HP plans to close the book on OpenVMS in 2020

Hewlett-Packard plans to stop supporting the venerable operating system OpenVMS in 2020.

Long valued for its reliability and renowned for breakthrough features, OpenVMS came into being in October 1977, when Digital Equipment Corp. started using the software, then known as VAX/VMS, to run its storied VAX minicomputers. The operating system is now part of HP's product lineup because DEC was acquired by Compaq in 1998, and HP purchased Compaq in 2002.

HP said it has about 2,500 unique customers running OpenVMS. But that only includes users with whom HP has a relationship. Others either support the 36-year-old operating system themselves or use third parties to keep it in shape.

The company said it will support OpenVMS on its Integrity i2 servers through the end of 2020, but that date isn't carved in stone.

HP will assess customer needs and could push the deadline back, said Lorraine Bartlett, vice president of marketing strategy and operations for the vendor's Business Critical Systems unit.

The company will continue to sell OpenVMS on Itanium platforms running the Tukwila chip, but not on the newer Poulson chip.

Users value OpenVMS for its security, reliability and clustering capabilities.

However, "a slow but definite" migration away from OpenVMS has begun, said consultant Stephen De Dalto, explaining that IT professionals have to justify their use of the operating system to higher-ups who say, "Move to Linux or Windows or Unix" without knowing the consequences of such moves.

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.

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