How can you enjoy a journey? When you are comfortable on the road, and when you have a good destination.
What was heard at the last Connect Bootcamp in Boston, 29th-2nd October, where VSI and HP presented the alliance for VMS, confirms a very good deal for VMS has been made.
We have got well inspired investor. We have got a reinforced old-new (or new-old ?) VMS experts team. We have got a new branded company for exclusive VMS use: VMS Software inc. We have got a true commitment from HP to continue business as usual for decades with all knew hardware offered to be supported by VSI on OpenVMS.
Also we have had always a very concerned community of exigent and competent customers. We have had always good users club. Reasons of the very good quality of the Bootcamp.
The very important ideas from the Bootcamp:
The new deal for VMS is well structured : real investment, true cooperation between HP and VSI, reasonable plans for the future.
The collaboration between HP and VSI make all the itaniums potentially usable by VMS customers, with HP before i4, with HP and VSI (directly or undirectly) for i4 Poulson and successors. Of interest for HP because VMS users will now consolidate their environment with new HP hardware. Of interest for VSI for sure. Of interest for us.
The plans of VSI are strongly structured. Everyone look for the new VMS on x86. But it is not worth dreaming that the day after tomorrow is tomorrow. So VSI has designed a two-phases plan:
Phase I: making comfortable VMS users with huge new performance of i4 on OpenVMS, permitting them reasonable investments for the 2 or 3 next years.
Phase II: offering the new VMS on the new x86s, for a new age of VMS.
What has been felt anew at the bootcamp is about port to x86. The presentations we heard demonstrate this port is not a vague project. It is a fundamental part of the overall strategy. It is already on work.
But for now it is very important to reinforce all the OpenVMS ecosystem, and to prepare with serenity the future. The availability of i4 Poulson with the VSI 8.4-* new versions of OpenVMS opens for worthy investments in terms of stability, productivity improvements, gains of performance, energy economy, as we can understand.
HP-Interex France will do all could be done for help in this new situation.
Duane Harris the ceo of the new company opened his speech by a Ken Olsen quotation: “doing the right thing”.
Sue Skonetski concluded the bootcamp with this phrase “you depend on us, and we depend on you”.
In the VMS culture this is a truism. It is positive collaboration between a company exposing ethics and a loyal and competent community. The way to unexpected successes, we hope.
We will expose in our site all information, presentations, announces about this new VMS, and we are waiting for all commentaries. For the moment, have a look at this document : http://www.vmssoftware.com/pdfs/VSI_DrawerSt_v2.pdf.
And, have a look on the VSI site : http://www.vmssoftware.com
Something properly new : the new life of VMS announces dependable system resiliency
Everybody knows about Cloud, Big Data, successes or difficulties about new tablets or smartphones formats, etc...
We can call it usual innovations, which sounds a little bit like a paradox.
Perhaps there are events more subtle, that announces real novelty.
We had written here an open letter to Meg Withman, proposing her to take the OpenVMS train. The announce of 31st July 2014, is even more thrilling. Not only HP doesn't kill OpenVMS, but HP has been able to collaborate with another company to imagine (invent?) a new future for OpenVMS.
HP passes the baton to VSI, VMS Software Inc, which will deliver the new versions of VMS, beginning with a port on Itanium i4 Poulson announced for Q1 2015. VSI would deliver new versions for new intel Itanium hardware, and thinks about porting VMS on x86.
It is not the time now for analyses about of all the details of this innovative initiative of collaboration. HP and VSI, like in all the best stories, are now ensuring the cradle. They will inform us of all the details, because we will ask them.
Today, it is worth measuring the event itself. Something new is happening.
We were asking Meg Whitman to invent some new way of making together good business at a high-pace and preserving lower-pace markets necessities. The announce is about a collaboration which allows this two paces to cohabit. It seems it is anew possible to have a life where one can choose when to run, or when to walk when to have a rest. First innovation.
We were talking about decades of higth quality programming, not only black boxes assembly, just good and trustable programming. VSI has hired well known experts to create its team. These people are not been only historic creators of VMS, they have had some other lifes before to day. What will be developped will be a new alliance between « old » and « new » technologies. Second innovation.
