Tandemworld eNewsletter Special Edition December 2009


Real Time View - A Running Commentary
December, 09

The opinions expressed here are solely
those of the now self-employed author  

Last month I referenced autumn and talked about it being the season to buy. After relaxing all summer, the fall season has become the time to look at new product offerings as newspaper advertisements are liberally sprinkled with features of cars, boats and next years latest must-visit vacation spot! Everywhere we turn, we are told of the latest fashion and the hottest new trend! And nothing is spared, even in these harsh economic times, to lure us into “joining the crowd” doing one thing or another.

However, winter has arrived full-on, on both sides of the Atlantic, with newspapers headlines highlighting winters chilling impact on us all. From one London paper has came the headline, as snow fell in London, “Britain was plunged into travel chaos yesterday as the big freeze crippled roads, railways and airports up and down the land.” This weekend, and not to be outdone, headlines appearing in one American newspaper reported “a fierce weekend storm that dropped record snowfall and stranded travelers up the coast from Virginia to New England!” As I ride out these winter storms, it gives me time to look back at the events of the past year – and what headlines they have generated as well!

Oracle buying Sun! Like many others involved with IT, I knew Sun was in a difficult situation and that the company was digging a financial hole for itself. First it was IBM who courted Sun, but they reduced their offer price having looked a little deeper into Sun’s financials, only to have Sun reject their revised offer. Then it was Oracle’s turn, and while there was some logic to the moves from IBM, the sudden arrival of Oracle, a software vendor, as a contender didn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense - particularly as Oracle had developed such strong ties to IBM and to HP! But after years of talking up the merits of grid computing followed by the quick and dramatic success it had with reselling HP Unix servers as part of its Exadata EDW / BI solution (and talking up the value of real time operational BI), Oracle apparently wants it all!

All the while, Cisco was championing its vision for the future that strongly pushed cloud computing, as well as the eventual convergence of server and networking technology – a position at odds with the role many in IT had envisioned for Cisco. But selling routers wasn’t the only thing Cisco wanted to do (and indeed, they were talking less these days of routers) and focus more on convergence and integration – every device, starting in the data center but rippling throughout the enterprise, will be an IP device and Cisco will be providing the means of integrating it all.

“Our technology vision for Cisco starts with the customer – to lead market transitions with customer-centric systems, solutions and architectures,” was the message from Padmasree Warrior, Cisco’s CTO. He then went on to explain “our strategy to achieve this vision is to anticipate and create market disruptions, deliver the next generation Internet for Collaboration, Virtualization and Video”. A well-articulated vision, for a networking company, but what will their traditional partners in the server business make of it all? IBM has to feel a little embarrassed by all of this, having essentially sold its own IP to Cisco a few years back, but it didn’t take long to find out how HP would respond when only a few months later it took the decision to purchase 3COM.

For the HP NonStop community these announcements didn’t go unnoticed. For the past couple of years, Oracle had been strongly talking up grid computing, but of late, Oracle had been pushing for virtualization and wanted more of a say in what’s happening in Java. For many years, Cisco has had a major voice in virtualization and, like Oracle, could see the world adopting a services approach to externalizing the interfaces to applications. But with the winter storms and necessity to spend time indoors, I went back through my notes and presentations and began to take a deeper look at these hot new trends!

Last year, and I think it was while at SATUG, I had lengthy conversations with a HP NonStop executive over the messages NonStop should be developing as it looks to enter a new decade. It was a few weeks later that he emailed me a powerpoint slide with the heading “the hot new trends in computing ….” I had asked him whether he could share it with me, and as I looked back over 2009 the bullet points it contained seemed to carry an even stronger message, so I have listed them below:

“Real-time computing … NonStop since 1976 (NonStop I)”

While many argue over the true definition of “real time” and link it to former military applications, today I relate most to the definition  that can be found in the IEEE Standard Dictionary, Sixth Edition (John Wiley, 1996), “an event or data transfer in which, unless accomplished within an allotted amount of time, the accomplishment of the action has either no value or diminishing value … ” When viewed in the context of a number of market segments, for instance, like financial services, retail, healthcare, telco, etc. in the context of the IEEE Standard Dictionary definition, the NonStop server has been providing real time support for all of its 35 years of existence!

“Virtualization … NonStop since 1980 (NonStop OS, Pathway)”

I have always considered IBM’s Virtual Machine (VM) hypervisor, providing us with the first virtualized computing environment and the ability to carve up the resources on early mainframes, as a great way to utilize the rapidly improving CPU power. But with the arrival of Pathway working in combination with the NonStop OS, transactional solutions developed for the NonStop could run on 2 or more CPU’s without any knowledge of the underlying CPU and OS instance. Perhaps, it’s too late to alter perceptions, but this advent gave NonStop virtualization capabilities well before the L/U/W crowd even knew how to spell hypervisor!

