Virtualization Solutions for Alpha and VAX Systems
OpenVMS Systems Specialists

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 platforms running in the virtualized environment 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 Alpha systems, please see our vtAlpha page.

What are the benefits of virtualizing my VAX system?

Reliability. Economy. Performance.

The last VAX systems were manufactured over 10 years ago. The hardware and the replacement parts are increasingly susceptible to failure as they age, especially mechanical devices such as disk and tape drives. If you are still using a VAX system, it's most likely because the application is important to your business. Can you afford the risk of potentially extended down-time?

vtVAX runs on modern PC hardware: the same Intel or AMD processor-based systems you are using in your data center and offices, including virtualized host systems. Service and replacement parts, when needed, are readily available.

vtVAX can be run on Bare Metal using the same vtServer environment as vtAlpha, or it may be run as an application under Microsoft Windows. When running on Bare Metal, the same vtServer host system can run multiple instances of any combination of virtual VAX and Alpha systems concurrently.

As both the supply of spare parts for VAX systems and the availability of those qualified to service them dwindle, the cost of maintaining the hardware is increasing dramatically. Those who self-maintain must keep a stock of replacement parts on-hand to ensure availability when they are needed.

Most new server-class systems 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 VAX hardware.

Modern computer systems may be hundreds of times faster than your VAX system. The storage hardware and memory are also much faster. With vtVAX, the performance is driven by the speed of the host hardware platform, not the model of the VAX system your are emulating. Your network interfaces can be run at 100Mbit/sec. - even 1Gbit/sec. - in full duplex. Less time spent waiting for the CPU and data transfers means increased productivity and less frustration for your staff.

vtVAX emulates a variety of VAX system models running VMS version 4.3 through OpenVMS version 7.3 (the last version available for VAX systems). Unlike upgrading physical VAX systems, in many cases vtVAX allows you to achieve significant performance gains -- possibly even orders of magnitude -- without having to upgrade your operating system version. There is no need to compromise software stability for hardware performance. You may also be able to significantly increase the amount of memory and disk space on your system, both factors which can have a significant impact on performance, for a small fraction of the cost of doing so on the VAX -- if it can be done at all.

Why vtVAX?

vtVAX is fully compatible with the original VAX hardware. This is verified with AXE, the VAX architecture exerciser, which was used by Digital to verify that all VAX systems complied with the VAX architecture standard, and the VAX hardware diagnostic programs.

vtVAX is fully 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.

vtVAX is fast and affordable.

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

What do I need to run vtVAX?

An Intel or AMD x86 PC or server running Windows. vtVAX is installed and runs as an application on the PC. For configuration requirements, see the vtVAX Product Overview (PDF).

Where can I obtain more information about vtVAX?

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 vtVAX product offering that best suits your needs