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HP upgrades VMS for Itanium servers

Cliff Saran

Hewlett-Packard is refreshing its datacentre server family with the introduction of a family of Itanium-based Integrity servers and the much anticipated Itanium version of OpenVMS.

OpenVMS 8.2 is the version of the Vax operating system, launched on 17 January, that runs on HP's Itanium 2-based Integrity server.

It is seen by Vax users as a significant milestone as it will allow them to move applications from Alpha-based and ageing Vax hardware onto a modern platform. HP is planning to stop selling the Alpha processor by 2006.

OpenVMS is still a popular high-end operating system, particularly with financial institutions. Users include International Securities Exchange and Dow Chemicals.

HP User Group board member Colin Butcher last month gave a presentation about migrating to the system. He said migration should be relatively straightforward as long as users first port code from Vax systems onto the Alpha processor then move Alpha code to the Integrity server.

"Based on my experience so far, Alpha and Integrity share the same code base, so will remain in step. In most cases [moving Alpha code to Integrity] requires a simple recompile, relink and run," said Butcher.

He said users needed to be aware that the Integrity's C and C++ compilers were more stringent than Vax's, which meant compilation of legacy Vax applications could produce compilation errors that would require source code to be corrected. "I suggest users first compile with the latest Alpha compiler then move to the Integrity compiler."

Users of Vax will be supported until 2018, according to HP, but if ageing hardware such as disc drives and power supplies fail, users could find it difficult to source replacement parts.

Along with OpenVMS, HP has unveiled servers based on faster Intel Itanium 2 processors which, it said, would provide integrated virtualisation across operating systems.

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