The OpenVMS operating system, since its release in 1977, has been used by businesses worldwide because of its outstanding reliability. While the VAX and Alpha hardware that it typically ran on is no longer manufactured, the operating system has withstood the test of time and the critical applications running on it are still at the core of many business operations.
When businesses emulate their legacy hardware with Stromasys, we’re often asked whether an upgraded version of OpenVMS is necessary. There are minimum versions of OpenVMS required, based on the VAX or Alpha servers to be virtualized, but the vast majority of businesses do not need to upgrade. Here’s why:
Our solution is a hardware replacement solution—we don’t change the applications, databases, or legacy operating system running on that hardware.
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. Because this is strictly hardware emulation, the legacy operating system and application(s) continue to run without any modifications or code recompile. Charon software allows a modern x86 server to function exactly the same way the legacy server always did.
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 server, and we simply emulate the processes from the prior Vax/Alpha servers.
The most obvious benefit of using OpenVMS is that for all intents and purposes, the legacy system continues to function just as it always has. In fact, in many implementations the end users were entirely unaware that changes had taken place, or the application actually performed better. They interact with the system, with the application, exactly as they always did, and typically experience 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 that the Charon Vax and Alpha emulator’s 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 compliance 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.
As all IT hardware evolves, so have many of the benefits of newer infrastructure. With the virtualization of organization’s Alpha and Vax environments, companies can experience enormous savings from decreased service and support costs, downtime, and SG&A. In addition, the new x86 servers are much more environmentally friendly, providing power and resource savings versus the Vax and Alpha servers.