Quayle Consulting now sells CRISP!

CRISP product, with full names of CRISP/32 and CRISP/64, is factory-automation software running under the OpenVMS (“VMS”) operating system.  The “/32” version runs on VAX systems running VAX/VMS or OpenVMS.  The “/64” runs in 64-bit mode on AlphaServer and Integrity Server systems.  Quayle Consulting has been supporting the CRISP source code for several years, and migrated it from the 32-bit VAX to the 64-bit AlphaServer and Integrity servers.

Quayle Consulting Inc. has just reached an agreement with CRISP Automation to sell CRISP licenses and CRISP support contracts.  For more information, please contact Quayle Consulting at www.stanq.com or post a comment on this page.

Ticketmaster and its “old” system

In Wired magazine, issue 18.11, there are a few mentions of Ticketmaster’s “old” system.  Some looks at job sites like monster.com over the years shows that Ticketmaster is always looking for people with VAX and VMS talent.  Could that be the “old” system that Wired refers to?

Funny, that “old” system withstands the assault of millions of people trying to buy tickets all at the same time.  No other system has emerged that can handle that load — many have tried, all have failed.

As I’ve said before, “legacy” means “stuff that just works”.  That’s VMS!

Happy Birthday, VMS!

33 years ago today, the OpenVMS (formerly, VAX/VMS) operating system was announced.  And it’s still going strong, with version 8.4 just released for the Intel Itanium processor used in the HP Integrity server line, and the Alpha processor, used in the HP AlphaServer product line.

Think about it the next time you send a text message — chances are, it was handled by VMS!

VMS — when “legacy” means “stuff that just works”.

Letter to Jennifer Millier, VP at Hewlett-Packard

After decades of free patch updates for OpenVMS, Tru64, HP-UX and other HP operating systems, the HP support organization has decided to allow access only to customers with paid support contracts, effective September 18th. HP VP Jennifer Millier was grilled extensively at the OpenVMS Bootcamp yesterday. She invited us to send her email about how we are impacted. Here is my email:

Dear Ms. Millier:

Thank you for coming to the OpenVMS Bootcamp. Those of us at the front lines of VMS support appreciate your participation.

My company is very small. I provide support for a number of customers who do not have HP software support. Instead, I have been providing them with patch services and system administration services on an “as needed”, time-and-materials, basis.

I also provide patches for my CHARON-VAX and CHARON-AXP emulation clients, who are typically running ancient versions of VMS, in some cases all the way back to VMS 5.0. Support for VAX version 5.5-2 is available under Prior Version Support, and has had a few critical patches released over the last couple of years.

Now that ITRC is going to a “paying customers only” model, I will not be able to provide these services. My enterprise-level customers (General Electric, Northrop Grumman, etc.) typically have software support contracts, but most of my customers do not. In fact, many of those customers feel abandoned by DEC or Compaq, not realizing that HP now owns the VMS operating system.

This situation leads me to several questions:
* Do I have to buy HP software support for each customer?
* Can I buy a single “small” support contract for my company, and then provide patches for all my customers?
* What are the costs? I see no benefit to my company, just an increase in the cost of doing business.
* Can I get access to patches from AllianceOne (formerly known as DSPP)?
* Can we continue to get FTP access to the patches? The web interface is fairly painful to use, all but requiring Internet Explorer (which is not available on VMS, Linux, or even HP-UX).
* What about hobbyist systems? These are the only entry-level way to get exposed to VMS.

I know that you are not in a position to solve the problem, but I trust that you can take these concerns to the support-side of HP and come up with a solution. Their uni-lateral action has caused damage to dozens, if not hundreds, of small entities. And these entities are HP Partners!

Stan Quayle
Quayle Consulting Inc.

Hello from New Hampshire — Birthplace of VMS

Hello from Nashua NH. This week is the OpenVMS Advanced Technical Bootcamp. We started at 7:45 AM this morning, and went until 9:15 this evening.

The Bootcamp is held in Nashua because that was where VMS was originally developed. Unfortunately, Hewlett Packard canned the entire VMS development team a couple of years ago and moved development to India. *sigh*

I directed a session titled “Risk vs. Benefits of VAX/Alpha Emulation”. I’ll be doing it again Thursday afternoon. Here’s a link in case you can’t drop by and see it in person…

Hello from VMS Bootcamp!

A big part of the Bootcamp is “VMS Magic”. Anyone can come up and give a story about anything related to VMS. The best story wins a prize — the first-place winner this year showed how he booted VMS on a palmtop computer.

But this post is about Ron Kaledas of CareTech Solutions. He works in a typical environment — VMS, Linux, Windows. At every opportunity, he pointed out the benefits of OpenVMS. His cluster had been up for 5 years continuously without interruption.

Clustered VMS systems can be upgraded one at a time in a “rolling reboot” without affecting the cluster as a whole. Hard to believe that this technology has been available for over 20 years, and still isn’t available on any other platform.

Anyway, his part of the data center was scheduled for a complete shutdown to upgrade the un-interruptible power supply (UPS). But he wanted to keep his cluster alive through the shutdown.

So, he downloaded PersonalAlpha, a free version of the CHARON-Alpha emulator. He loaded it on a laptop, installed VMS, joined the cluster, and shut down all the other nodes.

After an hour or so, the power was restored, and he started the other systems back up. He then had his laptop exit the cluster without impacting any users.

His uptime? 5+ years and counting!

DevDisasters: Jurassic Programmers

Here’s a true tale of trying to turn a functional VMS financial application into a “cool” .NET application:

(written by Alex Papadimoulis in Redmond Developer News)

I don’t know where the author got his example, but I have a friend with an identical story.  His story is has a follow-on — they’ve lost so many customers by pushing “version 2” that they will declare bankruptcy soon.

As for DIBOL, the language in the article, it is fully maintained, and now cross-platform.  If only the rock stars had known…