Payments Blog • 5 MIN READ

Hybrid systems open the door to greater choice

Richard Buckle

Written by Richard Buckle

HPE is placing heavy emphasis on hybrid infrastructures, digital enterprises and the ideas economy. Messages have been reverberating around the world focused on just how "IT strategy and business strategy are no longer separate; they have become inseparable ... every business is a technology business today."We all have heard how, "Every company … is having to take their legacy IT systems and transform themselves so that IT can be a competitive advantage."Furthermore, for many executives who have sat in on presentations by Meg Whitman, HPE CEO, there's been no escaping the call-to-action being championed by HPE of how, "We are on the cusp of enormous change now and it's driven by what we are describing as the idea economy."

As inescapable as these messages from HPE are proving to be, for the NonStop community it's not as apparent as to where the connections lie. NonStop systems are already driving the digital enterprise and yes, from the very first time a financial institution (FI) deployed a NonStop system in front of a mainframe as an intelligent front-end to the ATM and POS networks, working with a hybrid has been a fact of IT life. Of course, reference to legacy systems being the focus of transformation isn't always received as good news among current NonStop users, as NonStop has proved for more than forty years that it can be as contemporary as any other server in the data center. And yet, even as HPE places the emphasis it does on hybrid infrastructure, the more we see proposals for transformation the more we see contributions coming from NonStop systems!

Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the world of payments. A lot has been written of late about mobile payments and how, to paraphrase HPE, mobile strategy and payments strategy are no longer separate; they have become inseparable … every mobile device is a payments device. The world of apps is becoming the dominant delivery mechanism even as the user experience is determining the acceptance of the processes in support of the app – for further insight into the world of mobility, check out the latest post to the IR blog by John Dunne, IR's Chief Solutions Officer, Apple Pay: where to from here? as well as my post of April 5, 2016, Ideas being turned into reality ... rapidly!

What we are finding is that NonStop is not immune to this – runtime platforms are being selected solely on the basis of their ability to support an enterprises' selection of apps. In many respects, the user experience, the apps and the runtime platform can quite legitimately be viewed as yet another very important transformation that is under way. However, the transformation of NonStop as it adapts to hybrid infrastructures has applicability to a lot more than just payments even as it opens the doors to brand new solutions.

The fallout, as far as NonStop is concerned, is that runtime platforms such as Java and Node.js (from JavaScript) are becoming more popular. There's no mistaking that IT continues to be a young person's vocation – that is, writing the new apps – and our college grads are not coming to us with skills in assembler, COBOL or even C. They quickly discourage their peers from any further usage of systems they deem legacy simply because the systems don't support one development environment or another, and this is equally as true when it comes to choice of software vendors as it is of hardware vendors. Show a green screen interface with a command line and you will see a distinct lack of interest in looking at anything more and no, emulation on the best (and biggest) screens doesn't help persuade anyone.

But here's the value proposition emerging from HPE's messages in support of hybrids. You can now choose where to run your software, which runtime platforms to support and yes, where to connect your apps. And it looks like you won't need to resort to running a solution according to the SQL implementation – your solution written to Oracle will be able to use NS SQL/MX! If it's all about the NonStop fundamentals then yes, leverage them and perhaps leave device handlers and security firewalls to Linux and Windows. Cool! The bigger surprise? As 2016 comes to an end, choice of system will likely become immaterial as it's the runtime platform that becomes important and not the hardware.

Equate this development with CDs – they can be played on any CD player. As conference attendees heard at last month's GTUG event in Berlin, Germany, "the world is fundamentally changing. Netflix, Amazon, Apple Pay, Uber, Fitbit, LinkedIn, Google are proving to be market disrupters … Adapt, or risk irrelevance." The message of NonStop adapting showcased virtual NonStop (vNonStop) where demos in support of NFV hosts for the Telco markets will likely move out of the labs and into PoC environments very soon. Bring up a vNonStop within a cloud and demonstrate fault tolerance cloud infrastructure and you will generate a lot of interest, even from newly minted college grads.

Prognosis sees it all. There's no downside to running Prognosis on NonStop, on Linux or Windows, or on everything. For quite some time, Prognosis has been capable of providing insight into platforms apart from NonStop, indeed, multiple NonStop systems and with virtualization I expect to see increased granularity and likely from within a private cloud. Lots of NonStop virtual systems! Adapt or risk irrelevance? Once again, NonStop is opting for the former and with that, it's a transformation everyone in the NonStop community wholeheartedly applauds!

Topics: HPE Nonstop Payments

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