Discussion:
upgrading to VSI VMS---and back
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Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
2022-01-06 11:51:50 UTC
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I want to upgrade to VSI VMS. However, I'm worried that---like those
with commercial VSI licenses---at some point licenses will no longer be
available (at reasonable cost). I am somewhat unusual as a hobbyist in
that I actually bought some commercial licenses back in the day, so if
worst comes to worst I can continue to run a hobbyist cluster (though
only with a couple of small machines with an old version of VMS). If I
upgrade to VSI with the community license, the only way to fall back on
that would be to restore the old 8.4 system disks. That would also mean
that any code which makes use of new features would no longer work.

Something of a compromise would be a mixed HPE/VSI cluster. I don't
think that that is supported (probably not much of an issue for a
hobbyist cluster), but it won't even technically work, right? That also
means that a mixed-cluster rolling upgrade won't work, so the upgrade is
more difficult than usual, and the downgrade as well.

Of course, the ultimate goal is to move to x86, but then going back to
HPE Alpha would be even more work.

Of course VSI seems enthusiastic about VMS and we all hope that it will
continue, but people remember DEC disappearing, going from strength to
non-existence in just a few years, the promise of the 20-year
development lifetime for Alpha, and so on.
Bob Gezelter
2022-01-06 12:53:12 UTC
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I want to upgrade to VSI VMS. However, I'm worried that---like those
with commercial VSI licenses---at some point licenses will no longer be
available (at reasonable cost). I am somewhat unusual as a hobbyist in
that I actually bought some commercial licenses back in the day, so if
worst comes to worst I can continue to run a hobbyist cluster (though
only with a couple of small machines with an old version of VMS). If I
upgrade to VSI with the community license, the only way to fall back on
that would be to restore the old 8.4 system disks. That would also mean
that any code which makes use of new features would no longer work.
Something of a compromise would be a mixed HPE/VSI cluster. I don't
think that that is supported (probably not much of an issue for a
hobbyist cluster), but it won't even technically work, right? That also
means that a mixed-cluster rolling upgrade won't work, so the upgrade is
more difficult than usual, and the downgrade as well.
Of course, the ultimate goal is to move to x86, but then going back to
HPE Alpha would be even more work.
Of course VSI seems enthusiastic about VMS and we all hope that it will
continue, but people remember DEC disappearing, going from strength to
non-existence in just a few years, the promise of the 20-year
development lifetime for Alpha, and so on.
Phillip,

The last version of HPE OpenVMS is Version 8.4, with UPDATE 15 being the terminal update.

I am personally maintaining an IA64-based mixed version OpenVMScluster running with 8.4 and 8.4-2L3 inter-operating on a minute to minute basis without incident, with each version having a separate system volume.

As a mixed-version OpenVMScluster it is, as I recall, supported technically. Check the SPD on vmssoftware.com for the official position.

Direct upgrade of a system volume is supported, providing that the 8.4 system is at a minimum update level, the Installation and Upgrade manual for the VSI release is explicit on that point.

As to x86-64, my recollection from presentations is that Alpha/x86-64 and Itanium/x86-64 was "supported", but that Alpha/Itanium/x86-64 was not, but I seem to recall seeing a SHOW CLUSTER output with all three active.

