DEC legacy systems are everywhere: banks, energy and nuclear facilities, manufacturing and process control, the defense industry, transportation, hospitals, insurance, and more. At Stromasys, we work with organizations of all sizes and across just about every vertical with production or business critical environments, helping them protect their software investments by emulating their DEC hardware.
Stromasys offers hardware virtualization options for VAX, Alpha, and PDP-11 systems. Since being founded in 1998 through a management buyout of Digital Equipment Corporation’s European Migration and Porting Center, the Stromasys mission has been to provide high-quality and cost-effective hardware emulation solutions for DEC legacy systems.
Stromasys hardware emulation is so precise that tests run by DEC to test our Charon-VAX against the original VAX hardware could not tell the difference between the two. The Charon-VAX virtualization solution passed the same quality assurance tests that DEC used to verify that their hardware was functioning correctly.
VAX hardware was first introduced by Digital Equipment Corporation in 1977, along with Virtual Memory System (VMS or OpenVMS), an operating system that has never been hacked, is legendary for its stability, and is still widely used. The VAX was the first commercially available 32 bit computer, and it made DEC the #2 computer manufacturer worldwide by 1982—shipping over 500,000 times worldwide.
In 2000, production of VAX hardware was discontinued. That same year, Stromasys began selling Charon-VAX solutions, enabling businesses to continue to use time-tested and mission-critical applications on trusted OpenVMS operating systems—but without the risks of an aging and End-of-Life hardware platform.
From standalone systems for process control and administration, to military and industrial standalone or embedded systems, to corporate VAX data centers using high-performance cluster systems—VAX systems are all over the place and continue to be used more than 40 years since they were first introduced. Businesses are still pleased with the quality of their VAX applications (and of course, the incredible stability of OpenVMS), but they are encountering difficulties with expensive maintenance, high energy consumption, and hard-to-find spare parts.
Digital introduced the AlphaServer in 1992, and Stromasys began offering its Alpha hardware emulation solution, Charon-AXP, in 2006 (AlphaServer End-of-Life followed in 2007). Much like VAX, businesses around the world continue to use AlphaServers in business and mission-critical environments, putting their trust in the underlying OpenVS and Tru64 UNIX operating systems.
For almost every Alpha that was ever manufactured, Stromasys offers a Charon-AXP equivalent. HP recognizes Charon-AXP as a valid Alpha replacement platform to run OpenVMS or Tru64.
In addition to VAX and Alpha hardware emulation solutions, Stromasys also offers PDP-11 hardware emulation with Charon-PDP. Sold from 1970 into the mid-1990s, some businesses continue to use these systems that they have trusted for decades. The hardware has been End-of-Life for nearly twenty years, but emulation offers new life to the still-reliable applications and RSX-11 operating system.
Charon is designed for companies that still need their legacy applications and cannot take the risk of rewriting the business logic in a software migration. If you are experiencing pains of failing PDP-11, VAX, or Alpha hardware and want to take preventive measures, contact us to learn more about which customized Charon solution is right for your organization. Charon solutions are available for nearly all VAX, Alpha, and PDP-11 legacy hardware models.
In a nutshell, Charon emulates the original chip instruction sets to emulate devices used by the legacy system and translate commands from the unchanged legacy OS to the new underlying host OS in the modern OS language. Charon doesn’t emulate software applications, and it doesn’t emulate the legacy operating system. In fact, it does not modify either existing applications or the legacy OS. The process is strictly hardware replacement, allowing the original application to run exactly as before on a new industry standard server or in the cloud.
To learn more, contact Stromasys.