla, Australia, we were tasked to connect IBM mainframes to minicomputers, loosely based on theIBM 360 architecture, from a company called Interdata. A short time later, having moved on from the Steelworks to a Container Shipping company in Sydney harbor, the team I joined was asked to connect IBM mainframes to Digital PDP minicomputers that were nothing like the IBM 360 architecture. Since the earliest of times in IT, the quest to mix and match computer systems, big and small, for the optimal price performance signature has been pursued by many and seeing HP pursue packages of different architectures put within a single chassis isn't entirely unexpected.
With project Yuma, HP NonStop is leveraging the incredible speeds on offer with the interconnect fabric, InfiniBand (IB). As reported by HP, "These (IB) switches, based on a switched fabric, provide up to 56 Gbps full bidirectional-bandwidth for extreme scalability, fabric flexibility, high throughput, low latency, and quality of service." Consequently, the role of IB in laying low the boundaries between systems participating in the hybrid system configuration will be crucial. With project Yuma, there will be a high-speed user mode transport layer leveraging IB accessible for application traffic – NonStop together with Linux will be the first systems to capitalize on this new capability and it too will go into the Beta programs beginning this fall.
In the press release of December 3, 2014, IR Prognosis for Infrastructure to Support HP Integrity NonStop X Platform, IR took the occasion of the HP Discover 2014 event in Barcelona, and the announcement by HP "that it expects to release the x86 architecture version of the 100 percent fault-tolerantHP NonStop solutionin March 2015" to reiterate Prognosis support for the NonStop X family of systems. "As an HP AllianceOne Partner, IR has committed R&D resources to support HP as it brings fault-tolerant HP NonStop solutions to the x86 architecture, in the form of the HP Integrity NonStop X," said the press release. "Prognosis for Infrastructure is available for deployment now on HP Integrity NonStop X, for beta customers and early adopters."
Prognosis for Infrastructure has been implemented so today NonStop users can "See your entire Infrastructure technology environment from one point of view". Having an implementation for Linux and Windows, the expected early complementary systems to NonStop in hybrid configurations, Prognosis will only gain greater insights with the option to connect Prognosis to Prognosis via project Yuma's high-speed user mode transport layer. As one source within IR has gone as far as to suggest that, with project Yuma, it will not matter where the performance of any given application is monitored from, it will be as if HP has opened the gate to a plethora of internal measurement files and event logs that will give enhanced insight into all that is happening within a hybrid system.
Will hybrid computers make obsolete all that the NonStop community relies on today? Not likely, by all accounts – these systems are going into Beta in the fall and it will not be until the spring of 2016 that real-world hybrid deployments begin. However, with the Beta program including banks, retailers and Telcos, the likelihood for hybrids incorporating NonStop X systems is high and the trend is definitely tracking towards greater utilization of hybrids. Even casual observation of what a modern IBM mainframe looks like today will see a combination of the latest iteration of the original System 360 architecture with mainframe Linux. Speculation too is running that when HP releases The Machine, the first version will be a hybrid too, as it will sit right alongside of today's server offerings from HP.
Yes, HP is bringing down the boundaries with project Yuma and making it easy for users and vendors alike to have applications spread across heterogeneous systems in a manner designed to leverage optimal price-performance that comes with such configurations. Having Prognosis running on all the different systems involved and capitalizing on project Yuma will only help with such an optimization and for that the NonStop community may elect to expedite the usage of HP's hybrid computers faster than the industry would expect. And in so doing, ensure a NonStop presence in IT for many years to come!