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HP OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.3-2 New Features & Benefits

OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.3-2 will focus on continued enhancements in SMP and I/O performance, availability, UNIX® portability, and e-Business, as well as other new capabilities. This release will also consolidate OpenVMS hardware update kits for EV7 platforms support and features.

The field test version of OpenVMS Version 7.3-2 is scheduled to be available in June 2003, with the final version available in Q4 2003.

This document describes much of the functionality included in OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.3-2 and its associated products.

Note: The information included in this document is subject to change.
Dated: October 15, 2003

System Support
feature benefit

Error Log Viewer

  • A quick and easy-to-use bit-to-text error log translating tool that is now included in the base operating system.
  • Target audience is primarily developers and testers who need to quickly examine an error log from the command-line
  • Allows developers, testers, and system managers to quickly examine an error log from the command-line, but don't need an analysis of the error log.
  • Supported on OpenVMS Alpha.

Analyzer Tool for EV7

  • The ability to identify which instructions were executed by the EV7 CPU prior to a crash
  • Easier to identify both hardware and software errors, such as crashes, since each CPU can record the last instructions executed prior to a crash.
  • Limits hardware debugging.
  • Supported on OpenVMS Alpha.

DS15 System Support

  • DS10 follow-on
  • Supported on OpenVMS Alpha V7.3-1 and above.
StorageWorks Modular SAN array 1000 Support (MSA 1000)
  • New high performance storage array, which enables a two-node cluster with its embedded 3-port Fibre Channel arbitrated loop hub.
System and I/O Performance
feature benefit

Fastpath for LAN

  • Allows for greater LAN performance by moving its I/O processing to a secondary CPU offloading the primary CPU
  • Improves LAN performance and scalability on multiple CPU Alpha machines .
  • Allows individual LAN adapters to have a preferred CPU to process I/O.

Fastpath for PEdriver

  • Improves cluster I/O performance by moving the I/O processing to a secondary CPU offloading the primary CPU
  • Improves performance and scalability of LAN based cluster interconnects on multiple CPU Alpha machines.
  • Allows for preferred CPU processing of cluster I/O.

Fastpath for Ramanujan

  • CPU selection
  • Offload IOLOCK8
  • Improves overall SMP performance and scalability of the new Smart Array backplane RAID controller

System Performance Enhancements Working Set in S2 Space

  • Moving the Working Set Lists of S0S1 in S2 space

Sched Spinlock

  • NAM_TO_PCB is a heavy contributor to SCHED spinlock contention and with the introduction of the PCB spinlock in Ruby (V7.3-1), it should be possible to modify these routines to use the PCB spinlock as opposed to the global SCHED spinlock

Spinlock Name Creation

  • Provides a framework to augment dynamic spinlocks with unique names
  • Allows systems to run efficiently with large working sets and large numbers of processes.
  • Improves OpenVMS scalability.

  • Further reduce the SCHED spinlock contention and thus improve overall system performance.




  • Increases performance by easily pinpointing a specific spinlock, mailbox, process, or other component that may be a performance bottleneck.
  • Allows spinlock analysis tools to be able to display more useful information about spinlocks.


  • Provides new feature (Priority Adjustment) which is an automatic transparent mechanism to dynamically balance the relative priorities of application threads
  • Purpose of priority adjustment is to avoid problems which would otherwise arise when threads of different priorities share synchronization objects.
  • Allows the threads library more flexibility with regard to the order in which threads are run which can be used to improve throughput and overall system utilization.

Quieter MOUNTVERIFY messages

  • Filter MOUNTVERIFY messages to call out severe messages from those that are "informational"
  • Allows for fewer console interruptions from MOUNTVERIFY messages which should not be flagged as an error or alert situation.
  • Reduces console alerts, resulting in only the more "attention needed" messages being identified to the operator.

XFC Performance Enhancements

  • Performance boost for small I/Os
  • Context block allocation
  • Misaligned fields in context block
  • Support for readahead hint
  • Reclaim unused, closed files
  • Usability/debugging improvements
  • Display files by volume instead of random order (SDA)
  • Miscellaneous XFC SDA changes
  • Improve performance.
  • More efficient use of memory.
  • More useful, readable displays.
RAS Features
feature benefit

LAN Failover

  • Provides the ability to define multiple network adapters as a virtual network interface that is viewed as a single network adapter for all LAN applications.
  • LAN Failover automatically determines which network adapters are functioning, and transparently selects one of the adapters to maintain the LAN traffic allowing for seamless fail-over to similar LAN devices. For example, if there are two fast Ethernet connections between two machines and one connection goes bad, the system will automatically detect the fault and fail over to the other link transparently.

