Virtualization of legacy OS earns approval

VMS Software Inc. is now posting articles on its OpenVMS 9.2 blog. The information outpost is built around the expected release of a production-grade OpenVMS for x86. One recent entry looks at virtualizing hosting platforms for legacy systems such as OpenVMS. Chris Brown, director of strategy for VSI, sums up the choices.

“In my view,” he says on the blog, “the increased flexibility and reduced cost that a virtualized environment offers are well worth the effort. While there are initial challenges and costs in implementing virtual machines, many organizations and pundits believe the long-term benefits outweigh these hurdles. Of course, there is a massive investment from industry giants in this type of technology, so it has to work.”

Virtualization arrives in several forms in 2021. The most common style of virtualization re-creates the hosting platform in software. VMware is a popular choice to do this, and there are other means to assure a stable and affordable hardware host. For example, Stromasys has been installing its Charon line of virtualizers in MPE/iX, OpenVMS, Alpha and Sparc customer datacenters.

Brown reports that the premises are sound for taking MPE/iX and OpenVMS out of special-case status. “Virtualization — whether in the cloud or on-premise — promises savings on a number of levels [such as] better utilization of resources (and therefore less costly); easier management (less investment in ops team required); easier to spin up and down servers (no need to retain a costly test configuration); and speedier deployment of new applications.”

Some virtualization schemes demand that IT managers rearchitect parts of the legacy environment. Brown’s paper addresses this prospect, but notes that it’s only a potential cost. When a solution for virtualization supports an operating system intact, such as a Solaris, OpenVMS, or MPE/iX environment, rearchitecting isn’t needed.

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