OpenVMS HP - Intel Developer Forum - Report from the Front Lines

I just returned from spending three days with the OpenVMS stream of the HP - Intel Developer Forum in Mahwah, New Jersey. The over-subscribed OpenVMS stream was extremely successful, and provided an advanced view of what OpenVMS users can expect from the soon-to-be generally released OpenVMS for HP Integrity Servers.

The OpenVMS Team has established an enviable record in its Itanium-related efforts. Today, some 42 months after the July 2001 decision to adopt IA-64 as the next generation of processor architecture for OpenVMS, with a timeline for release and availability, there have been no significant schedule slips or reductions of functionality. In an industry where it is common for far-shorter 12-month roadmaps to be imaginative at best, completing a project of this scale and quality on schedule is a singularly impressive achievement.

Each attendee was provided with an rx2600 server including:

While technically not a workstation, like the now-discontinued zx6000, each system had an integral VGA adapter and ran DECwindows. Additionally, attendees were able to connect to their servers over each server's LAN adapters with their notebook computers (which in turn could run either terminal emulators or an X-windows implementation).

With regards to the hardware, the OpenVMS track's 21 rx2600 servers were rock-solid, despite having been repeatedly transported around the United States for different seminars. In fact, except for a single failed disk drive, and a malfunctioning monitor or two, the entire hardware ensemble functioned flawlessly for the entire seminar.

The same can be said for the OpenVMS for HP Integrity Servers field-test software running on the systems. Attendees used both DECnet and TCP/IP products extensively, with a total absence of problems. Attendees used the systems in a variety of ways, with one team configuring a local area OpenVMS cluster with their two machines.

Attendees used a wide range of languages and tools in their applications, including: DCL, C/C++, PASCAL, FORTRAN, BASIC, COBOL, MACRO-32, and Secure Web Server (based on the Apache Software Foundation's HTTP Server). There were some minor bugs encountered.

Each attendee was strongly encouraged to bring real-world examples of applications systems running on Alpha. The actual goal of the seminar was for each attendee to complete the initial port, and have a running test version of their application by the end of the three-day seminar. Attendees who brought their complete source codes to the seminar had an excellent probability of getting an initial migration completed by the end of the seminar.

The experience of this seminar shows that OpenVMS 8.2 on HP Integrity Servers is a solid, well-engineered product ready for serious development, with a maturity that belies its rapid evolution.

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