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.

 

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.

FILEINFO TACL Continue reading

What is REST Web Service?

webserv_img

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.

webserver_flowchart Continue reading

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:

Continue reading

Data Flow Product Suite – ‘Tele’ Technology with TIC Software

Automating &Report Delivery  via Email, Web, Fax and File Transfer

TIC_tools

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 Data Flow 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. Continue reading

3 Quick Ways that TIC LogWatch Can Enhance Your NonStop Appilcation Logs

logwatch-monitor-183 TIC LogWatch

Are you looking for ways to make better use of your NonStop Application logs?

TIC LogWatch is a Guardian program that watches different log files, looks for error patterns, and generates alerts when an anomaly is detected.

Here are some quick out-of-the-box ways that TIC LogWatch can be used to enhance your NonStop logs. Continue reading

Log Management- Planning Ahead Saves Time and Resources

Busy person“I am too busy to plan!”

It seems like most IT professionals today are so busy keeping up with day-to-day tasks, not to mention myriad unexpected issues that arise; that project planning and time management often take a back seat., Besides, “planning” sounds like such an “open-ended” thing that is frequently deemed a waste of time and lost in the shuffle.

 

In fact, a little proactive planning could save a lot of time and stress in the future. And it does not have to take up a lot of time, e.g. like planning how to better deal with production issues. Continue reading

Legacy Application Modernization – You Can Have it All

Obsolescence – it’s a fact of life. Wikipedia defines the term as “the state of being when an object, service or practice is no longer wanted even though it may still be in good working order.” We always want the next big thing; the latest Smartphone, the next tablet, the newest car. But with legacy systems – you can keep the past AND have the latest technology. Have your cake and eat it too…

Modernizing legacy applications with the latest enhancements for web services and communications has enabled many firms in a variety of industries to update their current platforms with today’s technology. Every day, organizations in banking and financial services, government, education, healthcare and manufacturing and distribution and other data-centric sectors, choose to keep their systems current and operating smoothly; and the firm they choose to assist with these efforts is TIC Software. Continue reading

Extend Your NonStop with XML

XML

Extensible Markup Language, or XML, defines a set of rules for structuring and coding documents in a format that are both human and machine readable. XML is developed to be non-proprietary (open standards) and simple to implement for Internet usability. XML design focuses on documents, but is also widely used to represent data structures in applications such as web services. XML has also been employed for such diverse uses as communication protocols, source code configuration and is commonly used for data interchange via the Internet such as FIX and OFX (Finance), SWIFT (Banking), ACORD (Insurance) and many others. Continue reading