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OpenVMS Advanced Technical Boot Camp

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OpenVMS Alpha Crash Dump Analysis Training

This is an advanced, engineering-level class. The course presents the tools and concepts of crash dump analysis, including an OpenVMS internals review, the requirements for obtaining a valid system dump, the methodology for attacking crashes, and extensive usage of the System Dump Analyzer (SDA). The students will be provided with techniques for attacking the most difficult crashes. The course includes many lab exercises designed to reinforce the skills taught in the lecture portion of the class. Although some of the lab exercises are contrived examples to demonstrate specific types of bugchecks, most of the lab exercises are real-life, customer crashes that have been logged to the customer support center for analysis and later elevated to OpenVMS engineering.

OpenVMS Alpha Crash Dump Analysis - Course Outline

  • OpenVMS internals review - virtual address space layout, non-paged pool and lookaside lists, stack concepts, routine prologues and epilogues, macro instructions, locating source code on the results disk and the system control block (SCB).


  • SYSDUMP.DMP - requirements, management of (DOSD and common dump file), how to force a crash, contents of 1st block, CLUE, write behind the copy fence, console output and error log.
  • Bugchecks - inline vs. exception related, INVEXCEPTN bugchecks
  • Lab Exercises - crash dumps


  • Lab Exercises - crash dumps


  • CPUSPINWAIT bugchecks, bugchecks where there are multiple crash CPU's and other in-line bugchecks
  • Lab Exercises - crash dumps


  • CLUEXIT bugchecks, forced crashes and hangs, lock manager review and tracing hung locks.
  • OpenVMS Alpha V7.3 & V7.3-2 SDA changes (OCLA)
  • Lab Exercises - crash dumps
Saturday - Optional
  • Additional lab exercises for the brave at heart (XQPERR bugchecks, tougher INVEXCEPTN crashes, etc).