Wang VS

The Wang VS Community

New VS Frequently Asked Questions



11 Nov 2009

What is the New VS?


The New VS is a virtualization, an emulation if you like, of the Wang VS machine. It runs on modern Linux servers and is free of proprietary Wang hardware unless you opt to use the available "928" card to support legacy Wang periperals such as workstations, printers and telecomunication gear. Most New VS sites do not use the 928 option. Wang workstations and printers are mostly replaced by Lightspeed features. Wang telecommunication still has some uses, namely to support SNA,
WSN to legacy systems, X.25, and LU 6.2.


Since the New VS is a true and faithful virtualization of the Wang VS, it runs the VS Operating System, all VS compilers, all VS utilities, and all VS application software, all unchanged.


The New VS:


  • Replaces legacy Wang VS systems
  • Runs the VS OS and all VS software without modification
  • Supports all VS languages, compilers and tools, including PACE and Assembler
  • Requires NO CONVERSION whatsoever – zero software conversion and zero data conversion
  • Is loaded from VS backup tapes or by copying VS disk volumes
  • Uses modern, maintainable hardware throughout
  • Offers performance levels up to about three times the speed of the VS18950
  • Performs file I/O much faster than legacy VS systems at all performance levels
  • Integrates Lightspeed NVS and eliminates LS NVS logon gateway PCs
  • Supports all Lightspeed options and features
  • Provides seamless SCSI disk and tape compatibility
  • Uses fault tolerant RAID storage integrated in the New VS server
  • Offers up to 3 TB (3,000 GB) of internal fault-tolerant storage for virtual VS volumes
  • Can use external SCSI drives, RAID, SAN, etc. for additional VS volume storage
  • Supports WSN over TCP/IP for networking New VS systems
  • Supports RSF over TCP/IP for clustering New VS systems
  • Provides Integrated Virtual Tape for eliminating physical tape and tape errors
  • Supports VS TCP/IP
  • Offers an optional PCI Universal Serial IOC for direct support of 928 devices:
    • Wang coax printers
    • Wang coax workstations
    • Wang coax Printer Interface Boxes (PIBs)
    • Wang TCB1 and TCB3 Data Link Processors for WSN, SNA, X.25, LU 6.2, etc.
    • Wang WACS for async
  • Includes bundled Virtual PIB software for seamless PIB printing
  • Includes bundled Windows and Linux workstation emulation client software
  • Includes bundled microcode-loadable VS workstation emulator capable of running MWS, WP, WP+, etc.
  • Offers an available Oracle interface layer that allows VS programs to access Oracle databases

Realistic "futures." The New VS will have:


  • ODBC, presently under development
  • Data replication to remote DR or backup sites, presently being planned
  • Checkpoint/rollback, presently being planned

The New VS has very important implications for Wang VS sites:


  • The VS is not going to die or disappear, just change to new hardware
  • You no longer need to plan to "get rid of the Wang"
  • There is no more need for any kind of "Wang conversion"
  • You can upgrade to the New VS quickly and efficiently, with very low risk
  • You can achieve VS stability, reliability and maintainability with zero conversion, zero rewrites and zero retraining
  • You can preserve all the good features the VS embodies
  • You can once again plan for the future with your VS applications
  • You will enjoy many new features now being developed and more now being planned

Even without counting on any new features not yet available, the New VS immediately provides you with new capabilities simply because of its virtualization technology:


  • Freedom from proprietary VS hardware
  • Very fast file I/O, significantly speeding up batch and backup operations
  • Extremely fast IPL, saving enormous amounts of time when modifying configurations
  • Freedom to use modern, high-performance peripherals such as SDLT and LTO tape
  • Flexibility to use affordable disk-to-disk backup allows you to:
    • Use internal RAID space for extra VS volumes for disk-to-disk backup
    • Use external RAID, SAN, etc. for disk-to-disk backup
    • Make backups many times faster than any legacy VS can do
    • Make disk-to-disk backups quickly, then back up to tape from disk backups
    • Back up to removable disks for off-site storage
    • Back up to Virtual Tape, eliminating physical tapes and tape errors
  • Configure additional VS memory without having to purchase hardware
  • Configure additional IOCs without having to purchase hardware
  • Configure additional virtual disk Volumes without having to purchase hardware
  • Configure additional virtual LS gateways without PC hardware


11 Nov 2009

What models of Wang VS does the New VS replace?


