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OPEN VMS ADMINISTRATION

 


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Listed below are some of the more recent presentations that SCI has given at various conferences and user group seminars. View the presentation online by simply clicking on the title.

 

Current Presentations

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This session will provide the OpenVMS practitioner the information needed to leverage the HPE 3PAR storage systems.

Beyond an overview of the unique requirements of OpenVMS on 3PAR, this session will include information about driving storage management / monitoring operations via DCL / Python / SSH such as on-line snapshots and presentation management. Performance considerations and modern presentation techniques such as Thin provisioning and reduplication of data will also be covered.


 
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The BLISS programming language originated at Carnegie-Mellon University in 1969, originally for the DEC PDP-10. BLISS was adopted as DEC's implementation language for use on its new line of VAX computers in 1975. DEC developed a completely new generation of BLISSs for the VAX, PDP-10 and PDP-11, which became widely used at DEC through the 1990s. With the creation of the Alpha architecture and the growth of IA32 and IA64 architectures, BLISS was enhance and implemented there as well. In addition to within OpenVMS itself, many layered products and associated components are developed primarily in BLISS.

This session provides an introduction to BLISS for people familiar with other programming languages and on OpenVMS in particular. The unique capabilities and characteristics of BLISS discussed include the use of an explicit contents of operator (written as a period or ‘dot’), an algorithmic approach to data structure definition, begin an expression language, and its unusually rich compile-time language. Those wishing to understand the OpenVMS listings, to implement applications and systems will gain insight in to the use and behavior of BLISS. BLISS compilers for OpenVMS VAX, Alpha and IA64 are available on the OpenVMS freeware CD providing a free, powerful, and standard implementation language for OpenVMS.
 

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This is the latest update to this popular series of session. VMS has been around for a long time and in all likelihood, you are NOT running on that same VAX-11/780 you purchased in 1980. Thanks to the fine engineering that’s gone into VMS, many VMS migrations truly are non-events. But when business needs cause changes such as moving entire data centers, requiring modern disaster recovery from your 1990s Alpha Servers, or jumping over 30 years of technological changes only to discover that the “build procedures” were not quite as robust as once imagined, the migrations become much more interesting. In this updated session, we will discuss several of the more esoteric OpenVMS migration projects that we have been involved in and how we made them a success.
 

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An overview of analyzing and understanding RDB bugchecks.
 

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For years your systems were built and managed by the same person – we’ll call him Les. But now Les has retired and you are on your own. You believe Les has the systems configured with every availability feature, designed to withstand multiple failures. Les was very good at his job and it all seems to be working because it’s been a long, long time since you’ve had an unplanned outage.

But Les did a lot every day to maintain your systems and insure availability. Who is doing that now and are you confident it’s being done to the same extent Les would do it? Your systems are continuing to evolve – are you confident changes are being implemented to Les’ standards for availability? As the person now responsible for your OpenVMS systems, do you have Peace of Mind that if something goes wrong you can restore services and availability?

 

In a complex environment, there are literally 1,000’s of things that can go wrong – and they are often the result of neglect, mismanagement or operational errors – all things that wouldn’t happen under Les’ watchful eye. While not all are likely to crash the computer or cluster, many of these problems can cause unplanned outages for portions of your application – or worse. Are you confident your systems won’t fall victim to one of these possible problems?

 

This session discusses proven methodologies and best practice for VMS system management you need to make sure are implemented to insure your systems operate the way Les would have them operating.

 

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Still running your business critical applications on aging, difficult to support VAX or Alpha hardware? You’ve probably heard of CHARON emulation products that allow you to run VMS on modern, supportable x86 architecture platforms, but have you heard of the many creative opportunities CHARON allows for? How about running on virtualized platforms (VMWare)? Connecting your old VAX to corporate SAN storage? Easily using the corporate backup solution, automated from VMS? Using your DR site without adding legacy hardware to it? And so much more… All of these things are easier to implement than you may think!

 

Come to this session to learn how to replace those aging VAX or Alpha servers by virtualizing them with the CHARON Cross-Platform Virtualization products and take full advantage of the modern technologies in your data center.

 

This session is updated using recent real world examples from SCI’s extensive CHARON customer base, this session will discuss: • A brief overview of the virtualization architecture and functionality • Discussion of newest features in the CHARON product set with a focus on the new Linux utilities. • Virtualizing the host: CHARON on VMware • Integration with a modern data center. • Deployment strategies including server consolidation and virtual • OpenVMS clusters • Ease of migration • Disaster tolerance using VMWare.

