Most impressive VAX installations - VMS

This is a discussion on Most impressive VAX installations - VMS ; On 3 Nov, 15:11, "Richard B. Gilbert" wrote: > DaveG wrote: > > On Nov 2, 11:21 am, "Main, Kerry" wrote: > >>> -----Original Message----- > >>> From: rd...@spamcop.net [mailto:rd...@spamcop.net] > >>> Sent: Saturday, November 01, 2008 3:31 PM > ...

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Thread: Most impressive VAX installations

  1. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    On 3 Nov, 15:11, "Richard B. Gilbert" wrote:
    > DaveG wrote:
    > > On Nov 2, 11:21 am, "Main, Kerry" wrote:
    > >>> -----Original Message-----
    > >>> From: rd...@spamcop.net [mailto:rd...@spamcop.net]
    > >>> Sent: Saturday, November 01, 2008 3:31 PM
    > >>> To: Info-...@Mvb.Saic.Com
    > >>> Subject: Re: Most impressive VAX installations
    > >>> On Sat, 1 Nov 2008 18:31:54 UTC, JF Mezei
    > >>> wrote:
    > >>>> At the opposite scale of things...
    > >>>> I ran an all mighty Microvax 2 with 8 megs of RAM and a 154meg drive
    > >>> to
    > >>>> support 8 users runing WPS-Plus. The success of the project lead the
    > >>>> MVII to be upgraded to 16 meg of RAM to support 12 users.
    > >>>> This was circa 1987.
    > >>> Impressive, but look back and read what OS/8 was able to do!
    > >> Ok, war story time ..:-)

    >
    > >> I remember carrying a tool bag with a scope and installing the first
    > >> DF32 disk drive in our area - 32K words of memory. I remember us all
    > >> joking about what a waste this was as who would ever use 32Kw of memory?

    >
    > >> Course, at the time, many PDP8's had either a 4K or 8K memory system.

    >
    > >> Now back to the present...

    >
    > >> :-)

    >
    > >> Regards

    >
    > >> Kerry Main
    > >> Senior Consultant
    > >> HP Services Canada
    > >> Voice: 613-254-8911
    > >> Fax: 613-591-4477
    > >> kerryDOTmainAThpDOTcom
    > >> (remove the DOT's and AT)

    >
    > >> OpenVMS - the secure, multi-site OS that just works.- Hide quoted text-

    >
    > >> - Show quoted text -

    >
    > > I remember a DF32 we had installed on a PDP-12 back in the 70s. *Heads
    > > did not move, the platter was very large by today's standards, but in
    > > its time, it was pretty fast. *I'm showing my age. *So is Kerry. *;-)

    >
    > The meeting of Old Farts Anonymous will now come to order! *Bang!
    >
    > ORDER! Bang! Bang! BANG! . . . .- Hide quoted text -
    >
    > - Show quoted text -


    My first user experience was on what were some fairly slow systems at
    Liverpool Poly. These were upgraded in the summer of 1990 to a VAX
    6000-430, then a VAX 6000-510 was added and then a microVAX 3400 for
    print spooling. God knows how much memory any of those had in them,
    though they supported the student population without too much problem
    until an AlphaServer 1000A went in alongside them and the VAXen
    subsequently retired.

    First box I managed was a 6000-410 which had about 128MB memory in I
    think.
    Biggest one I managed was a VAX 7000-850 with about 512MB or memory in
    an an SW800 controlled by HSD30s. Then Alphas and later Integrities
    took over...

    Steve

  2. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    The most impressive VAXcluster I've seen was one I had some
    responsibility for. 6 VAXes, over 3,300 simultaneous users running
    All-in-1, RDB, and a bunch of over stuff. We even had a screaming
    solid state disk - 20MB if I remember correctly (mirrored, of course,
    talking a full rack). We pulled out multiple pallets of SDI cables
    when we migrated from HSC to HSJ-40 controllers.

    We had fun stuff like dealing with maximum process count - I remember
    we maxed it out and DEC had to update VMS to allow a bigger number. I
    think it was 1024 that we maxed out on.

    I haven't seen this cluster in nearly 11 years so I don't know what it
    looks like today, but I do know the cluster is still there -0 I don't
    know if any Vaxes are there or if they've migrated everything to
    Alpha. The admin positions are about to be outsourced to HP (EDS) -
    the existing staff have been offered jobs with EDS.

    .../Ed

    Tybalt> write sys$output f$getsyi("cluster_ftime")
    30-MAY-1999 07:28:07.05

  3. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    Bob Koehler wrote:

    > There were calculations we did on our almighty MV II that were
    > trivial to code up because the Fortran compiler fully supported
    > H-float.


