It is hard to have a conversation today where the word hybrid does not come up. You may be interested in cars and wonder whether your next vehicle should be a Plug-In Hybrid or better still, a pure Plug-In Electric. For countries like Australia, Canada, and the US the distances out west (in all cases) tend to favor those vehicles that come with some form of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) as the charge station infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired.
We have known of hybrid diesel-electric power trains that drive trains and of late, cruise ships. We have also known of the hybrid grains that farmers sow each year even as we know that animal breeding programs have led to hybrid stock – those that provide meat even as access to feed and water diminishes. One such hybrid example that, to be honest, intrigued me is the hybrid bison and cow, otherwise known as the beefalo!
However, it is in the technology arena where concept of hybrids is being raised far more frequently. Long gone are the days when enterprises committed to just a single vendor and long gone too are the days where enterprises ran infrastructure entirely by themselves or outsourced it all, as today we have a mixture in both instances. For the NonStop user for much of the NonStop systems existence it’s been about hybrid deployments. Whether front-ending an IBM or even Unisys mainframe or simply passing messages back and forth to a Unix server, NonStop systems rarely existed on their own. NonStop systems targeted the high-value mission-critical transaction processing that benefited the most from a fault tolerant platform.
With the diversity that exists today in the world of hybrid IT, the complexity has grown almost exponentially. Not only are the on-prem systems diverse but there are also the many cloud service offerings making their presence felt. As we normalized the world of communications that led to a simplification in networking, it became easier to plug into our tech infrastructure almost anything that came with an IP address. But where do we turn to for information on what works best and where the greatest value from deploying NonStop can be achieved?
For a short time, it seemed that user groups were falling out of favor, being replaced by discussion boards and more recently, all manner of online forums, including blogs. Our need to attend an event replaced by a ZOOM, or equivalent, call it a habit that was easily sustained. Surely productivity was given a boost when we never had to leave our computer. However, even as the global pandemic contributed to a sizeable uptick in this behavior, we have seen our attitude to communicating like this lose its sheen. We simply want to catch up with our colleagues and to discuss in person the models, products, and features that are proving most beneficial to enterprises.
Margo and I have been actively involved in user groups for many years. Dating back to the days of ITUG we volunteered our services and were elected to the ITUG Board where we were diligent in the services provided. For many years one of my responsibilities was the oversight of RUGs and in the early 2000s, there were as many as 30 plus active RUGs, worldwide. The purpose of fostering such groups was to encourage dialogue at the regional level and to that end, ITUG succeeded.
It is then with an almost childlike amazement that we watch as the enthusiasm for Chapters, RUGs, SIGs, and Tech Forums flourish anew. Irrespective of the type of user event, whether vertically localized geographically or horizontally globally product or technology-specific, there is no better way to network than there is today with user communities. In the hybrid IT world of today that we all live in, it’s good to know we aren’t alone or that the decisions we are talking through are not decisions we alone are taking. For the NonStop community, it has always been about customer references, customer case studies, and yes, customer presentations.
And why not? What the NonStop community has excelled at is not holding back. Even when those presenting are from vendors who are fierce competitors of HPE and NonStop, once they take the stage little else matters other than what they have now achieved. Working with ITUG RUGs all around the planet one thing stood out above all else and that was the clearly enthusiastic willingness to talk about something new that was achieved using NonStop systems.
Chapters, RUGs, SIGs, and Tech Forums; so many places, so many people, so much information! However, for the past two years, the global pandemic did bring with it changes in our behavior. Not just our appreciation of the value proposition of Zoom and the likes but rather, a creeping sense of isolation. Happy we may be tuning into a video call but then again, serious doubts emerged over whether it was all worth it. Couldn’t I get the same information from the slide decks provided after the fact?
Turning to popular social media channels proved to be no substitute for the real thing and the NonStop community sorely missed the opportunities in-person events provided. Whether you call it networking, industrial socializing or simply catching up for a brief chat with long time (but rarely seen) friends there was nothing like the buzz that emanated from a well-put-together event.
HPE was well aware of the potential value of in-person events. After two years of virtual experiences, HPE has changed tactics and elected to go in-person for 2022. As tempting as it may have been to keep going with virtual events that attract a million viewers, then again, were they the target audience? It also didn’t matter how much money HPE would have saved in continuing with virtual events, time had to be called as even the highest placed HPE Executives missed the opportunity to take their message directly to the community.
Three things strike me as plausible reasons to return to in-person events and they are steeped in the history of user events. From the earliest days of events, we quickly found out the attendees didn’t participate solely to talk to others about the prices they paid for hardware, software, or services. Furthermore, it didn’t matter all that much about the prices set for an event; if the content was timely and good, communities showed up in droves. Finally, and perhaps most important of all, there was no substitute for market sampling as good as a user event and smart product managers have always excelled in tapping into community sentiment.
Information is abundantly on show. Whether you graze down the exhibit halls sampling the always present trash and trinkets as you pull datasheets from the racks or simply wait for the evening social gatherings to catch up on the many opinions that are always forthcoming following any major announcement, the value is unmistakable. Do you want to embrace hybrid IT? Well, here are the fifty shades of hybrid; one of which will be exactly what you are looking for.
NonStop Technical Boot Camp 2022 (NonStopTBC22) will follow HPE Discover 2022 and will likewise be an in-person event. It will be held back in Burlingame, California, where it was last held will ensure a familiarity that will aid in our own integration back into the world of hybrid IT. The one thing that hasn’t changed is that there will be updates on new products, new markets, and yes, new users, and for that, whether we call it THE event, a super Chapter, or RUG, or even a gathering of Tech Forums and SIGs it matters little.
What rules the day is that yes, we are back! We can network and share adult beverages! And yes, the collection of information at hand will be unmatched by any other community gathering. Haven’t made your mind up as yet? Then perhaps you need to consider one more thing: Want to know how well NonStop is aligning with the greater HPE from the perspective of NonStop? Only at NonStopTBC22 will you have a chance to hear this particular story in full! Margo and I will be in attendance for both events and we hope to see you all!