The numerous presentations by analysts, futurists, and the media are shining the spotlight squarely on the need to relegate legacy systems to the dumpster which is raising the question of what exactly do we mean by legacy. Is it any system that’s still in production, as one analyst proposed in the late 1990s, or is it more about the energy signature or even the data center footprint? I was fortunate to be exposed to primitive computers before I was a teenager, way back in the days, that is, when companies enjoyed installing their systems in prestige office buildings primarily to showcase a company’s investment in the future. Decades ago, IBM shipped mainframes in a choice of colors – red and yellow come to mind and back then, I could tell the “old mainframe” from newer models as the original mainframe we had installed was blue but the new arrivals were yellow or red. But today, it’s not quite that simple.
In my post to the NonStop community blog, Real Time View, of May 19, 2015, We may want to leave a Legacy, but NonStop stands apart! I wrote of how we don’t doubt that a system is legacy when we see that its I/O is limited to punched cards and paper tape. I’ve even corresponded with folks, I noted in that post, who have dismissed a product or solution on the grounds that they considered it and found it to be less than leading edge. I even pondered whether the NonStop brand was losing its sheen and perhaps should be changed – the Super Cluster or perhaps, ClusterServer X. However, among the more astute users of NonStop systems, nothing could be further from the truth – NonStop systems today are every bit as modern as any other servers sitting on the data center floor. One national “big box” retail chain with a history of NonStop usage in its data center is going so far as to deploy new NonStop X models dispersed throughout its regional operations.
The Future of NonStop
“The NonStop brand is a very strong brand” said a good friend and client quite candidly. “If I were to look at changing anything perhaps I would look to change the marketing strategy around NonStop.” This comment led to WebAction Cofounder and EVP Sami Akbay to add, “When it comes to more traditional platforms many of them are simply losing out to Linux which is proving adapt at meeting the needs of different mixes of applications.” However, NonStop isn’t on this list of traditional platforms given the release of NonStop based on the Intel x86 architecture. But it still does beg the question about the future of NonStop. According to Akbay, “For NonStop to remain competitive, consideration may need to be given to NonStop servers as OLTP appliances for the fault tolerant segment and should we see HP positioning NonStop to better compete in mission critical clouds and within some X-86 clusters (for certain workloads) the presence of NonStop could become very interesting.”
Closer to home, for the NonStop community, when it comes to any downside from viewing installed NonStop systems as legacy, it was WebAction, Inc. Marketing Director, Jonathan Geraci, who noted that, “I think our play in ‘legacy’ is that we are agnostic to sources and targets, which makes WebAction a great place to bring all of your heterogeneous streaming and static (context) data together in one place for analytics.” Irrespective of what HP may elect to do and whether users embrace the new NonStop X either standalone or in hybrid computing configurations, accommodating all that runs today on NonStop is not a bad option for WebAction. Yes, there is no issue about them handling what is likely to come from HP but being of immediate value to everyone in the NonStop community sells itself. And this should open the eyes of all involved with Big Data framework integration projects.
The Promise of Better Understanding Customer Behavior
Big Data, Big Data Analytics, Streaming Data, and High-Velocity Stream Analytics hold the promise of better understanding of the behavior of every customer a business comes in contact with that leads to business better serving them all. As so much OLTP is performed on NonStop, what passes through it presents business with an opportunity to modify actions to better suit perceived changes in behavior, in realtime. That WebAction, a company that is one of the Top 20 Big Data Companies of 2015 as rated by The Silicon Review, supports NonStop should satisfy even the most curious CIO about the future of NonStop. As I noted in my post to Real Time View, legacy hardware is easy to spot even as legacy tools, middleware and solutions quickly reveal themselves but in a world revolving around an always-on, instant gratification, need it right now, today’s modern NonStop system is sitting squarely in the cross hairs of those with the intelligence assets charged with ensuring a business keeps moving forward.