Archive for: Product and Services

Press release: Stromasys announces the release of virtual SPARC in the Amazon Web Services Marketplace as an AMI

Stromasys, an industry-leading legacy server emulation company, announced today that Charon-SSP is available to customers in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Marketplace as an AMI offering (Amazon Machine Image). Charon-SSP recreates a virtual SPARC hardware layer on AWS. The layer is compatible with any Sun software running on it and acts as SPARC hardware, with no need for code conversion or source code.

Charon-SSP is one of a family of cross-platform hypervisors (emulators) from Stromasys which extend the lives of mission-critical legacy applications by freeing them from the underlying, past-end-of-life SPARC, VAX, Alpha, HP 3000, and PDP-11 servers. In particular, the Charon-SSP can replace SPARC systems from the Sun4m and Sun4u family and it supports SunOS 4.1 to Solaris 10. Additionally, this AMI is also offered on AWS GovCloud to U.S. government customers and their partners.

“We can now help our customers completely modernize their IT operations,” said John Prot, CEO of Stromasys, “By having our Charon-SSP in the AWS Marketplace, we are giving customers access to modern cloud hardware without recompiling. We are excited for this latest development and for being able to offer a solution on a problem that seemed unsolvable.”

Charon-SSP is fully binary compatible with SPARC hardware, including storage, Ethernet, and serial line I/O. Stromasys also offers a bare-metal version that is available but not under this AMI.

See the full press release here.


On the Oracle Blog: Migrate Apps with Stromasys, an Oracle Cloud Marketplace Partner

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is the ideal platform for enterprises that depend on and need to migrate their on-premises-based enterprise applications to the cloud. We offer the only marketplace where you can download Oracle Applications and middleware images, fully automated solution stacks, and automated migration and lifecycle management tooling for Oracle E-Business Suite, JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, Siebel, and WebLogic.

We also understand that you might have applications running on legacy OSs or even SPARC, but want to take advantage of the scalability and agility of cloud. And we’re collaborating with leading ISV partners to offer solutions to help you do so. In addition to offering integrated solutions to help you develop, test, and migrate applications to the cloud, partners also offer innovative solutions like Robotic Process Automation to support automating and streamlining core business processes.

Now, with the newly launched Oracle Cloud Marketplace paid listings, you can easily click-to-launch third-party solutions to help you migrate and augment enterprise applications in the Oracle Cloud. You have the flexibility to bring your own license (BYOL), pay by the hour or use Universal Credits (UCM),and in the end, you receive one unified bill for both Oracle and ISV partner solutions.

Stromasys

Stromasys is the inventor of enterprise-class, cross-platform virtualization of legacy servers. Their software extends the lifecycle of mission-critical applications by virtualizing their aging hardware. Stromasys solutions virtualize legacy Sun SPARC, DEC VAX, Alpha, and PDP-11, HP 3000, and HP 9000 systems on modern x86 servers running on-premises or in the cloud.

“We are excited to offer Charon-SSP on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace because it extends our commitment to the Oracle user community and to our already strong relationship with Oracle. Users of Sun4m, and soon 4u and 4v, systems may now move their applications on the Oracle Cloud without recompiling, thus revolutionizing reliability and performance.” —John Prot, Chief Executive Officer, Stromasys

Charon-SSP for virtual SPARC on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, Charon-SSP 32-BitCharon-AXP, and Charon-VAX are all available as paid listings on Oracle Cloud Marketplace.

See the full blog post here.


When production stopped…a Q & A with Wheeler Manufacturing

 

In 2014, everyone at Wheeler Manufacturing was working overtime to fulfill orders ahead of their busy season. Wheeler is a wholesale domestic jewelry manufacturer in South Dakota and its clients were resellers in the travel, resort, tourist, and jewelry industries. Their high seasons are May, June, July, and August and they needed to have orders turned around within three to four days.

But all production stopped when Wheeler’s hardware, a DEC AlphaServer, failed. It wasn’t the first time a drive had failed but it was the first time it had happened during business hours. Wheeler lost a day of production in addition to everything on the drive…and it took three or four days to receive necessary support.

Over the 15 years Wheeler had been using the Alpha server, it was historically a reliable system but it had started to fail and receiving a support quickly was increasingly a difficult challenge. Looking for a solution, the search eventually led Wheeler to Stromasys. We were able to sit down with Jason Rambo, Treasurer and Comptroller at Wheeler, and catch up with what happened at the time and how things have been since then.

  1. What systems were running on the server when it failed?

A completely customized software, called Workwise, ran off the VMS operating system which sat on the Alpha server. That Workwise software handled many aspects of the manufacturing process, including inventory control and order processing, as well as accounts payable and financial statement. It’s a critical piece in our IT structure to our business.

