Friday, October 29, 2010

Question time at CTUG!

In my previous post I wrote of how I was looking forward to attending the Fall Canadian Tandem User Group (CTUG) event held in the Toronto offices of HP. I was also going to pay attention to see how strongly the central message conveyed at the NonStop Symposium would be featured. And I have come away impressed on all counts.

The story of modernization continues to occupy center stage for the NonStop community, and it wasn’t diluted in any way at CTUG. NonStop today is a very modern platform. While its ability to support Java is widely known, perhaps the support today of .Net applications on NonStop that’s been provided by solutions vendor AJB Canada takes NonStop even further into marketplaces predominantly populated by better known platforms from their rivals.

While I address the subject of the final Q & A session in my post to the Real Time View, I only cover part of the response. The question that caught my attention had three parts – “what was the key product / service that most benefited NonStop; what could have been done better; and what were the challenges that lay ahead for NonStop?” Randy Meyer was given the microphone, and he suggested that “the original architecture of NonStop, as it was expressed in the mid ‘70s,” was not just the key product developed but key to all else that followed for Tandem Computers.

Perhaps his next answer shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone in the audience and I thought it was a realistic assessment of an almost-missed opportunity. “NonStop could have gone to commoditization a lot sooner,” Randy suggested and acknowledging, to all present, that perhaps NonStop held onto proprietary technologies and architectures a little too long.

It was Randy’s response to the third question that has really caught my attention and ignited my passions, perhaps more strongly than anything else I’ve heard this year. “Accommodating dynamic shift in demand,” Randy started out as he explained that, as commoditzation takes HP along a path where processor packaging (e.g. Blades) will begin to look the same, and the mix of platforms operational at any one time (in response to the business environment) may differ from one day to the next and potentially even from one hour to the next. HP’s customers will be demanding new infrastructure that helps them implement ways to account for (and ultimately pay for) just the mix of platforms that is being used for any given period.

As a user event, CTUG was very well run and in many ways gave me the impression that it lent itself to becoming a model for how major regional events should be held in the future. As I can’t see HP returning to ITUG-style summits, CTUG demonstrated for me how to hold a good user event and I have to believe, across the globe, we are going to see even more events like this. I see nothing wrong with this eventuality and, indeed, look forward to becoming even more involved as similar programs gain traction with other regional groups!

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