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Anyone know anything about OpenVMS?

Discussion in 'Software' started by delorean, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. delorean

    delorean Megabyte Poster

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    Hey cool kids, I thought I would throw this out there and ask if anyone has used OpenVMS before?

    I really want to find out more about it as I may be administering 3 OpenVMS servers soon 1 server located on each island (that's Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman for the non-geographic minds amongst us) and it looks a bit daunting.

    One thing I did read about OpenVMS servers is that astonishing uptimes have been recorded. I read it easily manages uptimes of over a decade! :eek:

    With uptimes like that I might not be doing much administration on them!

    Thanks for any help. :)
     
    Certifications: A+, MCP 70-270, 70-290, 70-291
    WIP: 70-680, S+, MCSA, MCSE, CCNA
  2. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    I learnt COBOL, ADA and C on a DEC VAX minicomputer at college running VMS about 17 years back, can't remember much about it though ! :oops:
     
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  3. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    me too apart from ADA, also used telnet on it. I can't remember much eith to be honest :D
     
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  4. kenrbnsn

    kenrbnsn New Member

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    I'd like to welcome you to the wonderful world of OpenVMS.

    There is a wealth of information available on the Internet. Some of the more useful sites are:

    OpenVMS.org
    comp.os.vms on Google Groups (post here and you will get a lot of help)
    The OpenVMS FAQ

    Yes, VMS clusters have been known to stay up for months/years, but that does not mean that they don't need care.

    Ken
     
  5. delorean

    delorean Megabyte Poster

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    Thanks for the input and the links everyone. OpenVMS looks a little scary, what's the story with the incredible uptimes though? I wonder who would possibly want to keep a server up over a decade with no upgrades...!!
     
    Certifications: A+, MCP 70-270, 70-290, 70-291
    WIP: 70-680, S+, MCSA, MCSE, CCNA
  6. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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  7. kenrbnsn

    kenrbnsn New Member

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    Most of the the large uptimes are cluster uptimes, not individual server uptimes. In a properly designed application that is cluster-aware in VMS, individual servers can be shutdown, repaired, upgraded, etc, without affecting cluster uptime.

    For instance, the cluster I currently maintain is made up of 4 servers. The uptime on the individual servers are:

    OpenVMS V7.3-2 on node NODE1 27-MAR-2009 10:51:45.98 Uptime 122 02:00:29

    OpenVMS V8.3-1H1 on node NODE2 27-MAR-2009 10:51:46.00 Uptime 64 14:25:10

    OpenVMS V7.3-2 on node NODE3 27-MAR-2009 10:51:46.03 Uptime 218 18:17:50

    OpenVMS V8.3 on node NODE4 27-MAR-2009 10:51:46.04 Uptime 218 18:54:06


    The cluster uptime is:
    $ write sys$output f$delta(f$gets("CLUSTER_FTIME"),f$tim())
    555 17:19:23.48


    That's 555 days, 17 hours, 19 minutes, 23.48 seconds

    Ken
     
  8. Brad McCusker

    Brad McCusker New Member

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    Hello Delorean,

    We currently manage/support numerous OpenVMS servers around the globe (both internally, and for our customers). VMS systems are traditionally used in mission critical applications where uptime and reliability are paramount which is why you see the astonishing uptimes you mention.

    The "OpenVMS System Management Guide" by Baldwin, Hoffman and Miller might be of interest. In the OpenVMS Documentation set (http://h71000.www7.hp.com/doc/os83_index.html), the "OpenVMS Users Manual" is a good starting point.

    OpenVMS uses entirely different commands and utilities than you might find on UNIX/Linux/Windows. Sure, all of the OS's have the same functionality in some form, but the commands and utilities are different and sometimes in VMS some of the utilities are a few versions behind their UNIX counterparts. Knowing the idiosyncrasies of each command/utility is key to achieving the high uptimes. If you are UNIX/Linux oriented, the book: "UNIX for OpenVMS Users" might be helpful, in a backwards sort of way.

    You'll want to learn what version of OpenVMS your servers are running and what architecture they are running on and include that in any questions you ask. There are a lot of old, old versions, on old hardware out there and the features and functions for each are different.

    I've attached the OpenVMS FAQ - You might want to peruse that for more information.

    http://www.openvms.org/ has a lot of useful information as well.

    Hope this helps - please feel free to ask me further questions.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Brad McCusker

    Brad McCusker New Member

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    These incredible up times do not preclude upgrades. There is a story of multi year uptime which includes a complete data center move and hardware upgrades. What they are really talking about is application uptime and availability.

    By using OpenVMS clusters, one can keep the "system" (actually the cluster of systems) up and available indefinitely. Put a properly designed application on those systems and the application can be available indefinitely - which of course is usually the real goal - you want the application to alwyas be available.

    OpenVMS clusters allow for rolling upgrades, so applying patches and new versions can be done without taking down the cluster.

    OpenVMS clusters allow for split sites - so you can have the systems in multiple data centers and switch between them transparently.
     
  10. delorean

    delorean Megabyte Poster

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    This is great information thanks very much!

    So the uptimes are thanks to clustering? Was about to say, a decade of uptime is exceptional if it was just one server!

    If OpenVMS offers such incredible robustness and application availability I wonder why more businesses are not using this platform?

    Are there any OpenVMS certifications available? Might be worth me taking a foundation course or something similar should I end up looking after these servers in the future.

    How daunting is OpenVMS for a complete newbie? I understand if I were to administrate these servers I wouldn't be let loose on them with no training prior of course but how easy is OpenVMS to use for a complete beginner, i.e. for simple tasks?
     
    Certifications: A+, MCP 70-270, 70-290, 70-291
    WIP: 70-680, S+, MCSA, MCSE, CCNA
  11. kenrbnsn

    kenrbnsn New Member

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    Another web site to bookmark is the Official OpenVMS site at HP. Here you can find the full documentation set and links to VMS education.

    Ken
     
  12. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    I was hoping to see something larger than that!

    One of the billing boxes I admin has this:
    Code:
     uptime
     7:52PM  up 526 days,  9:46,
    
    This is a single FreeBSD box.

    Harry.
     
    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+

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