Running Charon on VMware ESXi Servers

We meet many customers interested in merging legacy applications or existing Charon instances into their corporate data center. If you have Sparc, HP3000, PDP-11, DEC VAX or DEC Alpha hardware, this post is for you.

Charon provides the means to separate robust, working applications from failing hardware and run those applications on industry-standard servers in the datacenter. Like VMware, Charon software abstracts the hardware layer. Charon on VMware presents a translation layer between the VM host OS (Linux, Windows) and the legacy OS (OpenVMS, Tru64, MPE, old Solaris) to provide the identical functionality of the original hardware.

Because the demand for server virtualization is high, Stromasys became a Technology Alliance Partner with VMware and we have exhibited in the Solutions Exchange area of VMworld each year since 2011.

VMware is not a technical requirement to run Charon. Whether or not to run an instance of Charon on VMware ESXi servers is a management decision based on available resources, standardization policy, etc. If you are already using VMware in your datacenter, Charon can be a good fit. Your legacy application can now use Vmotion and snapshots. It can be cloned, made an appliance, etc. Sound good? Well, there is a catch…

Like VMware, legacy operating systems have resource requirements that must be met in order to function. Charon claims resources for its exclusive use because a real-time legacy OS expects resources to be continuously available. Stromasys recommends placing the Charon VM on a physical host with enough CPU, RAM and I/O resources so the VM does not have to swap out for other VMs.

What are the benefits of installing Charon on VMware?

The benefits of running Charon on VMware are very similar to running Charon in the Cloud: reduced infrastructure, less power consumption, centralized management, etc. With VMware, the Charon server can be managed in a similar fashion to your other virtual machine. It’s no longer the odd legacy hardware box in a corner and special hardware maintenance costs are a thing of the past. Of course, it’s still a legacy application running on a legacy OS and will still require personnel with legacy OS expertise, but routine management can be done by someone without that legacy expertise – by datacenter managers without special knowledge of specific legacy operating systems.

The transition from legacy hardware to Charon can take place in a week, with no application changes and, in some cases the only downtime is a reboot to cut over to the new instance. Charon software also is compatible with Hyper-V, Xen, and KVM virtualizations.

Ultimately, VMware is a nice option but by no means a requirement. There is no need to get VMware to run Charon, but if you have VMware, we are glad to work with you to run your Charon instance(s) there. As a VMware partner, we are experts at implementing our solutions within that environment.