UNH CIS Signals

VMS Set for Retirement

Martin England

April, 2009

VMS RetirementOn June 27, 2009, the Computing and Information Services Enterprise Computing Group (ECG) will officially retire the VMS operating system, a process 10 years in the making. Over the years, UNH student administrative staff used VMS to meet their information needs and to augment the functionality provided by the Banner student applications. Much planning and development has gone into finding a replacement for VMS, and these tools are now available to VMS users.

ECG’s Mario Malizia has administered VMS for over 10 years, and despite its going the way of the Edsel, Malizia does not overlook VMS’ value. “In this day and age we tend to get caught up in the rush of technology; smaller, faster, cheaper. All good things of course,” Malizia said. “In its hay-day VMS was known for power, speed, and reliability and had a long track record for each. VMS was swept up in the torrent that was the ‘Computer Giant Shake Out’ that occurred through-out the 90’s and was left languishing and breathless on the shores of industry for years after. A casualty of the times I suppose. But it should at least be remembered for the work horse it has been for the University over the years… And, like any old work horse, a time comes when you take off the bridle and harness, unhitch it from the plow, give it a couple of pats on the back and put it out to pasture.”


Why is VMS going away?

Two main reasons: First, VMS currently runs on Hewlett-Packard (HP) alpha hardware. HP no longer services, supports or produces parts for this aging hardware architecture. This presents significant risks in terms of production, as evidenced by a recent disk failure, which took two weeks to find a replacement.

Secondly, VMS continues as a HP operating system offering but is proprietary in nature, and application vendors have moved away from supporting it. Back in 2000, Oracle downgraded their support of VMS to a 90-day turn around. Oracle is the database software used by all Enterprise Systems critical applications. In the event of a critical Oracle, it may take up to 90 days for Oracle to supply a bug fix. Other critical applications have indicated their support for VMS would diminish over time.


When is VMS going away?

June 27, 2009 is the scheduled date that VMS will be retired. Who will be affected? Mainly, Student Information Systems Administrative users will be affected. They have a long legacy of objects residing on VMS that they have accumulated over the last 20 years.


What campuses are affected?

UNH, UNH Manchester, Granite State College


What is being put in VMS’ place?

ECG has created and maintains an area called the User Content Repository (UCR), and also installed and maintains Appworx. The UCR allows VMS users to move and convert their VMS objects to a Windows environment. Appworx takes the place of JSS (Job Schedule System). The combination of the UCR and Appworx will provide users with a flexible environment for their legacy materials.



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