Where new VMS business goes: Bolton and beyond

Four years ago, VMS Software, Inc. (VSI) made an offer to Hewlett Packard Enterprise to take over the future of OpenVMS. In 2015 HPE and VSI were both new entities built from experienced expertise. After year-over-year 100 percent increases in revenues in 2017 and 2018, the Bolton, Mass.-based VSI is entering the era of making its own new business.

Up to this year, the new business arrived in VSI coffers on the wings of HP Enterprise support contracts. It wasn’t obvious that calls to HPE support for OpenVMS were being handled by engineers inside VSI. As of July of this year, HPE stopped selling support renewals for OpenVMS and stopped reselling the newer versions of OpenVMS.

Those were versions VSI built, offered to customers old and new by HPE through the corporate giant’s price list. Marketing VP Terry Holmes said that VSI’s revenues totalled $10 million in fiscal 2018. He’s also said the founding investors of VSI, Teracloud Ltd. of Malmo, Sweden, have pumped in investments of “tens of millions” of dollars up to now to get VSI to the end of 2019.

2020 is the year when Teracloud is expecting the first operating profit from VSI. The operation of about 80 employees, including engineering, support, and professional services experts, is headquartered in Bolton, not far from the original VMS labs where DEC built an OS and a chip architecture that once counted hundreds of thousands of customers.

Like many a legacy community, the numbers are smaller today. OpenVMS continues to drive commercial computing as well as technical installations. Starting in in 2020, calls for OpenVMS support will go to a different phone number, routed directly to the VSI labs and offices.

“Over the last nearly five and a half years,” Holmes said in a webinar attended by about 200 viewers, “HP has gained confidence in VMS Software, as many of you customers have as well, to meet customer needs.”

The confidence has been built from the bricks of customer service. “In actuality over the last 18 months, for close to 100 percent of the HPE OpenVMS support contracts, VSI personnel have actually been doing the work,” Holmes said.

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