VMS Software Inc. (VSI) has posted a roadmap PDF file that defines current plans for VSI support and release of the OpenVMS version for x86 processors. The document is dated December 2019, and its earliest pages tell the story of an OS that is expected to begin customer-level testing during 2020.
The majority of VSI’s 90-plus employees are developers and engineers working on new product solutions, with the majority of people working on the x86 products available in late 2021.
Hewlett Packard customers who use legacy OS platforms are accustomed to parsing roadmaps with great care and caution. HP 3000 customers who tracked the HP progress on MPE/iX, during the days when the vendor was still working on the OS, read their HP roadmaps as if they were lineups of Kremlin chiefs standing on a dais at a May Day parade. How far toward the center a chief stood could provide a clue to something crucial.
Despite the retro reference, it remains true that the placement of a progress bar on a chart can be interpreted closely. Using such a method on the VSI support map shows that support services for the 9.2 OpenVMS release, for example, will not begin before the second half of 2021.
The need for an x86 version of OpenVMS has not been well established yet. Much of the OpenVMS marketplace is using the HP Enterprise Integrity platforms, older VAX systems, or AlphaStations as hosts for the OS. Some serious share of the installed base is running the Stromasys Charon products which emulate VAX and Alpha for their VMS hosting.
A 9.x release of OpenVMS for Integrity and Alpha servers also appears on the VSI map. These HP hosts, built by HP, will be supported for a 9.2 and 9.x version on the same timeline as the x86 systems. Whether a customer is deploying OpenVMS 9 on Integrity, or on an x86 system, they’re working with the same timeline.
One more level of detail has surfaced for these forthcoming OpenVMS releases. A list of hardware hosts for the x86 9.x has emerged. The Early Adopter Kit (version 9.0) of OpenVMS only has virtual machine hosting listed for x86 use. Oracle’s VM Virtualbox is listed as the EAK version. The 9.1 version of OpenVMS has HPE servers listed, the Proliant DL 380 and DL 580.
A 9.2 OpenVMS release, rated for full production, will be able to employ the Proliant servers, Dell 2- and 4-socket models, and additional servers to be determined.