The New VS seamlessly replaces all models of Wang VS and offers performance far exceeding any legacy Wang VS.



11 Nov 2009

Does the New VS support VS clustering (Resource Sharing Facility, RSF)?


Yes. Not only does the New VS support VS clustering, for the first time it has the ability to cluster up to 16 VS systems, something that was never fully implemented in the legacy VS OS.


Unlike legacy RSF, which utilized FDDI fiber at 100 Mb/sec, the New VS RSF utilizes IP networking, typically at Gigabit speed. Thus the New VS communicates potentially ten times faster than the legacy Wang VS. RSF may be bound to the secondary network interface to isolate it from normal network traffic and maximize RSF throughput. In a two-node VS cluster the two network interfaces would be directly connected to each other. In a cluster larger than two nodes the systems would be connected to
a Gigabit switch.



11 Nov 2009

Does the New VS use RAID, and if so, how?


Yes, the New VS uses RAID for all its storage. This is transparent to the VS OS and applications and serves to increase the fault tolerance of the system. No New VS system is placed in the field without at least internal RAID.



11 Nov 2009

How does the New VS store and manage VS disk volumes?


The New VS stores VS disk volumes as Linux files containing byte-for-byte images of VS disk drives. The image files are themselves contained in RAID arrays and thus protected from simple physical disk failures. Multiple virtual VS volumes are stored in RAID arrays. There is no correspondence between virtual VS volumes and the physical disk drives of the New VS. Virtual VS volumes may be stored in any combination of internal RAID or external enteprise storage.



11 Nov 2009

How is the New VS configured?


GENEDIT remains as the principle configuration tool, unchanged from how the legacy VS is configured. What is different is how what the VS thinks are physical devices are "connected" to the virtual VS. Whereas cables and ID settings were used in the legacy VS to connect physical devices, these connections are done in software in the New VS. In the System Control Unit (SCU) there are configuration pages similar to GENEDIT in which the virtual VS is told where to find the devices configured in
GENEDIT. Thus a disk, for instance, configured in GENEDIT to be on IOC 3 in slot 2 would be configured in the SCU to point to a
virtual disk image file in IOC 3, slot 2. A physical tape drive, for instance, configured in GENEDIT to be on IOC 4 in slot 5
would be configured in the SCU to point to the actual Linux SCSI tape drive device in IOC 4, slot 5.


Thus there is a layer of configuration that replaces the physical plugging and cabling that "connects" devices in the legacy Wang VS and provides the connectivity to the virtual VS so it knows where the devices are that are called for in the VS GENEDIT configuration.



11 Nov 2009

What is the largest VS disk volume the New VS can configure?


The New VS can configure up to a 34.3 GB VS disk volume, the largest supported by VS OS 7.54.12. Note that using such a large volume on the legacy Wang VS was problematic because the legacy VS SCSI subsystem still operated at SCSI-1 speed of 5 MB/sec. Thus it could take a very long time to perform any large disk operations on the legacy VS while the New VS can perform large disk operations with ease and efficiency. Note also that in the VS world of very efficient disk storage formats and file
compression, a 34.3 GB disk is truly huge.



11 Nov 2009

We have a very large Wang VS. Can the New VS replace this?


Yes. In fact, the New VS can be used for VS systems larger than any that exist in the legacy VS world. The top tier of New VS performance runs at nearly three times the performance of the legacy high-end VS18950 and provides much faster disk file I/O than any legacy VS as well as eliminating the bottleneck of Lightspeed gateway PCs and their WLOC or SCSI cards. Not only can you replace the largest Wang VS systems in existence, you can have a much better performing system with faster response and
greater fault tolerance.


