Operating System - OpenVMS
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Occasional Contributor


Actually My machine are  open vms alpha 4000-700A  which is running on open vms 6.2v

but I would like to port to 7.3 OPEN VMS ALPHA..


My queries are


1) Is there any hardware dependency?

2) What are the steps we need to take?

3) where we get install kit?

4) CD-ROM required is there any other way?


Iam really new this upgradation area can you please help from the beggining If i upgrade to 7.3 i need to change source code (vms c) ? I need to upgrade FMS also? how long upgrade will take?
Honored Contributor


From what I read, you want to migrate an application from VAX/VMS to Alpha/VMS.
>>> 1) Is there any hardware dependency?
It depends on the application. Someone who is familiar with the sources can answer this question.
>>> 2) What are the steps we need to take?
It depends on the application, In general and simplified: make sure you can build the application with the given source code on the VAX and make sure you have a test environment on VAX, to prove that the application works as expected. Make sure you have VMS, a C compiler and FMS on Alpha. Move your build and test environment to Alpha. Build and verify that the tests give the same results as on VAX.
>>> 3) where we get install kit?
From HP, I assume.
>>> 4) CD-ROM required is there any other way?
The kits ship on CD-ROM. The VMS installation CD is bootable. You can use it to install the system, to do backup or fix problems related to the system disk. The CD-ROM is formatted with a VMS file system, which is the file system on disks. So you can copy the contents of the CD to a disk and install (or do maintenance) from that disk. In other words, if you can get the contents of the CD-ROMs, you are all set. 
>>>  Iam really new this upgradation area can you please help from the beggining If i upgrade to 7.3 i need to change source code (vms c) ? I need to upgrade FMS also? how long upgrade will take?
It all depends on the application and the quality of the source code.
For example, if the source is for VAXC, you may see many informational or warning message from the DECC compiler. There was a DECC for VAX but there is no VAXC for Alpha. Using VAXC compatibity mode of DECC on Alpha is not recommended.
Yes, you need FMS for Alpha.
How much time you need to complete the port can not be answered, here. It is quite possible that you just need to compile and link the application and you are done. But without knowing the sources nobody can tell.
This forum may not be the right place to get help for all the problems you may encounter. This is a porting project and you may need some professional help. Some people in this forum can give that support. There is
a private mail feature included in this forum software, which you can use to contact indiviual contributors of this forum. I'm sure some people are interested in working with you on such a project.
Finally a comment on the VMS version. You may have reasons to go to 7.3, but you didn't tell us here. The current VMS version for Alpha is 8.4. In my point of view it would make sense to port to a more recent version than 7.3.
Respected Contributor


What you are requesting cannot be answered with any detail without an examination of the code that currently exists on the VAX.  If the code is entirely in C, the amount of work may be minimal.  There are compiler options that allow the "VAXisms" to be acceptable to the newer compiler and standards. (/Standard=vaxc).  There are caveats to that however, which may result in incorrect behavior and slow code.


If there are Macro32 routines involved, there are erquired changes to allow the code to be "compiled" on the Alpha platform.  Other changes may be required to insure proper execution and behavior.


In short, a close examination of the code and enviropnment is required in order to properly respond.  for proper disclosure:  Many of us in this forum provide such services. It is unlikely that assistance through inquiries here in this forum will be sufficient to resolve your porting issues. 


The OS is the same so that system calls etc. should not require changes, there are coding practices that may need to be changed.


Feel free to either provide more details here or to contact me directly (via Email) using the addresses posted in my profiles for additional information.





Honored Contributor


0: device names will change, but that's about the only thing I can tell you from what you've posted.  When you hit one of these name changes, use a logical name. 

1: If you are planning on porting this yourself, read the OpenVMS manuals and particularly both the OpenVMS documentation shelf as a refresher and (particularly for this case) the "porting documentation" that's behind that link over in the left navigation of that web site.

2: If the prerequisite layered products or suitable replacements for those products are available, then porting from one dead architecture (VAX) to another dead architecture (Alpha) is often somewhere in the range of unwise, foolhardy, expensive and futile.  In terms of complexity, porting from VAX to Alpha is on par with going from VAX to Itanium, in other words.  And entry-level used Integrity Itanium boxes and HP software licenses are cheap.  Some details on the Itanium port.

3: There are always some hardware dependencies. They can range from minor to intractable.  The CD-ROM device and the software load path or the data transfer paths (getting your source code from the VAX to the new box, etc) are generally noise-level details in this process.

4: You will obtain your software licenses and software media and installation from HP or an HP reseller, or from the vendor of the product, same as usual.  Some vendors will offer software downloads for licensed users.  Some don't.

5: The cheapest approach here (in terms of aggregate purchase costs and porting effort involved) is to move from your old VAX to a VAX emulator, and to continue to do little or nothing (additional) with this old source code.

6: Decide if you're going to stay (on VAX emulation or on VMS on either Alpha or Integrity Itanium), or port to another platform.  Consider porting your data to Unix or Linux, or to Windows, and particularly to an analogous commercial package that might provide similar functions as these current applications, if and as available.  That'll be more work, but an actively maintained commercial (or potentially open-source) package will typically have better features and capabilities than some home-grown pieces.


And FWIW, it's "upgrade" and not "upgradation".  Using the word "upgrade" here is simpler, shorter, and it's an actual English word.   But then I suspect this'll go the same way as "function" and "functionality"; the longer and more pompous and made-up word will win.

Respected Contributor



Are you REALLY moving to an Alpha?  Are you moving to a different machine other than your current VAX4000?  Or are you staying on your existing VAX? 


If you really are moving to a different machine, then you need to understand that you are dealing with 2 different architectures.  EVERYTHING must change (translators not withstanding).  Every bit of software currently running on your VAX VMS 6.2 machine will need to be upgraded to run on an Alpha server.


As Hoff mentioned - Alpha is also a dead architecture.  I do hope you've looked into going to Integrity.  Assuming there are legitimate reasons that you can not go to Integrity, I do hope you have considered some of the Alpha emulation products in lieu of an aged Alpha server (or for that matter, emulation to relace your aged VAX with modern Proliant hardware).


If this really is a VAX to Alpha migration - The fact that you don't seem to realize what architecture you are on, combined with the nature of the questions you are asking leads me to believe that you would do your company a favor by recommending they seek outside help with this migration.  Many of the folks that answer questions in these forums (our company included) offer these services.


Brad McCusker

Software Concepts International




Brad McCusker
Software Concepts International
Honored Contributor


Adding a few commens to the replies above.  As noted, Alpha Servers are no longer in production and, while supported, have generally been replaced by Integrity Servers.  OpenVMS v7.3 (Alpha) is out of support.  Version 7.3-2 will remain in support, however the current version is 8.4.  Consider migrating to supported hardware and operating system, or at least 8.3.  Another option is to migrate to a VM VAX. Someone familiar with your application will have to reply to any hardware questions.  There have been a variety of accessories configured as options to VMS systems.


If your business doesn't have the expertise in your VMS environment, consider retaining a consultant to review, plan and possibly execute a migration.  Some very qualified people can be found right here. 



If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over? Reach me at first_name + "." + last_name at sysmanager net