  1. Before deciding to go with Stromasys, what other ideas were you thinking about?

We knew this was an ongoing problem that needed to be fixed. It’s really expensive to completely rewrite the software and it takes a lot of time. We thought about buying another software but that would take more time to customize it and rework it to fit our needs. We needed something that would work quickly and help move us away from the Alpha server.

  1. What made you hesitant at first about the Stromasys solution, Charon?

We had serious reservations about just throwing money out the window and this solution sounded too good to be true. We talked to many customers about how Charon worked and decided to go with it. The Alpha server was growing problem that was becoming worse.

  1. Once you decided to move forward, how did the implementation go?

We arranged for a Stromasys engineer to be on-site and implementation was like a piece of cake. Obviously, we did testing but everything functioned the way it should. Once we installed Charon, it was essentially the exact same product we always used.

  1. How has Charon changed your IT infrastructure?

Performance is about four to five times faster than it was before. Being in IT, we also now have the peace of mind that our server is not going to go down, especially during high production times. As far as I’m concerned for anyone who wants to operate on VMS software, Stromasys is the only ticket in town.

Are you facing challenges with your legacy system? Contact us today for a free consultation of our Charon software solution or to migrate to the cloud.

Use our FREE ROI calculator to get a quick snapshot on how much you could save in budget and resources.


An Interview with Chris Li on Semiconductors and Legacy Hardware Emulation

Read an interview with Chris Li, Stromasys managing director in Asia Pacific, about the important role of legacy hardware emulation in the semiconductor industry:

SEAJ: What do you understand about Japan’s semiconductor industry?

Mr. Chris Li, Stromasys managing director, Asia Pacific: I have been following the trends of the semiconductor industry worldwide, as I have spent a good amount of time studying semiconductors at university. I was an electronics and electrical engineer, and I graduated from London Imperial College in the early 90s. Semiconductors fascinate me with their ability, with the ever increasing packing of transistors, and their versatility, with manipulation by doping. Japan is the world’s third largest electronics manufacturer and the fourth largest export market for SME (semiconductor manufacturing equipment).

The semiconductor monthly sales figures for Japan are over three billion U.S. dollars. The industry had been facing some stiff challenges in the past few years due to a stagnant economy and the fact that Japan missed the mobile trend. However, consumer trends directly impact the semiconductor industry and the trend is moving towards IoT (Internet of Things). Japan is poised to tap this opportunity over their time.

SEAJ: How could Stromasys contribute to Japan’s semiconductor industry?

Li: Given the long history of Japan’s semiconductor industry and the mission-critical applications that have been in use in various stages of the semiconductor manufacturing process, there are inevitably legacy systems being used. By legacy system, I mean a previous or outdated computer system for which production had been stopped for a long time. There are various reasons for these legacy systems to be kept, perhaps due to the risk of rewriting applications, return on investment challenges, interface with peripheral devices, etc. In all cases, these companies are incurring high maintenance charges on the legacy systems; they are bearing the reliability risk of buying used replacement parts, etc.

Stromasys has a very unique range of products called “Charon,” which emulate (or virtualize) various legacy systems. This means that Charon replaces the legacy hardware. Users can port their existing applications (with no re-installation necessary) to a Charon emulator that runs on Linux or Windows on the latest x86 machine or in the cloud. We preserve our clients’ software investment across hardware generations.

SEAJ: How would this benefit our members?

Li: In the semiconductor industry, precision is paramount, and therefore there are good reasons to keep the existing applications intact. With a Charon solution, users don’t have to make a single change to their applications. Even if they have lost the source code, Charon emulation can help. The time and effort for porting the application to a Charon emulator is minimal.

With no dependency on the aged legacy systems, maintenance costs are reduced significantly. Also, users are able to significantly reduce risk of hardware failure and improve performance. The new system provides a wider range of peripheral devices. Finally, there are savings in operation costs, such as decreased power consumption, heat dissipation, and space occupation.

SEAJ: Any success cases of Stromasys in Japan and worldwide?

Li: Stromasys has implemented cross-platform virtualization solutions for the world’s leading companies in over 70 countries. We have been doing businesses in Japan for well over 10 years. One recent semiconductor client is Renesas (at their Palm Bay, Florida site), where they had five SparcStations,
five Sparc Ultras, and a Sun Blade. The Sun Blade ran on Solaris 8, and the rest ran on SunOS
5.6. Nine of these systems were dedicated to controlling furnaces, and the others played various
roles in controlling the tools and equipment related to semiconductor production.

