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HP OpenVMS Alpha version 7.3-1 new features & benefits [Updated 9/16/02]

OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.3-1 focuses on expanding our OpenVMS SAN offering, improving system availability, providing I/O and SMP performance improvements and enhanced Security. This release also includes enhancements that make it much easier to port UNIX applications to OpenVMS. As usual, OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.3-1 delivers the highest levels of availability, scalability, flexibility, performance and security that are required for e-Business.

OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.3-1 includes all the capabilities of OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.3, plus the new features added to the OpenVMS Alpha operating system. OpenVMS Alpha V7.3-1 is available now.

This document describes much of the functionality included in OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.3-1 and its associated networking products.

Fibre Channel I/O New Features

Multipath Failover to MSCP served path

  • Provides automatic and manual failover from a direct Fibre Channel or SCSI storage path to an MSCP served path


  • Provides Cluster-aware applications the ability to continue running and access necessary data even if all direct links to the storage have been broken (automatic failover to the served path)
  • Allows a cluster system manager to manually redirect storage access from a broken direct path to the cluster MSCP served path for Fibre Channel and SCSI Storage
  • Enhances the already robust OpenVMS Disaster Tolerance capabilities with a more powerful failover capability, resulting in access to necessary data regardless of the type of data access failure in the cluster environment

Multipath Tapes on Fibre Channel

  • Implement multipath for tapes on Fibre Channel
  • All possible paths from an Alpha system to a Fibre tape will be configured and made available
  • The exact path will be selectable via a DCL command.
  • In the event of a broken connection, automatic failover will take place

  • Provides multi-path capability for Fibre Channel tapes
  • Supports the same multipath failover model for tapes that is supported for FC-attached disks
  • Provides for true “High Availability” model for both Tape and Disk devices in an FC SAN Environment

Performance enhancements for KGPSA Fibre Channel Adapter

  • Multiple device interrupts combined into single interrupt
  • Various other driver enhancements for the KGPSA
  • Improved throughput for frequent cluster operations due to a more efficient method of handling I/O interrupts
  • Less CPU Overhead per I/O on very heavy I/O loads (up to 25-40% reduction)
  • Reduction in overall driver CPU usage by 10-30%


Improved system and application performance



Cluster Performance Improvements

  • Significant reduction in system overhead for various components of cluster communications, cluster I/O, and the VMS lock manager, for both distributed and local locking

  • Improved throughput for cluster locking, messages, data transfers
  • Reduced system overhead for frequent cluster operations
  • Improved throughput for local locking
  • Reduction in nonpaged pool overhead and image sizes

Performance Improvements in the areas of:

  • AST Delivery
  • Mailbox IO
  • Time Queue Processing
  • Pedriver Check-summing
  • RMS Global Buffers Locking
  • Faster SYS$GETJPI service used by the CRTL
  • Improved Kernel Threads performance for multi-threaded applications
  • Shadowing IO completion
  • Significantly improves performance of applications running on SMP system

FRED Allocation

  • Offers new behavior of the floating point registers and execution data block (FRED)
  • The FRED block is now allocated on an as needed basis
  • Improved scaling and performance for applications using Kernel Threads

Per RAD Global Data

  • A subset of read only operating system data is now replicated per RAD
  • Reduced system overhead and improve I/O performance of GS Series Alpha (NUMA) systems





Common Data Security Architecture

  • An OpenVMS port of the security middleware specification initially developed by Intel that is now an open source, multiplatform, industry standard cryptography infrastructure


  • CDSA simplifies software development by providing standards based cryptographic interfaces that allow developers to focus on their application expertise
  • CDSA provides a flexible mix-and-match solution among a variety of different applications and security services. This allows for compliance to local regulation while keeping the security underpinnings transparent to the end user


  • A full port of the MIT’s Kerberos 1.0.5 release, is now integrated in OpenVMS

  • Kerberos provides a standard token-based authentication that allows for multi-platform network authentication to happen without the need for passwords being transmitted over the network

Secure Sockets Library (OpenSSL)

  • A Port of the Open Source OpenSSL 0.9.6B toolkit that implements the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS v1) protocols

OpenSSL provides a secure and reliable communications link between two applications that is:

  • Private: Encryption is used after an initial handshake to define a secret key
  • Authenticated: The identity of both ends of the link is validated using public or private keys
  • Reliable: The connection has a message integrity check to eliminate data corruption
  • Extensible: This port accepts both 32 and 64-bit API calls

SYS$ACM (Authentication & Credential Management) API

  • This systems service provides user authentication and credential (persona) management services to applications
  • Allows an application a simplified way to provide fully compliant OpenVMS authentication from a single API
  • Provides access to the traditional UAF based authentication information as well as the synchronized OpenVMS and NT domain authentication information


UNIX Portability - Enabling Easier porting of UNIX applications to VMS

File system enhancements for C/UNIX portability

  • Adds support for the following features, which support C language and Unix/POSIX system compatibility: ODS5 s ystem disk File and directory access times link and unlink (hardlinks) case sensitive names mount points (infrastructure only)

New Filesystem Features: ODS-5 only!