    Out of curiosity, what sort of calculations could H-float do that IEEE
    floating point can't do ?

  4. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    Bob Koehler wrote:

    > Yeah, right. Just go back the the 1960s and 1970s and compare prices
    > between any DEC PDP-x and IBM 360 series.


    And therein lies Digital's fatal problem. And it should have known.

    DEC grew because it was the new kid on the block with lower prices and
    which IBM didn't take seriously. IBM would still charge an arm and a
    leg, arguing its software was more sophisticated and for serious
    applications. DEC was able to capture a huge new market with its lower
    prices, relegating IBM to large businesses only.

    In the 1980s, the "PC" and Sun grew in the exact same way: they came in,
    offered lower prices, and DEC dismissed them as not serious enough for
    real business and DEC continued to charge a premium for its product.
    DEC's market shrunk to a handful of customers who still had to buy the
    overpriced DEC gear and software.

  5. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    Bob Eager wrote:
    > On Mon, 3 Nov 2008 15:06:49 UTC, DaveG
    > wrote:
    >
    >> I remember a DF32 we had installed on a PDP-12 back in the 70s. Heads
    >> did not move, the platter was very large by today's standards, but in
    >> its time, it was pretty fast. I'm showing my age. So is Kerry. ;-)

    >
    > We had a fixed head disk in about 1973, on a PDP-11/20. As I recall, we
    > had to avoid switching it off too often as it wore out the heads (or so
    > we were told). Thought it was a DF32 but it was larger - was rolled out
    > onto TWO DECtapes!
    >


    There was a shop on RT 130 just south of Hightstown, NJ where I saw a
    disk platter that must have been three to four FEET in diameter!
    Ancient technology of course.

  6. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    JF Mezei wrote:
    > Bob Koehler wrote:
    >
    >> Yeah, right. Just go back the the 1960s and 1970s and compare prices
    >> between any DEC PDP-x and IBM 360 series.

    >
    > And therein lies Digital's fatal problem. And it should have known.
    >
    > DEC grew because it was the new kid on the block with lower prices and
    > which IBM didn't take seriously. IBM would still charge an arm and a
    > leg, arguing its software was more sophisticated and for serious
    > applications. DEC was able to capture a huge new market with its lower
    > prices, relegating IBM to large businesses only.
    >
    > In the 1980s, the "PC" and Sun grew in the exact same way: they came in,
    > offered lower prices, and DEC dismissed them as not serious enough for
    > real business and DEC continued to charge a premium for its product.
    > DEC's market shrunk to a handful of customers who still had to buy the
    > overpriced DEC gear and software.


    There is frequently a great reluctance to change something that works.
    If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

    Suddenly it's 2001 and you've got 1980's technology! Can't compete any
    longer? Too bad!!

    Those folks in California are selling workstations for a quarter of what
    we charge? They can't be any good. . . .

    Right! Goodbye DEC, hello Sun Microsystems. And Silicon Graphics, and
    .. . . .



  7. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    On Mon, 3 Nov 2008 18:32:08 UTC, "Richard B. Gilbert"
    wrote:

    > Bob Eager wrote:
    > > On Mon, 3 Nov 2008 15:06:49 UTC, DaveG
    > > wrote:
    > >
    > >> I remember a DF32 we had installed on a PDP-12 back in the 70s. Heads
    > >> did not move, the platter was very large by today's standards, but in
    > >> its time, it was pretty fast. I'm showing my age. So is Kerry. ;-)

    > >
    > > We had a fixed head disk in about 1973, on a PDP-11/20. As I recall, we
    > > had to avoid switching it off too often as it wore out the heads (or so
    > > we were told). Thought it was a DF32 but it was larger - was rolled out
    > > onto TWO DECtapes!
    > >

    >
    > There was a shop on RT 130 just south of Hightstown, NJ where I saw a
    > disk platter that must have been three to four FEET in diameter!
    > Ancient technology of course.


    Oh, I've seen a few of those over the years...last one was in someone's
    office at Edinburgh University.
    --
    Bob Eager
    Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
    http://www.mirrorservice.org


  8. RE: Most impressive VAX installations


    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: DaveG [mailto:david.gudewicz@abbott.com]
    > Sent: Monday, November 03, 2008 10:07 AM
    > To: Info-VAX@Mvb.Saic.Com
    > Subject: Re: Most impressive VAX installations
    >
    > On Nov 2, 11:21 am, "Main, Kerry" wrote:
    > > > -----Original Message-----
    > > > From: rd...@spamcop.net [mailto:rd...@spamcop.net]
    > > > Sent: Saturday, November 01, 2008 3:31 PM
    > > > To: Info-...@Mvb.Saic.Com
    > > > Subject: Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    > >
    > > > On Sat, 1 Nov 2008 18:31:54 UTC, JF Mezei
    > > > wrote:

    > >
    > > > > At the opposite scale of things...