SEAJ: That all sounds good. How about emulation coverage and costs?

Li: Currently, our Charon emulation covers SPARC, Digital VAX, Alpha and PDP-11 and HP 3000 servers. Within each of these server types, there are a large variety of models that we support. We are also partnering with Oracle to provide our Charon solutions in the cloud. In terms of cost, return on investment to clients is phenomenal. In most cases Charon would be less than one year’s maintenance and operation costs. I strongly recommend your members contact us for a free consultation with no commitment. Please see our contact details below.

About Stromasys

Stromasys is a pioneer in enterprise-class cross-platform legacy server emulation solutions, providing modern infrastructure for legacy applications. Our virtualized environments include:

Charon-PDP: Virtualization/ Emulation of PDP-11 systems.
Charon-VAX: Virtualization/ Emulation of VAX/ VMS configurations.
Charon-AXP: Virtualization/Emulation of Alpha/ VMS/ Tru64 solutions.
Charon-HPA: Virtualization/ Emulation of HP 3000/ MPE technologies.
Charon-SSP: Virtualization/ Emulation of SPARC/ SunOS/ Solaris infrastructure.
Charon on the Cloud: Virtualization/ Emulation of SPARC, Alpha, VAX, and HP 3000 systems in the cloud.

Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland with sales, engineering, and research and development offices located around the world, Stromasys has implemented cross-platform virtualization solutions in over 70 countries to help organizations lower costs, protect their investments, improve performance, reduce risk, and provide easier maintenance. To find out more visit www.stromasys.com or follow us on twitter @stromasys_HQ.


Announcing New Version Releases for Charon-AXP, Charon-VAX, Charon-PDP and Charon-SSP

 

We are pleased to announce the release of the new versions for Charon-AXP, Charon-VAX, Charon-PDP and Charon-SSP. The new versions are available immediately and will be the standard on all new licenses. Stromasys is also pleased to inform you that these updated versions are accessible for all customers under Stromasys Support. Below are the key features of the new releases for each Charon product line.

Features of Charon-SSP Version 1.4

  • Increased CPUs and faster performance
  • New graphics emulation as well asaudio emulation
  • Network boots (for starting multiple installations centrally)
  • Serial lines multiplexor emulation
  • Support for Hyper Threading
  • Addition of Solaris 9 support for 4M

Features of Charon-AXP, Charon-VAX, and Charon-PDP Version 4.8:

  • Introduction of Windows 10 support
  • Re-introduction of RHEL 6.5 and above support
  • New graphical user interface on Windows (a single window application which consolidates all Charon management tasks) and text based user interface on Linux
  • Functionality and performance improvements on Charon-AXP

Features of Charon-AXP/SMA/SMA Plus/Station Version 2.3:

  • All the bug fixes and other improvements have been incorporated into the release
  • Introduction of Windows 10 support

For all products, see the latest software product description here.

Contact Stromasys Support to request your upgrade.

 

Click here to view our latest newsletter, where these version releases were also shared.


Five Reasons Businesses Wait to Emulate Their Legacy Hardware

 

Do you have legacy hardware you haven’t emulated yet? You’re not alone. We find that many businesses hold off on emulating their hardware until they absolutely have to. If it’s working, it may seem as if there’s not much of an incentive to change anything–especially when changes cost money and require dedicated time.

Waiting can be risky, and it can also be more costly in the long run. We’ve compiled a list of the top five reasons we hear from businesses about why they put off emulating their legacy systems–and we’ve included some information about why waiting isn’t your best option. Take a look:

1. Nothing’s broken

The “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality is often hard at work, but waiting to emulate legacy hardware until something breaks can be very expensive. Have you considered what that downtime would cost you?

2. It’s not a priority

Legacy systems aren’t necessarily the most glamorous systems. As your business is modernizing on other fronts, these back-room systems can fall to the wayside. But shouldn’t mission-critical apps be a priority?

3. Sounds expensive

Well, yes, emulation isn’t free. But our solutions are often less that a single year’s maintenance of the original hardware. And customers have seen annual maintenance fees reduced by as much as 90%. Read about it here.

4. It’s a temporary fix

While emulation can be a short-term solution before a full migration, it’s also the long-term solution for many customers. If your business has a time-tested legacy app, it still has a long life ahead of it once you swap out the original hardware for an x86 or cloud environment.

5. What? Emulation?

We’re always encountering customers who thought their only options were to buy spare parts for the legacy hardware or move to an entirely new platform. Emulation is the low-risk, cost-effective option employed by businesses around the world. If you’re ready to consider emulating your hardware, contact us today.


