~ Paul Simon For over 40 years, the formerly Tandem, now HPE NonStop, user community has advanced the use of these mission-critical systems by promoting the free exchange of information between IT professionals and leveraging this technology to transact business. In the past four decades, this dedicated cadre of users has become a tightly knit …
Let’s face it; there are few things in life that can be counted on 100% of the time. So when the modern computer age started gaining momentum; HPE NonStop, formerly Tandem Computers, was created to ensure that everyday business transactions could be performed not only online, but reliably via a secure parallel processing architecture.
“The always on operating system has been protecting mission critical processes for over 40 years.” – HPE.com
And right along side of the ongoing evolution of these servers, a dedicated group of consultants and software developers created solutions designed to assist NonStop users in keeping their servers operating at peak efficiency. Through a variety of integrated applications and “modernizations,” firms serving the NonStop business sector created the “NonStop Modernization” market, and helped ensure the continued operating and business success of HPE NonStop Systems.
Cloud computing is playing an increasingly key role in organizational IT strategies. Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Google and others continue to improve their offerings, making a compelling case for using cloud-based resources. As providers continue to offer more and more services, new opportunities are presenting themselves. In this article, we’ll look at some of the products offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and how they can be used to introduce big data analytics capabilities for NonStop applications. In a follow-up article, we’ll take a detailed look at how this solution can be integrated with NonStop applications.
To begin from a common starting point, let’s define cloud computing and its advantages.
What is Cloud Computing?
Amazon defines Cloud Computing as “the on-demand delivery of computer power, database storage, applications, and other IT resources through a cloud services platform via the internet with pay-as-you-go pricing”. A quick Google search will find all kinds of definitions for Cloud Computing, but they are essentially the same with the key concepts being:
- On demand delivery of servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and more—over the Internet.
- Pay as you go pricing.
- Accessing computer services over the Internet instead of from your computer or company network.
- Accessing services that are managed for you by someone else.
There are three types of Cloud Computing deployments, with each one representing a different level of control. They are: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).
I remember a conversation with a group of colleagues about 10 or 12 years ago on predicting the company values of Google and Microsoft. While all of us were impressed with Google’s growth in Search power at that time, the common consensus was that Google Search Engine was a “one trick pony”, and just couldn’t possibly compete against a well established company like Microsoft with the ubiquity of its Windows operating system and Office tools. Well, we were wrong. We underestimated how the power of search has literally changed not only how we look for information, but in how we acquire knowledge.
“Finding the information quickly when you need it”
Similarly, quite often we take for granted the simple power of sorting in the GUI world. But when one operates in the green screen terminal world of NonStop, its absence quite often hinders one’s productivity in accessing information. But did you know that you can harness the power or sorting and many other GUI features in NonStop by using a software tool like TOP (The Operations Pack)?
The Operations Pack (TOP) A productivity tool distributed by TIC Software as a training tool to help train the next generation of NonStop Operation Staff
Ten or 15 years ago, when people talked about Web Services, you would immediately understand they were referring to SOAP. But these days, if someone says they have a Web Service interface, you need to follow up with the question: “What kind of Web Service – SOAP or REST? ” In fact, REST is fast becoming the more visible application interface on the Internet. This blog provides a quick overview of what REST is, and how it compares to SOAP.
Firstly, like SOAP, REST is a Web Service, which by definition provides an Application-to-Application interface. So functionally, REST is similar to SOAP in that it enables a Client application to invoke an operation/method in a Server application . Furthermore, REST uses HTTP and HTTPS as the communication protocol, just as SOAP does. Their differences lie in what is underneath the cover.
Next Generation Training Plan
In Part 1 of this blog series, we discussed the importance of grooming the next generation of support team for NonStop Operations. As the new work force is younger, it is important to adapt the training to this new group, instead of trying to force feed “legacy concepts” to them. In order to speed up their learning process, we need a new paradigm based on these three tenets: Just-in-time Learning, Learning by Analogies, and Using Modern GUI Tools
Just-in-time versus Just-in-case
Most of the traditional courses familiar to us are just-in-case training, including the ones from NonStop Education. For example, an NonStop introductory course may cover many details about Guardian processes or Pathway environment, whether you need to use it now or not, because just in case… you may need it later in the future. The result is an information overload. Very little is retained until the situation comes up which actually requires the information long forgotten due to lack of use.
In contrast, just-in-time training provides people with vital information they need right now. The approach is to build an iterative learning process based on an incremental road map that an employee can follow as his skill grows. As such, just-in-time online training resources must be quick, convenient, and targeted to the specific goals and needs of the individuals. As an example, let’s say we want to introduce a new Operation Support team member to one of his basic daily tasks of monitoring the application environment. We may want to start with these basic topics for the person to learn:
- What programs should be monitored?
- How do I look at the running programs?
- What does it look like when everything is running normally?
- What are some common errors?
- Where should I look for errors?
- What information should be collected when reporting an error?
Grooming the Next Generation
There are good news and bad news in the world of NonStop Operation support.
First, the good news: NonStop operation support teams have always been known to be one of the most technical and versatile groups in any enterprise environment. The teams embodies a wealth of technical knowledge that is just as critical in ensuring the fault tolerance of the applications as the underlying NonStop hardware and Guardian operating system. They can diagnose and fix issues ranging from hardware, system software, application scheduling, database, network and others.
Now, the bad news: Many members of that superb NonStop technical team are either retiring or looking to retire soon. What are you going to do to replace that talent pool? Is there a way to bring in new and younger resources to support your NonStop systems and applications to ensure it will continue to run smoothly?
I believe the answer is: “Yes.” But it requires a new set of considerations.
“Set the right expectations”
Bring it all Together with TIC!
As a firm grows, they often find themselves with several computing technologies that have been implemented over time – especially if firms merge with another company through acquisition or partnership. This can lead to technological challenges with data archiving, access, delivery, processing and reporting across frequently disparate hardware and software platforms. That’s where highly specialized IT experts like those found here at TIC come in; with our software modernization solutions to address these requirements – we can easily mingle the apples with the oranges.
Aside from comprehensive consulting services to create unique and innovative solutions for our clients, we offer a comprehensive line of products specifically designed to extend NonStop applications and integrate these with new technology. Our product offerings fall into five distinct categories:
Automating &Report Delivery via Email, Web, Fax and File Transfer
Tele is a prefix that combines the meaning of the phases “reaching over a distance,” “carried out between two remote points,” and “performed or operated through electronic transmissions.” The ‘Tele’ family group technologies of TIC Software – has been designed for application modernization These Messaging products are designed to seamlessly integrate NonStop systems with other platforms via format conversion and data delivery – enabling automated processing and delivery of reports and information and keeping the applications organizations running smoothly. (more…)
From the Age of Enlightenment to Scientific Revolution & Legacy Application
It seems that every generation thinks that the methods they employ are so modern, and that generations past were so old school and out of touch. As technology evolves – and more and more computing power is integrated into our everyday lives – the generation gap seems to widen. Today, we read about cars that one day may drive themselves (a frightening thought), refrigerators that will order food to restock themselves (potentially a fattening thought), and smart houses that will adjust environmental and entertainment settings to our every whim (remember when you actually had to get up to change the television channel).
According to Wikipedia, the basic principles of modernization theory began in the late 1800’s in the Age of Enlightenment with the idea that people themselves could develop and change their society. The origins of this theory are based upon the pretexts of technological advancements, economic changes and social development and the effect they have upon moral and social values and how these lead to continuous progress and improvement in human affairs.