    > >
    > > > > I ran an all mighty Microvax 2 with 8 megs of RAM and a 154meg

    > drive
    > > > to
    > > > > support 8 users runing WPS-Plus. The success of the project lead

    > the
    > > > > MVII to be upgraded to 16 meg of RAM to support 12 users.

    > >
    > > > > This was circa 1987.

    > >
    > > > Impressive, but look back and read what OS/8 was able to do!

    > >
    > > Ok, war story time ..:-)
    > >
    > > I remember carrying a tool bag with a scope and installing the first
    > > DF32 disk drive in our area - 32K words of memory. I remember us all
    > > joking about what a waste this was as who would ever use 32Kw of

    > memory?
    > >
    > > Course, at the time, many PDP8's had either a 4K or 8K memory system.
    > >
    > > Now back to the present...
    > >
    > > :-)
    > >
    > > Regards
    > >
    > > Kerry Main
    > > Senior Consultant
    > > HP Services Canada
    > > Voice: 613-254-8911
    > > Fax: 613-591-4477
    > > kerryDOTmainAThpDOTcom
    > > (remove the DOT's and AT)
    > >
    > > OpenVMS - the secure, multi-site OS that just works.- Hide quoted

    > text -
    > >
    > > - Show quoted text -

    >
    > I remember a DF32 we had installed on a PDP-12 back in the 70s. Heads
    > did not move, the platter was very large by today's standards, but in
    > its time, it was pretty fast. I'm showing my age. So is Kerry. ;-)


    Yeah, we had to clean the platter before installing - it was like a large,
    heavy record.

    That was back in the day when real computer types could toggle in the TU56
    or RK05 boot program on the front panel toggle switches from memory.

    Re: old .. heck, I still tell my kids that I do not know what I want to be
    when I grow up ..

    :-)


    Regards

    Kerry Main
    Senior Consultant
    HP Services Canada
    Voice: 613-254-8911
    Fax: 613-591-4477
    kerryDOTmainAThpDOTcom
    (remove the DOT's and AT)

    OpenVMS - the secure, multi-site OS that just works.









  9. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    In article , "Richard B. Gilbert" writes:
    >
    > Somehow I don't think that the PDP-8 was comparable, in any way, to the
    > IBM System/360! They were both digital computers and there the
    > resemblance ended.


    There were some very small, very low capability, models in the 360
    series. Systems like the 360/20 were mostly used to do things like
    duplicate card decks. Most folks remember systems like the 360/75,
    a multi-user mainframe about the size of a small house and priced a
    few orders of magnitude higher. The 360/20 I saw would use just a
    little more floor space than a basic 11/780 with one expansion
    cabinet.


  10. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    In article <00010d8a$0$26230$c3e8da3@news.astraweb.com>, JF Mezei writes:
    > Bob Koehler wrote:
    >
    >> There were calculations we did on our almighty MV II that were
    >> trivial to code up because the Fortran compiler fully supported
    >> H-float.

    >
    > Out of curiosity, what sort of calculations could H-float do that IEEE
    > floating point can't do ?


    H-float is a VAX specific format with about the same number of bits,
    but slightly different definition, as IEEE X-float. H-float has
    twice as many bits as VAX D-float or G-float. X-float has twice as
    many bits as IEEE T-float.

    In C speak, float would be done in VAX F-float or IEEE S-float, or
    similar. double would be done in VAX D- or G-float, or IEEE T-float.
    I don't know of any C compiler that supports VAX H-float or IEEE
    X-float.

    In Fortran, REAL or REAL*4 would be F-float or S-float. DOUBLE
    PRECISION or REAL*8 would be D-, G-, or T-float. REAL*16 would
    be H- or X-float. I don't know of any Fortran compiler that
    supports X-float.

    The extra precision of H-float was usefull in an algorithm that
    converted D-float floating point values to 48 bit fixed point.
    Just keeping everything in D-float would drop low bits during the
    algorithm, leading to an inaccurate result.

    We were given the algorithm, coded for Fortran REAL*8 on another
    system by someone who didn't realise its limitations. Changing
    to REAL*16 was a trivial edit to solve the problem.


