Is using a virtual operating system wise? Especially for the International Securities Exchange. Would you trust your funds on a virtual operating system? Apparently, the International Securities Exchange wants to use the OpenVMS operating system to host its trading applications. The bid is still undecided with the Securities and Exchange Commission. So why use OpenVMS and not Windows NT?
"The Platform was chosen because of its scalability and rock-solid reliability." Said Diana Wilson, CIO at the New York-based exchange.
Let us examine the origins of OpenVMS, its scalability, and reliability. This way we can get a better understanding of why the International Securities Exchange wants to implement this virtual operating system.
Where and what is OpenVMS? OpenVMS was originally called VMS (Virtual Memory System); it was first brought into existence in 1976 as a new operating system for Digital's new, 32-bit, virtual memory line of computers, named VAX (Virtual Address eXtension).
The designers of OpenVMS were Dave Cutler and Dick Hustvedt, it was designed entirely within Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). OpenVMS is a 32-bit, multitasking, multiprocessing virtual memory operating system. OpenVMS currently runs on Digital's VAX and Alpha computer systems.
Digital Equipment Corporation owned the operating system. It wasn't until January 25, 1998 Compaq computers acquired Digital Equipment at a tremendous price of 9.6 billion dollars. "This is a marriage made in heaven," says Sateesh Lele, CIO at the European division of General Motors, which uses products form both companies. "Digital has all the services, and Compaq is a great powerhouse manufacturer." It is indeed a perfect match, with the combination of these two companies, how will the competition stack up to the other computer manufacturers?
This deal seems more of a threat to IBM and Hewlett-Packard and especially Dell. "Dell has to do something, because they don't have the services to sell like Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM do," says James Poyner, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. in New York.
With the acquisition of Digital, will the OpenVMS operating system still face fierce competition against Windows NT? "Recognizing that customers today are demanding a compatible data center environment with Windows NT, Compaq embraces OpenVMS as one of the most compatible operating systems with Windows NT," said John T. Rose, Compaq Senior Vice President and Group General Manager, Enterprise Computing Group. "OpenVMS provides those customers with a robust 64-bit computing environment they can trust to support their most demanding mission-critical computing needs today and in the future."
Compaq is committed to continue investing in OpenVMS products and services for the integration between OpenVMS and Windows NT. "The Basic idea is that VMS is a very good, mission-critical, back-end server, and Windows NT is a wonderful desktop system and a wonderful application server," said Rich Marcello, vice president of Compaq's OpenVMS System Software Group.
Compaq and Microsoft joined forces in mid-September to work on performance, scalability and availability of OpenVMS client/servers and clusters used with Windows NT. The results will be seen on the OpenVMS version 7.2, which is expected out in January.
COM for OpenVMS is a new implementation of the Microsoft COM object technology for secure distributed application development, and is a native port of the Microsoft code that supports the COM draft standard. So what does all that mean? It will enable developers to create small, platform-independent software objects that can be distributed across networks. With this capability, existing OpenVMS applications can be encapsulated easily, and a Windows NT client can be added to extend the life of critical applications and data. This is an example of how Microsoft and Compaq are working together.
Compaq has also developed the OpenVMS Galaxy. The OpenVMS Galaxy is an evolution of the OpenVMS operating system, which delivers greater scalability, and highly available computing with extremely flexible operating features in a single computer. It enables multiple instances of OpenVMS to execute cooperatively in a single computer, giving customers the ability to manage a variety amount of work. OpenVMS Galaxy will not be delivered until after the release of OpenVMS v7.2.
OpenVMS v7.2 will also include Netscape FastTrack; this is an enhancement to the general purpose Web server for creating, building, publishing and serving Web pages and applications. FastTrack can be installed and operational in minutes, based on open Internet and Intranet standards. One of the big effects it will have on