- Bob Gezelter, http://www.rlgsc.com
Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
2022-01-06 13:35:08 UTC
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Post by Bob Gezelter
The last version of HPE OpenVMS is Version 8.4, with UPDATE 15 being the terminal update.
Right. I have 8.4 but the last update I have is 5.0.
Post by Bob Gezelter
I am personally maintaining an IA64-based mixed version OpenVMScluster
running with 8.4 and 8.4-2L3 inter-operating on a minute to minute basis
without incident, with each version having a separate system volume.
So VSI and HPE in the same cluster? Would that work with Alpha?
Post by Bob Gezelter
As a mixed-version OpenVMScluster it is, as I recall, supported
technically. Check the SPD on vmssoftware.com for the official position.
Mixed-version clusters in general, yes. Mixed VSI/HPE, even on the same
architecture? I'm not sure. I seem to remember that for Alpha/x86 one
had to have Alpha from VSI, but you seem to be doing otherwise.
Post by Bob Gezelter
Direct upgrade of a system volume is supported, providing that the 8.4
system is at a minimum update level, the Installation and Upgrade
manual for the VSI release is explicit on that point.
I'll have to check whether 5.0 is enough and if not if I can somehow get
15.0 or whatever. (Is that a cumulative patch or do I need to install
something as a prerequisite?)
Post by Bob Gezelter
As to x86-64, my recollection from presentations is that Alpha/x86-64
and Itanium/x86-64 was "supported", but that Alpha/Itanium/x86-64 was
not, but I seem to recall seeing a SHOW CLUSTER output with all three
active.
I have no Itanium machines and no plans to ever have them. Moving to
VSI VMS on Alpha is mainly a prelude to moving to x86.
Bob Gezelter
2022-01-06 21:35:52 UTC
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Post by Bob Gezelter
The last version of HPE OpenVMS is Version 8.4, with UPDATE 15 being
the terminal update.
Right. I have 8.4 but the last update I have is 5.0.
Post by Bob Gezelter
I am personally maintaining an IA64-based mixed version OpenVMScluster
running with 8.4 and 8.4-2L3 inter-operating on a minute to minute basis
without incident, with each version having a separate system volume.
So VSI and HPE in the same cluster? Would that work with Alpha?
Post by Bob Gezelter
As a mixed-version OpenVMScluster it is, as I recall, supported
technically. Check the SPD on vmssoftware.com for the official position.
Mixed-version clusters in general, yes. Mixed VSI/HPE, even on the same
architecture? I'm not sure. I seem to remember that for Alpha/x86 one
had to have Alpha from VSI, but you seem to be doing otherwise.
Post by Bob Gezelter
Direct upgrade of a system volume is supported, providing that the 8.4
system is at a minimum update level, the Installation and Upgrade
manual for the VSI release is explicit on that point.
I'll have to check whether 5.0 is enough and if not if I can somehow get
15.0 or whatever. (Is that a cumulative patch or do I need to install
something as a prerequisite?)
Post by Bob Gezelter
As to x86-64, my recollection from presentations is that Alpha/x86-64
and Itanium/x86-64 was "supported", but that Alpha/Itanium/x86-64 was
not, but I seem to recall seeing a SHOW CLUSTER output with all three
active.
I have no Itanium machines and no plans to ever have them. Moving to
VSI VMS on Alpha is mainly a prelude to moving to x86.
Phillip,

Mixed HPE/VSI definitely works. My recollection is that it says so in either Release Notes or the Installation Guide.

8.4 Update 15 is not needed for the update. It contains some patches that support newer peripherals. The Installation guide for 8.4-2Lx mentions what the minimum HPE 8.4 patch level is for an update to 8.4-2Lx.

- Bob Gezelter, http://www.rlgsc.com
Dave Froble
2022-01-06 15:05:41 UTC
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Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
I want to upgrade to VSI VMS. However, I'm worried that---like those
with commercial VSI licenses---at some point licenses will no longer be
available (at reasonable cost). I am somewhat unusual as a hobbyist in
that I actually bought some commercial licenses back in the day, so if
worst comes to worst I can continue to run a hobbyist cluster (though
only with a couple of small machines with an old version of VMS).
Lets take a look at those "purchased VMS licenses" ...

Exactly what version of VMS did you purchase? Assuming that you've been using
hobbyist licenses, that's over now. Will you be now using those "purchased VMS
licenses"? If so, what version of VMS did you purchase, and what version of VMS
are you running?

If you are not aware, understand that using newer versions of VMS required you
to purchase each new version as they were released. Have you done so?

What irony if one of the most rigorous defenders of IP and copyright on c.o.v
turns out to be one of the biggest offenders ...

:-)
Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
If I
upgrade to VSI with the community license, the only way to fall back on
that would be to restore the old 8.4 system disks. That would also mean
that any code which makes use of new features would no longer work.
And also perhaps would be illegal ...
Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
Something of a compromise would be a mixed HPE/VSI cluster. I don't
think that that is supported (probably not much of an issue for a
hobbyist cluster), but it won't even technically work, right? That also
means that a mixed-cluster rolling upgrade won't work, so the upgrade is
more difficult than usual, and the downgrade as well.
My understanding is that the SCS protocol for x86 will be different, thus it
won't work. There is to be a patch or such for Alpha and itanic for this, but
not for VAX.
--
David Froble Tel: 724-529-0450
Dave Froble Enterprises, Inc. E-Mail: ***@tsoft-inc.com
DFE Ultralights, Inc.
170 Grimplin Road
Vanderbilt, PA 15486
Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
2022-01-06 15:24:52 UTC
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Post by Dave Froble
Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
I want to upgrade to VSI VMS. However, I'm worried that---like those
with commercial VSI licenses---at some point licenses will no longer be
available (at reasonable cost). I am somewhat unusual as a hobbyist in
that I actually bought some commercial licenses back in the day, so if
worst comes to worst I can continue to run a hobbyist cluster (though
only with a couple of small machines with an old version of VMS).
Lets take a look at those "purchased VMS licenses" ...
No square quotes necessary; just a normal purchase. I probably still
have the paperwork.
Post by Dave Froble
Exactly what version of VMS did you purchase? Assuming that you've been using
hobbyist licenses, that's over now. Will you be now using those "purchased VMS
licenses"? If so, what version of VMS did you purchase, and what version of VMS
are you running?
Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
I can continue to run a hobbyist cluster (though
only with a couple of small machines with an old version of VMS).
Seems clear enough for anyone.
Post by Dave Froble
My understanding is that the SCS protocol for x86 will be different, thus it
won't work. There is to be a patch or such for Alpha and itanic for
this,
If I understand correctly, it is already in VMS from VSI.
Post by Dave Froble
but not for VAX.
I didn't mention VAX at all. I switched off my VAXen more than 10 years
ago.
Simon Clubley
2022-01-06 19:04:02 UTC
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Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
I didn't mention VAX at all. I switched off my VAXen more than 10 years
ago.
$ set response/mode=good_natured