  11. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    In article <00010f78$0$26272$c3e8da3@news.astraweb.com>, JF Mezei writes:
    >
    > In the 1980s, the "PC" and Sun grew in the exact same way: they came in,
    > offered lower prices, and DEC dismissed them as not serious enough for
    > real business and DEC continued to charge a premium for its product.
    > DEC's market shrunk to a handful of customers who still had to buy the
    > overpriced DEC gear and software.


    In the 1980s DEC was trying to overtake IBM and never looked back at
    the new kids on the block.


  12. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    In article , "Richard B. Gilbert" writes:
    >
    > There was a shop on RT 130 just south of Hightstown, NJ where I saw a
    > disk platter that must have been three to four FEET in diameter!
    > Ancient technology of course.


    Just before we bought our first 11/780 running VMS 1.x, I spent
    time on a Xerox Sigma 7 with a 3 foot diameter vertically mounted
    disk.


  13. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    Main, Kerry wrote:
    >> -----Original Message-----
    >> From: DaveG [mailto:david.gudewicz@abbott.com]
    >> Sent: Monday, November 03, 2008 10:07 AM
    >> To: Info-VAX@Mvb.Saic.Com
    >> Subject: Re: Most impressive VAX installations
    >>
    >> On Nov 2, 11:21 am, "Main, Kerry" wrote:
    >>>> -----Original Message-----
    >>>> From: rd...@spamcop.net [mailto:rd...@spamcop.net]
    >>>> Sent: Saturday, November 01, 2008 3:31 PM
    >>>> To: Info-...@Mvb.Saic.Com
    >>>> Subject: Re: Most impressive VAX installations
    >>>> On Sat, 1 Nov 2008 18:31:54 UTC, JF Mezei
    >>>> wrote:
    >>>>> At the opposite scale of things...
    >>>>> I ran an all mighty Microvax 2 with 8 megs of RAM and a 154meg

    >> drive
    >>>> to
    >>>>> support 8 users runing WPS-Plus. The success of the project lead

    >> the
    >>>>> MVII to be upgraded to 16 meg of RAM to support 12 users.
    >>>>> This was circa 1987.
    >>>> Impressive, but look back and read what OS/8 was able to do!
    >>> Ok, war story time ..:-)
    >>>
    >>> I remember carrying a tool bag with a scope and installing the first
    >>> DF32 disk drive in our area - 32K words of memory. I remember us all
    >>> joking about what a waste this was as who would ever use 32Kw of

    >> memory?
    >>> Course, at the time, many PDP8's had either a 4K or 8K memory system.
    >>>
    >>> Now back to the present...
    >>>
    >>> :-)
    >>>
    >>> Regards
    >>>
    >>> Kerry Main
    >>> Senior Consultant
    >>> HP Services Canada
    >>> Voice: 613-254-8911
    >>> Fax: 613-591-4477
    >>> kerryDOTmainAThpDOTcom
    >>> (remove the DOT's and AT)
    >>>
    >>> OpenVMS - the secure, multi-site OS that just works.- Hide quoted

    >> text -
    >>> - Show quoted text -

    >> I remember a DF32 we had installed on a PDP-12 back in the 70s. Heads
    >> did not move, the platter was very large by today's standards, but in
    >> its time, it was pretty fast. I'm showing my age. So is Kerry. ;-)

    >
    > Yeah, we had to clean the platter before installing - it was like a large,
    > heavy record.
    >
    > That was back in the day when real computer types could toggle in the TU56
    > or RK05 boot program on the front panel toggle switches from memory.
    >
    > Re: old .. heck, I still tell my kids that I do not know what I want to be
    > when I grow up ..
    >
    > :-)
    >


    Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is not!

  14. RE: Most impressive VAX installations

    On Mon, 3 Nov 2008 20:18:48 UTC, "Main, Kerry"
    wrote:

    > That was back in the day when real computer types could toggle in the TU56
    > or RK05 boot program on the front panel toggle switches from memory.


    Yeah, but the RK05 boot program was really easy...! A colleague knew the
    paper tape bootstrap off by heart and used it every morning..

    --
    Bob Eager
    Use the BIG mirror service in the UK:
    http://www.mirrorservice.org


  15. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    Bob Koehler wrote:
    > In article , "Richard B. Gilbert" writes:
    >> Somehow I don't think that the PDP-8 was comparable, in any way, to the
    >> IBM System/360! They were both digital computers and there the
    >> resemblance ended.

