HP is NonStop – We Are, Also!

HPE NonStop Photo

 

TIC – Bringing Innovative Ideas to NonStop Community…

The HPE NonStop community prides itself on the fact that its systems are based upon fault-tolerant, “always on” technology – that is there for it when its customers need it to be. We too, here at TIC, are proud of the many accolades that we’ve received, with regard to our dependability as trusted NonStop advisors. Our customer-centric focus extends to developing and creating complementary solutions for the NonStop Modernization community, as well as serving that community as needed, no matter the time and place.

In this day of instant gratification, HPE’s “always on” operating system fits right in. We at TIC Software strive to be “always on” as well and have been developing and integrating NonStop Modernization solutions for our customers for over thirty years. In conjunction with our suite of off-the-shelf applications, we continually work with our clients and IT professionals to craft customized technology improvements to meet their ever-changing needs.

“It’s been great working with TIC Software in general, and Phil Ly, their CEO, in particular as he makes a great sounding board for our IT improvement ideas. TIC works very hard to provide the tools and custom development to address their clients’ unique challenges. Papé continually utilizes their tools and consulting in about a 50/50 ratio to address our IT issues.” – Shaun Swift, Director of Information Systems, The Pape Group

Keeping NonStop Modernization current – integrated with the latest technology – is an ongoing endeavor. This commitment demands a level of experience and expertise that comes with working side-by-side with companies utilizing HPE NonStop systems, and experiencing their challenges firsthand. We are happy and proud to continue to meet our customers’ challenges over the years and look forward to many more to come!

Do you find this tutorial blog helpful? Let us know what you think, and how we can make it even better. Don’t forget, you can subscribe to our blogs (top right-hand corner of the home page) to get automatic email notification when a new blog is available.


Ryan Ly Photo
Ryan Ly is the chief business development officer of TIC Software. Prior to joining TIC, Ryan worked for over a decade in the entertainment industry – most recently as an agent, Head of the Television Literary Department, and an equity partner at Creative Artists Agency. Ryan is also the founder and principal of Curate, a management, consulting, and client advisory company, which focuses on the technology and entertainment/media sectors.

 

HPE Connect Community Still Crazy (about NonStop) After all These Years…

Crazy

~ Paul Simon

For over 40 years, the formerly Tandem, now HP 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 group, devoted to helping each other in the pursuit of integrating the latest technological offerings into HP NonStop.

Today ‘Connect’, the independent HPE (Hewlett Packard Enterprise) Technology User Community, continues the tradition of sharing insights, knowledge and skills among this group. Connect Chapter and Special Interest Group (SIG) meetings provide a wide variety of opportunities for HP NonStop professionals to meet face-to-face and explore challenges, ideas and solutions. User group meetings are held throughout North America and Europe, giving attendees opportunities to provide feedback and direction to HP and their partners. Connect members have been instrumental in influencing the direction of myriad HP technologies over the years.

One of the mainstays of the Connect Community is the consulting and software firms that provide solutions to integrate the latest technology into HP NonStop. These NonStop Modernization partners help keep these systems operating at peak efficiency, while also giving users an edge through modernized application, user interface, and integration (with other platforms) technology. Connect worldwide boasts over 70,000 members, with the mission of helping organizations get the most out of their investment in HPE technology. NonStop modernization is central to this strategic approach.

As the future of NonStop servers evolves, so too will NonStop modernization development; however, the ongoing goals and mission of both HP and the Connect User Group Community remain the same:

“Advance the use of Tandem/HP NonStop computers by promoting free exchange of relevant information and establishing means to facilitate such exchange; provide feedback to Tandem manufacturers on equipment and programming needs; reduce wasted effort among Tandem users in preparing computer programs; advance the art of information processing through mutual education and exchange of ideas,” – from ‘ITUG – International HP NonStop Users Group,’ Union of International Associations

Do you find this tutorial blog helpful? Let us know what you think, and how we can make it even better. Don’t forget, you can subscribe to our blogs (top right-hand corner of the home page) to get automatic email notification when a new blog is available.


Ryan Ly Photo
Ryan Ly is the chief business development officer of TIC Software. Prior to joining TIC, Ryan worked for over a decade in the entertainment industry – most recently as an agent, Head of the Television Literary Department, and an equity partner at Creative Artists Agency. Ryan is also the founder and principal of Curate, a management, consulting, and client advisory company, which focuses on the technology and entertainment/media sectors.

