VSI updates VMS port, reports first profitable period

VMS Software Inc. (VSI) reports that its fiscal 2020 showed a profit for the first time in the company’s existence. VSI was bankrolled by Terracloud in 2014 to acquire the rights to future OpenVMS versions, opening the door to development of new OpenVMS versions. In 2019, the Terracloud investment was extended to purchase outstanding support contracts for OpenVMS customers who used HP Enterprise for support.

The company’s communications chief Terry Holmes says that Terracloud has invested tens of millions of dollars in VSI. Hundreds of new support customers have come under the VSI support plan since October. The company is working on bringing the support contract total closer to 1,000. Many are new OpenVMS support customers for version 8.4, the terminal release of OpenVMS.

The way forward for VSI is ramping up the number of these support contracts while it works to sell new versions of OpenVMS based on Intel x86 architecture.

“We can provide you, from the long-term standpoint, the stability and the future products and services that you look for,” Holmes said in a late-February webinar.

One new product on the VSI offer sheet is Service Control. It provides management availability for software running on OpenVMS clusters. VSI purchased Service Control from HP Enterprise, along with another product, about two years ago. Holmes says that VSI has made refinements to Service Control and is now starting to market the product.

VSI’s Chief Technology Officer Claire Grant reports that the company now has 41 customers who have taken delivery to the OpenVMS 9.0 Early Adopter Kit. “We had to feel our way about how many people we could support,” Grant said. “You may not think it’s a big deal that we said we could do 40 customers and we got 41,” he added, “but it was, given that we were starting from scratch without a lot of history as to how quickly we could do things.”

VSI’s plans for release remain the same, Grant says. A 9.1 version of the OpenVMS release for x86 will be a Field Test, available to all customers with “most system components present.” Version 9.2 is a production-caliber release with a complete operating environment.

A new release of the 9.0 Early Adopter Kit is scheduled for mid-April, while the first 9.1 Field Test release is set for the end of June. Production-class OpenVMS 9.2 for x86 systems may be ready as early as the fourth quarter of his year.

“Getting 9.2 to the quality we need — we can’t do that on our own,” Grant said. The company is relying on the reporting and information exchange from its customers who’ll be using 9.1, presumably in production-grade settings.

A G Release of the 9.0 Early Adopter Kit rolled out February 10. Its primary new feature is support for VMware, using Fusion for the MacOS, the Workstation Player for Windows, and ESXi. A two-CPU restriction for using VMware will be lifted in the mid-April release of 9.0, the H Release.

VSI has built its own TCP/IP services for this H Release. Services 6.0 includes telnet and FTP service. A long-term project to create a new TCP/IP had to be abandoned, Grant says. The choice left VSI in a position to add open source modules to HPE’s TCP/IP Services: OpenSSH, DHCP, NTP, and BIND. “We decided to start over,” Grant said. Minimum function by the middle of April “looks pretty good,” he said, “and we’re pretty excited about that.”

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