Virtualization Solutions for
OpenVMS & Tru64 Systems

VAX and Alpha Hardware Emulation on a PC Host

Hardware Replacement + Server Consolidation + Business Continuity

Improve Reliability * Decrease Cost * Enhance Productivity

vtAlpha Products

vtAlpha Product Highlights

Operating System

vtAlpha-AS, BS and -CS support OpenVMS V6.2-1H3 or later and Tru64 V3.2C or later. vtAlpha-DS and -ES support OpenVMS V7.1-2 or later and Tru64 V4.0F or later. vtAlpha-GS supports OpenVMS 7.2-1h1 or later and Tru64 4.0G or later.

For a list of systems emulated by each vtAlpha product, see the vtAlpha Documentation page. Documentation page of our web site. Some hardware models may require later operating system versions. Please see the appropriate hardware documentation or operating system Software Product Description (SPD) for details.

Clustering

vtAlpha virtualized systems can be configured as OpenVMS Cluster members using the Ethernet (NI) interconnect. vtAlpha version 2.4 and later support the Fibre Channel as a cluster storage interconnect. OpenVMS version 8.4 includes support for IP as a full cluster interconnect (storage and node-to-node).

Full Tru64 TruCluster support is available in vtAlpha version 2.6. Tru64 systems and clusters may use storage based on Fibre Channel as well as physical or virtual disks (container files) on the host system.

Systems

vtAlpha can emulate almost any Alpha workstation or server, from the AlphaStation 200 to the AlphaServer ES47. Support for the AlphaServer GS-series is under development.

The performance of the virtual Alpha system improves as the clock speed of the host system CPU is increased. The performance of emulated Alpha systems is not artificially throttled based on the performance of the corresponding physical Alpha system. Note however that no direct comparison may be made between CPUs in families (e.g., Xeon vs. i7, Opteron vs. Phenom, or Intel vs. AMD).

The model of processor being emulated determines the types of storage, network, and serial devices that can be configured in the virtual environment. It may also limit the amount of memory that can be utilized by the virtual system.

If you have any questions regarding whether vtAlpha can provide an effective replacement for your existing Alpha systems, please contact us. see the Contact page of our web site for a list of resellers who can answer your questions.

Energy Conservation Application (Eco App)

Eco App is a small program that runs on a virtual Alpha which allows the host system processors to run more efficiently, reducing power consumption and heat generation, resulting in reduced operating expenses and a reduction in premature device failures.

Without Eco App, when a virtual Alpha instance is active each virtual Alpha CPU keeps a host core running at 100% utilization constantly, even when the virtual CPU is idle. Eco App allows the host cores to idle when the associated virtual Alpha CPU is idle. In many applications, this is a significant portion of the time. When a core is idle it consumes less power and generates less heat.

Eco App is available for all versions of OpenVMS and Tru64 version 5 and later. To use Eco App on OpenVMS systems a small program is installed on the OpenVMS system and started at system startup. On Tru64 systems Eco App is enabled with the console command 'set ecoapp'; no software installation is required.

Licenses

Your existing software license PAKs work in the virtual processor environment just as they do when running on a physical Alpha processor. HP, Oracle, and Process Software require that transfer licenses be obtained in order to run their software products in a virtualized environment. For other software products, please contact a vtAlpha reseller vtAlpha reseller, listed on the Contact page of our web site, for guidance.

Storage

Disks in the virtual Alpha environment may be mapped either to physical disks mounted on the host, where the entire drive is utilized for the Alpha volume; or to logical devices, which are container files that exist within the host file system. One container file contains the entire Alpha file system for a single disk device.

vtAlpha can utilize most types of disk storage supported by the host (SCSI, SAS, SATA, iSCSI, FC, NAS, SAN, or cloud). Physical disks must map to a physical drive, not a partition. The container files for logical disks may be stored on either partitioned or unpartitioned drives.

Multiple container files may be stored on a single PC drive, providing a means to consolidate physical storage devices without changing the OpenVMS system's disk configuration. The container files for logical disk volumes may be copied using the vtMonitor utility or by using SMB (Samba) to mount the host's disk on a remote client.

Virtual tape devices may be mapped to physical SCSI tape devices connected to the host system. Support for logical tape devices, which use container files similar to the logical disks in place of a physical drive, will be added in a future release of vtAlpha.

For performance and reliability reasons, we recommend use of older SCSI physical disks from the Alpha system only for initial system transfers and retrieval of archived data. Modern disk drives have much higher reliability, performance, and data capacity; less accumulated wear; and are much less expensive to operate and maintain.

NOTE: HP disk controllers with software RAID capability are not supported for use with the RAID feature enabled. Controllers with hardware RAID capability are fully supported. For details, see the vtServer Host Platform Compatibility List. vtServer Host Platform Compatibility List, available from the Documentation page of our web site.

Networking

vtAlpha supports virtual EI1000, DE600, DE500, DE450, and DE435 Ethernet interfaces. Generally, a virtual DE600 or DE500 should be used unless this device is not supported on the model of Alpha system being emulated. Network data transfers are performed at the speed of the host adapter, which may be faster than the emulated device.

One dedicated physical network interface is highly recommended for host system management.

Versions 2.5 and later of vtAlpha provide the capability to define virtual network switches that multiplex multiple virtual network interfaces to a single physical network interface. Versions prior to 2.5 require a dedicated physical network interface for each virtual network interface.

The physical network interface is not constrained by Alpha support and configuration limitations, and may run in any mode supported by the device and host.

Serial Lines

vtAlpha supports the two standard Alpha serial ports (OPA0 and COM2). Up to seven (7) PBXDA 8-port serial line cards may be emulated to provide additional serial ports.

The Alpha virtual serial ports may be mapped to physical serial devices connected to the host, network terminal emulator connections, or pseudo-terminals on the host.