Archive for December, 2009

MRTUG, NENUG, SCTUG, RMTUG and DUST

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

XYPRO representatives recently attended MRTUG, NENUG, SCTUG, RMTUG and DUST.  At DUST, we presented “You Cannot Be PCI Compliant without XYGATE”.  Interest in security remains high in the NonStop space, and while presenting at these three user groups, we were fortunate to have interactive discussions with everybody in attendance.  Many open questions and discussions took place, which is the primary intention of user groups.  Overall, attendance has been as expected, i.e., vendors have outnumbered users.  We are happy to see optimism from the users, vendors and HP involving NonStop Blades, based upon the number of customers upgrading.

We believe it’s vital for the NonStop community to continue to have these types of meetings.  Going to the user gives a broader group of people a chance to participate in learning what is going on in the HP NonStop space.  Furthermore, the Connect meeting next fall should bring a sense to the community that HP still values the NonStop and users.  It will not have the feeling of being shuffled in with everybody else, which is the impression many got when including this event with the HP Technology Forum.

Unfortunately, SCTUG was not very well attended with a ratio of 5 to 1 vendors vs. customers. We did, however, have some very good side conversations with the customers. We will be presenting at the next SCTUG which sounds like it will be at the end of March.

On the other hand, the RMTUG meeting in Denver had the biggest turnout we have ever seen. There were several current customers as well as some new faces and companies that we have not heard of, which is great to see.

In all of the meetings, we have chatted with folks about the “ITUG” that will be happening in September and it is like a big revival and everyone is excited again that there will be a Non-Stop conference again in San Jose!

Jay Price
Kevin Boham

BITUG: A “HOME GAME” for XYPRO

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

After a run of recent European RUGs, visiting places like Madrid, Frankfurt and Stockholm, it was nice for XYPRO’s very busy European office to play a home game and visit a NonStop event that didn’t involve any air travel. In fact this year’s BITUG (British Isles Tandem User Group) Big SIG, held on the 2nd and 3rd December, was just half an hour from XYPRO’s London office.

Day one was a CLIM-themed education day, held at HP’s offices. Day two was the main event and the location was the magnificent Grade I listed, Crown Estate owned, Institute of Directors building on Pall Mall. A walk up the grand staircase led the 196 attendees (103 Non-Stop specific attendees including 40+ NonStop specific end users) up to the first floor, virtually all occupied by the Big SIG/Connect event. The largest room in the building was home to the vendor exhibition and also doubled as the coffee and dining room. The vendor room was slightly smaller than usual, and so space was limited. The 20 exhibitor spots went quickly, on a first-come-first-served basis, leaving a few NonStop Vendor Partners disappointed.

Those who weren’t disappointed were the attendees, who received free entry if they were BITUG members. The vendors didn’t have much to complain about either, with only modest, non-profit fees to pay.

With XYPRO having had its UK office open for well over a decade, the Big SIG was a great opportunity to catch up with many of our British customers. Because there was a BITUG Security SIG earlier this year, there was no specific presentation from XYPRO. There hadn’t been a BITUG Performance SIG in 2009, so a good portion of the vendor presentations were performance based. With five different tracks available, the day was packed with opportunities for all of the attendees.

After a great day with a very friendly atmosphere, it was very nice to have time to visit an English pub before the short journey home, rather than trekking to an airport departure lounge!

For those looking forward to the next BITUG event, the first of around five BITUG SIGs planned for 2010 has a system modernisation theme and the date is 17/02/2010.

For more information on BITUG and its events visit www.bitug.com

Dan Lewis
XYPRO

From the CEO’s Desk

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

It’s that time of year again. What this really means to you depends on your location and your culture.  It might be the middle of summer, a time to bring gifts, a time to relax a bit while your systems are locked down, or a time supporting record high end-of-year transaction volumes.

Speaking of systems, this year is the 35th anniversary of the first Tandem T16 computer, later called the NonStop I.  Its 96 kilobytes of main memory and 700 KIPS (thousand instructions per second) bit-slice processor were as impressive then as the current generation NonStop Blade Servers are now, with 48 gigabytes of main memory, 18 megabytes of level 3 cache and 1.66 GHz dual-core Itanium® 9100 series processors.

The first NonStop systems were designed with a few basic principles: modularity, fault tolerance, fail-fast of individual components, and online maintenance.  In 1983 XYPRO was formed to develop products for this excitin’ new machine (as Tandem’s founder, Jimmy Treybig, would say) and in 1984 we were named as one of the original Tandem Alliance members.  The photo shows Jimmy with XYPRO’s founder, Dale Blommendahl, at an ITUG Summit some 20 years ago.

dale_jimmy

Since then, neither company has rested on its laurels, both expanding worldwide and supporting some of the most mission critical applications at some of the world’s largest and most prestigious organizations.

While XYPRO’s headquarters is in sunny southern California, our employees are as diverse as our customers.  At last count, people from 13 different countries work here.  But no matter where we are from or what we believe, the holiday season is the time of year when many of us take some time off to spend with our families, recharge our batteries and ring in the new year.  Even so, we will have enough people on hand to support you 24×7 just as we do the rest of the year.  Because even when our staff or your staff are on holiday, we know that your NonStop servers are still working around the clock.

