What is virtualization?

Virtualization is a process where software running on one computer system presents an environment that emulates either the same or another computer system. The physical hardware platform is called the host; the virtualized platforms running on the host are called the guests.

One use of virtualization technology is to enable software, including operating systems, written for one hardware platform to execute on a completely different platform. The virtualization platform may also provide the capability for multiple guests to execute simultaneously on a single host platform.

vtVAX and vtAlpha are software products that run on Intel or AMD x86-based systems to provide virtualization of the Digital VAX and Digital/Compaq/HP Alpha system hardware. The virtualized VAX and Alpha environments are identical to the original hardware at the instruction level, which allows the OpenVMS and Tru64 (vtAlpha only) operating systems and application software to run unmodified on a standard PC.

If you have VAX systems, please see our vtVAX page.

What are the benefits of virtualizing my Alpha system?

Reliability. Economy. Performance.

As your Alpha systems age they are increasingly susceptible to failure, especially the mechanical devices such as disk and tape drives. If you are still using a Alpha system, it's most likely because the application is important to your business. Can you afford the risk of potentially extended down-time?

vtAlpha runs on modern PC hardware: the same Intel or AMD processor-based systems you are using in your data center and offices. Service and replacement parts, when needed, are readily available. The modern systems are far more efficient in terms of power, cooling, and physical space requirements. Multiple virtual Alpha systems can run simultaneously on a single host, further improving efficiency. The vtAlpha Eco App significantly reduces power consumption when the guest Alpha systems are idle.

Most new server-class computers are covered by a three year hardware warranty - there will be no hardware maintenance expenses for three years. Even out of warranty, maintenance cost are far lower than on the Alpha hardware.

With vtAlpha, the performance is driven by the speed of the host hardware platform, not the model of the Alpha system your are emulating. In many situations, the virtualized processor may be faster than your Alpha system. Less time spent waiting means increased productivity and less frustration for your staff.

vtAlpha includes full support for Fibre Channel (FC) storage via virtual KGPSA adapters. Our latest release (2.11.0) includes support for NPIV, which allows multiple vtAlpha instances sharing a single physical FC adapter to have isolated LUN spces.

Both OpenVMS and Tru64 are supported by vtAlpha.

Why vtAlpha?

vtAlpha is fully compatible with the original Alpha hardware.

vtAlpha is supported by staff in the United States with extensive OpenVMS experience. There are two levels of support available to meet your needs: Standard (8-5 M-F) and Mission Critical (24x7). Please contact us for more information on our support offerings.

vtAlpha is fast and affordable.

Contact Virtual VAX and Alpha for more information on how vtAlpha can help you.

What do I need to run vtAlpha?

An Intel or AMD x86-64 PC or server. For configuration requirements, see the vtAlpha Product Overview (PDF).

vtAlpha runs on "bare metal", which means no pre-installed operating system is required. The vtAlpha installation kit contains all software necessary for the Alpha system emulation. There is no need for the system administrator to upgrade the host operating system and no concern about compatibility between the host operating system and vtAlpha.

Where can I obtain more information on vtAlpha?

Additional vtAlpha documentation may be found on our documentation page.

You can contact Virtual VAX and Alpha LLC via email or call us at +1 505 510 1829. We will answer any questions you may have, provide additional information, and work with you to identify the vtAlpha product offering that best suits your needs.

What's New in vtAlpha?

V2.11.0 (7-Mar-2016)

The following new features and enhancements have been added in this release of vtServer:

  • Added N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV) support for Fibre Channel. This allows virtual Alpha systems sharing a single host FC adapter to utilize isolated storage pools.
  • vtServer software may be installed on a SAN disk volume, allowing for diskless host systems.
  • Email notifications may now be sent when a virtual Alpha system experiences an OpenVMS bugcheck.
  • There are a number of enhancements to the vtMonitor interface, including the capability to manage license server functions and network services. Previously, the vtServer management interface had to be used for these operations.
  • Console interface access passwords are now supported for vtVAX.
  • Chinese, Japanese, and Korean fonts are now available in the embedded X server interface.

Security Updates

  • Applied fixes for vulnerabilities CVE-2016-0728 and CVE-2015-7547.
  • Disabled null (unauthenticated) sessions in Samba.
  • The login password provided during vtServer installation is now encrypted.

Restrictions

HP storage controllers with software RAID features are not supported for use with RAID enabled. This is a permanent restriction due to a lack of drivers from HP.