  • ODS-5 system disks are now supported in OpenVMS.
  • Unix style Hard links functionality is now available
    • File contents are only deleted when the last link is removed
  • Time of last file access
    • New functions for file access data is provided that allows for Posix compliant File/data access information
  • Case sensitive names
    • File system understands and differentiates mixed case filenames
  • Mount points
    • Unix style mount point supported across file system volumes

C RTL Enhancements

  • Provide support in C RTL for files larger than 2GB
  • UNIX Style File Name Enhanced Support
  • POSIX Root Support

  • Support has been added for compiling applications to use file sizes and offsets of two gigabytes and larger
  • Can accept UNIX style file and directory names that contain the extended ASCII character set supported by OpenVMS Extended File Specification (EFS) on ODS5 devices
    Posix Root Support provides OpenVMS with a UNIX style root that behaves like a real directory. The C RTL now can recognized the “/” as a directory name

RMS File System Performance Enhancements

  • Increase in default I/O transfer size
  • Increase in default autoextend size
  • RMS writebehind performance option
  • New readahead hint passed by RMS to XFC to prefetch disk blocks

  • Faster applications due to:
    • Reduced I/O<
    • Reduced file system calls
    • Improved caching

GNV shell (EAK)

  • GNU-based, UNIX environment for OpenVMS
  • GNV, along with CRTL, provides an environment for porting and running UNIX tools and software on an OpenVMS operating system. GNV includes an implementation of the UNIX shell BASH (Bourne Again Shell), as well as many UNIX-shell utilities.
  • Available as an early adopters kit


New Hardware Support

2D Support of 3D Labs Oxygen VX1 AGP Graphics Module on OpenVMS Alpha

  • Provide software necessary to support the 3Dlabs Oxygen VX1 AGP graphics module on OpenVMS Alpha.
  • Provide DMA support for both the PCI based module and the AGP based versions of the VX1 module

  • Provides required support for the 3Dlabs Oxygen VX1 AGP graphics module on AlphaServer ES45
  • Provides 2D console graphics on AGP based Alpha EV68 platforms by developing software to support the 3Dlabs Oxygen VX1 AGP graphics module on OpenVMS Alpha
  • Provides DMA capability for both AGP and PCI versions of Oxygen VX1

WW Postscript Printing

  • The World-Wide PostScript Printing Subsystem (WWPPS) has been enhanced to provide support for the new, compulsory standard, codeset GB18030-2000, which supports both simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese
  • Provides support for codeset GB18030 which is required in order to conduct business in the People’s Republic of China (PRC)



DECdtm XA Gateway and Veneer

  • Enhancements to the DECdtm transaction manager

DECdtm V2.0 implements the XA standard interface from the X/Open distributed transaction model. The XA interface provides transaction processing interoperability across OpenVMS Oracle/Rdb, OpenVMS Oracle 8i/9i, RMS Journaling and ACMS.

Compaq Secure Web Browser (based upon Mozilla)

  • Mozilla is an open-source web browser, designed for standards-compliance, performance and portability
  • Netscape 6.x also uses Mozilla as the base
  • Compaq Secure Web Browser is the modern, supported browser for OpenVMS Alpha
  • Latest industry standard browser is available on OpenVMS Alpha



Image Sections in Galaxy Shared Memory

  • This project adds support in the INSTALL utility and image activator for writeable shared image sections to be placed in Galaxy Shared Memory

  • Applications that share information through an installed shared image, can now be put in shared memory in a Galaxy environment. This improves application scalability and performance


System Management Enhancements

Graphical Configuration Manager

  • The Compaq Graphical Configuration Manager (GCM) for OpenVMS is a portable client-server application that provides a visual means of viewing and controlling the configuration of partitioned AlphaServer systems running OpenVMS

  • Greater flexibility to manage both soft and hard partitioned GS Series AlphaServer systems in a single system management interface

Processor-specific CRTL

  • Modify the build files to create two copies of DECC$SHR, one built as we currently do, and the other built with compiler switches to let the compiler do EV6-optimized instruction scheduling and use byte/word instructions
  • Improves application performance
  • Customers running EV6 based systems will now have a CRTL optimized for that platform
Faster large memory dump
  • Time to write a system crash dump is significantly reduced


Upcoming Platform, Option, and New Feature Support on Version 7.3-1

New AlphaServer DS25

  • Follow on to the AlphaServer DS20
  • Support for recordable CDs (CD-R)
  • Processor speed of 1GHz
  • Available September 2002

New Backplane RAID Adapter Support

  • Support for the new Smart Array Backplane RAID adapter by OpenVMS
  • Allows internal hardware RAID support via the latest in SCSI Backplane RAID technologies
  • Allows access to new LVD devices and larger storage devices than previously accessible by the existing Backplane RAID adapter
  • Available September 2002

CPU Hot Swap/Hot Add

  • The ability to remove, replace, or add secondary CPUs to a running system without rebooting
  • Does not impact the application or operating system
  • Provides increased system expandability and availability
  • Supported on GS160 and GS320 Alpha systems
  • Available September 2002 via remedial kit

Broadcom 5700 Series (Tigon 3) Gigabit Ethernet

  • Support for the new Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (DEGXA)
  • Provides support for the latest Gigabit Ethernet adapter architecture for the OpenVMS Operating system, continuing the existing Gigabit Ethernet support as both a LAN device as well as a cluster interconnect device
  • Available via remedial kit
  • Estimated availability November 2002

EV7 Next Generation HP AlphaServer Systems Support

  • Support for the new EV7 systems will be provided in a hardware update kit installable on OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.3-1.
  • Available via remedial kit
  • Estimated availability January 2003