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September 29, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

Unveiling its Galaxy clustering technology for Alpha-based OpenVMS users, Compaq Computer Corp has made it clear to users of the DEC operating system that it has no plans to discontinue development of the venerable system software in the foreseeable future. VP OpenVMS system software Rich Marcello dismissed various reports that OpenVMS will be killed around 2003 or phased out when its rich functionality is matched by Windows NT. He claims that given the continued development of OpenVMS there’s no way that NT will be able to match its functionality even ten years from now. Competitors are spreading the false rumors, he claims. The new Galaxy clustering scheme incorporated in OpenVMS 7.2 enables customers to partition a single SMP system to run multiple instances of the operating system, allocate CPU, memory and I/O between different tasks, and reserve a private memory store for each partition within a shared memory model. Up to three OpenVMS instances can be installed on a 12-way AlphaServer 8400 TurboLaser system making most of OpenVMS’ clustered security and availability features available under one hood. 8200 and 4100 AlphaServers are also supported. Compaq claims 25% of TurboLaser users are OpenVMS customers. Next year Galaxy will be deployed on the ccNUMA WildFire systems that will support 120 of more CPUs on 8- or 12-way nodes. Galaxy uses Adaptive Partitioned Multiprocessing, to install multiple copies of an operating system (multiple SMP nodes) and get them to work co-operatively. Scalability is claimed to be nearly linear. Galaxy is also due to be available for Windows NT systems next year. Marcello says applications will need to be re-written to take advantage of specific Galaxy features but that applications migrated over the next 12 months won’t need to be adjusted to support WildFire. Compaq isn’t worried about the threat to OpenVMS from Unix, and claims its 450,000 OpenVMS customers are more pre-disposed towards NT than any other operating system. It says that’s why it has implemented Microsoft’s Component Object Model on OpenVMS as the newest feature of its Affinity NT connectivity program. Priced at $2,500 Compaq says it will enable OpenVMS developers to write application objects that can be accessed from NT clients. Galaxy is available for use with OpenVMS 7.2 in January priced from $4,500 per CPU. OpenVMS 7.2 costs $128 per concurrent user for up to 256 users.

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