HPE NonStop Review

Fault tolerance is the heart of the product, which I scale by turning on CPU cores.


What is most valuable?

Fault tolerance is the heart of what a NonStop is. The high availability of NonStop systems comes from close cooperation between the hardware and software. Every component in an HPE NonStop server is duplicated. If one component fails, there is instantaneous failover to a backup. This includes not only hardware components, such as processors, memory, I/O channels, and power supplies; but also all software components, such as system and application processes. As a consequence, a NonStop server is self-healing in the presence of any single fault and many multiple faults. If a component fails, no one notices except for the IT staff that must correct the fault.

Scalability is important to me. I might need a performance boost at certain times of the year, especially around the Christmas period. In a company I previously worked for, we payed particular attention to the number of POS and ATM transactions around the Christmas period because this was known to be the busiest period of the year. It would have been nice not to have to worry about the transaction rate and CPU/DISK performance, but to simply turn on a CPU core for that particular time of year. Since upgrading the hardware, this worry is a thing of the past.

Security is always important, and the NonStop is no different. Many security layers make it very difficult for hackers to access information you don’t own or don’t need to see, even if you know what you are doing.

How has it helped my organization?

There is never any downtime due to the way the hardware and software interact. They are both fault tolerant and, therefore, give a robust service.

What needs improvement?

This is very hard to say. How do you improve on perfection?

If pushed, then the only thing I can think of would be utilities provided by the vendor. Nearly all of the utilities are provided by third-party partners. As such, they are pretty expensive. There are also quite a few overlapping features between the products, which makes it quite difficult to select one over the other.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using HPE NonStop in its various levels since 1984.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have never encountered any issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have never encountered any issues with scalability. If you need to scale up, you simply turn on one of the cores.

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very good. The first-line support people are very very experienced and knowledgeable.

Which solutions did we use previously?

I have never used a different solution. However, I know of other companies that have moved away from NonStop technology as a cost saving exercise – only to encounter many issues including large amounts of downtime. Downtime in a financial, energy or telecom business is very expensive both in customer and financial terms. It should be avoided at all costs. Some have even moved back to the NonStop platform.

How was the initial setup?

The initial installation and setup is pretty straightforward, but that would depend on your level of expertise. For people that do not know the platform, it could be quite challenging; but there are third-party companies out there that specialize in NonStop.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing and licensing costs used to be quite expensive. However the total cost of ownership for NonStop is now lower than other platforms. This assumes that you are comparing platforms with the same txn rates, capacity and performance.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have never looked at other options. HPE NonStop is the only real mission critical, fault tolerant option.

What other advice do I have?

Implement it. You will never regret it. However, if you are not looking for mission critical, fault tolerant machines; and you don’t care about your downtime, or the hidden expense that you might incur, then maybe it’s not for you.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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