If _Phillip_, who in the before times used to drive around Europe
picking up old pieces of hardware, has no interest in VAX systems,
then maybe it really is time to leave them in the past. :-)

Simon.
--
Simon Clubley, ***@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP
Walking destinations on a map are further away than they appear.
Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
2022-01-06 21:02:07 UTC
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Post by Simon Clubley
If _Phillip_, who in the before times used to drive around Europe
picking up old pieces of hardware, has no interest in VAX systems,
then maybe it really is time to leave them in the past. :-)
I still do. The hardware is still 10--20 years old, but 25 years newer
than what I was picking up 25 years ago. :-)

I really liked the small VAXen such as the VAXstation 4000 (especially
the 90A): quiet, easy to work on, not too power-hungry, dependable
(some ran almost continuously for 20 years). I gave them up because of
missing features which even for me had become essential: a more modern
TCPIP package, faster disks, faster ethernet, more HBVS features, more
RAM, and so on.
Volker Halle
2022-01-06 15:09:47 UTC
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Phillip,

here is the OpenVMS cluster compatibility matrix:

https://vmssoftware.com/products/clusters/

Volker.
Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
2022-01-06 15:33:06 UTC
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Post by Volker Halle
https://vmssoftware.com/products/clusters/
Better than I remember and better than some here have suggested. Alpha
only: no problem mixing HPE and VSI. VSI Alpha and x86? No problem.
Even HPE Alpha and x86 is possible for migration (with 8.4, apparently
completely supported). (Even VAX, not to mention Itanium, are also
possible, though it's not clear what is the maximum number of different
architectures there could be in one cluster.)
Hans Bachner
2022-01-06 21:54:49 UTC
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Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
Post by Volker Halle
https://vmssoftware.com/products/clusters/
Better than I remember and better than some here have suggested. Alpha
only: no problem mixing HPE and VSI. VSI Alpha and x86? No problem.
Even HPE Alpha and x86 is possible for migration (with 8.4, apparently
completely supported).
Apparently, the modifications to the SCS protocol (which require a patch
for existing VMS versions) have been postponed to V9.3. As stated
previously, VSI can only produce patches for VSI VM releases.
Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
(Even VAX, not to mention Itanium, are also
possible, though it's not clear what is the maximum number of different
architectures there could be in one cluster.)
View of Cluster from system ID 1341 node: X86001 6-JAN-2022 21:40:05
┌───────────────────────────────────────────┬───────────────────────────────────────┐
│ SYSTEMS │ MEMBERS │
├────────┬───────────────────┬──────────────┼────────┬────┬─────┬───────────────────┤
│ NODE │ HW_TYPE │ SOFTWARE │ CSID │ VO │ STA │ TRANSITION_TIME │
├────────┼───────────────────┼──────────────┼────────┼────┼─────┼───────────────────┤
│ X86001 │ VMware, Inc. │ VMS V9.1 │ 1000E │ 1 │ MEM │ 23-AUG-2021 08:10 │
│ CHVAX4 │ VAX 4000-108A │ VMS V7.3 │ 10023 │ 1 │ MEM │ 16-DEC-2021 22:05 │
│ CAXP24 │ AlphaServer DS10 │ VMS V8.4 │ 1000A │ 0 │ MEM │ 11-AUG-2021 12:13 │
│ GIGAHZ │ AlphaStation DS15 │ VMS V8.4-2L2 │ 10015 │ 1 │ MEM │ 22-SEP-2021 14:28 │
│ CAXP15 │ AlphaServer DS10 │ VMS V8.3 │ 10013 │ 1 │ BRK │ 23-SEP-2021 10:59 │
│ CHAXP2 │ AlphaServer DS25 │ VMS V8.4-2L2 │ 10022 │ 1 │ MEM │ 7-DEC-2021 19:56 │
│ IMGACT │ HP rx2660 (1.67G │ VMS V8.4-2L1 │ 10021 │ 0 │ MEM │ 23-NOV-2021 14:15 │
└────────┴───────────────────┴──────────────┴────────┴────┴─────┴───────────────────┘
┌───────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────┐
│ CLUSTER │
├───────┬───────┬───────┬────────┬──────┬───────────────────┬───────────────────┤
│ CL_EX │ CL_QU │ CL_VO │ CL_MEM │ MEMS │ FORMED │ LAST_TRANSITION │
├───────┼───────┼───────┼────────┼──────┼───────────────────┼───────────────────┤
│ 4 │ 3 │ 4 │ 6 │ 64 │ 4-AUG-2021 00:39 │ 16-DEC-2021 22:05 │
└───────┴───────┴───────┴────────┴──────┴───────────────────┴───────────────────┘
This is a mix of physical and virtual machines (nodenames starting with
"C" are CHARON-VAX or CHARON-AXP instances). Each node has its own
system disk, disks can be shared with the documented restrictions (e.g.
no ODS-5 for the VAX).

