Thursday, February 17, 2011

Learning something new!

As a community, we participate in webinars and we take advantage of time spent with the engineers developing new products! And yet how important this is for both parties as they can lead to unexpected results!

One of my cars now has the vanity license plate, ULINGA. You may recall in the post to Real Time View on October 8th, 2010, “Remove the Warnings!” I wrote of having purchased the plates and today, anyone driving through the western United States may glimpse a momentary flash as the car flies by!

This week I was reminded that my explanation concerning the meaning of uLinga was incorrect – during a recent webinar on uLinga I explained that uLinga was an Australian Aboriginal word meaning “to go really fast!” However, its true meaning is “to fly!” Not sure how I made the transition but when it comes to data communications, watching the data fly by is consistent with what network managers look for, I suspect.

Talking of webinars, and their ability to open a direct line of communication between vendors and prospective and current users, I find the benefit in participating goes both ways. While it does depend on the makeup of the audience and how comfortable they are with the medium, the more questions that are forthcoming, the more the presentation targets real user needs. And it never surprises me that those who are the presenters hear of potential new requirements that otherwise could have escaped their attention.

One of the objectives of webinars is to educate the wider user community about the potential benefits of a new product or feature. Often the desired outcome is the transition to a Proof of Concept (PoC) where a user can get to check out the maturity of the implementation and validate its suitability within their environment. In this instance, when it comes to comForte and the work that’s being done by Infrasoft with the uLinga product suite, progressing to a PoC is not unexpected.

Emerging technology, such as is the case with uLinga this early in its lifecycle, almost always presupposes that a PoC will be pursued. Yet, for any technology community and, in this case, when it comes to the NonStop community, when presented with a new infrastructure solution from a well-respected vendor, they are always open to learning something new!
More importantly, learning something new goes both ways!

During the most recent uLinga webinar a question was raised, that at the time appeared tangential to the general discussion, and yet it holds the potential to take uLinga into an adjacent, and yet quite complementary marketplace. While there’s still work to be done to fully validate the opportunity, it’s only being pursued as a result of a user asking a perfectly good question!

Neither the user nor the vendor community should ever be backwards in asking questions, nor should either side turn away from suggestions or proposals, and over the years I have seen this many times among the NonStop community. It is a testament to the amount of resources, globally, that continue to be invested in the NonStop platform and of the new and innovative ways to deploy NonStop and connect it with the rest of the enterprise.

There’s more webinars to follow from comForte and I am sure the mix of participants will vary as the many products on offer from comForte are addressed.

If my most recent experience is any indication of what may follow then yes, I encourage everyone in the community to maintain an open, inquisitive mind, and participate in as many of them as they find the time!

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