All questions answered about OpenVMS on x86

Work remains underway with a wide range of tasks to bring OpenVMS to the Intel x86-64 processors. Not long ago, VMS Software, Inc. (VSI) announced a boot of the OS on an Intel processor-based system. It’s notable because that boot up was at the labs of SCI. The consulting, services, and development firm is a longtime partner of VSI.

These sorts of collaborations happened in the HP 3000 world during the 1980s and 1990s. Allegro Consultants, an independent firm built of ex-HP engineers, was known at “HP Labs West” at the time. Subprojects of migrating MPE to MPE/iX often booted up in Allegro’s labs.

Such close-knit alliances are a part of any great OS migration. The customers running OpenVMS have ample questions about which operations and features are going to emerge. The more pointed questions ask when the support will arrive. Version 9.0 is out today. The next release of the OS for Intel chips, 9.1, is not a production-grade version, according to VSI. That information rides in the middle of VSI’s impressive FAQ document about its OS migration.

As an example, one user on a webinar about the new OS wonders when the new OpenVMS will have clusters and volume shadowing. “Clustering and volume shadowing will be available with the 9.1 Early Adopter Kit release of VSI OpenVMS x86-64,” the answer reads. “However, it is important to appreciate that 9.1 is not intended to be a production release of the operating system. Accordingly, there may be some limitations in 9.1 associated with the use of these and other features (although we will aim to ensure otherwise).”

Another question asks for performance data comparing OpenVMS running on Alpha, Itanium, and x86.

“At this time, we do not have any performance data that would provide any sort of meaningful comparison between the three platforms. However, we are working on this matter and we will look to make any pertinent results available as soon as possible.”

Software vendors who serve the OpenVMS market have even sharper questions. Will VSI expand the RMS record size beyond 32K?

“There are no immediate plans to expand the minimum RMS record size. However, this situation will be reviewed in the future. The current focus is very much on completing the port of the operating system to x86-64 with as little non-essential change as possible. Once this goal is achieved, we can consider various enhancements.”

VSI is pursuing the quest to carry OpenVMS beyond the Itanium chipset using sound strategy. Get everything working first, then move on to the improvements the community desires. A complete list of the FAQ is on the VSI website.

Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash

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