Friday, January 7, 2011

Watch out – they’re passing us!

Change continues to run rampant as younger generations of IT professionals turn to tools that they have grown up with, much to the consternation of their elders. And there’s no stopping them; this is good for NonStop!

It was during a routine call with Thomas Gloerfeld this week that the certainty of change really hit home. Thomas, who heads marketing for comForte, expressed his belief that no matter what we (the NonStop vendor community) pursue, then even as they work on NonStop young techies are already all-over the latest technology, whether Microsoft or Apple.

These young people face fierce competition, not so much from the established, often grey-haired, veterans of the industry, but from the kids that are now in grade school, that are already their peers about a decade earlier than any of us could have expected.

According to a story I came across last week, a 3 year old was taken aback when, given a printed photograph, he couldn’t make it zoom out when he stretched his fingers over it. Perhaps even worse, an older marketing executive, anxious to improve their skills, attended graduate school for marketing in the digital era, and was perplexed when none of the other participants responded to emails. Turns out, among the group of twenty-something, email is so twentieth century and communications happens via texting, tweets, and facebook posts!

There’s a lot of buzz at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that follows a similar tack. According to a special report to CNBC.com by reporter John Moore, “Mobility has been the key driver behind products like smartphones and the iPad. Consumers want much of the functionality they get with a PC when they’re on the go, but with more user-friendly touches.”

I am seeing this first hand now that I have my iPad. But what I found a little more illuminating was Moore’s quote of Sara Rotman Epps, a Forrester analyst, as she observed that “there are a lot of ways PCs are changing that’s influenced by phones and tablets. Consumers are expecting an instant-on and always-on experience from their devices.”

I think it’s great to see that we have a younger generation coming up through the ranks where the instant nature of a PC’s access to information is as expected as we once only demanded of telephones. And innovate, this younger generation will surely do! Yet it takes a heck of a lot of technology behind the curtain to assure that what’s expected can be delivered. Only this week we have seen LinkedIn taken down, Skype go off the air, and according to a colleague of mine, soon to IPO Intuit beginning to sense that there’s better things they should be doing to address availability!

John Moore’s final observation about the opportunity this provides the major vendors included a quote of Shaw Wu, an analyst with Kaufman Bros. where he suggested “the difference with HP is they can benefit from a lot of these trends. All this content that everyone accesses through their notebooks, smartphones and tablets has to be stored and processed in the data center. HP is the Number One player in terms of infrastructure, and they’re going to take more share in the data center.”

It would be reassuring to many of us that NonStop would be a part of this as HP executes, but then again, for all those who saw Martin Fink pull the covers away from the Superdome2 box last year, there nestled in the blade cabinet were tow NonStop blades – and I have to believe as Fink continues to push for polymorphic computing, future uptime will directly correlate to just how many NonStop blades have been plugged into the box! And for that scenario, many of us will be extremely thankful!

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