We were talking, like the global VMS community has been talking. And this strong reaction of the VMS community is one of the reasons for this new alliance. How can a back bone community be of influence nowadays ? An almost universaly unknown community ? But our talks have had a little bit of impact. Third innovation.
What are these innovations about ? The new discovered reality is : there exists some resiliency for the dependable systems ecosystems.
And it is not a hazard that this resiliency could appear for the first time in an ecosystem which is an heir of the big business success of the 60's IT : Digital Equipment Corporation.
For sure VSI is not a new DEC, but we wish them a same big success, not the same, because we hope they even will last a little be more.
For now, we have to ensure the cradle, using the three aspects noted :
- being aware of all the details of VSI / HP collaboration, to ensure everyone would do its business fairly and surely,
- helping the creation of a new age of programming around VMS, helping newbies to get in, grey panthers to imagine innovation, ensuring we get the quality we always got,
- transforming our reaction into action : VMS users clubs have to play their part.
Beginning here our work, we invite both HP and VSI representatives to write us what they want to write. It will be an honour to publish them.
Even more urgent is to say how gratefull we are for all the people who made this possible. We know a lot of names. There is one impossible not to note : thank you Sue Skonetski !
Firsts links about the announce :
By HP :
VSI roadmap :
Duane Harris is the CEO of VSI. He is also the CEO of Nemonix, a company which maintains for decades a lot of tools and devices specific to VMS. Here a speach of Duane Harris on last december, which is event more of interest today, because we know here about the VSI founder philosophy :
In the press :
VSI succeed to create the bootable distribution DVD for OpenVMS 8.4.1H1 (17th of March):
The field test is about to begin.
The time for which we have to wait before using OpenVMS 8.4.1H1 in our sites is now only caused by administrative and market management issues. VSI, HP and all the partners work together to make the first commercialization a great success.
We will inform you about all these issues as we get news.
Today we have to size up the importance of the event.
In a few months VSI did the exploit of reappropriating the whole product, its validation chain, its distribution technical format, while a kind of several years “fork” was in fact on going and involved the necessity of re-engineering, the analysis of Indian team technical choices, the re-formulation in the new and old VSI philosophy.
I quote Clair Grant (VSI) – written in the usenet group comp.os.vms –
“””A little clarification....the fact that we booted is not a big deal
What is said is not a prejudice about the quality of the work of the Indian team, but it is important to underline the difficulty of the operation made in few months, as Clair Grant explains it.
Imagine a resumption after such a “fork” in other technical environments, and you would size up the capacities of the VSI team, and also the intrinsic possibilities of VMS.
This resumption is a big technical event, even if not already too well known.
Another unprecedented aspect of the event is about business. The experts will have to study about an event which deserves a world used till now for psychology or neural sciences: resiliency.
We expect VSI will soon help us saying how we can help VSI. And we have to help ourselves being a pro-active community. As we have news, ideas for initiatives, we will inform you. Another story begins. Stay tuned.
I wrote here last July an Open letter to Meg Witman. I received an indirect answer with the creation of VSI, which takes over VMS development for the next decades, re-opens the Itanium market to make it a profitable end, gives a smooth transition for HP-UX customers basis, and projects to make VMS on x86 a real new challenger in dependable OSes at the horizon of 2018.
The event is of the same importance of Microsoft taking over the desk OS from IBM. Not billions uncertain acquisition, like we see with big companies, just a right economic alliance. Today Mr Bill Gates is the richer man in the world. We wish the same success for Harry, Sue and Eddie. They deserve it. Perhaps they just hope to demonstrate “doing the right thing” is a good way to success.
The train which will officially start in spring 2015 can be named upon Ken Olsen. VSI people, a majority from Boston high universities area, know a lot about Ken’s inheritance. “Doing the right thing” has been the maxim of Digital which placed users interests at the first place. And Digital has been a huge success in the history on computers companies. Science and hearing of users as a key for success. It is this type of development strategy that VSI takes giving a new future for an OS, VMS, which has been of equal importance as Unix sometimes.
This project is a win-win-win-win.
- Oracle was right thinking the “only Itanium” strategy was wrong.
