Hewlett-Packard has changed its direction on OpenVMS. Instead of pushing its users off the system, it has licensed OpenVMS to a new firm that plans to develop ports to the latest Itanium chips and is promising eventual support for x86 processors.
Last year, HP put OpenVMS on the path to extinction. It said it would not validate the operating system to its latest hardware or produce new versions of it. The move to license the OpenVMS source code to a new entity, VMS Software Inc. (VSI), amounts to a reversal of that earlier decision.
HP isn't calling its action a reversal, however, even it completely changes the previously announced roadmap for the OS. An HP official said the partnership proposal arrived on its own months ago from VSI, and company officials became convinced it was good one.
"I think it's going to get the customers what they want," Randy Meyer, vice president and general manager of Mission Critical Systems at HP, said in an interview.
What many OpenVMS customers want is to stay on the OS. HP stirred up complaints among OpenVMS users with its earlier announcement that it would not validate OpenVMS beyond Integrity i2 services running the Tukwila quad-core processors. That decision effectively put the OS on an end-of-life path.
An OpenVMS user group based in France recently went public with its complaints, calling HP's decision a mistake.
VSI is new, but then again, it isn't. It is funded by the investors of Nemonix Engineering, a longtime support and maintenance firm of OpenVMS systems.
VSI plans to validate the operating system on Intel's Itanium eight-core Poulson chips by early 2015, as well as support for HP hardware running the upcoming "Kittson" chip. It will also develop an x86 port, although it isn't specifying a timeframe. And it plans to develop new versions of OpenVMS.
VSIpublished a roadmap Thursday.
Duane Harris, the CEO of VSI, said his firm decided to approach HP about OpenVMS because of its strong customer base. OpenVMS is used in nuclear power plants, in process control systems in all industries, by the U.S. Navy and in transportation and finance.
"It's a marquee piece of software; its strengths are just legendary," said Harris, citing disaster recovery, security and clustering.
OpenVMS is largely invisible in a world dominated by Windows, Linux, cloud-based systems, and even Unix systems such as HP-UX, AIX and Solaris. But it runs critical systems and its IT managers consistently praise it for its reliability, engineering and capabilities.
HP has about 2,500 OpenVMS customers on support contracts. That does not include independent support vendors, such the Parsec Group, which has 350 OpenVMS customers running some 7,000 systems. This agreement doesn't change the support arrangements customers have with HP.
VSI hopes to expand the OpenVMS footprint and sell it to new customers. It intends to modernize its application development tools, and well as improve the capabilities of the operating system -- including the number of cores it can support. Harris believes the operating system's security will be a particularly strong point, as well as its fault tolerance.
"We feel very strongly that OpenVMS is the most secure operating system out there, and certainly more secure than Windows and certainly more secure than Linux," said Harris.
VSI said it has assembled a team of veteran OpenVMS developers, some from the core Digital Equipment Corp. team that developed the operating system. The system traces its roots back to the mid-1970s. Digital was acquired by Compaq and Compaq by HP.
"We want to take OpenVMS into the future," said Harris.
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On July 31, 2014, VMS Software, Inc. (VSI) announced that HP named VSI as the sole developer of future versions of the OpenVMS operating system and its layered product components. New releases are planned to support the latest Itanium hardware and a port to X86. VSI's initial OpenVMS product release road-map has been made available at http://www.vmssoftware.com/news/announcement/RM/. VSI has assembled a Massachusetts, USA-based team of veteran OpenVMS developers, many harking back to the core DEC team responsible for the initial and ongoing development of OpenVMS.
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HP and VMS Software, Inc. Collaborate to Extend OpenVMS Solutions
As part of HP's ongoing commitment to our mission-critical customers, we are announcing our agreement with VMS Software, Inc. (VSI) to develop future versions of the OpenVMS operating system and its layered product components.
Under the agreement, VSI has licensed the source code of the OpenVMS operating system from HP with the intent to further develop the OpenVMS product roadmap by adding new hardware platform support and features, beginning with a version of OpenVMS on HP Integrity i4 servers based on Intel® Itanium® Processor 9500 Series. VSI's extended roadmap is also expected to include support for OpenVMS running on x86 platforms.
