Over lunch this past week I was asked by a potential client about just who were the biggest users of NonStop systems these days. The demographics have clearly evolved with the move away from NonStop by some of the largest stock exchanges and with recent M&A activity in the Telco space, the picture isn't quite as clear as it once was. However, very large users of NonStop remain, but they are scattered around the globe, and actually naming names is still a precarious pursuit.
Suffice to say, there are a couple of American banks with some very large installations just as there are credit and debit card companies. But let's not forget the auto industry, where one German manufacturer has a pair of NonStop systems at every car manufacturing facility around the world. Former standard bearers too that waved the NonStop flag for so many years, and I'm talking here of AOL and Sabre, are but a shadow of their former selves and yet, mobile phone operators have some serious funds tied up in NonStop systems.
But the question I was asked wasn't so much about naming the top 5, or even the top 10 as much as it was a question about where the growth in deployment of NonStop systems was going to come from and what was HP prepared to do to foster continued interest in NonStop now that it was clearly becoming a software play, as it rolled out its first NonStop X systems with the support of InfiniBand fabrics and probably more importantly, the support of the Intel x86 architecture. Add to this the commitment by HP Mission Critical Servers (MCS) group to deliver working hybrids featuring NonStop working in combination with Linux and / or Windows, and you have the beginnings of a whole new market play for NonStop. Who wouldn't want to be able to deploy x86 server farms knowing that they will be as fault tolerant as Tandem computers of the past?
What this means for applications monitoring solutions like Prognosis is that a couple of changes inside the NonStop ecosystem will quickly become apparent. There will be numerous new users who buy very small NonStop X systems – those with less than $100K invested in NonStop, who will still need application monitoring and already we have seen numerous orders placed for the new entry-level NonStop X system that will begin shipping later this year. But just as importantly, traditional NonStop users with large investments in Blades systems based on the Intel Integrity chip will continue to add more blades – their investment is in the infrastructure and the opportunity to simply keep upgrading will continue as HP MCS manages its supply chain.
Very large users of NonStop systems today, and that includes retailers as well as banks and telcos, will begin to explore options to distribute NonStop systems into locations never before thought possible – and this move has already started. As IR Director of Sales – Americas, Jay Horton, noted a short time ago, "The NonStop users upgrade to their traditional systems continues unabated. Indeed, there's been a lot more upgrades happening this year than I anticipated following the announcement of NonStop X. This is all goodness of course, in terms of future NonStop business for Prognosis, but already we have become aware of possibilities for the availability of NonStop X systems opening the doors into new accounts even as they open the doors to new geographies."
The top 5 biggest customers of NonStop will continue to be a moving target as the fortunes of NonStop customers change. However, the news coming from HP today is that business is continuing to invest in NonStop and, along with such investments, new solutions vendors are working to port their applications to NonStop – there continues to be positive news coming from HP concerning growing support for NonStop X among the much smaller mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). The support of mobility is one of the four key focus areas of the new Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE).
Talking of Prognosis and phones – have you seen the latest from IR? A couple of relevant items for us these days:
In an upcoming feature article in the July / August issue of The Connection I covered Prognosis and its contribution in better securing applications running on NonStop. Skype? Voice? It's very much a generational thing when it comes to transaction processing, with one generation preferring to read and write, another listen and talk and yet another interacting via video. These too will throw additional fuel on the NonStop growth fire and attract even more solutions vendors. There is a coming intersection of the transactional systems, big data, and mobility and providing NonStop X systems for less money is a big part of HP's strategy for NonStop.
The growth I expect to see with the addition of NonStop X will be a positive influence on the plans of IR for Prognosis and the support it provides NonStop systems, as even the lowliest of user expects NonStop systems to be well managed. In fact, there may be a lot more interest in the bottom 5 or 10 or 100 in the near future as this will be extremely fertile turf for all members of the NonStop vendor community and this is certainly not lost on IR executives and managers even as customers and prospects alike turn for even more products and features from IR, given where NonStop X is likely to land.