- HP was right thinking declining VMS ecosystem deserved another way of investment.
- US court was right making Oracle moderate its way out of Itanium.
- The fourth win is probably even better. OSes for dependable systems became a not-so-huge market, but they serve very important sites (health systems, transportation, financials, large resellers,…) and the huge reaction from the users of VMS last year proved the vitality of these ecosystems. The VMS ecosystem needs a very-long-term engagement (VMS on x86 or VMWare), and, in the same time, a very conservative path using the existent line of products (Itanium). The one actor who was missing: just an investor. With VSI we have together a non-only Itanium VMS, but also a huge profit for all actors with the last decade for Itanium, a specific investment for a not-so-huge-today market, allied with huge companies acting in the main stream. A new train, joining glorious pasts with innovative futures, deploying specifics for dependable systems as neighbors of global hyper-scaled lesser exigent systems.
This letter is a command. One of the new friends my work for VMS opened for me, Mr Olaf Leonhardt, is worrying about a potential lateness for our train. Olaf is manager of an IT system on VMS and Oracle database for a company in Europe with more than 12000 employees. Beside our exceptionally friendship, Olaf is not so exceptional: VMS sites use often Oracle databases, and VMS sites are often at the heart of big companies.
However, it seems Oracle is at risk of missing the “rendez-vous”. Olaf and us are waiting for official engagements for Oracle 11g, Oracle 12, Oracle rdb on the new versions of VMS supported by VSI. It seems it is not a technical issue, just some organizational delays, or perhaps the impossibility of thinking about new alliances with actors among them they are ancient “enemies”.
So Safra, Marc, just think about it. The database market is evolving, the Open Source solutions are more and more present, new actors appear and want to put away the too weighted ancestors. You have got with VMS or HP-UX a very loyal customers basis. Yes, they are yet on Itanium, and you could imagine that you help them only constrained by law. Not too sexy, isn’t it? Taking the VSI new train you have the opportunity to prove that Oracle had a very interest for its customer when it warned about Itanium, and that, because for now there is a real future after Itanium, it is time to help your loyal customers to live where they are and to think about futures with you.
And, moreover, the whole IT world needs a signal. Yes, some main stream is wealthy, and, somehow, useful. But some other IT domains must be supported, the ones who were at the foundation of the IT uses, uses on which a lot of very useful functions exists: health systems, large range resellers, transportation control, financials… IT is a serious domain, in which support for very high quality is necessary, even when immediate profit is not here. As PC line of investment has been a very good bet, VMS line of investment is a good bet. Do take the train.
Somehow it is a paradox. What Olaf and us are demanding from Oracle, as what that was decided with creation of VSI, is “at no cost”. Publishing engagements about Oracle databases is at no cost, because the technical issues are not too far from being already resolved. HP taking over VMS to VSI is a no cost solution for HP. And it seems these two no cost solutions involved a very hard decision making process, which had to be encouraged by open letters from customers. In the same time Oracle or HP could pay billions for more uncertain bets. Meg, Safra, Marc, are we too inexpensive? If you think it will be more serious to spend money, do create foundations for the resiliency of dependable systems, just reconciliate on such projects, promote VSI line of products, found universities enabling transmission of knowledge between IT founders and young geniuses, think about preserving multi-paces lines of investment… Our European think tanks miss perhaps yet some little more decisions from you, but we don’t miss innovative ideas. Do take the old-new train with us.
A very good new year for everyone, and, do remember, Safra and Marc, for our little gifts, just an agenda, please.
Gérard Calliet, Olaf Leonhardt
Dear Meg Whitman,
Do you take trains, drive cars? Do you ever need health services? Do you have good furniture? Sleep well near nuclear power plants because they are well contained? Do you buy things in supermarkets?
For every dependable service or product, and in many other contexts, somewhere there is a well-controlled software, running on a well-controlled Operating System – OpenVMS.
These software products are the result of decades of precise programming, inscribed in precise coding imperative for such functional necessities. A majority of them use functions specific to OpenVMS and still run on OpenVMS, as these custom features are hard to find elsewhere.