 

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Only in fairy tales can slow be great and win the race. In real life commercial computing, rarely is this the case. And just as often, there is a lot more to the story. It is not magic, though villains and heroes contribute to the legend and lore. This session covers the identification and analysis steps used to pinpoint and correct application and system performance "hot spots" contributing to “slow”.

 

Topic areas include CPU, IO and contention bound environments including RMS files, alignment faults, code compilation options, caches, buffering, etc. Application developers, IT decision makes, and system managers will want to make sure to attend this session. This is an updated version of a session from 2015 with additional proof that slow really does only win in Fairy Tales.

 

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Understanding the Integrity console can be critical when dealing with boot problems. It is also used to update firmware and archive the mother board settings. The time to learn about the console is NOT when the system fails to boot or the mother board had to be replaced. To be prepared attend this session. If you never have to use it great, but I HIGHLY recommend archiving the motherboard settings because sometimes hardware breaks.
 

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This session will dive into the use of SDA extensions to troubleshoot IP connection problems as well as various performance issues, such as alignment faults and MP synchronization time. Knowledge of SDA is not a prerequisite, but we will cover what SDA extensions are and how to identify which ones are available on your system.
 

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This session will provide both a foundational review of VMWare and the specifics that apply to OpenVMS Admins. While VMWare now only benefits those who run a pre-Integrity emulator (w/ HPE or VSI VMS) this is one of the chosen Virtual Machines for X86 VSI VMS! Clustering, Networking, Storage options and more!
 

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This session talks about locking as a crucial aspect of OpenVMS cluster performance. OpenVMS records statistics on lock operation rates, which can tell you which resources in the cluster are the busiest, and thus may be a most fruitful target if they are made the initial focus of investigation. Any time lock queues develop on resources, those queues can be a great indicator of a potential bottleneck in the system. Tools and techniques to measure lock activity rates and lock queues are described, as well as a real-life case study.
 

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This session provides answers to a variety of questions about multi-site and disaster-tolernt OpenVMS clusters: - What things can I do to maximize performance in a multi-site cluster? - How many sites can I have in a single cluster? and how far apart can my sites be? - How should I choose node names, choose allocation classes, and number my disk devices, and why? - When should I use IPCI (IP as a Cluster Interconnect)? - Should I use different Site Numbers in a multi-site OpenVMS cluster? or use different Read Costs for shadowset members? - How should I arrange for servers in my disaster-tolerant cluster to start up?
 

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This session describes how Host-Based Volume Shadowing works, and the best practices that help you maximize performance and availability in shadowed disk configurations. Information is included about shadowing full-copy and full-merge operations, mini-copy and mini-merge operations, write bitmaps, the Automatic Mini-Copy on Volume Processing (AMCVP) feature, and when to use different Site IDs and Read Cost values.
 

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This session describes various critical issues in OpenVMS and any related solutions that were identified between the 2016 and 2017 Boot Camp meetings.

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This session describes the basic commands to look at cluster interconnect health and performance.
 

OpenVMS Boot Camp 2016

 

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This session is a comprehensive overview of the OpenVMS 8.x implementation of the SAMBA/CIFS file sharing mechanism. While there are many ways to configure this product to safely and securely share files, this presentation will focus on integration with Microsoft Active Directory which is the most common infrastructure at most organizations. All facets of the implementation will be covered from installation to managing security once part of the Active Directory domain. Troubleshooting and monitoring techniques will also be discussed and demonstrated.
 

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Performance is often a pivotal concern when evaluating a migration from late model EV6/EV7 AlphaServers to a CHARON emulated environment. An AlphaServer GS80, for example, presented highest level performance in the industry when it was introduced and businesses rely to this day on that capability.

When deploying CHARON emulation, numerous performance experiments are run using combinations of customer applications and synthetic tests. Results indicate a balanced configuration where the emulator is faster or slower for different tests. This information further guides SCI in tuning the customer’s application environment to ultimately provide performance similar to or superior than the physical Alpha being replaced.

This in-depth technical session provides insights into various performance characteristics of CHARON emulation as compared with the original physical AlphaServer computers. Multiple test case behaviors and results are explained and examined in relationship to ‘real-world’ application benefits.
 

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This presentation focuses on lower layer LAN/WAN - TCPIP / DecNet / Cluster troubleshooting using the built in tools of OpenVMS, HP hosting hardware (e.g Virtual Connect / C7000 enclosures) and the open-sourced network packet analysis tool, WireShark . Additionally, there will be some discussion of best practices for provisioning of the network to achieve the highest availability and performance leveraging OpenVMS constructs and external connectivity coordination.
 