HP will offer support services for OpenVMS on HP Integrity i4 servers when this version is released. Support plans for future versions will be announced as they become available.
VSI's new versions of the software will go through the rigorous qualification and validation testing process that has been an integral part of the HP OpenVMS tradition. HP will be a reseller of these new versions owned by VSI.
Customers will now have the flexibility to choose which OpenVMS platform is right for their business. Those who would like to deploy OpenVMS on current and future HP technologies now have additional options, and those who choose to stay on their existing OpenVMS platform will be protected by the extended HP support services roadmap announced previously without interruption or change in process.
We are excited about this agreement between HP and VSI which will provide additional long term solutions to OpenVMS customers well into the future. For more information, please contact your HP or VSI representative.
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VMS Software, Inc. Named Exclusive Developer of Future Versions of OpenVMS Operating System.
Software Provider Receives Sole Development Rights from HP for All New OpenVMS Releases.
Well-Respected OpenVMS Operating System Used for Mission-Critical Applications Worldwide.
BOLTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--VMS Software, Inc. (VSI) today announced that HP has named it as the sole developer of future versions of the OpenVMS operating system and its layered product components.
“This is a great day for VSI and for the thousands of customers who rely on the stability and security of OpenVMS”
Under the agreement, VSI will license OpenVMS operating system source code from HP to expand the OpenVMS product roadmap, by adding new hardware platform releases, beginning with a new version of OpenVMS for HP Integrity i4 servers based on Poulson, Intel® Itanium® Processor 9500 Series (rx2800i4, BL8xxi4). In the future, VSI will support other hardware platforms, including X86-based servers. VSI’s latest roadmap is available at www.vmssoftware.com/news/announcement/RM.
VSI has assembled an onshore team of veteran OpenVMS developers, many harking back to the core DEC team responsible for the technical excellence that has been the hallmark of OpenVMS.
OpenVMS is the platform of choice for many customers because of OpenVMS’ unmatched security, stability and legendary uptime performance. The agreement between VSI and HP helps protect the long-term investments customers have made by enabling many more years of future releases and support. New OpenVMS software releases will undergo the rigorous qualification and validation testing that has been an integral part of the OpenVMS tradition.
Customers can continue to purchase new Itanium-based OpenVMS licenses and support through HP. Customers also have the flexibility of purchasing licenses and support for new releases directly from VSI. HP will continue to support older versions of OpenVMS as detailed in HP’s current OpenVMS roadmap. VSI will announce the release date for OpenVMS for i4 Poulson in the near future. “This is a great day for VSI and for the thousands of customers who rely on the stability and security of OpenVMS,” said Duane P. Harris, CEO of VMS Software, Inc. “We are grateful and thrilled that HP has granted us stewardship over the future of this marquee operating system. Our passion for taking OpenVMS into future decades is only matched by the many developers and customers who have relied on it to faithfully run their mission critical applications over the last 30 years.”
“With a complete long-term solution from HP and VMS Software, customers will now have the flexibility to choose which OpenVMS platform is right for their business,” said Ric Lewis, vice president and general manager, Enterprise Server Business segment, HP. “Customers who would like to deploy OpenVMS on current and future HP technologies now have additional options, and those who choose to stay on their existing OpenVMS platform will be protected by the extended HP support services announced previously without interruption or change in process.”
VSI was founded by the investors and principals of Nemonix Engineering, a 30-year provider of hardware components, upgrades and system refreshes for OpenVMS-based servers. VSI is entirely focused on the development, sale, and support of OpenVMS, worldwide.
Digital Equipment Corporation launched the first release of OpenVMS in 1977, under the name “VMS.” The platform gained legendary appeal for its disaster recovery, 100 percent uptime, low cost of ownership, and stellar security. “The operating system has a very loyal installed base of customers [who] show no signs of wanting to give it up,” reported one user in an InformationWeek article.
About VMS Software
VMS Software, Inc. develops, sells and supports innovative and advanced releases of OpenVMS, the most secure operating system on the planet. The company’s core motivation is to support and enable customers to run their mission critical applications at the legendary uptime levels OpenVMS is known for, at maximum performance levels, today and into the future. VMS Software is headquartered in Bolton, MA. For more information, go to http://www.vmssoftware.com.
VMS Software, Inc.
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