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OpenVMS migration - urgency and complexity

How urgent is my need to migrate ?

The diagram illustrates the typical levels of urgency by hardware platform and scale. There are three hardware platform types (Integrity, Alpha and VAX) and the HPVM virtualisation platform hosted on HPUX. Hardware platforms can be either physical or emulated (both Alpha and VAX emulators are available). Emulated platforms do not solve the problem of end-of-life for the operating system, they only solve the problem of end-of-life for the physical hardware.

If you operate in a business environment where supported systems are mandated, you have no choice but to migrate to a supported platform. Migration should be completed before support expires for the operating system on your hardware platform. VSI have supported versions of OpenVMS for Integrity Servers including the latest -i6 family, plus a "performance release" for EV6 and later AlphaServers.

Those running large and complex systems have the greatest problem, especially with hardware such as the AlphaServer GS1280 or BL890c-i2 Integrity Server with EVA based storage infrastructure.

Integrity Server platforms

Those currently running OpenVMS on Integrity Servers still have time to migrate. The final "Kittson" processor Itanium based systems (the -i6 family of Integrity Servers) go "end of sale" at the end of 2020. The HPE blade system based on the c7000 and c3000 chassis also go "end of sale" during 2020. The HPE roadmaps show an end of OpenVMS support at the end of 2020. Support from VSI continues beyond that.

Those running large machines (eg: BL890c-i2 with extensive EVA based storage infrastructure) and now reaching the edge of capacity and performance have an urgent requirement. They need to migrate to VSI OpenVMS and VSI layered products which have support for the -i4 and -i6 families of servers.

EVA storage is now end-of-life. 3PAR storage is qualified for use with OpenVMS on Integrity, including use as a boot device. Other storage subsystems are also available and support for them is documented on the VSI web site. The -i6 family of Integrity Servers support fibrechannel HBAs at up to 16GigFC (rack-mount servers only), which provides significantly greater storage IO bandwidth than is available with Alpha.

HP VM Integrity platforms

HP VM V6 does not support OpenVMS guests. However, most OpenVMS guests running under HP VM are not overly complex or required to deliver high performance. For uses such as dedicated quorum nodes, running an emulated Alpha (with the same version of OpenVMS) on a Linux host as a guest under VMware may be sufficient. For uses such as giving each developer their own personal OpenVMS environment, or running multiple test environments, it may be necessary to develop alternative strategies.

Alpha platforms

The HPE roadmaps show an end of support at the end of 2020. In general, those still running Alpha have an urgent need to migrate, either to VSI OpenVMS Alpha, or to a different hardware platform (Integrity, or wait for the port to x86-64 to be completed). Those still running large and complex systems such as AlphaServer GS1280 with EVA storage have a very urgent need to commence their migration work. The urgency is to avoid failing to complete the migration prior to the expiration of support.

An intermediate migration to OpenVMS on Integrity (eg: BL870c-i4) may be a sensible option. Migrating a large and complex set of applications from OpenVMS on Alpha (eg: GS1280) to OpenVMS on Integrity (eg: BL890c i2) with a substantial storage infrastructure can take a significant period of time, allowing for pre-production testing and transition with minimal disruption to service. The choices will largely depend on the scale and complexity of the application software and the extent to which the applications are integrated with the systems and infrastructure.

Fibrechannel HBAs for the Alpha platform are to a maximum of 2Gig bandwidth with standard components. Nemonix make a supported third-party 4Gig fibrechannel interface for ALpha. EVA storage is now end-of-life. Expansion of storage infrastructure for Alpha systems is thus another potential constraint for the Alpha platform.

VAX platforms

Those still running VAX platforms (either physical or emulated) have effectively taken the decision to run self-supported or unsupported systems. Most systems still based on VAX are running well-bounded applications with well-defined workloads. As such, there is little additional urgency for VAX users to migrate as a result of the HPE OpenVMS end-of-life announcement.