Component Indictment — CPU

  • System service interface that provides ability to report a failing hardware module that is detected by System Event Analyzer (formerly Compaq Analyze)
  • Target audience for this tool is customers using System Event Analyzer
  • Provides higher overall system availability by offlining a failing CPU (in a multiprocessor system), before the failing CPU can cause an overall system halt.

Multipath Support for 3rd Party Applications

  • Allows multiple DDT intercepts for a multipath device
  • Allows 3rd party SCSI disk-caching or disk-shadowing applications to run in a SCSI or Fibre Channel multipath configuration.
feature benefit

Dynamic Volume Expansion

  • Ability to initialize a device with a "maximum" size, to which the volume can expand into over time
  • Allows a disk of any size to be initialized to a larger size, such that it can logically be expanded beyond the size of the initial disk size over time.
  • Allows a disk to be replaced with a larger one or to expand into a virtual device which has a size greater than the size of a single physical disk.

Dissimilar Device Shadowing

  • Disks with different sizes and/or geometrical configuration can now be members of a shadow set
  • Allows disks that are the same size but of different manufacturer, speed, or physical configuration to be a member of a shadow set.
  • Allows disks that are larger in size to be added, one by one, to a shadow set to ultimately increase the size of the shadow set itself (see Dynamic Volume Expansion).


  • Extensions to commands for Volume Shadowing
  • Improves monitoring of Volume Shadowing environment, incorporating features utilized in Dissimilar Device Support.
  • Gives users greater management control over shadowed volumes.
System Management Enhancements
feature benefit

Performance API (GETRMI)

  • Extend the existing GETRMI system service to include some newer feature
  • Goes hand-in-hand with TDC
  • System service that allows users to have real time access to performance data.
  • Provides more robust performance metrics in the areas of overall CPU, memory, MSCP, and distributed lock management.

BACKUP Utility

  • Incorporate support for Hierarchical Storage Manager (HSM), Archive Backup System (ABS), and Storage Library System (SLS) layered products into BACKUP Utility

OpenVMS Storage Management Software Products:

  • Media Robot Utility V1.7 will include support for new devices.
  • Disk File Optimizer V2.8 will include performance improvements.
  • Save Set Manager V1.7 will include support for new devices.
  • RAID Software for OpenVMS V2.6 will support the new Volume Shadowing features and also include the changes needed to reduce the time to boot when the system has many RAID sets.
  • Hierarchical Storage Manager V4.2 provides performance improvements, will allow customers to use the rights identifier functionality and provide support for ODS5 and VMS$BACKUP.
  • Data Cartridge Server Component V3.2: DCSC provides the capability for OpenVMS, including SLS, ABS and HSM to share StorageTek silos with other vendors. DCSC V3.2 will provide support for StorageTek ACSLS V6.1.
Security Enhancements
feature benefit

ACME Login (SDK)

  • A new LOGINOUT and SET PASSWORD image that uses the SYS$ACM system service
  • This allows for external authentication of OpenVMS accounts to security models other than the default OpenVMS SYSUAF entry. For example, LDAP Authentication.


  • ACM$ agent for authentication against an LDAP directory
  • Requires ACME Login as prerequisite
  • Allows for authentication of OpenVMS accounts against an industry standard LDAP directory.
  • A single LDAP entry can be used for password authentication to multiple systems.

Kerberos for OpenVMS V2.0

  • A port of MIT Kerberos Version 5, Release 1.2.6 functionality to OpenVMS featuring increased cryptography strength to triple-DES, Kerberos V4 to V5 upgrade capability and utilities, and 32 and 64 bit API support
  • Allows for the OpenVMS applications to accept Kerberos Tickets providing secure authenticated connections between OpenVMS and UNIX or Windows platforms with a single password.
  • Stronger encryption ensures privacy of Kerberized authentication requests.

SSL (Secure Socket Layer) for OpenVMS V1.1

Provides updated Open SSL APIs and tools featuring:

  • A port of OpenSSL 0.9.6g and all current security patches from the OpenSSL Group
  • Provide DES, ENC, SIGN, and VERIFY images as part of the LP kit
  • An up-to-date industry standard cryptographic library assures secure communications from OpenVMS to any system in your enterprise.
  • SSL for OpenVMS provides additional tools, like the certificate tool, to aid in creation and management of certificates.
  • OpenVMS also provides comprehensive documentation that covers installation, configuration, use, and extended API documentation.

