OpenVMS: What are the Options?

HP has advised revisions to its Roadmap for OpenVMS Support as of January 2014. These revisions give additional breathing space to user organizations following the announcement in May 2013 that HP would cease to support the operating system beyond 2020.

It is clear that the efforts of both individual large customers and User Groups to persuade HP to extend support or migrate the O/S to the x86-64 architecture have had limited success.

To summarise the revisions as they apply to each of the Machine architectures:

  • VAX: Unchanged from previous Roadmap: HP offers Mature Product Support without Sustaining Engineering (MPS w/o SE) until December 2015.
  • Alpha: V8.4 : Two years of MPS w/o SE have been added. Standard Support will continue until December 2016 and MPS w/o SE will continue until December 2018.
  • Integrity: V8.4 : Five years of MPS w/o SE have been added to extend support until 2025.

HP defines Mature Product Support without Sustaining Engineering to mean that, amongst other elements, no new patches will be created and support is limited to technical resources available in HP Global Solution Centres.

What are the options for users?

RapidGen offers a range of possible ways forward: Emulation, ongoing Support, Migration and Integration, endeavouring to identify and implement the optimal solution for the customer.


Emulation on new industry standard servers such as HP’s Proliant range

  • VAX: The Charon products from Stromasys are well established. AVT/Vere also offer solutions.
  • Alpha: Charon-AXP and AVT are available.
  • Integrity/Itanium: No known products. Several factors mitigate against the development of such a product including the complexity of the instruction set and limited market demand.

These emulation products have proved themselves very robust and reliable. However, their pricing can be a constraint. For customers who have static systems, for example a need to preserve older data for regulatory reasons, emulation would appear a logical solution. However, since HP has confirmed that support for OpenVMS even on Alpha hardware will cease within five years, for more dynamic environments, the hardware emulation option now becomes a short-term solution unless support is also provided for the OpenVMS O/S .

Ongoing Support services for OpenVMS

Whilst the availability of OpenVMS skills may be diminishing, it is clear that the enduring quality of this O/S has attracted many capable and committed supporters, both professional and at the hobbyist level – OpenVMS Community Portal, News and Info . RapidGen will continue to offer support of its products under OpenVMS significantly beyond the dates announced by HP.

Migration / Integration

Applications written using RapidGen Genius products can be migrated between operating systems with relative ease. RapidGen can assist with migration of your Genius or other sourced applications running on OpenVMS (or, indeed Tru64) to Windows or Linux with the assistance of Data Conversion Tools. Alternatively, consideration can be given to rewriting of applications.