Running Real or Running Virtual, NonStop Remains in the Race; Striim Ensures NonStop Is Winning!

4 Minute Read

In a new post to the ATMmarketplace blog I just completed about how combinations of self-service devices and automation (including robotics) may lead to unanticipated combinations of ATMs and Kiosks – surprisingly, potentially devices that deliver burgers and cash. Without the ketchup on your banknotes, of course! However, it did raise the question about behavior – would the public at large welcome such convenience? Would the service sector decry the decimation of the workforce that would arise at a time when, after all, it is the service sector where the vast majority of workers are now employed?

Understanding the behavior of the public is becoming critical to all business decisions and tracking what’s trending can become what separates success from failure – a message trumpeted to every business via every media channel of late. No secrets here, but you really can’t assess success unless you initiate analytics and business analytics today is what is attracting the attention of IT everywhere. Whether you are running your application in the cloud, on a mainframe, or a cluster of commercial, off-the-shelf servers – there’s a compelling reason to pursue business analytics as the impact on business outcomes is inescapable.

You may not like getting burgers and fries to go along with your cash and statements and I am sure there will be many who do not warm to such a development, but if it turns out you are in the minority and didn’t adjust your mission critical systems accordingly, you may be in serious trouble. Nature abhors a vacuum and if you aren’t participating then of course, someone else will be. Eating your lunch takes on a completely new meaning in this instance.

Across the NonStop community, there’s been so much information forthcoming from HPE that it is hard to miss just how much choice is on offer to NonStop users. For the past six months HPE NonStop product managers and development engineers have been participating in NonStop events worldwide and the message has been unmistakable. What you once thought NonStop systems provided and what they looked like is rapidly fading into the background – it’s all new.

At the recent BITUG Big SIG event in London, U.K., head of NonStop sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) talked of how just two years ago HPE announced NonStop would be ported to the Intel x86 architecture and a year later, HPE delivered. It was only a year ago that HPE introduced hybrid systems featuring NonStop and Linux / Windows supported by a InfiniBand cluster fabric together with a new API that made it easy to write directly into each other’s main memory, bypassing the operating system, and this is now being provided to early adopters as well as a select number of vendors.

More recently, HPE has announced the virtualization of NonStop and described not just a new vNonStop operating system but a new vCLIM storage and communication capability, all running atop of Linux that in turn is supporting Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM). I have written a lot about this over the past few months after a working environment complete with a telco application was demonstrated at the Mobile World Congress. There’s every indication that first customer deployment will have happened by the end of the year, possibly as soon as the next European 2016 HPE Discover event.

How is the NonStop community behaving following such announcements? Does it view this as a departure from the true world of NonStop? Is it anxious about being no longer able to wrap its collective arms around a NonStop system? For the moment, the responses paint a picture of mixed expectations as vendors wonder about the relevance of their middleware and tools offerings even as users wonder about whether the much-beloved attributes of NonStop are being diluted. Does the picture being painted of a new open, virtual NonStop even make sense?

Fortunately, the real response is that running NonStop on virtual machines isn’t a whole lot different to running NonStop on real machines – it will all comes down to configuration and your appetite for risk. Don’t configure your primary and backup processes in the same physical machine, obviously. However such considerations pale in light of what new tasks can be accomplished with hybrids, virtualization and really fast interconnect fabrics. Cheap server farms running Linux and Windows can be part of a NonStop solution in much the same way as disks and tapes were once viewed.

More importantly perhaps is that now solutions that didn’t run natively on NonStop can be a part of a NonStop solution – running on the adjacent Linux system participating in the hybrid. Big Data frameworks housing data lakes can be directly accessed by NonStop processes. Suddenly the much neglected integration of data analytics with transactional systems in real time is a lot nearer to reality than in the past. Across the InfiniBand fabric interconnect, oblivious of the underlying participating operating systems, everything can be accessed and everything can be retrieved. In real time!

It is into such contemporary configurations that Striim will have an immediate impact on NonStop systems. Whether Striim is simply keeping track of resources and ensuring SLA’s are maintained to where Striim may be proactively engaged in fraud protection, there’s no real barriers to how NonStop users can deploy Striim – Linux and Windows running natively are now an integral part of NonStop hybrids and while such adjacent systems may not share the same much-beloved attributes of NonStop, the heart of the applications running as they will on NonStop will continue to be as available as they have always been in the past – running real or virtual.

Understanding the behavior of systems and of individuals is critical in determining what is finding acceptance and what is not. Winning is still the all important consideration in business despite the murmurings of pundits to the contrary – you are either in business or out of business. Striim brings so much to the table to ensure staying in business (and indeed, growing) and with NonStop evolving as rapidly as it is, Striim is ensuring the winning ways of NonStop continue right along with the winning ways of the business!