Sunday, October 23, 2011

Steps that count!

Returning to the topic of modernization and the steps required in making the journey, there’s a recognition that from a vendor’s perspective, help can come in just a couple of areas that will make a lot of difference …

Having driven 3,300 miles on a circuitous route through the eastern half of the United States I have had the good fortune of seeing much of what makes this country truly America the Beautiful! From driving through the prairies as crops were being harvested to the wooded forests of the Smokey Mountains where ponds and lakes emerging from among thickly forested hills continued to draw vacationers to the first winter’s frosts arriving in the Ozarks - it was quite a journey.

The occasion that had drawn me east had been an association event and while not related to anything in the IT industry (being medical research), the sense of community wasn’t hard to miss and it brought back fond memories from a time when NonStop met. Yes, we are heading into a period where there will be regional user group meetings in various countries and with InNUG still fresh in my memories I only wish I could attend more of them. As I look to 2012 it will become a priority for me and I will try to find time to participate in as many as I can, but for many within the community staying in touch with NonStop and keeping abreast of the changes has been quite a journey too!

It was only a few weeks ago that I wrote the post “Call to modernize – many steps!” where I concluded with the remark on how these steps will be subject to separate posts, as each represents opportunities to leverage products, capabilities and services from comForte, and as a community NonStop users need to be fully aware of the options that exist. In the post I had identified four steps that I said lent themselves to being viewed as prerequisites when embarking on the journey of modernization, even as I noted that there were no hard and fast rules associated with progressing along the journey’s pathway.

However, in the subsequent weeks and following a number of discussions with comForte’s management, it became clear to us that when it comes to the modernization journey, the steps required could be further reduced to where there’s just the need to modernize the infrastructure as well as the need to modernize the applications. This covers everything from the servers to the networks to the solutions supported. And there’s the need of course to stay current with security offerings that impact all participants within an enterprise’s server environments.

When it comes to infrastructure the most important element from my perspective has always been the network as this is where I have worked for many decades and where change continues to be visible. Bandwidths continue to rise, client devices continue to proliferate, transactions are expanding and becoming richer, and the need to “Play well with others” remains paramount. No platform vendor could withstand the market pushback should they elect to go it alone and demand support for a unique networking protocol. Those days are clearly behind us. And yet, there are still many enterprises that put their transactions through all sorts of hoops as they pass information from one server platform to another.

Languages, frameworks, containers and virtual machines, as well as database technologies remain critical elements of infrastructure and each of us has our preferences. Any time spent pursuing discussion groups, online forums and blogs doesn’t leave any doubt that these areas attract the more passionate among our community. Yet it is often the mix of infrastructure in place that determines which enterprise data center is stable and productive and which is not – there are clearly those CIOs with a good “modernization GPS” helping them along their journey.

comForte continues to invest in solutions to help modernizing the infrastructure and just returning briefly to the issue of modernizing the network and empowering the NonStop Server to play better with others, decisions have been made by customers to purchase the most recent addition to the comForte product portfolio, uLinga (from InfraSoft), even as others have concluded successful Proof of Concepts (PoCs) and are transitioning to pilots and full deployment.

“We still have much to do, with plenty of enhancement requests coming from our customers and PoCs as well as ideas for additional uLinga product family ‘members’. We hope to be able to talk more about these enhancements and product ideas shortly,” suggested Infrasoft Managing Director Peter Shell, “but we are truly excited by the response to date and with how quickly users are going into production with uLinga." What these successes have done is allowed the uLinga product family to address even more networking issues and, in the coming months, comForte in partnership with Infrasoft, will be taking the wraps of these enhancements and new family members!

It’s good to have completed the journey, as I have now done after spending a little more than a week on the road, just as it’s good to continue the journey with the NonStop user community as meetings and events continue to be held. But it’s every bit as pleasing to see new products succeed and with that success, drive the development of even more new capabilities and features. It’s now the start of a new year for some companies, including comForte, and as the journeys of many enterprises continue drawing in more companies with the passing of each year, it’s good to know that vendors are showing no signs of letting up on helping with each step along the path!

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