Emulation uses software to mimic hardware

Image by DarkWorkX from Pixabay

It’s not the other way around. Software makes new hardware step in for aging servers in the Sun, VMS, HP 3000 and Tru64 communities.

It’s a mis-statement that’s not hard to spot, even today. Even some application experts in DEC and HP will say things like “Stromasys is a provider of operating system emulators including OpenVMS and HP3000/MPE.” That’s not how it works. Those operating systems remain in their current state when this Stromasys emulation takes place. That needs to be the case, because the users of this emulation have legacy applications running in their organizations. Those apps have value that rests in their ability to continue to work, outlasting the original vendor hardware.

In the case of Solaris and OpenVMS, there’s still active development going on for those OS’s. Anything that Oracle or VSI does to extend or improve Solaris or OpenVMS will run on a Charon model for Sun or DEC systems.

Charon emulates hardware, not operating system software. So there’s a Charon for Alpha processors, another for the VAX chipset, one for HP’s PA-RISC, and one for Sun’s Sparc. Charon does this emulation by using software, but it’s the hardware chipset that’s being emulated. So Charon never emulates MPE/iX, or OpenVMS, or Tru64. Those are operating systems, running just exactly under Charon as they do on HP’s native hardware.

The distinction that’s important to remember about these kinds of products is that they create a virtual instance of these hardware systems. That’s how a modern Intel server can pretend to be a server built 15 years ago, in the case of the HP 3000 Charon product. Being a modern version of a legacy server has advantages that go beyond the age of the components: there’s modern connectivity to employ with peripherals, plus less costly maintenance.

Leave a Reply