Saturday, June 26, 2010

HPTF - Modernize!

When I think about the highlights of this year’s HPTF event held just this week, the live performance by the legendary rock group The Who’s Roger Daltrey is right up there at the top of my list! “It’s hard to do just 75 minutes,” Roger told the audience at one point, before breaking into a set of songs that included well-known numbers familiar to anyone who has watched episodes of the TV show Crime Scene Investigators. The performance definitely transfixed the audience, and transformed the Event Center into a modern-age Dr Who “tardis” that took us back in time to the 1960s!

Walking into the first keynote address Monday afternoon, we were all given 3D glasses. As we took our seats, and the opening graphics transformed before our eyes and glassy 3D beams floated past us, carrying a variety of HP marketing messages embedded within them. The message became quickly recognizable and built upon the “convergent infrastructure” tag line we had all seen used in recent press releases, such as the mission-critical converged infrastructure headline that had accompanied the announcement of Superdome 2. Converge! Transform! Innovate! By the time Roger Daltery took center stage, there wasn’t a single attendee who couldn’t tell you what the central message of HPTF was – and to some extent, this was a refreshing change from some previous events. I have to believe that the recent arrival at HP of Dave Donatelli had something to do with this!

As the messages were expanded, it quickly became clear how important open, standard, and modern had become – scarcely a session missed the opportunity to point out how modern the feature, component, or approach had now become. The message of transformation was deeply rooted in our desire, as IT professionals, to modernize and to break the innovation gridlock. A lot of distance was put between the traditional, proprietary, legacy, technologies as HP was positioned as heralds of innovation to come! Modernization, when it comes to NonStop, carries just one message and it was repeated several times. When Randy Meyer was asked about bringing new applications onto NonStop and how much effort it required to change these applications in order to support NonStop, the answer was – today, not much! “Change the development model (accommodate standards and what’s popular today, by all means) but make sure the required run-time environment is available on NonStop that ensures there’s no loss of the key attributes – scalability, availability, transaction performance!”

NonStop is now a modern platform. Vendors, including comForte have done a great job in providing options when it comes to externalizing older Pathway applications as Web Services. I was also reminded that the title of Brad Poole’s comForte presentation at the recent EBUG event was “NonStop Modernization with comForte” and of how modernization was central to all product offerings comForte provides today, whether security, connectivity, application transformation, or tools in support of operational efficiency. Readers familiar with comForte products can expect more postings to come that includes more references to what was presented this week at HPTF!

New applications have the modern run-time environments they need, whether applications are coming from the Java world or from .NET – old applications are now accessed from modern client desktop environments as transparently as any newly ported application and all are running on NonStop! It doesn’t matter in the least – new or old, procedural or object, transaction server or application server, the tools are readily at hand these days to provide solutions on NonStop in as modern a fashion as on any other server.

In considering this topic, I was reminded of how HPTF called out the silos of servers, storage, communications and networking, security, and manageability. Five areas where over the years the community has seen each being developed with little integration with any of the others – yet today this is where HP is focusing much of its “converged infrastructure” efforts. Servers developed from a single blade package; TCP/IP networking; common storage products, and so on … everything based on open, industry standards!

Converge! Transform! Innovate! None attending HPTF will have left without this message having become deeply entrenched in their minds. None will miss the message of the importance of modernizing either. Where this all leads, and how quick we are to pick up on it, remains to be seen. There will certainly be those who elect to wait and see but many more will become transformation agents and will turn their IT departments into agents of change. Innovation, after all, is now no longer an option for business, but a requirement – market share goes to those who innovate, and the market capitalization of today’s corporations reflects on how innovative they are being viewed.

Roger Daltery sang on Wednesday, “we won’t be fooled again!” and I was thinking how successful HP was in their “Transform” efforts moving NonStop to common components and making it truly open. Partners, like comForte, were working for years toward the goal of modernizing the platform and seeing how much attention was given to modernization was perhaps the true highlight of the 2010 HPTF!

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