There are production New VS systems in operation that have at least 500 users. The limit of users is presently prescribed by the VS OS and by Lightspeed. The VS presently has a limit of 999 devices or users, and Lightspeed cuts that in half by utilizing an invoked background task for every foreground user task. Thus it is possible to configure nearly 1,000 non-Lightspeed users on a New VS or nearly 500 Lightspeed users. All this will change with the upcoming release of VS Operating System 7.54.20, which will
double the limit of devices/users to 1,999.



11 Nov 2009

Will the New VS work with a SAN?


Yes. Because virtual VS volumes are simple Linux files, they may be stored on any device that functions in Linux as a file system. The most reliable form of storage, though, is in the RAID that is internal to all New VS systems. The internal RAID is always available, unlike some external storage subsystems. Backups, however, may certainly be sent to external enterprise storage. Special volumes and work volumes may be configured on external storage for various reasons.



11 Nov 2009

We have never had enough disk space on our VS. How will this change with the New VS?


You will be delighted. We normally configure the physical server to have much more disk space than the original legacy Wang VS. In some cases this is unavoidable because modern servers cannot be configured with less than about 73 GB of disk, which is more than most VS systems have had. In other cases we simply make sure that the New VS will have much more space than the original VS. Since virtual SCSI IOCs and virtual disks can be created and configured at will, this means that from initial
setup through day to day operation it will be easy to make sure you have sufficient VS volumes to get your work done. It
will even be easy to create and configure virtual VS volumes for temporary use, destroying them when no longer needed.


The relatively cheap availability of disk space in modern servers changes the entire picture of disk space in the VS world. While previously an increase in disk space required a purchase authorization, now it requires only the decision to create and configure the additional space, as long as the physical server has sufficient free space available, and we strive to configure all New VS systems to have more than sufficient disk space.



11 Nov 2009

How many disks does the New VS support?


More than you will likely need. Since the New VS emulates the Wang VS machine, and since the CP types it emulates generally have 15 I/O slots, and since at least one I/O slot is needed for workstation connectivity, up to 14 slots are avaiable for virtual SCSI IOCs, each supporting up to 14 devices. So the maximum number of virtual disk drives configurable is 196, and each virtual disk drive can be as large as 34.3 GB. The maximum storage capacity would therefore be 6,722 GB, or 6.7 terabytes. Since
the New VS is virtual, it's possible that the number of supported IOC slots may be increased in the future, but for now it seems
sufficient.



11 Nov 2009

How many users does the New VS support?


Presently up to about 500. The capacity depends on the VS OS and on the performance tier you select. The VS OS presently has a limit of 999 devices/users, and if you use Lightspeed the capacity is half that because Lightspeed invokes a background task for every foreground user task. So at the highest performance tier you could presently have close to 1,000 non-Lightspeed users or close to 500 Lightspeed users. The upcoming new VS OS, 7.54.20, will double the capacity, allowing close to 2,000 non-
Lightspeed users or close to 1,000 Lightspeed users.



11 Nov 2009

How would we connect users without Lightspeed?


We offer a non-Lightspeed workstation emulator, bundled with the New VS. It runs in Windows and in Linux and requires no install, no Registry modification. It is not as robust as Lightspeed but works perfectly well for logging on and running applications. Also, it does not do file transfer or document conversion. It is simply a workstation emulator.


One of our customers has also developed a Visual Basic workstation emulator that looks very much like Lightspeed. We believe this will also be available to our customers.


You could also run legacy VS workstations, but we don't recommend that. The legacy workstations require our 928 card and additional external legacy equipment to connect to the New VS, and are a maintenance problem, as workstations and spare parts are becoming scarce.



11 Nov 2009

Does the New VS support Wang System Networking (WSN)?


Yes. The New VS uses IP networking for WSN links with other New VS systems, potentially communicating more than ten times faster than legacy systems were able to communicate. The New VS also has the ability to operate legacy WSN links with legacy VS systems by means of the 928 card and external legacy TCB equipment at legacy speeds.



11 Nov 2009

Does the New VS support VS TCP/IP?


Yes. Support for VS TCP/IP is comprehensive. The FTP server works, as do programmed VS TCP/IP services. VS TCP/IP works in the New VS exactly as it does in the legacy Wang VS.