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Booting an integrity it quite a bit different from booting a VAX or Alpha. This presentation discusses how to boot the system in conversational mode (with a boot option or manually) and how to boot the system manually (assuming you can access the disk from the console). It will also discus the various ways to shutdown the system, including multiple ways to force a crash. Also shown will be the utility to backup the NVRAM on the motherboard, to be restored when you have to replace the motherboard. This session will include a replication of the most unusual boot problem he has ever seen, which happened to be on an Integrity, but could happen on any architecture.
 

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This is a 2 part session. One part is general performance issues such as high MP sync, alignment faults, high interrupt or kernel mode time. Monitor can Identify that these events are occurring but what is creating them? SDA extensions can be very useful in identifying the root cause.
Network performance issues are usually best handled by the network administrators, however there are a couple of issues that may be identified from VMS and fixed within VMS.
Using the best disk in a multi-site/multi-SAN shadowset will also be discussed (i.e. how to manage).

Part 2 is what to do when you have a hung cluster, with the symptom of getting a username prompt but never a password prompt. This is usually indicative of a problem accessing the sysuaf file. If the problem is the disk that contains the sysuaf/rightslist is broken you are out of luck. But if one of the systems has a lock on the sysuaf then crashing that node will usually fix the problem. Here is the dilemma, which node do you crash? This is where Availability Manager can help you identify WHICH node to crash.
 

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This session describes how to measure and improve the health of the network used as an OpenVMS cluster interconnect, primarily using the LANCP and SCACP utilities. Redundancy in configurations and monitoring redundant components for failures are covered. The session closes with a case study of a recent challenge with cluster interconnect health at a cluster site.
 

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This session describes tools and techniques to measure and improve performance of the network used a an OpenVMS cluster interconnect. Various factors affecting performance, including SCS credit waits, parallelism and scaling in network configurations, PEDRIVER transmit window sizes, network packet latency, and saturation of a CPU in interrupt state, are covered. The session concludes with a case study of a real-world cluster performance issue.
 

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This session provides an update on support for Thin Provisioned volumes in OpenVMS since the earlier session from Boot Camp 2014, describing the new features released in the VMS84I_SYS-V0700 and VMSA_SYS-V0700 ECO update kits. New DCL command qualifiers, internals of how the new features were implemented, best practices, and known issues, are all described.
 

OpenVMS Boot Camp 2015

 

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This session provides new information learned since the related presentations covering these technical areas from the Boot Camps held in 2009, 2010, and 2011. It starts with performance recommendations for OpenVMS in general, presents early findings related to cluster interconnect health and performance, and provides several case studies, including one where Norm Lastovica from SCI discovered a problematic area in OpenVMS that was later corrected, other cluster performance issues, and problems stretching a long-distance cluster.
 

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This session describes the Intel Itanium 9500 Series Processor (with code name "Poulson") that formed the basis of the HP Integrity i4 Server line. This new chip provided twice as many cores per processor chip (8 vs. 4), as well as significantly-higher clock rates of 2.53 gigahertz, compared with 1.73 gigahertz for the earlier 9300 Series (with code name "Tukwila") processors that formed the basis of the prior i2 generation of HP Integrity Servers. At this point in time, HP had announced (in 2013) that they would not support the i4 Servers with HP OpenVMS, however, in July of 2014, HP had announced that a new deal with VMS Software, Inc. would allow i4 Servers to be supported thanks to a planned new VSI version of OpenVMS. In May of 2015, VSI announced version 8.4-1H1, which included support for i4 Servers. This Boot Camp occurred in September of 2015. The session includes some initial performance measurements from i4 Servers.
 

 

OpenVMS Boot Camp 2014

 

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At the point in time of preparation for this Boot Camp, HP had announced back in June of 2013 that it would not support i4 Servers with HP OpenVMS. This presentation was thus prepared with the goal of helping customers make do with i2 Servers since they would thus be unable to take advantage of the faster i4 Servers. It was only a couple of months before the Boot Camp was held that VMS Software, Inc. made a deal with HP and announced they would support i4 Servers with a new VSI version of OpenVMS. So as it turned out, this presentation would tend to help those who were limited by other reasons, such as budgets, from acquiring newer and faster hardware.
 

