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How urgent is my need to migrate ?

The diagram illustrates the typical levels of urgency by hardware platform and scale. There are four hardware platform types, including HPVM. Hardware platforms can be either physical or emulated (VAX or Alpha). Emulated platforms do not solve the problem of end-of-life for the operating system, they only solve the problem of end-of-life for the physical hardware.

If you operate in a business environment where supported systems are required, you now have no choice but to migrate. Migration needs to be completed before support expires for the operating system on your hardware platform. Fortunately VMS Software have supported versions of OpenVMS for Integrity Servers including the latest -i4 family, plus a "limited release" for Alpha.

Those running large and complex systems have the greatest problem, especially with hardware such as the AlphaServer GS1280 or BL890c-i2 Integrity Server with EVA based storage infrastructure.

OpenVMS migration - urgency and complexity

Alpha platforms

In general, those still running Alpha have an urgent need to migrate. The roadmaps show an effective end of support at end 2016. Those still running large and complex systems such as AlphaServer GS1280 with EVA storage have a very urgent need to commence their migration work. The urgency is to avoid failing to complete the migration prior to the expiration of support.

An intermediate migration to OpenVMS on Integrity (eg: BL870c-i4) may be a sensible option. Migrating a large and complex set of applications from OpenVMS on Alpha (eg: GS1280) to OpenVMS on Integrity (eg: BL890c i2) with a substantial storage infrastructure can take a significant period of time, allowing for pre-production testing and transition with minimal disruption to service. The choices will largely depend on the scale and complexity of the application software and the extent to which the applications are integrated with the systems and infrastructure.

EVA storage is now end-of-life. 3PAR storage is not qualified for use with Alpha and there are no current plans to qualify 3PAR with Alpha. Fibrechannel HBAs for the Alpha platform are limited to a maximum of 2Gig bandwidth. Expansion of storage infrastructure for Alpha systems is thus another potential constraint for the Alpha platform.

HP VM Integrity platforms

HP VM V6 does not support OpenVMS guests. However, most OpenVMS guests running under HP VM are not overly complex or required to deliver high performance. Those making extensive use of HP VM will need to consider whether to stay with HP VM V4.3 that becomes unsupported in the near future. For uses such as dedicated quorum nodes, running an emulated Alpha (with the same version of OpenVMS) on a Linux host as a guest under VMware may be sufficient. For uses such as giving each developer their own personal OpenVMS environment, or running multiple test environments, it may be necessary to develop alternative strategies.

Integrity Server platforms

Those currently running OpenVMS on Integrity Servers have plenty of time to plan and implement their migration. The effective end of support from HPE is at end 2020, with new hardware available until end 2015 and HP renew hardware available after that. Those customers with purchasing plans for new hardware beyond end 2015 can make appropriate arrangements with their HP account management team.

Those running large machines (eg: BL890c-i2 with extensive EVA based storage infrastructure) and now reaching the edge of capacity and performance have an urgent requirement. They need to migrate to VMS Software OpenVMS V8.4-1H1 (or later) and VMS Software layered products to have support for the -i4 family of servers (and beyond).

EVA storage is now end-of-life. 3PAR storage is qualified for use with OpenVMS on Integrity, including use as a boot device. The -i2 family of Integrity Servers support fibrechannel HBAs at up to 8Gig, which provides significantly greater storage IO bandwidth than is available with Alpha. Storage expansion is available, although moving from EVA to 3PAR requires learning a new storage scripting language and adapting to different storage controller behaviours.

VAX platforms

Those still running VAX platforms (either physical or emulated) have effectively taken the decision to run self-supported or unsupported systems. Most systems still based on VAX are running well-bounded applications with well-defined workloads. As such, there is little additional urgency for VAX users to migrate as a result of the HPE OpenVMS end-of-life announcement.