Emulation - VMS

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Thread: Emulation

  1. Emulation

    Well tell me how good/bad it is.

    At home I play with simh and have never had a problem. However, my employers
    still have a cluster with a pair of 6100 for legacy data and about 4
    interactive users. It is costing us about 30,000 per annum to maintain/run.

    They are clustered for resilience but the HSC went down for 1/2 a day last
    month which is making the internal customer uneasy about reliability. We did
    have a spare HSC but the maintenance company insisted in shipping in parts
    rather than use an unknown controller that had been sat in a store room for
    6 years.

    So the customer is asking about moving it all to virtualisation. Guess we
    have oversold our VMWare setup.


    First issue is that we should be clear of our legal requirement on data
    retention in about 18 months, and the only live app should have been
    replaced by then. Therefore it does not make sense to install new dedicated
    hardware for 18 months. We do not have sources for the two main legacy
    applications and the vendors ceased trading some years ago. Hence I have
    suggested to my employers the emulation route, and would guess they would
    opt towards a Charon solution as they are still very wary of open source and
    a perceived lack of support and/or problem ownership etc.

    What is the opinion out there in the land of real users, how quick/involved
    is it to set up an emulated VAX system? (I know I did it with simh in a
    couple of hours and I had not touched VMS for at least 10 years). What sort
    of host platform is required in the real world? What lessons did the people
    who have replaced VAX hardware with emulation learn? and what mistakes?

    I guess if we do opt for an emulation based replacement I would end up being
    the PM. and having raised the issue, suggested a potential solution I would
    be keen to avoid egg on my face if reliability/cost of ownership etc. fail
    to meet expectation.

    We have a history of under estimating project costs/ complexity in order to
    make the transition through mahogany row and I am keen that this is not
    another typical project by identifying all risk/costs early.

    Any advice you guys out there can offer would be appreciated. Remember this
    is very early days. No project has yet been identified/sanctioned etc.



  2. Re: Emulation

    On Nov 11, 6:26*am, "Tim Wilkinson" wrote:
    > Well tell me how good/bad it is.
    >
    > At home I play with simh and have never had a problem. However, my employers
    > still have a cluster with a pair of 6100 for legacy data and about 4
    > interactive users. It is costing us about 30,000 per annum to maintain/run.
    >
    > They are clustered for resilience but the HSC went down for 1/2 a day last
    > month which is making the internal customer uneasy about reliability. We did
    > have a spare HSC but the maintenance company insisted in shipping in parts
    > rather than use an unknown controller that had been sat in a store room for
    > 6 years.
    >
    > So the customer is asking about moving it all to virtualisation. Guess we
    > have oversold our VMWare setup.
    >
    > First issue is that we should be clear of our legal requirement on data
    > retention in about 18 months, and the only *live app should have been
    > replaced by then. Therefore it does not make sense to install new dedicated
    > hardware for 18 months. We do not have sources for the two main legacy
    > applications and the vendors ceased trading some years ago. Hence I have
    > suggested to my employers the emulation route, and would guess they would
    > opt towards a Charon solution as they are still very wary of open source and
    > a perceived lack of support and/or problem ownership etc.
    >
    > What is the opinion out there in the land of real users, how quick/involved
    > is it to set up an emulated VAX system? (I know I did it with simh in a
    > couple of hours and I had not touched VMS for at least 10 years). What sort
    > of host platform is required in the real world? What lessons did the people
    > who have replaced VAX hardware with emulation learn? and what mistakes?
    >
    > I guess if we do opt for an emulation based replacement I would end up being
    > the PM. and having raised the issue, suggested a potential solution I would
    > be keen to avoid egg on my face if reliability/cost of ownership etc. fail
    > to meet expectation.
    >
    > We have a history of under estimating project costs/ complexity in order to
    > make the transition through mahogany row and I am keen that this is not
    > another typical *project *by identifying all risk/costs early.
    >
    > Any advice you guys out there can offer would be appreciated. Remember this
    > is very early days. No project has yet been identified/sanctioned etc.


    Tim,

    An emulated environment can deal quite well with preserving access to
    environments without keeping the old hardware online. The first two
    questions that I always ask are:

    - What utilization is currently?
    - Are there any non disk peripherals involved?

    Hardware today is sufficiently fast that most circa-6100 VAX
    environments fit within a reasonable small server/blade package. I do
    recommend purchasing high quality hardware (e.g., ECC, etc.) as that
    can be a problem in the x86 world.

    I also recommend checking out the environment BEFORE committing to it
    to guard against unforeseen hazards. Many older systems are not
    documented and can produce surprises.

