May 4, 2016 · 4 minute read

There’s been a flurry of user focused events centered on HPE NonStop systems. From the Florida coast to the Arizona desert to European capitals there’s been a lot of interest in NonStop, coming from existing users of NonStop. The most recent user group event, GTUG, held in Berlin, Germany, wrapped up a week ago but already the presentations are being posted online for everyone to view and perhaps the most popular of all has been the presentation given by the head of NonStop R&D, Andy Bergholz.

Just the title alone is sure to attract attention – NonStop today, NonStop tomorrow – the future of Mission Critical Cloud Compute. Just click on this URL to check out Andy’s presentation for yourself. Surprisingly, and a clear break with traditions of the past, there is no need to complete any NDAs to see what is on the minds of those charged with leadership of development for NonStop. Along the foot of each slide was the usual disclaimer, “This is a rolling (three to five year) Statement of Direction and is subject to change without notice” but I am comfortable with that caveat as no major vendor is immune to wind shifts, no matter their strength, direction or timing.

While it is a product roadmap in that individual hardware and software components are mapped out in some detail, it is also a fascinating look into what new technologies are developing traction within the NonStop development organization – just the presentation title alone provides plenty of clues. Mission critical cloud compute? Who would have thought that we would see this label appended to a presentation on NonStop? And few would have expected to see statements about the near term and future for NonStop with this degree of clarity?

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As you progress through the slides, the number of times data is referenced is hard to miss. “Solutions you can rely on. Without fail. For business processing and decision support apps and data vital to the enterprise,” is a clarion call that transaction processing isn’t what it used to be. It’s a recognition that data, and by “data” NonStop development wants you to know that they intend to empower you with real time analytics (whereby you can gain a competitive advantage with real-time, actionable insight from all your data) even as they enable productivity with data (improving the quality of the data businesses need to do their job). Yes, data is anchoring much of the activity within NonStop development.

“Data explosion and IT complexity will lead to multi-cloud environment with many different hybrid computing architectures,” according to one slide Andy used. Without looking too far ahead and referencing just what is coming to market shortly for NonStop and Linux hybrids, connected and accessed via Yuma (HPE NonStop software solution based on InfiniBand providing tighter coupling with virtual, as well as cloud, solutions), “focus is on Big Data / OLTP Database as a differentiator.” It’s at this point that I can make the observation that by all practical measures, HPE NonStop is catching up with the messages that have come from Striim for a number of years now – yes, any talk of data without the capacity to support data integration, continuously, and all-inclusively and from multiple sources, cannot support the apps and data which is vital to any enterprise!

Flipping through the slides that Andy used, much as a child does with primitive animation, it’s clear that data is once again a priority for HPE NonStop, but there’s more. It’s been some time now since any serious effort has been put into the NonStop SQL product – once a leader in SQL it has fallen behind. Not that the central attributes of being fault tolerant and capable of running mixed workloads is being ignored or in anyways compromised, but rather, NS SQL is being made to be compatible with other third party offerings. The goal, as HPE NonStop states, “is for customers and prospects to be able to bring Oracle applications to NS SQL/MX with little to no porting effort.” In other words, provide these users with the “scale out (of) Oracle applications without RAC (clustering) complexity and limitations.”

As HPE EMEA boss, Dave McLeod, said during his GTUG presentation, when it comes to NonStop platform today (and here, Dave sees NonStop as a great franchise) , “It’s a brave new world (even as we are) leaving nothing behind. As we go forward we MUST bring forward ALL our fundamentals. We MUST keep on walking the tightrope of Open vs Security. All the great franchises evolve (even as they) retain what made them great.” As HPE so often reminds the community, the challenge will continue to be less about determining what these technologies can do, and more about understanding how, and at what cost, these technologies can help you and your team deliver real business value.

Stiim is all about the ingestion of data streaming in from all manner of sources, be they databases, tables, transaction flows, etc. and processing, and indeed enriching, before the data passes into a data lake. However, what separates Striim from other offerings targeting the NonStop community is that the output from Striim can be turned back into the transaction processing platforms, in real time, where it can influence the course of subsequent transaction processing. When it comes to being prepared to handle more data, Computerworld cautioned its readers, in an April 27, 2016, article The Importance of Data in Digital Disruption that, “Today, timely, accurate, and relevant data is the fuel of a successful business. The question is, ‘Is your business ready for a digital disruptor challenging your space?’ It is becoming more and more clear that those organizations most likely to be disrupted do not have data as part of their core.”

If HPE NonStop has renewed its interest in data and is sensitive to the role data is playing across its installed base (even as it works to attract users of other database solutions to NonStop), then users of NonStop systems should know that Striim provides a solution to that often raised question – is the data timely, accurate and relevant? Does it hold the value required to better differentiate my business from that of my competitors? The HPE NonStop organization believes data makes a difference and yes, from what I am seeing of Striim working in the NonStop customer base, the differentiation is not only possible it may just be what every business needs!