Sunday, January 22, 2012

A return to business as normal!

With the New Year comes speculation about HP, the NonStop Server and the
outlook for vendors including comForte. However the transformation of NonStop
will continue; users stay focused on modernization …

Welcome to the New Year, and while commentators and pundits have already expressed their opinions about what will happen, and even placed early bets on likely outcomes, at the very least, I have to believe it will prove interesting. When it comes to HP, rumors persist about a likely merger with SAP and then the spin-off of consumer products including PCs and printers, I just don’t hold out too much hope of this scenario developing any legs. It’s great for headlines, of course, but I suspect with CEO, Meg Whitman, now firmly entrenched at the helm of HP there will be considerably easing in possible big plays for the foreseeable future.

And what of HP’s prospects? Indeed, what of Whitman’s future? For someone who initially categorized Whitman’s elevation to the role of CEO as more or less a placeholder and a temporary assignment to give the board more time for a comprehensive look at who is available, I have changed my mind. To date, I see very little that I would reverse and the retention of Donatelli, Veghte and Zadak as direct reports following Ann Livermore’s elevation to a board position bodes well for NonStop – Martin Fink, the head of Business Critical Systems,
where the NonStop Enterprise Division lives, is but one degree of separation from Whitman.

What, too, of the prospects for NonStop? Will we see a greater role for NonStop emerge in the near term? Again, for someone who remains bullish on all matters NonStop, should HP establish its messages for 2012 with just cursory support for NonStop, then it may be all the product line needs. A quick check of the Server page on the HP web site brings up a page highlighting the need to “Accelerate Transformation” – build, consume, manage and secure cloud services for your organization’s needs. While I remain cautious about promising too much for cloud computing, it is relatively easy for me to see NonStop having a play even here, and 2012 may be the break-out year for NonStop in this respect.

The HP NonStop Server platform remains as relevant today as it always was – and this doesn’t represent anything new from me. Looking back at the post of December 27, 2011, “Taking a fall!” where I wrote at how, properly handling fault components is at the very root of what today we have as a NonStop Server, and from the earliest Tandem Computer there’s considerable history in terms of what today’s very modern NonStop Server accommodates … it’s just this very attention to detail and the experience gained from so many operational fault tolerant systems that continue to fuel NonStop Server’s relevance in today’s marketplace.

There’s just so much the NonStop Server of today can accommodate that there’s increasing acceptance of the platform not just for traditional OLTP workloads, but as a safe, secure repository of data – the ability of NS SQL/MX to support mixed workloads remains a tough act to compete against. Even if you are Oracle – could we soon see the SQL/MX “box” from NED, one, of a number of servers, within the data center?

In my last post of 2011 that appeared early this year as the post of January 6, 2012, “Feeling secure?” I observed how for many years NonStop has not been the sole server in the data center, nor has it been a complete vertical product offering satisfying all the needs of business as a turnkey solution. The days of a single product line satisfying all requirements are long over, and in fulfilling highly focused roles, usually in support of mission critical applications, NonStop servers connect with a diverse array of client and peer servers. There’s no alternative
to supporting standards in this new world and the NonStop community is fully aware of this development.

While I will leave for a later post further discussion about standards, the attention to detail in how NonStop provides continuous availability along with its transformation into a modern server utilizing common componentry and chipset shared among all of BCS, and supporting open services and interfaces has made choosing NonStop easier to justify than in the past. None of this has been lost on comForte who continue to pursue every opportunity to help modernize the applications – yes, even as there are modern NonStop Servers there remains many legacy applications.

“Our focus in 2012 will very much be on modernizing applications as well as modernizing infrastructure. There will always be a focus by comForte on security but assisting our customers with modernization projects remains a priority,” according to comForte marketing head, Thomas Gloerfeld. “This is not new nor should it surprise any of our customers and prospects and yet, even at a time when NonStop Servers are becoming more affordable than ever before, there are still many applications dependent on user interaction via ‘green screens’ and this we can easily rectify!”

HP will not be without its detractors and the ongoing debate over the relationship HP enjoys with Intel and in HPs support of Intel’s Itanium architecture, but there can be little doubt that the product lines continue to remain popular among many companies. NonStop will remain the premier product for mission critical applications where true 7 X 24 operations are mandatory. And the integration with the servers around it using standards and modern middleware and infrastructure will continue, and where the day of the “data center in a chassis” may not be too far away. Yes, it’s going to be a fun year to watch, and the early signs suggest that perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of all will simply be HP making a strong showing as it returns to business as normal!


  1. Yes, agreed. HP must catch up faster than the current pace at which its making developments. Probably, HP Integration with the Cloud Services will give an edge over others in Enterprise Servers Division.

  2. And what role would you see NonStop playing as part of HP's Cloud Services? I am particularly interested - there's quite a need for something like NonStop as an edge intruding into the Cloud - but inside the Cloud itself? Any thoughts?