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gerry xie_2
Occasional Visitor

basic of open vms

Hi experts,
I am new to OpenVMS and is just start to learn it. I see if I login to the system, my default location is (by type PWD which is an alies I set up to SHOW DEFAULT):
Our system are comes with 3 nodes clustered together, when I issue SHOW DEVICE/MOUNTED, I see that there are 10 disks being used (under "DEVICE NAME") it listed from $1$DGA1: TO $1$DGA10.
my question is: when I login, my default location (listed above) is in which disk and how do I know??
please help.

please also tell what books/resource are the good start point to learn OpenVMS management and Oracle RDB ???
Thanks much inadvance.
Honored Contributor

Re: basic of open vms

Please avoid the SYSTEM username, as that username is not appropriate for a user that is unfamiliar with OpenVMS (and for many reasons), and the disk structures and directories you are noticing - the so-called concealed rooted logical name structures and the cluster-common system disk - can cause you serious troubles and command errors here can lead to system instabilities and failures, at least until you become familiar with OpenVMS, and with the privileges and access and structures within that directory can disrupt operations.

If you are familiar with Unix, SYSTEM is analogous to the root account. If with Windows, this is the Administrator user, but defaulted to and logged into the Windows directory.

How to learn more? Start with the Users' Guide, then the System Management Manuals. These are in the OpenVMS shelf, available here:


There are also programming manuals there.

For Oracle Rdb documentation, visit the Oracle web site, and look at the Oracle Metalink site.

For other existing discussions around concealed rooted logical names, and related topics:






And for more general details and considerations, the VMS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is here:


Joseph Huber_1
Honored Contributor

Re: basic of open vms

Welcome to VMS !

First of all, You are logged in to the SYSTEM account, which really is not a good starting point to learn VMS basics.
Better use an unprivileged account (or one with only (TMPMBX,NETMBX,READALL) privileges).
The SYSTEM home directory is a ROOTED directory consisting of SYS$SPECIFIC:[SYSMGR] and SYS$COMMON:[SYSMGR].
To see the device where these directories live, see the translation of SYS$SYSDEVICE:
This will be one of those $1$DGA disks.

The VMS documentation is online at
for VMS 8.3
Start with the user's manual to learn about (rooted) directories, logicals etc. pp,
then there is the system manager's manual.

[For Oracle RDB probably an Oracle documentation site is the right place.]
gerry xie_2
Occasional Visitor

Re: basic of open vms

Thanks much for your reply -- Hoff and Joseph Huber.
I knew I am a system user as beginner of a great danger. However, it is ironic that I have to. I am a long time senior Solaris Unix Administrator and Oracle DBA (both certified). Recently, our company's only one OVMS manager and also RDB DBA left suddenly. Thus I have to JUMP IN to take care of this area. I used to play Alpha Unix a couple of years before 12 years ago. So I'll experienced to be very careful at this time.
I found that OVMS is sort of like Unix but need time to get use to it. I have read OVMS User Guide and is on the Management Manual now. on RDB side, I have read the SQL part and on Maitanence now.
My "up to front" task is:
(1) on OVMS side: need install patches set and upgrade it from 8.3 to 8.4
(2) on RDB side, will need to learn how to copy (flush) production db to dev db.
Do you have any ideas/instuctions/recommendations/remarks to advice me how to get a quick jump start to engage these operations ???
also, we are using EVA disk management, if you have knowledges about it, would you please also point me out a direction -- from where I can start with the EVA disk/backup management ??
Thanks much again.
Honored Contributor

Re: basic of open vms

>(1) on OVMS side: need install patches set and upgrade it from 8.3 to 8.4

I would not tend to implement that; installing patches in production environments is not without risks, and V8.4 has (in all bluntness) had somewhat shaky launch.

I'd tend to skip applying current patches and upgrades until and unless there was a specific requirement for the patches, or for an upgrade to V8.4, or until you have a way to prototype these upgrades and tests somewhere other than on the production servers.

And when you upgrade OpenVMS (Alpha or I64), you may (or will?) need to upgrade the version of Oracle Rdb, and quite possibly database conversions and related steps.

Here's the old patch FAQ and a quick intro to the patch installation tools:


>(2) on RDB side, will need to learn how to copy (flush) production db to dev db.

RMU is the usual command. Check your disks for existing tools using this utility. A command (which looks at the system disk, here) that searches for DCL procedures including RMU commands is this:


>Do you have any ideas/instuctions/recommendations/remarks to advice me how to get a quick jump start to engage these operations ???

There is no "quick start" here. (Not that I'm aware of.) This is far too big of a topic area, unfortunately.

I've already pointed you at the FAQ, and that covers a whole lot of material. Web sites, books, etc. (It's a few years out of date, though.)

There are the HP VMS manuals, training or classes, acquiring escalation or specific help, and the inevitable making of mistakes.

>also, we are using EVA disk management, if you have knowledges about it, would you please also point me out a direction -- from where I can start with the EVA disk/backup management ??

Read the EVA manuals for the low-level stuff (if you want; so long as that's working for now and if you're not using the EVA-level archival tools, that step can usually be skipped), and (for the VMS commands used for BACKUP and related tasks) the two volumes of the System Managers' manual I've previously referenced, and the Oracle Rdb manuals for information on the RMU /BACKUP command.

Make sure you don't lose ground here, first and foremost.

I'd suggest calling in help.

Though you're aware of it, you're in way, way, way deep here. And mistakes made with production servers are, well, bad.

I'd start out with full disk backups, and ensuring you have current (and recoverable) database backups, and work outward from there.

The appropriate path depends on how you learn best.
Ian Miller.
Honored Contributor

Re: basic of open vms

You may also find the pointers at


useful. There is online training at


Purely Personal Opinion
Respected Contributor

Re: basic of open vms

While I appreciate the position you are in, experimenting within the System account is dangerous as stated before. I would recommend that you engage a consultant to work with you during this transistion time. The short term expense of an OpenVMS expert will be well worth it. This is even more important if the system referenced here is a production system.


[Disclosure: I provide services in this area, as do several other regular contributors to this forum.]

Mike Kier
Valued Contributor

Re: basic of open vms

I would also suggest getting a VMS system, other than your production system, to play system manager on.

I don't think this would violate the Hobbyist rules or intent as it is for your own skill development (and besides you might become a VMS fan!) - so I'd look into getting one of the free OpenVMS Alpha emulators - its not Itanium, but the overwhelming majority of what you need to learn is hardware-blind - and get an OpenVMS Hobbyist license and then load up V8.3 and play with configuring and patching and playing system manager and then do the same with 8.4 until you are comfortable with the tools and processes.

Practice Random Acts of VMS Marketing
Occasional Visitor

Re: basic of open vms

thanks much guys for your informative answers. I am going to close this thread now. will see you soon here.