Along with work, Decembers at XYPRO include a contest.  Each person decorates their office door to reflect how they celebrate.  Historically, the halls have been decked with doors made to look like a gingerbread house, a fireplace, a New Year celebration in India, and an ice skating scene.  Over the years, we’ve seen themes executed with hand-made dreidels, a brightly lit cactus, snow babies, and even Christmas stockings arranged to represent ‘SOX Compliance’.  And Scott Uroff, our Chief XYGATE Engineer, is also known for decorating our NonStop systems.

In addition to an annual holiday lunch and gift exchange, we traditionally take time to reflect on the rewards we receive throughout the year, from our co-workers as well as our valued customers.  And as much as I would love to unwrap some of our biggest customers to show them off, I’m afraid those packages will have to remain sealed. Companies whose products are used to protect some of the most important secrets in the world sometimes need to stay under the radar.  What I can tell you is that XYGATE users are all in very good company, amongst a customer base of international leaders in government and private industry.

If you want to rub shoulders with these leaders, you don’t need an invitation. Nor do you need to be cleared by the Secret Service.  Simply attend one of the dozens of TUG or Connect meetings around the world and you can take advantage of the personal interaction that we love so much.

For example, XYPRO was present at the Connect Germany / GTUG IT Symposium in Darmstadt, celebrating the 35th Anniversary of NonStop and at the prestigious Institute of Directors premises in Pall Mall, London for the BITUG Big SIG meeting.  If you were at either event, you would have seen us talking to some of the biggest names in Europe. Some of each event’s highlights are captured at http://blog.xypro.com/.

But we don’t want to forget other parts of the world.  Recently, XYPRO has been at meetings in the United States, such as SCTUG in California, DUST in Arizona, and SunTUG in Florida.  We also paid a visit to our neighbors to the north at CTUG in Toronto.  It’s not too early to think about booking travel to SATUG so that you can rub shoulders with the leading companies in South Africa – who also happen to be our customers!

I would like to close this message with a request.  We wonder what family or work traditions you find meaningful and what you like to do when you take time off of work.  We would love to hear from you in the comments section.  Take as much space as you like to let us know about what’s special to you this time of year.

Sheila Johnson

GTUG

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

The 2009 German Tandem User Group (GTUG) was held November 18-20th, and the idea behind this event was a sound one: Take the traditional GTUG event and open it up to all of Europe, meaning more vendors for the end users to talk to and vice versa.

The ten different conference tracks (nine in English and one in German) ensured that there was plenty going on for the 150ish people attending. Most of the content was NonStop based, but with the Connect link, it did mean that some elements weren’t relevant to us NonStop folk. The exhibition section was somewhat of a who’s who in the NonStop vendor world, with around 15 different firms all lined up with their matching shell schemes. A visit to the XYPRO booth revealed this was the first event where XYPRO and Merlon’s new collaboration was evident (see https://www.xypro.com).

With this year being the 35th anniversary of Tandem, there was an interesting mix of content. You’d be sitting in one talk where everyone was reminiscing about the ‘good ol’ days’ when Tandem did everything very differently and how being different was best… then you’d find yourself in an HP presentation where they’d be talking about the many benefits of utilising as much industry standard blade hardware as possible. One thing is for sure, a modern day NonStop is spectacularly smaller and more powerful than its early Tandem predecessors. The best presentation was just before the coffee break on Thursday though: XYPRO’s Audit, Alerting and Compliance slot!

I attended Karen Copeland’s NonStop Security SIG before lunch on Thursday and was a little surprised by the low number of attendees – maybe 12 of us in total? I’m thinking there could be two explanations for this, the first could be that Bernd Ullmann’s “SCRUM – Do’s and Don’ts” presentation was unmissable (nothing personal, Bernd) the second could be that for many, security only really becomes a serious issue when a breach threatens to cost millions of dollars or when a regulator demands action… Whatever the catalyst, you know where to find us.

Thursday evening promised a ‘traditional beer bust at a Darmstadt brewery’. The XYPRO team was bracing ourselves for a heavy night of beer lairyness, so we made sure we’d all packed our drinking hats before we got on our respective planes. But the reality was more ‘dinner in a pub’ than ‘beer bust in a brewery’. Not that I’m complaining, because I wanted to be in good shape for the Security Workshop on Friday the 20th.

Big key-note sessions aside, Friday’s Security Workshop was one of the more heavily attended group meetings of the event, with around 20-25 people. The four vendors present, XYPRO being one of them, had all agreed to give talks which were 100% devoid of product mentions. Everyone stuck to this, but my personal opinion is that it occasionally served to confuse, as it seemed to leave a couple of people with more questions than answers. All in all though, it was a very useful session and worth staying the extra day for.

Our Friday afternoon flight back to the UK signaled the end to a busy couple of days at what was probably the biggest NonStop event in Europe. Hats off to the organisers who had clearly put a lot of time and effort into arranging a very well run show.

Dan Lewis
European Marketing Manager