OpenVMS Resources: VAX • Alpha • Itanium • x86-64

This entire site is a private effort of free information.
There are no cookies, no advertisements, and nothing is for sale.
Note: OpenVMS Programmer's Corner has moved here
Caveat: Statistics inform that I am in the final decade of my life. This website is run entirely out of pocket (there are no advertisements and nothing is for sale) so will not survive my demise, but I will support this until the very end. I started my OpenVMS self-help pages at a time when I thought that Compaq was doing a poor job promoting OpenVMS programming. Then HP merged with Compaq in 2002 and things got worse. Over the past ten years, a number of user-created OpenVMS self-help sites have already gone offline which got me thinking about this site.
Advice: If you have any questions or problems about anything in the "VMS - OpenVMS ecosystem" then then you should be first visiting VMS Software Inc (VSI) where you will find a web site in much better shape than all the predecessor sites combined (link: VSI user forum). Any company doing any kind of business on an OpenVMS platform would be wise to purchase a support agreement from VSI (your company would be doing something similar if you were running open-source software like Linux). I strongly suggest you replace your HP licenses with VSI licenses then upgrade past OpenVMS-8.4 (the last official release from HP) so you will be able to install VSI supported open-source software like Apache HTTPd and OpenSSL and Python to only name three of many.
Warning: Most hyperlinks at this site that appear to point to either or but have been modified to take you to

NSR Resources on this page

NSR Resources located elsewhere

VMS Software Inc.

Cannot Locate VMS/OpenVMS documents?
  • some VMS/OpenVMS stuff was junked by Compaq after the purchase of DEC
  • more stuff was lost or discarded by HP after the merger with Compaq
  • more stuff was lost or discarded during the split between HP and HPE
  • getting rid of stale links: on 2022-09-30 I wrote a little script to auto-modify every link on "all the pages of this website" from or to
    • I used regex so their was "a lot" of wild-carding
    • a small number of those links were hardware oriented so sorry about that

DEC founder, Ken OlsenNostalgia

Free DCL Accounts

Hardware Sources

  • Island Computers is an American company selling new and used OpenVMS capable hardware (Alpha, Itanium and x86-64)
  • Nemonix Engineering is an American company supporting the VAX and Alpha marketplace
  • System Resale is a Canadian company selling used "VMS and OpenVMS capable" hardware

Confusion between VMS (software) and VAX (hardware)

A very brief overview of major highlights:

Prism/Mica/Emerald/GEM (the birth of Alpha and Windows-NT)

In the mid 1980s DEC started the Prism project to develop RISC technology which would eventually succeed their CISC-based VAX. Dave Cutler headed Prism (hardware) as well as Mica (software) which would attempt to port VMS to RISC. In July 1988, DEC killed Prism and Mica so they could build systems based upon RISC chips from MIPS. Dave Cutler resigned the following month in August 1988. In October 1988 Dave Cutler, as well as ~40 of his DEC staff, were hired by Microsoft to incorporate VMS 4.x concepts into a new 32-bit GUI OS which became known as Windows-NT (new technology). This technology later morphed into Windows-2000, Windows-XP, Windows Server Edition 2003, etc.

The remainder of my research has been moved here:

The DEC Alpha CPU (successor to VAX)

Alpha Links

My First Alpha

Our machine looks like this; just a little less full...

Our skunk works has just (99.11.30) been asked to attempt a trial port of some OpenVMS applications from VAX to Alpha. We acquired six AlphaServer 4100 machines (with DUNIX 4.1 installed) from a cancelled project within our company and now one of them is in my lab. We also scooped up two AlphaServer 2100 machines.

This specific machine is an AlphaServer 4100 5/300 which was manufactured in 1996. It contains a single 21164 (EV5) CPU running at 300 MHz with 2 MB of cache and 256 MB of RAM. Five modules can be installed in the CPU chassis (one for the PCI/EISA interconnect and four for CPU's). Because of the clock speed I thought this machine might be a bit of a dog but it "seems" much faster than my VAX-6430 (at least it boots up five times faster).

The disk subsystem is based upon MYLEX configurable RAID controllers which connect to five "storage works" arrays (each filled with six 4-GB SCSI drives). Since all RAID functions are handled in hardware, the CPU can pay more attention to running the OS and apps. The controller can be modified with a configuration program to support RAID-1 (mirroring), RAID-0 (striping), RAID-10 (one plus zero) and RAID-5 (complete multiple disk redundancy).

All the chassis boards (except CPU and memory) are either PCI or EISA based so these machines are considerably less expensive than the VAXs they are about to replace.

Click here for more details

Intel Itanium (successor to DEC Alpha)

Itanium Links

My First Itanium

Itanium rx2800-i2
Our skunk works just (2015.06.23) bought a new rx2800-i2 from HPE and are having a lot of fun moving our OpenVMS-based production software from Alpha.

Click here for more details

Intel releases Tukwila (February 8, 2010)

Intel releases Poulson (November 8, 2012)

Intel releases Kittson (2017)

Intel's Itanium to live on as HPE commits to new servers with the chip

Intel will EOL Itanium in 2021

Recommended OpenVMS Books

The Minimum You Need to Know "book series" by Roland Hughes of Logikal Solutions

"The Minimum You Need to Know to Be an OpenVMS Application Developer"

"The Minimum You Need to Know About Java on OpenVMS (Volume-1)"

"The Minimum You Need to Know About Service Oriented Architecture"

Writing VAX/VMS Applications Using Pascal

Writing Real Programs in DCL, Second Edition

DEC is DeadDEC Is Dead, Long Live DEC: The Lasting Legacy of Digital Equipment Corporation (2003, 2004) by Edgar H. Schein

Digital Equipment Corporation achieved sales of over $14 billion, reached the Fortune 50, and was second only to IBM as a computer manufacturer. Though responsible for the invention of speech recognition, the minicomputer, and local area networking, DEC ultimately failed as a business and was sold to Compaq Corporation in 1998. [HP bought, er, merged with, Compaq in 2002]. This fascinating modern Greek tragedy by Ed Schein, a high-level consultant to DEC for 40 years, shows how DEC's unique corporate culture contributed both to its early successes and later to an organizational rigidity that caused its ultimate downfall.

OpenVMS System Management Guide (second edition)

 Rdb: A Comprehensive Guide - Third Edition

 TP Software Development for OpenVMS

OpenVMS Community

Professional Associations

Encompass LISTSERV

Function Email Address Subject
Sending a message VMS-SIG@LISTSERV.ENCOMPASSUS.ORG whatever

OpenVMS News Group Info

Note: newsgroups are accessed with a news reader on port 119. Alternatively you may use a browser like so:

OpenVMS Freeware, Shareware, and Generally Cool Info

Freeware from the good folks at VSI (VMS Software Inc)


Name Product(s) Sites
Mark Berryman MariaDB, PHP
Brett Cameron Erlang, gSOAP
Mark Daniels WASD HTTPd
Jean-François Piéronne MySQL, Python, ZLIB


Miscellaneous OpenVMS Links

My Links

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Neil Rieck
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.