    - Bob Gezelter, http://www.rlgsc.com

  3. Re: Emulation

    Tim Wilkinson wrote:
    > Well tell me how good/bad it is.
    >
    > At home I play with simh and have never had a problem. However, my employers
    > still have a cluster with a pair of 6100 for legacy data and about 4
    > interactive users. It is costing us about 30,000 per annum to maintain/run.
    >
    > They are clustered for resilience but the HSC went down for 1/2 a day last
    > month which is making the internal customer uneasy about reliability. We did
    > have a spare HSC but the maintenance company insisted in shipping in parts
    > rather than use an unknown controller that had been sat in a store room for
    > 6 years.
    >
    > [...rest snipped...]


    Tim, maybe my memory is fading, but I don't recall there ever having
    been a VAX 6100 (emphasis on 6*1*00).

    Perhaps, before going further, you can describe the exact current
    environment (including HSC model, and storage subsystems). As
    much detail as possible please.

  4. RE: Emulation

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: Bob Gezelter [mailto:gezelter@rlgsc.com]
    > Sent: November 11, 2008 10:36 AM
    > To: Info-VAX@Mvb.Saic.Com
    > Subject: Re: Emulation
    >
    > On Nov 11, 6:26 am, "Tim Wilkinson" wrote:
    > > Well tell me how good/bad it is.
    > >
    > > At home I play with simh and have never had a problem. However, my

    > employers
    > > still have a cluster with a pair of 6100 for legacy data and about 4
    > > interactive users. It is costing us about 30,000 per annum to

    > maintain/run.
    > >
    > > They are clustered for resilience but the HSC went down for 1/2 a day

    > last
    > > month which is making the internal customer uneasy about reliability.

    > We did
    > > have a spare HSC but the maintenance company insisted in shipping in

    > parts
    > > rather than use an unknown controller that had been sat in a store

    > room for
    > > 6 years.
    > >
    > > So the customer is asking about moving it all to virtualisation.

    > Guess we
    > > have oversold our VMWare setup.
    > >
    > > First issue is that we should be clear of our legal requirement on

    > data
    > > retention in about 18 months, and the only live app should have been
    > > replaced by then. Therefore it does not make sense to install new

    > dedicated
    > > hardware for 18 months. We do not have sources for the two main

    > legacy
    > > applications and the vendors ceased trading some years ago. Hence I

    > have
    > > suggested to my employers the emulation route, and would guess they

    > would
    > > opt towards a Charon solution as they are still very wary of open

    > source and
    > > a perceived lack of support and/or problem ownership etc.
    > >
    > > What is the opinion out there in the land of real users, how

    > quick/involved
    > > is it to set up an emulated VAX system? (I know I did it with simh in

    > a
    > > couple of hours and I had not touched VMS for at least 10 years).

    > What sort
    > > of host platform is required in the real world? What lessons did the

    > people
    > > who have replaced VAX hardware with emulation learn? and what

    > mistakes?
    > >
    > > I guess if we do opt for an emulation based replacement I would end

    > up being
    > > the PM. and having raised the issue, suggested a potential solution I

    > would
    > > be keen to avoid egg on my face if reliability/cost of ownership etc.

    > fail
    > > to meet expectation.
    > >
    > > We have a history of under estimating project costs/ complexity in

    > order to
    > > make the transition through mahogany row and I am keen that this is

    > not
    > > another typical project by identifying all risk/costs early.
    > >
    > > Any advice you guys out there can offer would be appreciated.

    > Remember this
    > > is very early days. No project has yet been identified/sanctioned

    > etc.
    >
    > Tim,
    >
    > An emulated environment can deal quite well with preserving access to
    > environments without keeping the old hardware online. The first two
    > questions that I always ask are:
    >
    > - What utilization is currently?
    > - Are there any non disk peripherals involved?
    >
    > Hardware today is sufficiently fast that most circa-6100 VAX
    > environments fit within a reasonable small server/blade package. I do
    > recommend purchasing high quality hardware (e.g., ECC, etc.) as that
    > can be a problem in the x86 world.
    >
    > I also recommend checking out the environment BEFORE committing to it
    > to guard against unforeseen hazards. Many older systems are not
    > documented and can produce surprises.
    >
    > - Bob Gezelter, http://www.rlgsc.com


    If doing the Charon option, while it certainly is a good prod, if you
    want to avoid any surprises in the business case (as you indicated), I
    would also recommend getting a quote from a Charon partner as the costs
    are often far greater than what most expect e.g. for VAX 6xxx emulation,
    expect greater than $100K license + annual support costs for one VAX
    6xxx server emulation license.


    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.




  5. Re: Emulation

    Whoops yes it was a pair of 6610.