Hans.
Ian Miller
2022-01-10 12:00:37 UTC
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Post by Hans Bachner
Post by Volker Halle
https://vmssoftware.com/products/clusters/
Better than I remember and better than some here have suggested. Alpha
only: no problem mixing HPE and VSI. VSI Alpha and x86? No problem.
Even HPE Alpha and x86 is possible for migration (with 8.4, apparently
completely supported).
Apparently, the modifications to the SCS protocol (which require a patch
for existing VMS versions) have been postponed to V9.3. As stated
previously, VSI can only produce patches for VSI VM releases.
(Even VAX, not to mention Itanium, are also
possible, though it's not clear what is the maximum number of different
architectures there could be in one cluster.)
View of Cluster from system ID 1341 node: X86001 6-JAN-2022 21:40:05
┌───────────────────────────────────────────┬───────────────────────────────────────┐
│ SYSTEMS │ MEMBERS │
├────────┬───────────────────┬──────────────┼────────┬────┬─────┬───────────────────┤
│ NODE │ HW_TYPE │ SOFTWARE │ CSID │ VO │ STA │ TRANSITION_TIME │
├────────┼───────────────────┼──────────────┼────────┼────┼─────┼───────────────────┤
│ X86001 │ VMware, Inc. │ VMS V9.1 │ 1000E │ 1 │ MEM │ 23-AUG-2021 08:10 │
│ CHVAX4 │ VAX 4000-108A │ VMS V7.3 │ 10023 │ 1 │ MEM │ 16-DEC-2021 22:05 │
│ CAXP24 │ AlphaServer DS10 │ VMS V8.4 │ 1000A │ 0 │ MEM │ 11-AUG-2021 12:13 │
│ GIGAHZ │ AlphaStation DS15 │ VMS V8.4-2L2 │ 10015 │ 1 │ MEM │ 22-SEP-2021 14:28 │
│ CAXP15 │ AlphaServer DS10 │ VMS V8.3 │ 10013 │ 1 │ BRK │ 23-SEP-2021 10:59 │
│ CHAXP2 │ AlphaServer DS25 │ VMS V8.4-2L2 │ 10022 │ 1 │ MEM │ 7-DEC-2021 19:56 │
│ IMGACT │ HP rx2660 (1.67G │ VMS V8.4-2L1 │ 10021 │ 0 │ MEM │ 23-NOV-2021 14:15 │
└────────┴───────────────────┴──────────────┴────────┴────┴─────┴───────────────────┘
┌───────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────┐
│ CLUSTER │
├───────┬───────┬───────┬────────┬──────┬───────────────────┬───────────────────┤
│ CL_EX │ CL_QU │ CL_VO │ CL_MEM │ MEMS │ FORMED │ LAST_TRANSITION │
├───────┼───────┼───────┼────────┼──────┼───────────────────┼───────────────────┤
│ 4 │ 3 │ 4 │ 6 │ 64 │ 4-AUG-2021 00:39 │ 16-DEC-2021 22:05 │
└───────┴───────┴───────┴────────┴──────┴───────────────────┴───────────────────┘
This is a mix of physical and virtual machines (nodenames starting with
"C" are CHARON-VAX or CHARON-AXP instances). Each node has its own
system disk, disks can be shared with the documented restrictions (e.g.
no ODS-5 for the VAX).
Hans.
that's a fine server zoo you have there. I've run a three architecture cluster for software dev/test for years. I should have a go at all four architectu
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