HP has provided an evaluation release of OpenVMS on its range of Integrity servers, which are based on 64-bit Itanium 2 processors. The availability of a version of the OpenVMS OS for a new hardware platform based on Itanium 2 gives OpenVMS users a way to continue running existing applications, avoiding the need to migrate to a Unix or NT-based system. Such a move would require OpenVMS applications to be rewritten.
According to Colin Butcher, board member of the HP User Group, users are keen to ensure that HP continues to put its weight behind OpenVMS following its merger with Compaq in 2002. He said support on the Itanium 2 Integrity server was a step in the right direction. "This is good news - it is a serious commitment to the future of OpenVMS," said Butcher.
OpenVMS has been available for more than 10 years on Alphaserver machines, which HP inherited as a result of the Compaq merger. The operating system is typically used for mission-critical applications in areas such as banking, aerospace and manufacturing.
Butcher said HP's decision to provide OpenVMS on Itanium 2-based hardware indicated the company's commitment to supporting users. "HP does not go away and port the operating system to a new hardware environment for no reason," he said.
The evaluation release of OpenVMS version 8.1 for Integrity servers based on Itanium 2 is aimed at early adopter customers and software houses. HP said the release was designed for users looking to port their applications before the launch of a production-quality release, version 8.2, which is expected in the second half of this year.
Version 8.1 includes native compilers and a range of development tools and integration technologies. Butcher said, "By testing OpenVMS on the new Integrity servers, users will be ready to put their applications into production when version 8.2 is launched. It will enable them to take their current software, which runs successfully on OpenVMS Alphaservers, and pass it through the compilers to generate native Itanium code."
The past few months have been a busy period for HP's server business. In October the company launched its most powerful Alphaserver, the GS1280, and updated the OpenVMS. The new version promised higher levels of system availability, increased I/O and symmetric multiprocessing.
HP only plans to ship Alphaserver hardware for a further three years, although the company has pledged to support the range until 2012. Users will also be able to run OpenVMS on the machines until about 2022.
Last year the UK's HP user groups, HP/Works User Group and the HP Compaq User Organi-sation, joined forces to create the HP User Group. The new user organisation, which has almost 1,600 members, has embarked on a recruitment drive to try and reach its target membership of 5,000.
The HP User Group will be running a one-day seminar on installing OpenVMS on current platforms on 3 February at HP's Bristol labs