Thursday, March 17, 2011

Clouds, but with strings attached! Or not?

HP’s CEO unveiled HPs strategy and already there’s been considerable press. Check out how one approach to addressing rebalancing the maintenance – innovation ratio may involve greater dependence on clouds and mobile devices!

It’s becoming almost impossible to escape newspaper articles about mobility, the latest wireless device, and the storm being kicked up by those competing in the tablet PC marketplace. I have touched on this before – ever since getting my iPad – but its impact is being felt more widely than I had expected.

This week, there’s been a couple of milestones reached – firstly, the very latest in mobility devices, the iPad 2, begun shipping only a few weeks after its dramatic launch at the hands of Steve Jobs, and just this Monday, March 14, HP’s CEO Leo Apotheker unveiled his much-heralded strategy for HP: a key element of the HP Strategy suggesting that “the cloud is combining with mobility to create ubiquitous connectivity!”

This follows an earlier observation on how “traditional on-premises, proprietary computing resources are gradually being complemented and even replaced by the massive, agile and open computing resources of the cloud!”

I will cover some of this ground in my next commentary feature in the Tandemworld.Net eNewsletter, so I don’t plan repeating myself here, but I wanted to call out one phrase that found its way into the HP Press Release of March 14, 2011, quoted above, that being the reference to clouds combined with mobility!

For the comForte user community, much of the business relationship over the years has centered on superior connectivity options. This has its origins in the very early days of comForte when its first products included MR-Win6530 as it peeled away from ACI. Emulating terminals, as well as enhancing the user-experience by exploiting the power of the workstation or PC, has been their forte!

So it shouldn’t come as any surprise to comForte customers that support of mobile devices, including several of the latest tablet PC’s, is seen as a welcome opportunity among comForte’s product managers and architects. “Supporting new mobile devices such as the iPad will be a nearly trivial addition to our product set”, says Thomas Burg, comForte’s CTO. “Some of our products will support this out of the box while others will support it with only minor modifications. We are already successfully running an iPad proof of concept for a demo Pathway block-mode application”.

Too early to be specific, of course, but there’s opportunity aplenty, as we would have said in former times!

Whether the iPad2 makes even deeper inroads into the corporate world remains to be seen but following the announcement by HP of the TouchPad, competition is definitely heating up. According to USA Today, a widely read American tabloid, where this morning’s main feature headlined speculates over “Android ‘poised to fail’ vs iPads” – a surprise for many who thought the tablet PC’s based on Google’s Android operating system would fare a lot better.

Not so, according to journalist Scott Martin, “this is about price, retail channel, and it’s about brand marketing. Apple’s competitors really have to step it up in those areas to contend.” Good news for HP, perhaps, comes by way of a quote from Forrester that found tablet PC shoppers would likely pick PC brands over mobile – with Apple topping the list, followed by Dell, Microsoft and (yet to ship) HP.

Putting the newspapers to one side and just going back through emails and posts on the topic of cloud confirms to me that we are definitely heading towards a new world. I neither rule out a role for NonStop within the cloud nor do I concede that the ecosystem of NonStop vendors will play a major role in helping users achieve such a blend of Cloud and Mobility. Looking further back into the history of NonStop, after all it was the arrival of these fancy new devices that we went on to be called ATMs that laid the foundation for Tandem’s fame!

While HP’s CEO Leo Apotheker may have surprised industry and market analysts, there was little in his strategy for HP promoting HP’s intent to “lead in (the) connected world of servers, solutions and technologies” that surprised those more familiar with HP’s product roadmaps. As for me, and the users and vendors I stay close to, we are hoping the execution runs smoothly as it will be those vendors with a history in connectivity that have the best shot at providing the much-needed solutions all users will be looking for as clouds shed their strings and we all adopt to working in an untethered world!

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