TIC Software for HPE NonStop – NonStop Modernization that’s always working

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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; HP 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.

Our own firm TIC Software, began in 1983 after the founder’s 4-year tenure working with Tandem Computers in technical support and software development. TIC quickly established itself as an integral provider of solutions to the Tandem/NonStop market through the development of a broad range of software and consulting solutions for NonStop servers’ mission-critical business applications.

TIC Software’s NonStop Modernization suite of offerings helps NonStop users keep their applications running smoothly, and enables them to seamlessly integrate the latest technology into their NonStop architecture. Offerings include solutions designed to integrate and leverage:

HP fault tolerant servers are dependable, and as such a wide variety of business sectors have come to rely on them for their nonstop computing needs. Diverse industries that require real-time transaction processing involving vast sums of data, such as the banking, financial services, healthcare, educational and wholesale distribution industries, are efficiently and effectively served by their NonStop systems.

We at TIC Software are proud to be a part of this computing legacy and will continue to develop mission-critical off-the-shelf and custom solutions to best serve this market. NonStop Modernization is more than just a phrase to us – it is how we’ve always operated, and we’ll continue our tradition of providing the best solutions and service – to keep earning the priviledge of serving as the trusted advisor to our clients and the greater NonStop community.

Contact TIC Software to learn more about our Solutions.
Email sales-support@ticsoftware.com


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Integrating Cloud Computing Services with NonStop

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).

Infrastructure as a Service involves renting individual components of computing resources hosted by someone else, such as: storage, network endpoints, virtual machines with a selection of operating systems. You are responsible for assembling and maintaining these components as well as deploying and maintaining your software. Examples of this are: Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and IBM Cloud.

Platform as a Service typically involves renting access to pre-configured virtual machines hosted by someone else; you provide the software that runs in the cloud and they provide the operative system and virtual hardware to host that software. Examples of this are: Heroku, OpenShift and any Docker based applications.

Software as a Service involves renting access to a piece of software that someone else hosts on the Internet; you pay for access to the service and they worry about setting up, providing and maintaining that service. Examples of this are SalesForce and DropBox.

Advantages of Cloud Computing

Advantages of Cloud Computing include:

  • Flexibility/Scalability
    • Scale services up or down to meet needs
    • Stop guessing capacity
  • Reduced Cost
    • Only pay for what you use (i.e. “pay as you go”)
    • No major up-front capital expenditure
  • Security
    • Best security practices followed
  • Agility
    • Deploy the infrastructure you need almost instantly
  • Efficiency
    • Get applications to market quickly without worrying about underlying infrastructure costs or maintenance
  • Strategic Value
    • Access to latest, most innovative technology
  • Reliability
    • Replication can reduce the impact of unexpected outages of your software
  • Availability
    • Most cloud offerings allow geographically dispersed deployments so that your software can be located close to your markets.

Cloud Computing and Big Data Analytics

Big data analytics is the examination of large volumes of data to detect patterns, trends, customer preferences and other information that can help organizations find ways to: increase revenue, provide better customer service, improve operational efficiency and more.  Typically, this type of analysis is not done against transactional databases which are designed for high performance, transaction-based processing.  Instead, data is moved to storage areas designed specifically for querying and analysis.  Data lakes, data warehouses and data marts are examples of such storage areas.

A data lake is a storage area that holds large volumes of data in its original format.  No processing or formatting of the data is done before it is loaded.  The thinking behind storing data this way is that you never know how this data will be used in the future.  Storing it in its raw format keeps all possibilities open.  While a data lake stores data in an unstructured format, a data warehouse stores data in a structured format.  Data warehouses are modeled for high performance querying and reporting.  Data marts are subsets of a data warehouse geared to a specific functional area.    Data lakes and data warehouses / data marts are sometimes considered mutually exclusive approaches to big data analytics; however, this doesn’t have to be the case.  A data lake is an excellent way to source data for use by multiple data warehouses and data marts to meet both immediate and future analytic requirements.

Costs for storage, processing power, software, etc. can make implementing a data analytics solution an expensive undertaking.  This, plus the fact that being scalable is a key requirement as data volumes grow, makes cloud computing a great option for big data analytics.