In June 2013, however, it was announced that OpenVMS would be reaching its end-of-life and no longer be used with new hardware, with all support ending around 2020; this is a nightmare for all of the companies using OpenVMS.
Hewlett-Packard has added to these difficulties by making the whole community wait for information for over a year. Rumors, small trickles of information to chosen customers, and insignificant steps announced as “last concessions” have characterized this period. Not only are big companies anxious about functional risks and huge investments, they have also been immobilized by over a year of expectation.
Why has this happened? In June 2013, HP made a decision that failed to comprehend the particularities of the OpenVMS market. The lifecycle for OpenVMS sites is ten or twenty years. Profits that were once high have declined in recent years. Product quantities have been suffering as well. HP, on the other hand, has been focused on laptop and desktop computers, on entering the “cloud,” and proposing new hardware to generations playing with large quantities on a very fast-paced market. OpenVMS has become an insignificant accessory by comparison, unprofitable and old-fashioned.
The IT world, however, is more complex than this picture leads us to believe. Dependable systems are not always the most profitable, and many important human and business needs depend on them. The foundations of a house are not as interesting as a beautiful facade; but without them, the facade cannot exist.
It is impossible to think that HP could not actively maintain support for dependable systems that are such an important part of its portfolio. OpenVMS is one of its most crucial systems in quality and industrial impact. Like other major IT players, HP must adapt itself to different speeds and varying policies between large, fast-paced markets and specialized, slower-paced markets.
It seems contradictory to the HP image to sweep dust under the rug in this fashion. Yes, the decision was a complicated one, as it pertained to one of the last OS systems running on Itanium –itself a source of problems – but the wrong decision was made. Why force hundreds of companies to wait for over a year for a decision so crucial to their futures, freezing industrial decisions in very important economic sectors?
A truly justified solution must be found and explained with transparency.
It seems HP inherited OpenVMS by accident. And, by the same sort of inadvertence, was prepared to let it die. HP should, on the contrary, integrate it into a special, innovative proposal for slower-paced ecosystems, thus preserving system health, security, and investments.
When you discarded the previous decision to leave behind laptop and desktop computers, everyone thought it was a realistic decision. The craziness of our times shows itself in ideas such as IT companies being maintained without computers, industrial profits being made without factories – some hyper cloud-based, brave new world. You, however, proved that HP is a concrete company.
The same goes for OpenVMS: although it seems merely to be a strange legacy from the East Coast and MIT, it is a concrete ecosystem that HP has a vested interest in maintaining. Please, accept the challenge of maintaining one of your best sustainable systems. Perhaps OpenVMS will ultimately outlive today’s modern operating systems, as it is robust, simple, easy to maintain, and dependable. Your present decision will be rewarded in the future.
In concrete terms: OpenVMS effectively functions on Itanium i4, so please validate it. OpenVMS is your future long-term Itanium i4 market, perhaps outlasting even HP-UX. Additonally, OpenVMS must be ported to future sustainable hardware created by Intel or its competitors. A realistic pool of competence for OpenVMS must be maintained either inside HP or outside HP with its help. A real effort to port modernization frameworks or interface frameworks to OpenVMS must be made.
We know that some of these components represent money and investments, and that neither quantities nor margins are currently very high for OpenVMS. But you cannot compare fast-paced (uncertain) markets with low-speed (certain) markets. Economics is a game where keeping some extra cards in your hand might appear unnecessary at the time, but prove worthwhile in the long-run and guarantee a huge final victory. As we know, you are an excellent player.
Don't hesitate to send us an answer, it will be an honour to publish it on our site.
Gérard Calliet, for HP-Interex France
We initiate here a serial about VMS.
VMS was designed with a great effort of mind. It's an OS with a philosophy behind it.
Our VMS Bible, with Alpha internals complements, and surely great articles in the Digital Technical Journal, help to understand it, the choices, the structuration, the arbitrations between drawbacks and benefits.
One specificity of this book is that every chapter has an epigraph. Funny or serious these epigraphs not only witness of the great culture of the writers, but are always very close of the chapter content. It is “the idea behind the idea”.
Our serial will use that to introduce to the specific VMS culture.