Supporting Tru64 Users with Legacy Alpha Emulation

While legacy hardware is failing, the legacy operating system and the original applications have a much longer lifetime. Typically, they are still in great shape even when the original hardware begins to break down. Charon solutions are a way to move forward and continue using those durable legacy operating systems and applications, but without the pain points of the aging hardware. The below is an interview with Sandy Levitt, Senior Sales Engineer and Director of Sales Operations at Stromasys. Sandy has many years of experience with DEC systems and the Tru64 operating system. Read this interview to learn more about how Charon can help legacy system users move toward Alpha emulation and how Charon supports the Tru64 operating system, as well as others like OpenVMS, Solaris, and MPE.

 

Sandy, would you describe how you first became involved with legacy systems?

The first Unix I ever worked on was Ultrix, which ran on MIPS and VAX from Digital Equipment Corporation.   At first I worked as a presales engineer in the government space, helping sell what was the state-of-the-art BSD-based Unix.  It was not enough for me, so I ended working in the Customer Support Center, helping to fix customer problems.  DEC was an innovative company at the time, and soon enough they were coming out with a new Unix called OSF/1 that we were going to support on what was going to be the fastest chip out there, the Alpha. (OSF/1 later became Tru64)  Business was growing and so was the call volume.   Our team kept growing and growing until we had about 30 people.

And you have continued to work with Tru64, Unix, and DEC legacy systems since then?

Fast forward about 15 years.  Since that time, Digital was bought by Compaq, and then by HP, which had its own systems, and UNIX- HPUX.   It took time, but eventually the number of customers running Tru64 was dwindling. Linux had become the de facto Unix, and X86 the de facto chip. Not to say that there were not other Unix types and chips, but the market had definitely shifted. HPE no longer provided engineering support for Tru64. As of Dec 31st 2016, HPE will no longer support Tru64.

What was remarkable, though, was how many major customers still had Alphas running Tru64. It was and still is a reliable, stable workhorse to critical applications in all different industries.

What brought you over to Stromasys?

When I was let go in 2014, with 20+ years of experience in Tru64, I was not sure where my future was going. I was learning Linux, but it wasn’t the same. How could I continue my love of Tru64 in the modern Cloud/VM/x86 world?

The answer lay in Stromasys.   When I found out they were hiring, I was so excited. Would working for a company with about 100 employees be different than working for HP (now HPE)?  It definitely would be, but for the better. Within Stromasys, and its customers, is a love for the legacy systems and operating systems. Why migrate an application that runs perfectly fine on a stable operating system?  The only problem is that the hardware was starting to fail.   But here the OS and application could continue to run on modern X86 systems.   At Stromasys, I have watched many customers migrate their Tru64 systems seamlessly to emulated hardware, so that they continue to run mission critical applications.   The amazement that these customers have in what we do—that’s why I do this.

Secretly, though, I also do this because I see the operating system that I grew to love for 20+ years continue to live. Working with Tru64 is like slipping on that old sweatshirt.  It just makes you feel good.

As a Tru64 expert yourself, how do you see Stromasys addressing the needs of other Tru64 users?

It does so by providing a stable environment for Tru64 to run on. Since Tru64 is stable as an operating system, experience dictates that most crashes and downtime are due to hardware failing. As I mentioned earlier, Stromasys also is able to provide support for Tru64, as HP is discontinuing all support as of December 31, 2016.

So that means Tru64 users and the organizations relying upon the operating system won’t have to worry about downtime caused by an unsupported operating system, right?

Exactly. We have a team of Tru64 experts who will provide the same kind of support for not only our Charon solutions that allow hardware emulation of the original DEC hardware, but also for the Tru64 operating system that runs on top of it.

What advice would you give to engineers still using these platforms daily within their organizations? 

Any migration plans will take double the time originally anticipated, so don’t neglect these systems. And, of course, getting rid of the hardware risk and placing the legacy application and operating system on x86 is the safe thing to do.

For more information on next steps for your legacy system, visit our Solutions page or contact us for a consultation.


Running OpenVMS on Virtual Hardware

Last month, we were a sponsor of OpenVMS Boot Camp in New Hampshire, the largest event specifically for members of the OpenVMS community. OpenVMS, along with Solaris, Tru64, and MPE, is one of the legacy operating systems our customers frequently run on their legacy hardware.

As everyone at OpenVMS Boot Camp would attest, OpenVMS is a great OS. One of the reasons so many businesses still use it (since its original release in 1977) is precisely because of how reliable it is. While the VAX and Alpha hardware is no longer produced, the operating system and the applications running on it are doing just fine.