AWS and NonStop

Transactional data captured by NonStop applications can be a key source for business analytics; however, the NonStop platform may not be ideal for storing and analyzing the information over a long period of time.  Developing and hosting an in-house data analytics solution can be a challenging – and expensive – option.  An attractive alternative is AWS which provides all the cloud-based services needed to easily extend a NonStop application with a scalable, flexible and cost-effective infrastructure.  But how do you get the information from the NonStop to AWS and which AWS services do you use and how do you use them?

The diagram below shows just one possible approach for integrating data from the NonStop platform with AWS.

NS_AWSThe AWS services in the above diagram can be split into 3 categories – Collection, Storage and Analyze.

Collection Services

AWS’ Direct Connect service can be used to connect NonStop application data to AWS.

Storage Services

AWS provides several storage services.  The example above uses AWS’ Simple Storage Service (S3) to hold data in its raw form – thus providing an excellent data lake implementation.  A concern with data lake implementations is that they can often turn into “data swamps.”  This is a term used to describe a situation where the data stored cannot be easily queried or used and can happen when data is simply stored into a data lake without any information about it’s context (date, source, identifiers, etc.).  AWS’ data lake solution addresses this by storing data in packages and tagging each package with metadata.  You can define the metadata you need for your packages to keep them organized.  AWS’ Elasticsearch and DynamoDB are used for storing and retrieving these packages.   Redshift is a data warehouse service where data can be stored for sophisticated querying and analysis.  Data can be loaded from the data lake into one or more data warehouses.  Lambda is AWS’ serverless function environment.  It can be used to develop event-driven code for receiving data from the NonStop and loading it to S3 and storing metadata in DynamoDB.

Analyze Services  

AWS provides many analysis services.  In the above example, AWS Quicksite is used.

Summary

Integrating AWS with NonStop can provide a scalable, flexible and cost-effective platform for big data analytics.  In our next article we’ll discuss the steps involved in more detail.


Do you find this tutorial blog helpful? Let us know what you think, and how we can make it even better. Don’t forget, you can subscribe to our blogs (top right-hand corner of the home page) to get automatic email notification when a new blog is available.

John Russell joined Canam Software Labs in 1998 as a member of their consulting services team.  He has worked on software projects as developer, support analyst, architect and project manager.  In 2007, he took on the role of Product Manager and is responsible for Canam Software’s suite of products including XML Thunder for NonStop.

Modernizing with TOP – The Power of Sorting

The Power Of Sorting

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

Here is a simple Use Case on the NonStop:

Look for File information

Here is a typical file listing using FILEINFO or FUP INFO.

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What is REST Web Service?

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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.

Web Services

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.

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NonStop Under 40 – Operation Support – Part 2

Part 2 – Next Generation Training Plan

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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 Learning

Just-in-time versus Just-in-case

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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?

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NonStop Under 40 – Operation Support – Part 1

Part 1 – Grooming the Next Generation

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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”

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NonStop Boot Camp Technical Sessions 2015

One of the many great things about this year’s Boot Camp is the number of outstanding technical sessions. There were so many exciting topics it became difficult to choose just one when there were overlapping sessions.  I managed to break away from my booth duty (Thanks, Gaby!) and attended some of the sessions. I enjoyed all of them and would like to share with you my positive experience. I recommend that you download these presentations when they become available from Connect.

“Monitoring & Management of 100’s of JVM’s” – Larry Ruch, Pulse

One of the topics on many Java practitioners’ mind is “Java Garbage Collection”, which has often caused concern about its unpredictable impact on performance. Larry’s presentation guides us through the tools and methodology that he uses to manage the many, many JVM’s on  his NonStop systems. Very interesting and enlightening!

“OSS architecture overview” – John Zimsky, HPE

Many of us probably had talked to John at one point or another regarding an OS, Java or OSS issue. John is super knowledgeable and always very helpful.  It was great to sit in his session as he provided a quick overview of OSS architecture and some of its internal structures.

“Java Pathway Server Development using Spring”  – David Wiseman, TELUS

David’s Java presentations are always interesting  at Boot Camps. In his presentation this year, David covered not only  how he build his application on Spring, but also his use of the “Decorator Design Pattern”.  It is great to learn about customers like Telus using Java and modern tools to develop their NonStop applications.
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Disparate Data Sources and Targets?

Bring it all Together with TIC!IMG_002

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:

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