    >
    > There were some very small, very low capability, models in the 360
    > series. Systems like the 360/20 were mostly used to do things like
    > duplicate card decks. Most folks remember systems like the 360/75,
    > a multi-user mainframe about the size of a small house and priced a
    > few orders of magnitude higher. The 360/20 I saw would use just a
    > little more floor space than a basic 11/780 with one expansion
    > cabinet.
    >


    I remember the 360/20. Princeton University used them as Remote Job
    Entry (RJE) terminals. You read in your deck of punched cards, waited
    while the 360/91 in the computer center crunched your numbers, and when
    it was done your printout and maybe freshly punched cards came back.

    If you wanted it to do something difficult you had to be prepared to
    wait a LONG time! ISTR that the 360/20 used half bytes (4 bits) for
    some things; they were christened "nybbles".

    The 360/20 was the closest thing in the 360 line to the PDP-8.
    Physically it was bigger than a PDP-8. I couldn't say if it was any
    faster or smarter.


    They made great RJE terminals. It's hard to imagine them doing anything
    else!

  16. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    Glen Herrmannsfeldt wrote:
    > Arne Vajh°j wrote:
    > (snip)
    >> I thought the 700 series did have H-floating.

    >
    >> I just checked some numbers - it seems as if you are correct - only the
    >> 785 has H-floating in HW.

    >
    > And the 11/730 if by hardware you mean microcode.


    I do.

    > (Are all the VAX microcoded?)


    I would expect so. With a so CISC'y instruction set.

    Arne

  17. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    Bob Koehler wrote:
    > In article <00A82051.B459084E@SendSpamHere.ORG>, VAXman- @SendSpamHere.ORG writes:
    >> BINGO! There still are sites that have not bothered to port their apps to
    >> Alpha or Itanium. If H-float is needed, I'd wager that a library could be
    >> developed to provide it and, on faster hardware, it may even best perform-
    >> ance on VAX.

    >
    > Did any Alpha ever actually implement X-float? It was in my early
    > Alpha architecture books, fully desribed, but documented as not
    > implemented.


    AFAIK not in HW.

    But VMS does emulate it.

    > Does Itanium do X-float?
    >
    > There were calculations we did on our almighty MV II that were
    > trivial to code up because the Fortran compiler fully supported
    > H-float.


    VMS Fortran still support REAL*16 !

    Arne


  18. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    JF Mezei wrote:
    > Bob Koehler wrote:
    >> There were calculations we did on our almighty MV II that were
    >> trivial to code up because the Fortran compiler fully supported
    >> H-float.

    >
    > Out of curiosity, what sort of calculations could H-float do that IEEE
    > floating point can't do ?


    None.

    Because IEEE has X-float with the same precision.

    But in some cases 128 bit floating point (H or X) can fix
    numerical problems in 64 bit float (D/G/T).

    Arne

  19. Re: Most impressive VAX installations

    "andy/christine" wrote in message
    news:490e6d14@news.mel.dft.com.au...
    > We had a VT220 on the fifteenth floor connected via 4 wire modem
    > as the secondary console to the VAX8800s PRO380.
    > It could do everything but power on/off.


    I assume you mean power off the Pro380 as I believe powering off the 8800
    was done from the console (only worked on 1 8800 in my field service
    experience).


  20. RE: Most impressive VAX installations

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: Steven Underwood [mailto:nobody@spamcop.net]
    > Sent: Monday, November 03, 2008 6:49 PM
    > To: Info-VAX@Mvb.Saic.Com
    > Subject: Re: Most impressive VAX installations
    >
    > "andy/christine" wrote in
    > message
    > news:490e6d14@news.mel.dft.com.au...
    > > We had a VT220 on the fifteenth floor connected via 4 wire modem
    > > as the secondary console to the VAX8800s PRO380.
    > > It could do everything but power on/off.

    >
    > I assume you mean power off the Pro380 as I believe powering off the
    > 8800
    > was done from the console (only worked on 1 8800 in my field service
    > experience).


    Yeah, the code name for these 85xx/8800 systems was Nautilus and it had
    Remote port for managing the system, but as I recall, for safety reasons,
    you had to be on the PRO380 to do power on / off commands.

    [No one wanted someone remotely powering on a system when a service
    person might be working on the system.]



    Regards

    Kerry Main
    Senior Consultant
    HP Services Canada
    Voice: 613-254-8911
    Fax: 613-591-4477
    kerryDOTmainAThpDOTcom
    (remove the DOT's and AT)

    OpenVMS - the secure, multi-site OS that just works.







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