Friday, July 22, 2011

Seeding Clouds; let it rain!

A presentation at HP Discover that really sparked the imagination was held late in the week - Session 3221, “NonStop and Linux combined”. If Clouds are in your future and your CIO is anxious for input, check out this post …

Being back in Boulder has reminded me in no uncertain a fashion that living right alongside a continental divide comes with a price. There has not been an evening without a dramatic thunderstorm rolling out of the hills and causing havoc among those caught in peak-hour traffic heading home. The rivers are over spilling their banks and local dams are full to the brim.

Yes, these continue to find their way into the mighty Missouri and Mississippi rivers – much to the consternation of the farmers whose land continues to lie flooded. And to think, it was only a year or so ago that there was talk of seeding clouds to make sure we had some rainfall.

There have been lots of discussions about Clouds of late, and it’s not just been weather-related. Among the NonStop community however, while it’s not quite like standing around waiting for the rain to fall, all the same there are expectations that the emergence of Cloud Computing will have a positive impact on the way NonStop Server platforms are viewed. There’s no escaping the headlines surrounding some of the more spectacular clouds’ failures and responsible CIOs everywhere are looking at exactly how best to integrate Cloud usage into the computer operations.

As HP Discover wound down, comForte CTO, Thomas Burg, in his post to this blog “HP DISCOVER 2011 - a very biased wrap-up” described a number of sessions that he attended and in general terms provided very positive feedback. In particular, one session (Session 3221, “NonStop and Linux combined”) held very late in the week, drew the observations from Burg of how it “was a very interesting session on how NonStop can be used as front-end for a cloud-based application, standing-in for the cloud when the cloud is down.”

Perhaps, just as compelling was the next observation Burg made, “like it or not, the NED is part of a much bigger Enterprise … headed by Dave Donatelli … (and) I find it both relevant and very good for NonStop that the platform is being mentioned when people responsible for these larger units speak.”

At a time when HP’s strategy is focused on Clouds, Mobility, and improving performance in the software business, HP still finds a place for NonStop. As Donatelli’s BCS head, Martin Fink, highlighted in his presentation earlier that week, “HP has a seamlessly integrated portfolio of products for your Mission Critical Converged Infrastructure including HP-UX 11i and NonStop.”

With what was presented later in the week, this seamless integration bodes well for a future of NonStop with Cloud Computing. This is not to say I am advocating a role for NonStop within the Cloud, although there may be very strong arguments put forward by some customers for doing so, but where there are Clouds constructed from commodity, mostly x86-based, servers then a future where applications running on NonStop can spill into Clouds, because they were deemed as low value, or because the resources needed to run the application on NonStop were exhausted, is a good thing for all involved.

As Burg walked into the meeting on “NonStp and Linux combined”, he told me later, his first thoughts were “this sounds like an interesting presentation, also the room is full so let’s see!” When it was over, he added, “finally (FINALLY) a vision from the NED which takes NonStop into the future of cloud computing. A tiny step so far, but certainly heading in the right direction. Also, this is not so much about technology (as nice as GuardianAngel is) – it is more about changing minds what NonStop can and should be used for.”

For middleware vendors, such as comForte, acceptance of this model embracing Clouds will certainly present new opportunities to all. Accessing the applications as services, operating across a mixture of traditional platforms as well as Clouds, and securing it all, are among just a few of the areas where customers will be turning to vendors for solutions. In the coming weeks, and as more information is provided by HP, this will get more thorough attention.

No matter where this now heads, the seeding of the Cloud has definitely begun. HP Discover unveiled a potentially ground-breaking solution and one that should meet the needs of many responsible CIOs. Watch for Cloudbursts and look for the GuardianAngel – heavy rains are forecasted for the future and I for one, have no issues with whatever rainfall is generated, 7 X 24!

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