The writer is a VMS consultant, neither an expert nor a newbie.
The point here is a sort of vulgarization serial, designed from a special stand point, an opportunity given to specialists to collaborate in a sort of VMS encyclopedia.
- We will produce each month an introduction to one of the 36 chapters of VMS Internals,
- We will talk first of the epigraph,
- We will signal the relation between the idea in the epigraph and some parts of the chapter contents,
- We will point by this reference a specificity of VMS,
- We will explore on the other resources the evolution of the concept through Alpha, Itanium (optional),
- We will point out some differences between VMS and other OS (optional),
- We will open the discussion: experts could write critics, add comments or other resources, which will included in our serial episode.
We hope to make this way the VMS culture attractive for newbies, and prove VMS community is able to innovate in collaborative authoring. We think that to introduce very serious topic by references which are together a little more light and a little more fundamental is a very good inheritance from the VMS pionners way of working for a design.
The idea came as a thanksgiving gift (Special thanksgiving for VMS), and it is the explanation of the serial title “Turkey”.
Turkey 1 was written in two hours, because we wanted to publish it when there were yet turkeys on the tables somewhere in the world. So it is brief and only one or two technical issues are mentioned. We will not be spoilers, read it, we just can say it’s about “the return of the king”, sort of signature for our 31th July 2014: turkey 1
We will do our best to improve that.
Beaucoup de choses intéressantes ont été entendues au boot camp 2015 pour VMS à Nashua. Nous donnerons les détails plus tard. Une chose doit être retenue : l’écosystème VMS complet est maintenant ‘up and running’.
Un complet reboot en à peu près 8 mois :
- La mise en place de la plateforme de développement et de qualification,
- Une première version construite ‘from scratch’, qualifiée, distribuée, respectant tous les standards VMS de qualité,
- Les canaux de distribution, le catalogage, les canaux de maintenance reconstruits et utilisés,
- Dernier mais non le moindre : la ‘famille’ des experts VMS faisant son travail habituel au bootcamp traditionnel.
Quelqu’un a-t-il pensé à publier cela dans un livre de records ? Existe-t-il un autre exemple de ce genre d’exploit ? Réponse usuelle : cela est juste dû aux qualités intrinsèques de l’environnement. Si vous pensez qu’un reboot est une opération exaltante et un peu risquée, choisissez un autre environnement.
Les informations principales :
La stratégie est confirmée. Mettre en confort la base existante et porter vers x86 dans un temps raisonnable.
La nouvelle alliance avec HP fonctionne. Il était clair que les forces de vente sont contentes d’offrir à la communauté VMS ses nouveaux meilleurs serveurs sur i4 (poulson) et bientôt sur i6 (kitson). La bonne collaboration entre les experts VMS chez Hp et chez VSI est patente.
Comme cela était attendu avec i4, la performance est au rendez-vous, au moins 30% de gain sans aucun tuning.
La nouvelle roadmap a été présentée (http://www.vmssoftware.com/pdfs/VSI_Roadmap_20150924.pdf), rien de très nouveau et la raison est : VSI tient ses engagements précédents. La prochaine release est prévue pour février 2016.
Un point technique important, la nouvelle version comportera une réécriture complète de la pile TCP-IP.
Le portage vers x86 est réellement engagé : qualifié, organisé et digne de confiance.
La stratégie pour les compilateurs est déterminée et VMS va s’intégrer aux logiques les plus innovantes actuellement.
Maintenant VSI travaille sur 3 nouvelles tâches :
- Aider à une intégration des experts et des sociétés d’expertise VMS en offrant ainsi les bons outils de maintenance aux clients VMS, (cf . http://www.vmssoftware.com/services_prof.html),
- Réorganiser la formation VMS,
- Trouver des bonnes solutions d’attente et / ou de transition pour toute la partie de l’écosystème qui tourne encore sur VAX ou Alpha.
Enfin, parce que VSI est conscient du poids de la base Emea des clients VMS, très prochainement, une initiative Européenne. Restez branchés !
(La photo est un patchwork d’images VMS, dans un escalier du siège de VSI. Un symbôle de la patiente couture du temps et des talents.)