    However, I seriously doubt the load the have today would trouble anything
    more than a 3100 of some description. I need to get access to these systems
    to gauge current load/utilisation/configuration etc.

    However if it is only likely to cost us in the region of 45,000 for the
    required life, I doubt Charon is a viable option

    "R.A.Omond" wrote in message
    news:4919b1dc$0$90273$14726298@news.sunsite.dk...
    > Tim Wilkinson wrote:
    >> Well tell me how good/bad it is.
    >>
    >> At home I play with simh and have never had a problem. However, my
    >> employers still have a cluster with a pair of 6100 for legacy data and
    >> about 4 interactive users. It is costing us about 30,000 per annum to
    >> maintain/run.
    >>
    >> They are clustered for resilience but the HSC went down for 1/2 a day
    >> last month which is making the internal customer uneasy about
    >> reliability. We did have a spare HSC but the maintenance company insisted
    >> in shipping in parts rather than use an unknown controller that had been
    >> sat in a store room for 6 years.
    >>
    >> [...rest snipped...]

    >
    > Tim, maybe my memory is fading, but I don't recall there ever having
    > been a VAX 6100 (emphasis on 6*1*00).
    >
    > Perhaps, before going further, you can describe the exact current
    > environment (including HSC model, and storage subsystems). As
    > much detail as possible please.




  6. Re: Emulation

    I would probably try the SIMH VAX emulator first, since it's free, as
    proof of concept and test the migration strategy, because that may be
    the hardest part. Since this is an HSC / CI cluster, it's unlikely
    that any of the existing hardware will connect to a new system, so
    moving the data may have to use the 10BASE Ethernet (though I'm
    guessing that they on Ethernet?).

    Use just about any platform you want, but getting enough disk space to
    have a real test can be problematic. I'd probably create a new root
    for the SIMH emulator in the existing cluster as a non-voting member
    and network boot it, then either shadow copy (if you have that
    licensed) or BACKUP to copy a couple of volumes for timing tests to
    get a handle on how long it will take to move everything. Then if
    there is enough disk space, try the application on the emulator using
    the copied data.

    Licensing can be an issue: as long as no "real" production is executed
    it might be tolerable to use the Hobbyist license for the emulator for
    evaluating the approach, but I would check my licenses to see if I
    could borrow something I already own, or talk to my field service or
    sales rep. for some temporary licenses. Then if the proof of concept
    works out, the costs of getting everything supported (Charon, licenses
    on support...) can be put into perspective.


    Sean

    On Nov 11, 8:39*am, "Main, Kerry" wrote:
    > > -----Original Message-----
    > > From: Bob Gezelter [mailto:gezel...@rlgsc.com]
    > > Sent: November 11, 2008 10:36 AM
    > > To: Info-...@Mvb.Saic.Com
    > > Subject: Re: Emulation

    >
    > > On Nov 11, 6:26 am, "Tim Wilkinson" wrote:
    > > > Well tell me how good/bad it is.

    >
    > > > At home I play with simh and have never had a problem. However, my

    > > employers
    > > > still have a cluster with a pair of 6100 for legacy data and about 4
    > > > interactive users. It is costing us about 30,000 per annum to

    > > maintain/run.

    >
    > > > They are clustered for resilience but the HSC went down for 1/2 a day

    > > last
    > > > month which is making the internal customer uneasy about reliability.

    > > We did
    > > > have a spare HSC but the maintenance company insisted in shipping in

    > > parts
    > > > rather than use an unknown controller that had been sat in a store

    > > room for
    > > > 6 years.

    >
    > > > So the customer is asking about moving it all to virtualisation.

    > > Guess we
    > > > have oversold our VMWare setup.

    >
    > > > First issue is that we should be clear of our legal requirement on

    > > data
    > > > retention in about 18 months, and the only *live app should have been
    > > > replaced by then. Therefore it does not make sense to install new

    > > dedicated
    > > > hardware for 18 months. We do not have sources for the two main

    > > legacy
    > > > applications and the vendors ceased trading some years ago. Hence I

    > > have
    > > > suggested to my employers the emulation route, and would guess they

    > > would
    > > > opt towards a Charon solution as they are still very wary of open

    > > source and
    > > > a perceived lack of support and/or problem ownership etc.

    >
    > > > What is the opinion out there in the land of real users, how

    > > quick/involved
    > > > is it to set up an emulated VAX system? (I know I did it with simh in

    > > a
    > > > couple of hours and I had not touched VMS for at least 10 years).

    > > What sort
    > > > of host platform is required in the real world? What lessons did the

    > > people
    > > > who have replaced VAX hardware with emulation learn? and what

    > > mistakes?

