Before migrations, legacy sites do testing

Life as a legacy manager includes moving days. Transitions include putting servers to rest by replacing them with newer equipment made by HP, or Sun/Oracle. Maybe a move can deliver a better and more current hardware platform, running on an emulated version of the PA-RISC, Alpha, VAX, or Solaris processors.

There’s also the day when the current environment’s platform itself must change. VMS users are looking ahead to such a day, although it’s out there more than a year from now. VSI is supposed to have a pre-release version of its OpenVMS ready for x86 Xeon systems by early next year. That will be a day that a tech manager might call for a migration — because unlike an emulated environment, that OpenVMS will run on a new chipset.

Migrations have been in the legacy world for decades. HP 3000 customers were told in 2001 by Hewlett Packard they had five years to leave their platform and migrate. Probably to HP’s Unix, the vendor figured. No such migration trail turned out to be the predominant one. Migrations went to Windows Server, mostly, and a few went to Linux and some IBM servers like the AS/400 (known as the Series i today.)

It took eight more years before HP ended its 3000 software operations. Migrations got underway by 2003, though. Those managers had to test before they migrated, as well as afterward. The strategy is called lift and shift, or it was in those days with the HP market’s first great migration. First, managers ensured they had the correct results and performance from the apps on the HP platform. Then, after moving, testing again to make sure the Linux or Windows platform implementation — usually using very different databases, compilers, and more — worked the same and delivered the same results.

It will be interesting to see how long VMS Software, Inc. will need to move from its 9.0 release of the x86-ready OpenVMS on to a production-grade release. Testing is always the crucible in any migration.

It helps OpenVMS managers get onto a better hardware path when they employ a newer version of the OS. Sometimes, though, newer operating system versions leave behind favorite features and intrinsics. When those elements are essential, an emulated and virtualized VAX or Alpha can be a better solution.

Photo by Hermann Mayer on Unsplash

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