Find of the day: continued

From: Jim Strickland <>
Date: Thu Sep 16 19:52:55 1999

> Well , I made a cable with the appropriate pin-out and
> turned the thing on... here's what came on the terminal:
> KA630-A.V1.3
> Performing normal system tests
> 7..6..5..4..3..
> Tests completed

This is good so far. Means the hardware is ok.

> >>> boot dua0
> 2..
> ?06 HLT INST
> PC = 00000EE6
> Failure

Uh oh.

> Does that mean that the drive is busted, or just that there is no OS?
> The drive spins up and it sounds like it is seeking after issuing
> the boot command.
> Carlos.
I was kind of afraid of this. A microvax with no drives except a single
72 meg HD smacks of a Vaxcluster node. Basically it sounds like there's no
OS loaded, IMHO, and that disk was used only for swap when the machine was a
remote booting Vaxcluster node. I could be wrong and it could be that the
disk is hosed or was wiped before the machine was retired, but I'm betting
you're going to wind up loading an OS on this thing yourself.

So what's a vaxcluster? (now called an OpenVMS cluster) In short, it's a way
to tie several VMS machines together for higher availability and more computing
power. The machines share (at least one) batch queue, print queues, an IP
address, and they will load share DEC proprietary networking connections.
VMSclustering also gives you a set of tools to manage all or part of the
cluster as a single unit, greatly reducing the work of managing multiple
machines doing the same job.

The purpose of this is twofold. First, if one machine dies, the other will
pick up the jobs on the batch queue and carry on, and all the user has to do
is reconnect. All file systems are shared, so the user shouldn't even see the
difference, except for the performance hit. Second, rather than having a whole
machine sitting idle to provide the redundancy I described above, clustering
lets you use the resources of the "backup" machine as well.

Microvaxen fit into this picture a little differently. At the university I
did vaxcluster management at, we had 7 of the little things, each dedicated to
a building, but booting over ethernet from a common server which also owned
all the disks, except the swap disk for each machine, which was its only local

(I reorganized this later, but that's how it stood when I got there)

In this configuration, you don't get any redundancy, but you DO get the
horsepower sharing and disk sharing.

I think this is very likely similar to what your Microvax II used to do for its
Jim Strickland
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Received on Thu Sep 16 1999 - 19:52:55 BST

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