Is There a Hybrid in Your Future Based on NonStop?

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hybrid computing, NonStop | RBWhen HP Vice President & General Manager, Integrity Server, Randy Meyer, presented to the gathering of Canadian NonStop community in October, 2013, the theme of his talk resonated with all present. Meyer elected to build on key focus items that HP CEO, Meg Whitman, had highlighted only a few months earlier during her presentation at the 2013 HP Discover event in Las Vegas. Whitman spoke about Security, Mobility, Clouds and Big Data and highlighted them as the key areas of interest that would anchor HP’s programs going forward. On the other hand, Meyer pointed to just Big Data, Hybrid Computing and Big Data and told the audience, when it comes to HP NonStop programs, “We want to make the investment that helps our customers leverage these Megatrends!”

A few weeks later, at the November, 2013, NonStop Advanced Technical Boot Camp Meyer unveiled the NonStop support for Intel x86 architecture where he included a video cameo by Whitman. “Today, enterprises operate in a world where the demand for continuous application availability is growing exponentially. The need to choose the right computer for the right workload at the right economics has never been so important … we are on the path to redefine mission critical computing,” said Whitman. Then tying in with the bigger message from HP, Whitman concluded with “Our NonStop customers truly make it matter!”

NonStop X and Streaming Analytics

Digging deeper into the weeds, as I have been doing all January, I have been asking HP executives about plans for NonStop X – the family of products becoming generally available in mid-March that are all based on the Intel x86 architecture – and there’s every indication that there is work already being done to roll-out hybrid systems. With common x86 blades being shared by Unix and Linux systems as well as NonStop, there are apparently HP enterprise chassis being tested that include a mix of NonStop and Linux blades in place, according to one HP source, so as to deliver “the right computer for the right workload at the right economics”.

Recently, Justin Simonds, Master Technologist at Hewlett-Packard, posted a comment to the LinkedIn’s Tandem User Group, in response to the discussion that began with the posting of discussion A twofold test … with no prizes awarded (unfortunately) but of value all the same … When it comes to the direction Simonds expects to see “the new NonStop X head, then second from the top of his list for NonStop is the tight integration with Linux for composite type applications, where portions of a service run on Linux and portions run on NonStop with NonStop overseeing the service.” Could this become a growth area for HP and for NonStop?

HP NonStop Hybrid Opportunities

We hear a lot about hybrid clouds, where enterprises integrate public clouds with their own private, or more-often, managed clouds, but the story of hybrids has deeper roots. Anyone familiar with IBM mainframes knows how IBM today ships a mix of zOS and zLinux in the one mainframe. For HP to be planning the release of enterprise systems that are a mix of NonStop and Linux seems completely rational – there’s just too much software coming to market for Linux that would benefit from either the NonStop SQL database or what “the permanent availability of the transactional system” on NonStop. No matter the final decisions taken on usage, there are plenty of opportunities for such a hybrid computer, including a greater presence in completely new verticals.

As for WebAction and the deployment of its product on an adjacent Linux system (all part of the NonStop hybrid) would be a likely boon for WebAction. This is a possibility I highlight in the upcoming January issue of the eNewsletter, Tandemworld, where I quote WebAction Cofounder and EVP, Sami Akbay.  “At WebAction we agree with Justin that there are verticals where NonStop X should make it easier for HP to establish a greater presence,” said Akbay. “We are especially interested in these new growth areas. When it comes to the NonStop community, where we excel is in quickly correlating and aggregating multiple streams of data – including what is being posted to logs on the NonStop application – so that developing patterns or trends can be quickly recognized and then acted upon.”

The signs have been observed for some time, and even as speculation persists, this is a real case of there being fire amidst all the smoke. NonStop as part of hybrids appears inevitable and with that, further opportunities for WebAction, and ultimately, this may prove to be the opening WebAction can leverage to penetrating the bigger NonStop market. These are weeds I am only too happy to go digging into even more deeply!