UNIX Security Interoperability

The following UNIX security features are now being delivered as part of OpenVMS:

  • UID and GUID security identifiers
  • Case sensitive passwords
  • CDE deadman
  • CDE screenlock
  • Improved overall security features of the operating system.
  • Improved UNIX style security features allow for ease of porting UNIX style applications to OpenVMS.

Common Data Security Architecture (CDSA)

Port CDSA V2 Release 3.14 to OpenVMS now includes:

  • Support for signing CDSA applications
  • Support for externally developed CDSA plug-ins
  • Updated OpenSSL CSP
  • Provides a single encryption API/development environment that works the same on OpenVMS, Windows, Linux, Tru64, and HP-UX.
  • Developed by Intel, CDSA is now an Open group standard.
Network Enhancements
feature benefit

TCP/IP Services

  • Scalable Kernel
  • SSH
  • Secure POP
  • IP
  • IPv6
  • Performance improvements
  • BIND server update
  • BG devices
  • Support for TCPDUMP utility
  • Enhancement to clock synchronization in NTP Version 4
  • New kernel provided performance scalability for SMP systems
  • Secure shell (SSH) client and server
  • Secure Socket Layer (SSL) for POP
  • IP address failover
  • New IPv6 examples Software update and new programming examples using IPv6 APIs
  • INET driver, NFS server, TELNET server
  • BIND server Version 9.2.1
  • New maximum number of BG devices and fast BG device creation and deletion
feature benefit

CRTL/Unix Portability

  • Additional and enhanced APIs allows for easier porting of UNIX style applications to OpenVMS
  • Increased availability of OpenSource and third party tools and applications

DECdtm/XA V2.1

  • Provides a cluster-wide transaction recovery support
  • Allows transactions from applications that use cluster-wide DECdtm Gateway Domain Log to be recovered from any single-node failure.


  • Enhance the PCSI utility to support data compression of software product kits

  • Patch kit removal — capability to undo/rollback last patch or set of patches

  • Recovery mode to back out of failed install/upgrade
  • Produces at least a 30% reduction in overall kit size for large kits.
  • Built-in kit compression/decompression simplifies installation and requires less temporary disk space.

  • Ability to backout the last OpenVMS remedial kit applied without having to re-install the operating system or restore the system from a backup.

  • Ability to undo the effects of a failed product installation.

Enterprise Directory

  • Update to support ACM LDAP
  • Removal of DECnet dependencies
  • Full Management from Java based Graphical User Interface — GUI
  • Enables network-wide user authentication and central storage of user credentials based on a secure, replicated directory that can be managed from a central or multiple locations.
  • Less cost and simpler installation.
  • Easier and more effective management of multiple directory servers and improved user administration operations.


  • Cobol RTL V2.8 (DEC$CORTL & LIBOTS2)
Support to roll into V7.3-2
feature benefit

AlphaServer EV7 system partitions support

  • Soft Partitioning (OpenVMS Galaxy)
  • Hard Partitioning
  • Basic RAD Support (on systems without striped memory)
  • EV7 platforms will support both hard and soft (OpenVMS Galaxy) partitioning.
  • Maximum number of instances to be supported:
    • AlphaServer ES47 M4 (2 instances)
    • AlphaServer ES80 M8 (4 instances)
    • AlphaServer GS1280 M8 (4 instances)
    • AlphaServer GS1280 M16 (8 instances)
    • AlphaServer GS1280 M32 (8 instances)
  • Will be supported in OpenVMS V7.3-2 with patch kit. Won't be support until after V7.3-2 ships.
Memory Channel on AlphaServer EV7 systems
  • Support for Memory Channel Cluster Interconnect on EV7
32 processor support on AlphaServer GS1280
  • Support for up to 32 CPU's on EV7
ATI RADEON 7500 2D/3D Graphics
  • New driver supporting new 2D and 3D, PCI and AGP graphics cards for EV6 and EV7 systems

Voyager (MSA1000 & Karakorum)

  • RAID array 3000 replacement
  • Support for new low-end Fibre Channel RAID Array storage solution, supporting both Switched and FCAL (V7.3-1 only) support
Dual Gigabit 5704 Card
  • Dual NIC card provides additional bandwidth without using an additional PCI slot
Gigabit Boot Support
  • Allows for booting of your OpenVMS machine over a Gigabit Ethernet NIC (DEGXA).