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This session provides an update from the previous year's Boot Camp presentation of the same title that explored possible future directions for OpenVMS advocates to explore after HP made its 2013 announcement that it would not support OpenVMS on i4 or future servers. This presentation describes the July 31, 2014 announcement of an agreement between HP and VMS Software, Inc. (VSI) to support i4 Servers with a VSI version of OpenVMS. It describes the options available OpenVMS customers at that point in time.

 

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This session describes the feature of Thin Provisioning that was being introduced in various vendors' storage subsystems at the time, and specifically how OpenVMS would inter-operate with this new feature in the absence of any special knowledge within OpenVMS about this feature. This presentation provided the inspiration for a customer's request to HP to provide better support of Thin Provisioning in OpenVMS, which resulted in additional features in a future ECO kit.
 

OpenVMS Boot Camp 2013

 

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This Boot Camp was held after HP announced it would not support i4 Servers with OpenVMS. Some customers were considering this the end of the road for OpenVMS, and were starting to plan migrations to other platforms. This session was part of a seminar providing an introduction to Linux system administration as taught by Rob Eulenstein, and provided an introduction to the Linux operating system for OpenVMS professionals, including easy ways to play with Linux for free, either using a Linux Live CD or by running Linux in a free virtual machine environment under Windows.
 

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This session was another response to the increased interest in Linux by OpenVMS professionals after HP's 2013 announcement. This session compares the features and benefits of OpenVMS clusters with the Red Hat Clusters product on Linux. It describes the relative strengths and drawbacks of Linux clusters compared with OpenVMS clusters, and describes the different approaches to quorum schemes and what the products do to avoid a potential "split brain" (partitioned cluster) scenario.
 

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This session provided an overall strategy for handling performance problems on OpenVMS, including how to identify and eliminate bottlenecks, and several keys to successful performance analysis and troubleshooting. It reviewed OpenVMS performance issues from the past, and how they were solved. It then summarized the current OpenVMS performance challenges that customers tend to run into, and provided a deep dive with case studies into several of these contemporary performance issues.
 

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This session explored possible future directions for OpenVMS advocates to explore after HP made its 2013 announcement that it would not support OpenVMS on i4 or future servers. One of the interesting alternatives explored was the potential development of an open-source clone of OpenVMS, similar to how Linux and OpenBSD are free and open-source clones of the proprietary UNIX operating system
 

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This session explores two case studies of OpenVMS clusters. The first deals with a performance anomaly causing 6-to-7 second pauses in the cluster, describes the approaches and troubleshooting steps taken, and the results and recommendations made. The second study focuses on how to optimally configure IP as a Cluster Interconnect in a disaster-tolerant OpenVMS cluster.
 

OpenVMS Boot Camp 2011

 

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This session expands on what are officially-supported inter-site distances, and why, and studies two long-distance clusters in depth that reach or even exceed the supported distances.
 

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This session describes the new feature of using IP networks as a cluster interconnect (IPCI) that was introduced in OpenVMS version 8.4. It starts by describing the prevous cluster interconnect requirements, and It addresses several popular myths about IPCI. It describes how to start using IPCI, and the files and tools and SYSGEN parameters that control the IPCI configuration. It describes the design alternatives considered by HP OpenVMS Engineering, as well as the approach chosen, and the changes required in OpenVMS cluster and TCP/IP Services for OpenVMS code to support this new feature. It concludes with some preliminary performance results, as well as providing tuning recommendations.
 

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Although OpenVMS Host-Based Volume Shadowing is intended primarily as a tool to improve availability, it also has performance implications as well. The I/O algorithms used for reads and writes, both during steady-state operations as well as during full- and mini- copy and merge operations, are described. Scattered throughout are best practices and performance tips.
 

OpenVMS Boot Camp 2010

 

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This session gives examples of long-distance disaster-tolerant clusters with inter-site distances of 3,000 miles and 600 miles, Volume Shadowing across 1,400 miles, and performance problems after implementing a disaster-tolerant cluster of only 20 miles inter-site distance. Also covered is a case with a quorum node at a 3rd site and the network connection needs for that quorum node, as well as disk and node Site IDs to direct shadowed reads from Fibre Channel storage to read from the local disk instead of the remote disk. The final case discussed proposed using multiple HP Virtual Machine (HPVM) instances at a central site to provide one end of disaster-tolerant clusters for 29 separate remote sites.
 

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This session describes what people can do to survive disasters, and factors involved in risk and survival. Knowing how humans react physically and psychologically in a crisis can be helpful. Training and preparation can be key. Personal initiative can make all the difference in a crisis.
 

