Information Technology News.


VMS will be running on x86 servers in three years

Share on Twitter.

Sponsered ad: Get a Linux Enterprise server with 92 Gigs of RAM, 16 CPUs and 8 TB of storage at our liquidation sale. Only one left in stock.

Sponsered ad: Order the best SMTP service for your business. Guaranteed or your money back.

October 13, 2016

A little bit more than two years ago, VMS Software became the custodian of OpenVMS and is now getting close to its Holy Grail of running the old IBM and DEC operating system on x86 servers.

But this time around, HPE has decided that the operating system it inherited from Digital Equipment (DCE) was end-of-life back in 2013, but a year later signed over an exclusive licence to VSI.

But bear with us for a moment. At that time, the company's CEO Duane Harris said VSI's “passion for taking OpenVMS into future decades” would see it ported to HPE's Itanium servers and then x86 several architectures.

Several weeks ago, the company published a progress update on the project. While VSI has been able to keep the versions rolling for HPE Integrity servers, the most recent landed on September 23 and included a new TCP/IP stack and OpenSSL 1.0.2. Obviously, the x86 rewrite is a slow process, and we're certain that this won't surprise any VMS veterans.

VSI says x86 support with an Itanium cross-build will be available for early adopters in 2018 on HPE Intel and AMD servers, and will reach general availability sometime in three years from now.

A key milestone towards VMS' x86 adoption is its compiler support-- the company's been working feverishly to rewrite the original GEM compiler to the LLVM (low level virtual machine) architecture.

As it stands now, the “State of X86” document notes that the C compiler passes about 4,000 of the 4,200 compilation tests in the old DEC C Test Suite.

It has finished its makeover of the early boot path, so on x86 and Itanium, OpenVMS always boots from a memory disk, launches without boot drivers, doesn't need to touch the primitive file system and writes crash dumps to the OS's dump kernel.

To be sure, the dump kernel looks like an interesting manner to handle some crashes-- at boot time, a second instance of the OS is loaded into memory but not booted... It then sits idle unless there's a crash, at which time, it will boot. The OS will then get its information gathered by the primary kernel, it will then write the dump file, and handle the shutdown.

It's an interesting way of porting an aging, legacy operating system to a more modern platform, even though the x86 has been around since 1978.

Other topics of the work-in-progress include memory management, x86 and Itanium processor modes ( the x86 lacks the strict hierarchy of memory access protection expected by VMS) and paravirtualisation.

Since there is quite a bit of legacy VMS applications still running in large enterprises, it will be interesting to see what kind of adoption and porting to the x86 platform VMS will have over the next three to five years. We'll update you with the progress in that segment.

Source: HPE.


Sponsered ad: Get a Linux Enterprise server with 92 Gigs of RAM, 16 CPUs and 8 TB of storage at our liquidation sale. Only one left in stock.

Sponsered ad: Order the best SMTP service for your business. Guaranteed or your money back.

Share on Twitter.

IT News Archives | Site Search | Advertise on IT Direction | Contact | Home

All logos, trade marks or service marks on this site are the property of their respective owners.

Sponsored by Sure Mail™, Avantex and
by Montreal Server Colocation.

       © IT Direction. All rights reserved.