OpenVMS (Open Virtual Memory System), previously known as VAX-11/VMS, VAX/VMS or (informally) VMS, is a high-end computer server operating system that runs on VAX, Alpha and Itanium-based families of computers. Contrary to its name, OpenVMS is not open source software, however the source listings are available for purchase. Unlike some other mainframe-oriented operating systems, OpenVMS has a GUI with quite complete graphics support. Digital Equipment Corporation’s VAX was one of the three biggest selling workstations lines in the early 1990s, together with Domain/OS based workstations from Apollo and Sun Microsystems UNIX workstations. There was support for professional DTP and CAE software running under VMS on VAX computers. AXP VMS even supported OpenGL and AGP graphics adapters. It has been used in school education as well as for home hobbyist use.

OpenVMS is a multi-user, multiprocessing virtual memory-based operating system (OS) designed for use in time sharing, batch processing, real-time (where process priorities can be set higher than OS kernel jobs), and transaction processing. It offers high system availability through clustering, or the ability to distribute the system over multiple physical machines. This allows the system to be “disaster-tolerant” against natural disasters that may disable individual data-processing facilities. VMS also includes a process priority system that allows for real-time process to run unhindered, while user processes get temporary priority “boosts” if necessary.

OpenVMS commercialized many features that are now considered standard requirements for any high-end server operating system. These include:

  • Integrated computer networking (originally DECnet and later, TCP/IP)
  • Symmetrical, asymmetrical, and NUMA multiprocessing, including clustering
  • A distributed file system (Files-11)
  • Integrated database features such as RMS and layered databases including Rdb
  • Support for multiple computer programming languages
  • A standardized interoperability mechanism for calls between different programming languages
  • An extensible shell command language (DIGITAL Command Language)
  • Hardware partitioning of multiprocessors
  • High level of security

Enterprise-class environments typically select and use OpenVMS for various purposes including as a mail server, network services, manufacturing or transportation control and monitoring, critical applications and databases, and particularly environments where system uptime and data access is critical. System up-times of a decade or more have been reported, and features such as Rolling Upgrades and clustering allow clustered applications and data to remain continuously accessible while operating system software and hardware maintenance and upgrades are performed, or when a whole data center is destroyed. Customers using OpenVMS include banks and financial services, hospitals and healthcare, network information services, and large-scale industrial manufacturers of various products.

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Recent News

Connect Survey Reveals That Companies Are Moving from Recession to Recovery, Increasing IT Spending

Connect reports strong growth of its social media platform

Connect, HP’s largest independent user community, today announced a new global survey revealing that organizations are moving from recession to recovery and subsequently increasing IT spending.

Connect also announced strong growth numbers for its social media platform, myCommunity, which has seen more than 180,000 page views since January 2010, with the average visitor spending more than 24 minutes on the site per visit. For two consecutive months, myCommunity has increased its audience, with more than 50% of traffic being driven by new visitors.

Utilizing myCommunity, Connect surveyed more than 100 IT decision makers to determine where organizations stand with IT spending and what they identify to be their top spending priorities. More than 60 percent of respondents indicated their organizations are moving from recession to recovery, increasing IT spending. In addition, 91 percent of respondents felt that the industry is either already moving or may likely move in the future to a converged infrastructure architecture, the concept of eliminating silos by integrating servers, storage and networking technologies from multiple vendors’ into pools of interoperable resources that can be leveraged on demand.

“It’s encouraging to see organizations increasing their IT spending after what has been two tumultuous years,” said Nina Buik, immediate past president, Connect. “One of the best things about Connect is the unique opportunity for our members to share best practices and participate in on-going trainings so they can make the most informed decisions when investing or implementing new technologies.”

Connect also announced today three new events in 2010 for the OpenVMS, Non-Stop and Storage communities. In September, Connect will be hosting an OpenVMS bootcamp in Nashua, New Hampshire and a NonStop Symposium & Expo in San Jose, California. In addition, Connect will be working in conjunction with Connect Germany to host a Storage & Networking Symposium in Frankfurt, Germany in November. For more information and registration, please visit Connect Worldwide at

“Connect has a strong focus on the OpenVMS, Non-Stop and Storage communities and we are proud to bring our members a place, where they can come together to discuss specific technologies as well as network with peers who have similar interests,” said Chris Koppe, president, Connect. “As the community continues to grow, we hope to strengthen these conferences as well as introduce new events around various technologies of interest to our community.”

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Launch of HP OpenVMS CIFS v1.2 Enabling Simplified Installation

HP OpenVMS Common Internet File System (CIFS) v1.2, which is based on Samba V3.0.28A and supports both Alpha and Integrity servers, is now available. This release of CIFS offers new features and enhancements, including:

  • Simplified installation and automated CIFS server configuration and management
  • Inclusion of CIFS server as a member in the Windows ADS realm
  • Improvements in file security:
    • Simplify the use of mask and mode SMB.CONF parameters
      • Support for DELETE protection bit with mask and mode SMB.CONF parameters
      • Ability to set DELETE protection bit from Windows for OWNER/GROUP/WORLD RMS protection mask
    • Retain VMS ACE order while setting security
    • Map default_protection ace to creator owner/group on Windows
  • Enhancements in performance:
    • Storing file size in an ACE for non-stream format files
    • Utility to automatically update file length hint values for Sequential VAR and VFC format files
  • Creation of TDB files using the optimized FDL file
  • Open File Caching
  • ODS2 volume support:
    • Directory enumeration performance improvement
    • Ability to handle extended ASCII characters in filenames
    • Allow 79-character length filenames

    Support for:

    • Fixed and undefined format file creation
    • Share security migration from ASV to CIFS
  • New CIFS utilities and improvements to existing utilities
  • Support for different idmap backends
  • Use of HP OpenVMS CIFS requires OpenVMS Version 8.2 or later on Alpha servers, and OpenVMS V8.2-1 or later on Integrity servers. HP OpenVMS CIFs v1.2 is an update to CIFS v1.1 ECO1, and kits and documentation are available at

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