Monday, June 11, 2012

Familiar territory; the view from this year’s HP Discover!

Back from HP Discover 2012 with impressions still fresh in my mind, I can recall many things that were positive for those participants from the NonStop community …

It was a long drive home; the RV doesn’t quite chalk up the miles as quickly as any of our other cars. But having all the trappings of home nearby, as MasterCard so often remind us, priceless! HP did a fantastic job of looking after the bloggers present for HP Discover and ensured we have really good rooms in the Venetian, but even so, it was good to be back familiar surroundings and the slow drive home didn’t hurt us one bit.

Surprises? Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was just how many members of the NonStop community made it to Las Vegas when for many months, after talking to many within the NonStop user community, I wasn’t all that sure what to expect. But turn out, and in big numbers, was encouraging. For the joint presentation by Ric Lewis and Randy Meyer, there were some 300 in the room and it wasn’t overstaffed with HP folks either – there were many familiar faces to be seen.

I had been aware that there would be three vendor booths aligned along a wall and facing the NonStop display of HP – under the banner of Mission Critical. But what I hadn’t fully anticipated were the twelve solutions vendors’ booths (OK, a couple of additional middleware vendors could be seen as well) with strong support for the Financial Industry clearly on display. And yes, even ACI had returned to be seen as an active supporter of NonStop and I was encouraged by this as well – nothing like familiar products to grace the exhibition.

comForte were present with a booth along the rear wall and it was well visited. And they also supported Kathy Wood and the other vendors when they threw a NonStop Vendor Reception. Separately, comForte held a dinner for invited guests to the Palazzo restaurant, the Dal Toro Ristorante – not in the restaurant proper, but on the floor of the auto exhibition where guests were seated amongst exotic cars – an Aston Martin, a Ferrari, a Porsche among the cars we could all check out - up close and personal – and perhaps examples of cars we would like to be even more familiar with, if we could, that is!

But comForte wasn’t providing just a social experience at Del Toro as, following dinner and standing alongside the Porsche, comForte CTO Thomas Burg spoke briefly on two topics - firstly, that without proper funding your PCI initiative on NonStop WILL FAIL, whatever vendors you work with - more on this can be found in the earlier post "Nightmare on PCI street" - and then secondly about NonStop 6530 access from any modern device, including iPads, which I already covered more than once in several recent blog postings.

Critical messages coming from HP? With Meg Whitman the message was “Make it Matter” and a rather timely reinforcement of sentiments already expressed by others at the event. It’s a small, perhaps trivial observation but every HP employee carried new business cards, all consistent (for the first time) with the reverse side printed in HP blue with the message, “Make it Matter.” Well, almost all – but it’s a good start as in the past, not everyone fully supported HP’s vision.

For HP in the coming months, they must make it matter for themselves as much as they express this same sentiment to their community of customers and vendors. From Dave Donatelli, Executive VP and General Manager, Enterprise Group (formerly ESS&N), we were given the message “Redefining the Server” where Donatelli championed how when it comes to HP and his group, “our vision for the industry where HP leads (is) about convergence. The theme of convergence, our vision – taking us to the clouds – will become a reality!”

But as I have noted in other postings made while the event was under way, it was in the presentation on Project Odyssey given by Martin Fink (and supported by a panel of participants and experts) where Fink showed a slide that stated HP BCS "Will Advance HP Integrity / HP-UX / NonStop as mission-critical design center” leaving out a couple of well-known platforms and OS’s but then again, nothing is by accident when it comes to this level of presentation! And all good news for the NonStop community to see evidence of full inclusion once again.

In subsequent conversations with comForte’s Burg I asked him about the event’s highlights for him, personally, and it came back to just two things – how frequently NonStop was referenced at this year’s event and just how many more NonStop participants there were when compared to last year.

“The presence of NonStop was far more noticeable – the exhibition floor-space devoted to NonStop was a little bit bigger – and the accessibility to NonStop executives was even better,” Burg told me. “All up, for vendors it was very encouraging and as for the roadmap presentations? Full of enthusiasm as timelines supported a continuing investment in NonStop.

At the top of this post I wrote of how enjoyable it was to be in familiar surroundings and then of the pleasure seeing familiar faces again. I also wrote of how encouraging it is to be among familiar products. Yes, familiarity is a very positive sign when all else seems to be changing.

For many within the NonStop community, the transition from our previous user-group events to big-tent marketing events such as is now the case with HP Discover were unfamiliar territory. Fortunately, with the acceptance and support from key vendors including comForte, familiarity is returning and for that, I have to believe the NonStop community is particularly thankful.

Tangible support for the platform we rely on within the very heart of our mission-critical applications, for many of us, will not be changing any time soon and it is with a degree of relief to see if so prominently displayed and talked about with such passion after so many years of uncertainty and for that, putting up with the heat of Las Vegas certainly made the event worthwhile for many of us. 

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