The Future of OpenVMS

In spite of the fact that many folks in the industry assure me that VMS has a long and glorious future, I'm not so sure. Many of these same folks are technically super competent, but I'm not so sure they see the whole picture correctly.

I'm suspicious that most OpenVMS licenses, as well as most emulator licenses are being sold to entities who are already using VMS. I can't help but wonder how many licenses are being sold to first time VMS users. I think the number may be rather small.

One of the reasons VMS is not gaining in popularity is that very few, if any, companies are selling VMS systems to midsize and large businesses. Today, purveyors of computer systems for businesses are offering "solutions" based on "toy" operating systems and the internet. Many of them, including large companies like Microsoft are saying to business: "We will put your data on our cloud. We will provide the software to manipulate it. We will back it up and protect it. You only pay a monthly fee, get a few cheap laptops to run a browser and we'll do all the rest."

We know the pitfalls of this approach. The businessman doesn't.

Businesses want solutions to problems that 1) are complete 2) are not overly expensive and 3) are secure. To this end, they need one stop shopping for an integrated system that has software, hardware, training and service. This kind of approach used to exist in the form of DEC resellers. I know, I was one. Presently all the businessman sees of VMS (if he sees anything at all) is a bunch of expensive tinker toys and the need to hire expensive experts to put the parts together.

I don't see anything that uses VMS out in the real world aimed at medium sized businesses. I found an old web site from Canada that had some general business software. It hasn't updated its web site since 2011. Are present VMS and emulator licenses being priced for the medium sized business? If there are any VMS solutions for any sectors of business or engineering available out there, I don't know of them. Oracle has a Relational Database Management System that software developers can use, but that does not constitute a business solution, just another cost.

I think a new approach is needed. Perhaps a consortium or a joint business venture. This entity would have a demonstration system running that could be used to promote the sale of integrated systems; clustered hardware, emulator, VMS and business/engineering software. Independent vendors could use this resource to sell to businesses. The new entity could provide some advertising and recruit vendors while being a single source for all the necessary components.

I don't have all the answers, but I do know that unless more people become aware of and start using VMS, its future may not be so glorious after all.

Please send me your comments and thoughts. I may very well be overlooking important information and enlightening me would be doing me and the OpenVMS community a favor.