Sitting in my camper or, should I more accurately say, my company command center, I’m in between events. Last week it was Dallas for the NonStop regional user group meeting, N2TUG, while shortly I will be heading to Vegas for yet another seemingly endless gathering of techies. Then it’s on to more serious activities as I finish up in Palo Alto before heading back to Boulder. But sitting, as I am, in an overheated camper where the outside temperature has scarcely dropped beneath 100 degrees Fahrenheit, having left overheated conference rooms and knowing full well that Vegas will be even hotter (irrespective of the fireworks it ignites comes July 4th) I cannot say I am looking forward to what the week will bring.
What has been occupying much of my thoughts of late is the topic of behavior. More specifically, my own behavior, and just how predictable I have become. The other day I walked into a local mall to buy a new pair of shoes and opted for another pair of Clark loafers, exactly the same as I was wearing when I stepped into the store. It made the job of the clerks rather easy, but with so much going on in life, do I really need to be challenged over a simple transaction like buying a pair of shoes?
Predictability cuts many ways – be too predictable, so I have been told, and you become boring and yet, show no patterns with any decisions made and you are labelled a scatterbrain. Or worse, indecisive! My travels of late have only magnified this flaw, or blessing – HP NonStop systems have embraced industry standard technology to wit, the Intel x86 architecture. Not only that, but these new NonStop X systems have dropped their interconnect fabric in favor of one that features InifinBand, and already, there are cries coming from the NonStop community that it’s way too powerful for everyday use and that please, HP, give us a really scaled down entry-level system. The paradox is inescapable – be careful what you ask for, in case your wishes come true.
Among those within the WebAction team focused on HP NonStop systems it’s been common knowledge that pushing and prodding HP to move beyond systems based on Intel’s Itanium chipsets (along with the HP proprietary interconnect fabric, ServerNet) has been a common theme of many regional user group meetings over the past couple of years. Unfortunately (or thank goodness), without skipping a beat, NonStop users are at a loss as to what they could possibly do with so much performance. Through the decades what’s given NonStop the edge hasn’t been raw power of individual processors, but rather, the inherent capability of stringing together numerous processors, each with lots of real memory! After all, as any systems programmer worth their salt knows all too well, for virtual systems to fly give them plenty of real memory.
The world is changing and understanding the behavior of folks like me is becoming all too important to business. Throw me into the mix of a million or more customers and businesses get to see a much clearers picture of our likes and dislikes. All well and good, but then consider that into this mix businesses need to understand generational shifts – I like to press physical buttons whereas my daughter is OK with using a laptop or tablet and yet, many younger folks prefer interacting with technology visually – and suddenly, you begin to realize that transactions aren’t what they used to be. All that extra power and capacity on offer with the new NonStop X systems suddenly seems very reasonable. Transactions are getting more numerous, even as they are getting richer. The user cries over too much power may become muffled in less time than you can say analytics.
“The realization by the NonStop community that their systems have been operating in isolation and that their presence within the data center is more or less akin to a transaction PBX,” said WebAction’s Cofounder and EVP, Sami Akbay, “demeans the real value locked away in today’s online transaction processors. We see the integration between realtime transactional systems and big data as a vitally important to really come to terms with shifts in behavior – people are changing the way they behave far faster today than ever before simply because we are bombarding them with more information than at any other time in history.” The heat is on and whether it’s the temperature on the street or the heat in the conference room, changing consumer behavior needs to be detected quickly in order for business to remain in business.