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This session describes what businesses can do to survive disasters, and factors involved in their survival. It provides case studies of four actual businesses that experienced disasters, with specifics on how each one was able to survive.
 

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This session describes many factors which affect high availability, and best practices you can use to maximize the availability of your OpenVMS cluster in practice.
 

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OpenVMS Host-Based Volume Shadowing originally limited the number of disks which could be members of a shadowset to three. OpenVMS version 8.4 introduced the added ability to have four, five, or six members in a shadowset. This session describes possible uses for and advantages of having larger shadowsets. It also describes workarounds people used in the past to get around the original 3-member limit (for the benefit of customers stuck on older versions). The changes in Shadowing internals needed to support more than 3 members are described in detail. Performance considerations are covered, and some initial performance numbers are provided.
 

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Presentation Notes

This session uses a case study of implementation of a new disaster-tolerant OpenVMS cluster to describe best practices and principles that will provide the most success in troubleshooting and problem solving in an OpenVMS environment..
 

HP Technology Forum 2010

 

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This session discusses the concept of "nines" used as a metric to describe availability, and describes many best practices with regard to high availability, such as knowing what components are most likely to fail, eliminating single points of failure through redundancy, monitoring for failures of redundant components, persistently finding solutions to problems to prevent their recurrence, the use of diversity of technologies to improve survivability, use of a test environment, managing software and firmware versions and released fixes, managing change through a change control process, minimizing complexity, and reducing the impact of failures.
 

 

OpenVMS Boot Camp 2008

 

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Technical session on Disaster Tolerance-related sessions covering the topics of How the disaster proof OpenVMS cluster recovered so fast and how yours can too, and simulation and testing of long-distance DR/DT configurations.
 

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RMS-related sessions covering the topics of Detecting and Solving Performance Bottlenecks Using Locking Data and Sizing RMS Global Buffers including GLOBAL_BUFFER_USAGE.COM, a DCL command procedure to examine RMS Global Buffer usage for purposes of sizing (choosing the appropriate number of RMS global buffers for a given file), It shows the current, peak, and total number of RMS global buffers for each file which is open on an OpenVMS system. (If the current or peak number is at or near the total number available, you may need more RMS global buffers; if the peak is no where near the total available, you may have more global buffers allocated than you really need.)
 

 

ARCHIVES

 

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Bryan Holland, founder and president of SCI, will be presenting on industry standard protocols for securing your Oracle Rdb databases. Drawing on his 20+ years of experience managing 100’s of Oracle Rdb databases Bryan will offer best practice ‘tricks and tips’ to keeping the bad guys out and the auditors happy.
 

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 When properly configured and managed, Oracle Rdb provides a highly-reliable, high-performance database environment that is ideally suited for mission-critical applications where down-time is not an option. However, poor design, configuration problems or operational management issues can lead to performance, reliability and availability problems -- and loss of data.

This session focuses on the basics of Rdb database administration, based on 20+ years of experience supporting Rdb data abases in a variety of environments. This session provides a guide to "best practices" for managing Rdb databases, including both what you MUST do -- as well as what NOT to do. We will cover everything from the basics of file-placement and backup strategies to more advanced topics like implementing a high-performance Row Cache and Hot-standby databases.

While specific to Rdb, many of the "best-practices" also apply to other database engines... 

This presentation was given at the 2009 HP Technology Forum & Expo in Las Vegas, NV USA on June 16, 2009 by Bryan Holland, President and Founder of SCI
 

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Since the release of OpenVMS on Integrity in early 2005, HP has been promoting the ease of migration to OpenVMS on Integrity servers. But, is it really that easy? With proper planning and execution, and some experiences we'll share in this session, we've found that migrations can be almost as easy as HP promotes.

This session is a study of multiple, real-world, customer migrations: two mission critical OpenVMS clusters (1 VAX, 1 Alpha) to 3 Integrity clusters and 5 standalone VAX servers migrated to standalone Integrity servers. This session will focus more on the project level aspects, the planning, design, implementation and management of the migrations, drawing on the experiences of actual migrations. We'll discuss the processes and methodologies we've developed doing migrations, the problems we've encountered and how we solved them, etc.

This will not be "yet-another-integrity-porting" session -- this is the real thing, based on real customer experiences. 

This presentation was given at the 2009 HP Technology Forum & Expo in Las Vegas, NV USA on June 18, 2009 by Brad McCusker, formerly of OpenVMS engineering group.  Brad manages SCI's OpenVMS System Services business

 

 

 

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