Saturday, January 19, 2013

The future of NonStop looks bright – but how can YOU promote the platform?

We would all like to see the message of NonStop promoted more strongly, perhaps even in advertisements. Failing that, however, it’s still very important for all us to champion NonStop and to ensure it plays a part in the many new initiatives we pursue.
I have only been back in my Boulder office a few days and already the year seems to be quickly slipping by – my email inbox is a constant reminder that earlier thoughts of starting out the year slowly is clearly now little more than a fading memory. The economy seems to be picking up but it’s not the same as it once was – expectations are now a lot different. We have become more demanding. Our collective patience, as we wait for others to step in and help out, seems long gone. The number of folks thinking about different solutions to even the most basic of business problems seems to be escalating.

I have just returned from a trip to California – with a few days set aside to enjoy the New Year festivities the trip was mostly business. However, I did get the opportunity to spend time in Palo Alto and to visit with NonStop developers. Every time I walk into the cavernous new home of NonStop, casting an eye across the endless rows of quad-pods that seem to be in vogue these days, I can’t help wondering about the big picture. What’s NonStop up to these days and will there be new and exciting use-case scenarios as NonStop customers take on new business opportunities?

Of course, I wonder about this with every visit as I continue to remain optimistic about the future of NonStop (a reoccurring theme of postings I have made to this, and other blog sites), but every now and then, I do pick up on something that I find encouraging. Sure, it would be good if HP exhibited a little more enthusiasm for NonStop in public, but I will settle for the gradual inclusion of NonStop in more of HP’s presentation. Slowly but surely, other groups within HP are coming to the realization that NonStop isn’t going to go away and that among blue-ribbon, Fortune 500 companies, NonStop remains a force to be reckoned with.

In browsing through recent presentations with customer quotes, including those of solutions vendors working closely with HP, I came across the expression “Messaging Service = Public Infrastructure” followed by “mobile message services providing continuous operation (becomes) society infrastructure” and then a little later, given these two observations, the reason “why NonStop Server”! In other words, for this NonStop user – critical, always-on, infrastructure needs NonStop! Too often I use the expression infrastructure when it is associated with a particular system or server and forget about there being a world out there where infrastructure means so much more. It’s the trains and busses we rely on, the transportation of goods around the globe; it’s the many arterial highways and byways that connect us all. And today, we expect them to be operating 24 X 7 despite whatever – natural disasters and the like.

During a Skype call this week with comForte marketing head, Thomas Gloerfeld, he remarked of how, “looking around the home at just home many appliances and devices we have, they always seem to work; they are definitely commodity items but we have become attuned to the fact that it is normal for things to just work. And yet, as we read the papers we see major outages of Cloud services, Stock Exchanges and even airline reservation systems we begin to wonder, why? Surely, everything should just work! The world we all live in has become a very client-centric world, where whatever it is we have in our hands we rely on to keep us informed. Whether it’s about our family, our work or our entertainment, it’s all right there – easily accessible from a very small device we can carry in our hands.”

I have been called upon of late to provide commentary about the significance of HP CEO, Meg Whitman’s, observations that she conveyed at HP Discover 2012. Whitman stated that we have “had the shift from C/S to Internet; Web 1.0 to Web2.0 and now, Clouds, Social, Mobile and Big Data (that) are all contributing to further shifts in the tectonic plates underpinning IT. This is changing the model for IT and how technology is being consumed.” For me, the more I have discussed this with the NonStop community, the more I see this being a strong indictment that our infrastructure is changing. Maybe not infrastructure such as power, water and phone services, but equally as significant – and it should be making us think a lot more about the opportunities for NonStop. Yes, public infrastructure such as we depend upon, now needs NonStop.

“With our long history of providing access to NonStop servers with whatever client device our customers choose – from the time PCs first arrived to where today, anything with a browser and support of HTML5 protocols are supported – we have made it possible for comForte customers to have continuous and seamless access to NonStop applications,” Gloerfeld then noted. “Looking to what may happen in 2013 I can only see the demand for even greater access from ‘who-knows-what will show up and prove popular’ client devices continuing and yes, we enjoy a strong relationship with lot of people in the NonStop community worldwide so we are well positioned to be among the very first to be exposed to such needs.”

There will be no let up among folks looking at creative ways to address business problems just as there’s no lock on how best to interface with users. Our patience may wear thin on occasion, but overall we all appreciate the new tools we have in our hands and the freedom and flexibility they provide. “Once you get past the being just another ‘channel’ and a source of even more transactions,” Gloerfeld acknowledged, “you just have to see a continued role for NonStop even as HP steps up to address mobility, social media, Big Data and Clouds and with that I have a strong sense that we are really in the right place as a vendor.”

The year has a long way to go and much will change I imagine. However, I have to agree with Gloerfeld on one point – transaction volumes will go up as global infrastructures continue to be expanded and with that, the usage of NonStop can only go one way. And that’s up; demand for the attributes of NonStop will escalate! About that, I have few reservations.


  1. To expand NonStop opportunities, what is being done to make the platform -
    A. strategic
    B. included in Enterprise Standardization initiatives
    C. better positioned in new corporate projects

  2. There are niches and submarkets where NonStop, together with solutions vendors, where NonStop excels. When it comes to being viewed as Strategic I suspect within HP, NonStop will only ever "selectively" wear the Strategic mantel ... and even then, on a deal by deal, basis.

    HP today is a portfolio company with many products vying for “top dog” status but when it comes to strategic, we continually have to ask ourselves the bigger question – strategic for whom? For the customers? For the partners? For HP? And my answer will continue to be – depends! Not that I am lacking in faith when it comes to the potential for NonStop but rather, this really comes down to the commitments being made to support NonStop at the Geo and Regional levels. Essentially, a “local office” issue for the most part when it comes to “execution”.

    With respect to seeing NonStop better positioned in enterprise “Standardization Initiatives” as well as being better positioned in “new, corporate initiatives” again, in my opinion, this is very much a bottom’s up item – not something where decrees out of Palo Alto will achieve all that much; for many within HP who go back to the pre-Compaq era, NonStop remains “the enemy” and we need to cycle past that.

    This is why I continue to champion that much of the marketing outreach falls on our shoulders. And I don’t see anything lessening the need for us to be vocal transpiring (within HP) in the near future. Sure would be nice to see a Gartner chart on OLTP featuring NonStop, for instance, just as it would be nice to see a customer testimonial in Fortune Magazine, Forbes, CIO or just the WSJ – but we shouldn’t hold our collective breath. NonStop addresses specific business unit needs within a submarket and in doing so, proves to be the best product around – so let’s keep promoting this to every audience we come across!