A Conversation with John Egolf

In April, eCube spoke with HP’s John Egolf about a variety of topics. The following information is a summary of our conversation with John.

On role change since the VSI announcement

Since the VSI announcement, John has become the primary contact with VSI from HP. With a focus on the relationship between HP and VSI, John communicates and resolves issues between the various HP teams, including Technical Services (TS), Supply Chain, the Business and Marketing teams and the R&D engineering group.

On trends in the OpenVMS Community

Customers are happy and optimistic about VSI and the future of OpenVMS.

Prior to the VSI announcement, a lot of customers were concerned about the end of HP’s OpenVMS roadmap. The HP i2 Integrity Server sales were extended till end of 2015. They did not want to use after market servers and saw the lack of new hardware as the beginning of the end for OpenVMS. Now, customers look at VSI and HP i4 Integrity Servers and see a brighter future for OpenVMS.

Customers have more time to think about their next steps.

Companies are considering how long they will stay on OpenVMS. The VSI announcement lessened some of the urgency.

On common customer questions

John referenced 2 questions he is commonly asked:

How will VSI stay in business/ How will they sell enough?

John said customers he talks with want assurance VSI will be around for a long time. Because VSI is only focused on VMS, some customers are concerned about the long-term future of VSI. When addressing this question, John tells customers Duane Harris, the CEO of VSI, has worked the numbers and sees a strong business opportunity and is confident of VSI’s longevity.

When will the x86 port be available?

The port is being worked on and should be available in a couple of years. VSI will communicate updates and roadmap deliverables about this. VSI feels that the x86 port is a key part of the overall OpenVMS strategy.

On the role of open source technology in the future of OpenVMS

John sees open source technology as a big plus for customers and the OpenVMS Community.  He gave the example of the need for more Unix compatibility. Developers could take an open source Unix product, drop it on OpenVMS, and then run it without making major changes.

John believes close to 100% Unix compatibility with a set of libraries needs to happen.

On the role of integrated development environments (IDEs) in the OpenVMS space

IDEs make OpenVMS a common ground for operating systems. Developers can focus on the business problem and not worry about learning a new system. Additionally, IDEs can improve the development environment and make it easier for customers to maintain and develop systems. This is especially true for customers who manage Unix or Linux and aren’t familiar with OpenVMS.

On the impact of virtualization

There are two types of virtualization: HPVM, HP’s virtual capability for OpenVMS, and hardware virtualization. Although there are not a lot of customers using HPVM, hardware virtualization is popular. Customers who cannot migrate off of Alpha or Vax can use it to run x86. The hardware virtualization for VAX and Alpha is quite popular and an option for some customers with aging hardware.

Ultimately, for customers running Integrity, virtualization does not have a large impact. Customers who use Alpha/Vax can see a significant impact from virtualization.

On the possibility of a Cloud in the future

John has not seen a demand for cloud computing from VMS customers and it is not currently included in HP’s cloud strategy. He doesn’t see a future for cloud computing at this time. Customers could use it, but they aren’t asking for it.

On the news headline he would like to see for OpenVMS in 5 years

“OpenVMS installations surpass Linux installations for the first time”