    >
    > > > I guess if we do opt for an emulation based replacement I would end

    > > up being
    > > > the PM. and having raised the issue, suggested a potential solution I

    > > would
    > > > be keen to avoid egg on my face if reliability/cost of ownership etc.

    > > fail
    > > > to meet expectation.

    >
    > > > We have a history of under estimating project costs/ complexity in

    > > order to
    > > > make the transition through mahogany row and I am keen that this is

    > > not
    > > > another typical *project *by identifying all risk/costs early.

    >
    > > > Any advice you guys out there can offer would be appreciated.

    > > Remember this
    > > > is very early days. No project has yet been identified/sanctioned

    > > etc.

    >
    > > Tim,

    >
    > > An emulated environment can deal quite well with preserving access to
    > > environments without keeping the old hardware online. The first two
    > > questions that I always ask are:

    >
    > > - What utilization is currently?
    > > - Are there any non disk peripherals involved?

    >
    > > Hardware today is sufficiently fast that most circa-6100 VAX
    > > environments fit within a reasonable small server/blade package. I do
    > > recommend purchasing high quality hardware (e.g., ECC, etc.) as that
    > > can be a problem in the x86 world.

    >
    > > I also recommend checking out the environment BEFORE committing to it
    > > to guard against unforeseen hazards. Many older systems are not
    > > documented and can produce surprises.

    >
    > > - Bob Gezelter,http://www.rlgsc.com

    >
    > If doing the Charon option, while it certainly is a good prod, if you
    > want to avoid any surprises in the business case (as you indicated), I
    > would also recommend getting a quote from a Charon partner as the costs
    > are often far greater than what most expect e.g. for VAX 6xxx emulation,
    > expect greater than $100K license + annual support costs for one VAX
    > 6xxx server emulation license.
    >
    > 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.



  7. Re: Emulation

    On 11 Nov, 11:26, "Tim Wilkinson" wrote:
    > Well tell me how good/bad it is.
    >
    > At home I play with simh and have never had a problem. However, my employers
    > still have a cluster with a pair of 6100 for legacy data and about 4
    > interactive users. It is costing us about 30,000 per annum to maintain/run.
    >
    > They are clustered for resilience but the HSC went down for 1/2 a day last
    > month which is making the internal customer uneasy about reliability. We did
    > have a spare HSC but the maintenance company insisted in shipping in parts
    > rather than use an unknown controller that had been sat in a store room for
    > 6 years.
    >
    > So the customer is asking about moving it all to virtualisation. Guess we
    > have oversold our VMWare setup.
    >
    > First issue is that we should be clear of our legal requirement on data
    > retention in about 18 months, and the only *live app should have been
    > replaced by then. Therefore it does not make sense to install new dedicated
    > hardware for 18 months. We do not have sources for the two main legacy
    > applications and the vendors ceased trading some years ago. Hence I have
    > suggested to my employers the emulation route, and would guess they would
    > opt towards a Charon solution as they are still very wary of open source and
    > a perceived lack of support and/or problem ownership etc.
    >
    > What is the opinion out there in the land of real users, how quick/involved
    > is it to set up an emulated VAX system? (I know I did it with simh in a
    > couple of hours and I had not touched VMS for at least 10 years). What sort
    > of host platform is required in the real world? What lessons did the people
    > who have replaced VAX hardware with emulation learn? and what mistakes?
    >
    > I guess if we do opt for an emulation based replacement I would end up being
    > the PM. and having raised the issue, suggested a potential solution I would
    > be keen to avoid egg on my face if reliability/cost of ownership etc. fail
    > to meet expectation.
    >
    > We have a history of under estimating project costs/ complexity in order to
    > make the transition through mahogany row and I am keen that this is not
    > another typical *project *by identifying all risk/costs early.
    >
    > Any advice you guys out there can offer would be appreciated. Remember this
    > is very early days. No project has yet been identified/sanctioned etc.



    Don't forget HP will want you to buy a transfer licence

  8. Re: Emulation

    sean@obanion.us vaguely mentioned on 11-11-2008 19:55:
    > I would probably try the SIMH VAX emulator first, since it's free, as
    > proof of concept and test the migration strategy, because that may be
    > the hardest part. Since this is an HSC / CI cluster, it's unlikely
    > that any of the existing hardware will connect to a new system, so
    > moving the data may have to use the 10BASE Ethernet (though I'm
    > guessing that they on Ethernet?).


    [snip]

    This issue has been beaten to death here and elsewhere. You cannot run
    commercial VMS on SIMH, without violating your VMS license. VMS can only
    run on HP's VAX/Alpha/Itanium hardware, and on the CHARON platform
    provided you buy a transfer license from HP.