11 Nov 2009

Does the New VS support programmed VS async (General Async Subroutines)?


Yes. VS programmed async is supported using LAN-based MOXA devices transparently to the VS and VS applications. Async ports are configured as TCB1/Async, each one bound to a MOXA RS-232 async device. No changes are required to async programming.



11 Nov 2009

Does the New VS transfer data any faster than the legacy VS we have now?


Yes. All forms of transfer into and out of the New VS are faster than they were in the legacy VS. Workstation I/O is faster, File Exchange transfers are faster, WSN file transfers are faster, and VS TCP/IP file transfers are faster. In addition there are new ways of transferring data, and those are much faster than traditional VS data transfers.



11 Nov 2009

Will we be able to transfer data between the New VS and Linux?


Yes. We have added functionality to provide for transferring file data between the VS and Linux environments.



11 Nov 2009

How compatible is the New VS with our legacy Wang VS?


Completely. The New VS is a 100% seamlessly binary compatible emulation of the Wang VS machine. It runs everything with no changes. This means that there is no "conversion," no "migration," simply loading the New VS from the disk volumes or backup tapes of the legacy VS. The first onsite install we did was installed, accepted and put into production in less than one elapsed day. There is no conversion on Planet Earth that can claim to be able to do this. Most of our installs take a few days, which
means that code or data freezes are very short and manageable.



11 Nov 2009

How will we read old VS tapes we have?


There are somewhat different solutions for the different tape technologies, and different solutions for short and long term. We suggest that you convert your tapes to virtual tapes so they will forever be readable. We may be able to help convert your old tapes.


4mm


If you are using 4mm tape, the best solution is to upgrade your legacy VS to have DDS-4 or DAT72 tape drive. This may require
upgrade of your SCSI microcode. With the current microcode both DDS-4 and DAT72 are supported. The New VS can be equipped with
DAT72, which can read DDS-3 and DDS-4 tapes. By upgrading the tape drive on your legacy VS or simply adding a newer tape drive,
you will be able to write tapes that can be read on the New VS.

Alternatively we can provide used DDS-3 tape drives, which can read DDS-1 and DDS-2 tapes. This is not an optimal solution
because DDS-3 tape drives are no longer manufactured.

8mm


8mm is thoroughly obsolete. The best we can suggest is that we help you convert your tapes to virtual tape images.

150 MB Cartridge Tape


Danger! Danger! The Viper 150 MB tape drives that were standard equipment on all VS5000 systems and early VS6000 systems are
self-destructing all around the world. Their rubber capstans are turning to black goo, ruining any tapes inserted into the drives.
If you are using 150 MB cartridge tape we strongly recommend that you discontinue use IMMEDIATELY and seek another solution.

We have had some success in obtaining newer generation versions of the cartridge drive, capable of reading the 150 MB tapes, so
we may be able to help you convert the tapes or even equip your New VS with such a tape drive so you can convert the tapes
yourself.

9-track Reel-to-Reel


This is obsolete technology, although a certain type of front-loading SCSI tape drive remains available and is supported on
legacy and New VS systems. We recommend that you convert such tapes to virtual tape image files.


18-track 250 MB


Also called "3480," this is obsolete technology and drives are not generally available to use in converting tapes. If you
have and use this technology on your legacy VS and have a library of important tapes, your best course of action is to fit
your legacy VS with newer tape technology and, if necessary, a spare VS disk drive, and use RESTORE and BACKUP to convert
the tapes to newer tape technology. It is unlikely that the New VS can be equipped with 18-track tape drives although it
may be possible to move your present drive(s) to the New VS to facilitate tape conversion.

Other tape technologies


Contact us for suggestions about any other VS tape technologies.

In all cases, if you have a large number of library tapes that must be preserved, you can either convert the tapes yourself or you can obtain outside help to convert them. A shortcut is to be able to read them on the New VS, in which case they can be converted directly to virtual tape images using our Integrated Virtual Tape feature. Once converted to virtual tapes the images will remain readable essentially forever, without tape errors.

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