Ain’t No Bugs on Me…


image001“Ain’t no bugs on me! There may be bugs on some of you mugs, but there ain’t no bugs on me!” So goes the popular jingle made even more popular when in recent times, mouthed by a small puppy in a television advertisement. While the connection between bugs and computers may be well known, if rarely appreciated, it’s the connection between old and new that gets my attention – some of you mugs are getting pretty old. When it comes to technology, we aren’t all that patient with systems that are merely one generation old – the impact being made with the introduction of the iPhone6 likely to be just one example of such intolerance over something less cool.

For the NonStop community, it wasn’t ever about age or about generations – solutions developed for the original Tandem/16 (or T/16, later re-branded as NonStop I) can still run on the latest Itanium BladeSystem NB56000 – backward compatibility being one major attribute of NonStop. Looking back at four decades of products, NonStop has managed changes of chip technologies, and indeed fabric switches, many times – the upcoming support for Intel x86 being just the latest example.  NonStop remains as credible today as it has ever been because nothing better has come along despite the best efforts of vendors like IBM, Stratus, and even Oracle.

In his latest post, former HP head and now at Oracle, Mark Hurd, wrote, “I’m not knocking legacy systems – they’ve been around for a long time for a reason: they work as they were intended to work. But many of these systems predate the Internet, and even if they were developed post-1994, most were designed using old assumptions that fail to take into account a more modern reality.” This sweeping statement bothers me somewhat as many manufacturers’ product lines have models that by today’s standards are dated, but it’s dead wrong to imply all product lines of old are legacy.

“So, companies have been cobbling together IT stacks using jumbled combinations of arcane software-oriented architectures, middleware, and custom code to create a connection between old and new technologies,” noted Hurd before concluding with “For this technology to come together properly, the marketing app has to feed the sales app, which needs to feed the ordering process app, which eventually has to fill the support app. This is where a provider such as Oracle can help, because we bundle all these apps together, in any way that customers want them, so that they get this 360-degree view.” Oh boy, looking at Oracle’s proposed mix of products, there’s a lot of bugs on most of those mugs!

So, cool – we buy everything from Oracle! Will not happen, Mark, and for too many reasons. Trading systems of excellence for mediocrity on an enterprise scale won’t cut it. Feeding new data to disparate systems is a well-established practice, and one Oracle endorses via products like GoldenGate. However, when it comes to mission-critical applications on NonStop, you need a whole lot more to leverage Big Data properly  For instance, and here’s where legacy approaches based on old-style replication architectures fall apart (along lines Hurd notes) – they are cobbled together to address all important aspects of Big Data. WebAction is new, optimized for integrating Big Data with transactional systems, and caters to any installed solution and for that, just like the puppy in the ad tells us, there ain’t no bugs on us!