One of many questions we were asked at OpenVMS Boot Camp was whether a company needed to upgrade to a particular version of OpenVMS in order to adopt a Charon hardware emulation solution. There are minimum versions of OpenVMS required, based on the VAX or Alpha model to be replaced, but the vast majority of our customers do not need to upgrade. Here’s why:

Charon Solutions

Our Charon solutions are hardware replacement solutions. We swap out the aging hardware and replace it with a new, industry standard server running our Charon software solution. Charon software allows a modern x86 server to function exactly the same way the legacy server always did. Because this is strictly hardware emulation, the legacy operating system and application(s) continue to run without any modifications or code recompile.

This means that it doesn’t matter what version of OpenVMS, or other legacy OS, you’re running. Those layers are migrated over to the x86, and we don’t change them in the process.

Benefits of OpenVMS

There are a couple of major benefits to this. The most obvious one is that for all intents and purposes, the legacy system continues to function just as it always has. In fact, we’ve had a number of implementations where end users were entirely unaware that changes had taken place. They interact with the system, with the application, exactly as they always did. If end users do observe a change, it’s typically because of a performance improvement, such as a report that can be completed in a fraction of the time it would have taken on the original hardware.

A second benefit is the Charon emulator translation is bit for bit compatible with original DEC systems, including floating point precision.  Stromasys uses Digital Equipment Corp.- developed tools to ensure Charon is 100% compatible with the original hardware, including MDM (MicroVAX Diagnostic Monitor),  UETP (User Environment Test Package, part of VMS),  and AXE (DEC’s VAX and Alpha CPU architecture verification tool).

Another benefit to our legacy hardware emulation solutions is that, because nothing above the hardware level is modified, no recertification is required. For many verticals operating under heavy regulations or compliancy standards, changes to the OS or application would require that the business undergo a lengthy and exhaustive recertification process to validate the system, but our solution makes that unnecessary. By exchanging the aging hardware for a more modern, reliable alternative, Charon solutions mitigate risk while providing a straightforward and low-hassle path to business continuity.


Meeting Performance Goals with Virtual SPARC from Stromasys

For many organizations considering virtualizing their legacy systems, the joy of eliminating the risk of aging hardware is just one piece of the puzzle. Another important consideration is whether a virtual environment can achieve the same performance levels as the original hardware. While hardware emulation often carries with it the implication of a slower system, we work with our customers to optimize our solutions to meet performance requirements — and, in some cases, even surpass them.

Thales Alenia Space used a SPARC system to support the Centre National des Etudes Spatiales (CNES, the French space agency). It processed assembly, integration, and testing data from the IASI instrument before its long journey in space. The SPARC hardware was aging, and in order to protect the applications and data, they needed a solution that could emulate the SPARC hardware without changing the software. It was essential that the virtual solution be able to meet the speed and floating point precision performance requirements of the original system.

Stromasys engineers collaborated with the Thales Alenia Space team to implement CHARON-SSP, our virtual SPARC solution, making sure that it would achieve the required performance. The team found the SPARC emulator from Stromasys to be both high-quality and cost-effective, allowing their application to continue running on new industry standard hardware just as it had on the legacy server. They can now continue to support the research goals of CNES without the risks associated with the aging SPARC hardware.

Interested in learning more? Click here to read the full case study.

We’re exhibiting at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco this week, September 18-22, showcasing our CHARON-SSP solution. Contact us to schedule a conversation and demonstration at the show or to set up a remote meeting.


Announcing CHARON-SSP Version 1.0.36

 

We have now released our newest version of our Legacy SPARC Emulator – CHARON-SSP: Version 1.0.36.

If you are currently running CHARON-SSP and have an active support contract, contact the Stromasys Sales Team or your Stromasys Partner to request your upgrade.

Benefits of CHARON-SSP Version 1.0.36:

  • CHARON Manager layout improvement
  • Introduction of CHARON Director for centralized management of CHARON SSP instances running on many Servers
  • X11 nested server panel with keyboard layout and graphics resolution configuration options
  • Password encryption between CHARON Manager and Agent
  • New Barebone versions based on CentOS with ISO images and USB installers
  • Bugs fixed

In addition, the following updates were released for specific versions of CHARON-SSP:

CHARON-SSP/4U and CHARON-SSP/4U PLUS

  • Performance improvement of approximately 10%
  • Up to 32 Serial Ports support with full modem control

CHARON-SSP/4M

  • Support for 2nd Ethernet Adapter emulation
  • Serial lines support for full modem control

Interested in more information about CHARON-SSP?

Thank you,

The Stromasys Support Team