“Service-oriented Architectures …. NonStop since 1980 (Pathway)”

As someone who has been close to solutions provided on NonStop in support of SOA and who has been a strong advocate for SOA for many years, the inclusion of this trend on the list at first surprised me. But providing a requestor / server model in support of online transactions, and allowing a degree of independence one of the other, can be viewed as one model (and a successful one, too) for addressing the needs for a services approach. It took the arrival of the Internet to drive through standards – but the ease with which many users have successfully pulled requestor’s from the platform and redeployed on intelligent clients, while inserting modern standards into the interfaces, presents a very strong argument that indeed, with this architecture, Pathway was a valid early entrant into the SOA marketplace.

“Grid  computing … NonStop since 1982 (Fox, ServerNet)”

 Agree, absolutely! Unfortunately, I am sure folks like Larry Ellison over at Oracle will choke on the morning Latte at the thought that NonStop pioneered this marketplace! But in truth, the combination of any mix of NonStop servers of any vintage (as was often the case) into a massive, mulit-processor, “array” with no limits on the geography gave us server complexes with essentially no practical upside limits. You could make them as big as you wanted! And today, users like KDDI, as well as some government agencies we can only refer to in “hushed tones,” deploy systems well past the hundreds!

Yes, it’s winter and yes, it has me house-bound and out of the cold that comes at this time of year. Yes, it’s a time to look back at what has happened through the year and to begin to look at the prospects and opportunities for next year, and the next decade. The major vendors have a lot on their plates and time will tell if they can execute on the strategies they have devised.

As for me, however, I am pleased to know that I have been associated with a group of IT professionals engaged in some of the hottest new trends for nearly three decades! I can only hope that the tradition of NonStop and the equally disruptive innovation that it generates will continue for many more decades to come …

And on that note, I wish you all everywhere the very best for the holiday season and look forward to interacting with you in the New Year!

Richard Buckle

Founder and CEO

Pyalla Technologies, LLC




Real Time View blog:             http://real-time-view.blogspot.com

Buckle-Up blog:                      www.buckle-up-travel.blogspot.com

LinkedIn - Real Time View user group:    http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1878133&trk=hb_side_g

LinkedIn - Pyalla Technologies User Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2396887&trk=hb_side_g

Pyalla Technologies:                  http://www.pyalla-technologies.com/

InFrasoft:                                  http://www.infrasoft.com.au/news.html#PyallaJoin

Twitter:                                    RichardKBuckle

New Customer Case Study From NuWave Technologies

A government agency deployed an application called the Maintenance Management System (MMS) at 23 geographically distributed facilities.

The NonStop Server that housed the application was lacking one key design element: a true distributed database - each of the 23 MMS sites maintained a separate database instance.

Read more at http://www.nuwave-tech.com/ODSstory.

Join Availability Digest Online for a LinkedIn Discussion

Although active/active systems have existed for some time, there remains disagreement as to what active/active really means.  To us at the Availability Digest, the term is synonymous with continuous availability.  An active/active system can recover so fast from a fault that no one notices there has been an outage.  Our “Continuous Availability Forum” LinkedIn group was established to gather additional input on the definition of active/active and on the categorization of various active/active architectures.  Since the forum’s inception just a week ago, we’ve already attracted over 50 members.  The forum is open to anyone interested in the subject matter.  Please join in the discussion.      

http://www.linkedin.com/groupsDirectory?results=&sik=1260921605283&pplSearchOrigin=GLHD&keywords=continuous+availability+forum   If this link doesn’t work for you, search on Continuous Availability Forum under “Groups” in LinkedIn.

Also in the December Digest:

·        Our Case Studies article focuses on the real-time fraud detection system of a major provider of card transaction switching services. 

·        Air traffic in the United States was disrupted on November 19th when the Federal Aviation Agency’s (FAA) automated flight-plan system went down for three hours and caused a backlog of aircraft waiting for take-off clearances.  This Never Again feature highlights the FAA’s ongoing availability woes that, minus funding for upgrades, continue to hamper an aging air traffic control system.  

·        The Standish Group’s article, “Megaplex: An Odyssey of Innovation,” examines the impact that Tandem, or NonStop, systems have had on the industry throughout the last 35 years. 

The Digest is free online and focuses on continuous processing architectures, with particular attention given to active/active technology. www.availabilitydigest.com 






+44 (0) 20 8304 7979

To enquire about Sponsorship opportunities for the Tandemworld eNewsletter please click here.

Our company, Nonstop World (Tandemworld) Ltd, accepts no liability for the content of this email, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.
To Unsubscribe or Change your Subscription Please click here                                                                                                                                                           Top