Friday, August 10, 2012

Stuck in the past? Isn’t it time we took a good long look at what other NonStop users are doing?

For some within the community the past continues to be viewed through rose-tinted glasses. However, so much has changed and for the better that it’s time to redirect our focus to what’s happening now and the promise it heralds for the future …

Within the many commentaries posted to discussion groups, blogs and online forums it’s difficult to miss the references to how it used to be – reminiscing about a much earlier time in the history of NonStop. The implication of course is that today, we have lost something even as we continue to move forward, leveraging technology in ways we truly have benefited from. But seriously, who really wants to return to the days of dumb terminals interfacing to business logic written in machine code or assembler.

I have been seriously castigated for appearing not to be honoring the work done in former times by those who were actively engaged in pioneering much of what we have today on NonStop systems but again, isn’t it time to move on and look at what’s going on all around us? Just how many of us within the NonStop community are stuck in the past, preferring to revel in the good old days and to exchange cryptic anecdotes about how clever or innovative we had been, twenty to thirty years ago? How much longer will we be revered for having our eyes solely focused on what is behind us?

It’s almost as if, with the broad acceptance of industry standard and open solutions, we would prefer them to take a step backwards – sitting in the back seat if you like – dismissing much of what they provide today with the perspective of them being irrelevant for the NonStop community. This is far from reality, however, and as much as we harbor warm thoughts about what we did in the past, today’s very modern NonStop system provides a hugely superior platform to anything we could access all those years ago.

“Industry standards and open solutions remain important as the overriding concern for both IT and Business managers is costs and in adopting standards, those in management anticipate further cost reductions,” explained comForte CTO Thomas Burg. “There are a lot of new technologies, frameworks and architectures appearing in the marketplace - among them greater accommodation of mobile devices of all types, increasing support for unstructured data and its impact on big data, and of course, clouds. For the NonStop community, clouds may become very important but again, without embracing standards there could be some users left behind – it’s simply not the time to do nothing!”

At its most basic level, continuing to evolve communications to where applications all exploit just a single communications architecture, is among the most pressing prerequisites for greater engagement of NonStop with all that’s now beginning to appear in the marketplace. How can you possible leverage what’s new if you simply cannot connect to it? Getting to an all-IP networking infrastructure is key today and the success comForte is enjoying with the sales of uLinga is proof that being stuck in the past is not an option.

In the post of May 23, 2012, “
Wins! And more wins! I closed with the thought that there could even be wins for uLinga when it comes to embracing cloud computing – to many, just as the success of NonStop can be tied back to the ease with which IBM mainframe users could assign responsibility for ATMs, POSs, Kiosks, mobile phones, etc. to NonStop, perhaps too, with what NonStop has done with Pathway of late, IBM mainframe users could assign similar responsibilities for the cloud(s) to NonStop. Whether you believe there’s a role for NonStop front-ending (larger servers, including IBM mainframes) in this way or view this as back-ending NonStop and giving it access to resources otherwise too expensive to add to NonStop – it’s going to happen and as we have already seen, at least one major US bank running BASE24 and SQL/MX has already begun “testing the waters”.

In the coming months, I will be writing more posts on the uLinga family “members” being considered for inclusion within uLinga for Clouds – a direction that represents a quite logical extension of uLinga’s properties. After all, it’s now successfully replacing both SNAX and ICE with their legacy approaches to connecting to IBM mainframes and terminals but in so doing, bringing with it technology to better exploit IP networks – opening NonStop to greater engagement with new technologies, frameworks and architectures appearing in the marketplace that Burg referenced.

“Markets are determining what’s wining and what’s not,” suggested comForte’s head of marketing, Thomas Gloerfeld. “To be perfectly blunt, even as the expectations grow when it comes to embracing standards should you be still using legacy middleware such as SNAX or even ICE, the time may have come to consider why other users are opting out of continued dependence on SNAX and ICE and are embracing uLinga.” Yes, the first user to move off of SNAX and on to uLinga, justified the decision by moving to uLinga for EE and converting their network connections to run solely on the IP network that they standardized on.

I am sure commentaries and opinions will continue to be posted to discussion groups and blogs about how good things were in the past and I am fine with that in some cases. There’s always issues arising when we fail to recall what was done in former time – but what I don’t encourage is that we become slaves to the past. And it all seems rather pointless when today we have as many options open to us that let our NonStop systems better engage with what’s new – uLinga’s roadmap certainly is embracing what’s new and adding interfaces and services to better help with the transition.

We just cannot afford to do nothing and to be stuck in the past. After all we have options and alternatives and these are being embraced by many in the NonStop community – isn’t it time we turned our eyes back to what’s ahead of us?

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