    /Wilm

    [yes I 'm a CHARON reseller, but I will not profit from this particular
    deal. Hate the FUD though.]

  9. Re: Emulation

    Main, Kerry vaguely mentioned on 11-11-2008 17:39:
    [snip snip]

    > If doing the Charon option, while it certainly is a good prod, if you
    > want to avoid any surprises in the business case (as you indicated), I
    > would also recommend getting a quote from a Charon partner as the costs
    > are often far greater than what most expect e.g. for VAX 6xxx emulation,
    > expect greater than $100K license + annual support costs for one VAX
    > 6xxx server emulation license.



    C'mon Kerry, yuo know better. You don't need a CHARON 6x00 license to
    replace a VAX 6x00. You need a CHARON license that will do the job, i.e.
    present memory, disk and CPU capacity to the remaining users. With
    current Intel/AMD hardware, CHARON on Windows runs rings around any
    6x00, 7x00 whatever VAX. It's not free, indeed, but in most cases
    affordable.

    /Wilm

    [yes, I'm a CHARON reseller, sold dozens of CHARON-VAX and -Alpha
    licenses to very happy customers, and made it work for them. I will not
    profit from this particular deal though]

  10. RE: Emulation

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: Wilm Boerhout [mailto:w6.boerhout@planet.nl]
    > Sent: November 11, 2008 3:28 PM
    > To: Info-VAX@Mvb.Saic.Com
    > Subject: Re: Emulation
    >
    > Main, Kerry vaguely mentioned on 11-11-2008 17:39:
    > [snip snip]
    >
    > > If doing the Charon option, while it certainly is a good prod, if you
    > > want to avoid any surprises in the business case (as you indicated),

    > I
    > > would also recommend getting a quote from a Charon partner as the

    > costs
    > > are often far greater than what most expect e.g. for VAX 6xxx

    > emulation,
    > > expect greater than $100K license + annual support costs for one VAX
    > > 6xxx server emulation license.

    >
    >
    > C'mon Kerry, yuo know better. You don't need a CHARON 6x00 license to
    > replace a VAX 6x00. You need a CHARON license that will do the job,
    > i.e.
    > present memory, disk and CPU capacity to the remaining users. With
    > current Intel/AMD hardware, CHARON on Windows runs rings around any
    > 6x00, 7x00 whatever VAX. It's not free, indeed, but in most cases
    > affordable.
    >
    > /Wilm
    >
    > [yes, I'm a CHARON reseller, sold dozens of CHARON-VAX and -Alpha
    > licenses to very happy customers, and made it work for them. I will not
    > profit from this particular deal though]


    Perhaps, but we don't know the workload (4 users doing cpu intensive
    or disk intensive workloads? Don't know). In addition, the licenses for
    lesser models are also still expensive when one considers the app is going
    away in 18 months.

    All I am saying is when going down this path, get a real quote based on
    real workload and associated resource estimation so you can make an
    informed decision.

    This quote should include all Charon/HP/third party ISV licenses, new
    server / storage HW required, consulting, pilots etc.

    You should also confirm any third party ISV app's are supported and do
    not require new licenses in such an environment.

    Fwiw, I recommend the exact same strategy for any Cust on any platform
    using any virtualization product from any vendor.


    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.







  11. Re: Emulation

    On Tue, 11 Nov 2008 12:22:56 -0800, Wilm Boerhout
    wrote:

    > sean@obanion.us vaguely mentioned on 11-11-2008 19:55:
    >> I would probably try the SIMH VAX emulator first, since it's free, as
    >> proof of concept and test the migration strategy, because that may be
    >> the hardest part. Since this is an HSC / CI cluster, it's unlikely
    >> that any of the existing hardware will connect to a new system, so
    >> moving the data may have to use the 10BASE Ethernet (though I'm
    >> guessing that they on Ethernet?).

    >
    > [snip]
    >
    > This issue has been beaten to death here and elsewhere. You cannot run
    > commercial VMS on SIMH, without violating your VMS license. VMS can only
    > run on HP's VAX/Alpha/Itanium hardware, and on the CHARON platform
    > provided you buy a transfer license from HP.


    That transfer license costs $6K to HP (Not sure if SRI gets any of that)
    http://h71000.www7.hp.com/openvms/sr...-emulator.html
    and then there is the cost of the Charon license. But it may still
    make sense financially



    >
    > /Wilm
    >
    > [yes I 'm a CHARON reseller, but I will not profit from this particular
    > deal. Hate the FUD though.]




    --
    PL/I for OpenVMS
    www.kednos.com

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