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vacuum_tuber's Journal: End of Life for 30-yr-old Wang VS line

Journal by vacuum_tuber

Slashdot submission, 21 Jul 08
Rejected 24 Jul by clueless editors

End of Life for 30-yr-old Wang VS line
Hardware, Business

End of Life for the venerable Wang VS line of mainframes was announc ed today by Getronics, successor to Wang Global and Wang Laboratories. Fortunately for VS customers there is a new kid on the block to take over. TransVirtu al Systems, originator and owner of the virtualization technology that has already replaced 60 of the legacy VS systems in 10 countries, is named in the announcement as the exclusive source for Wang VS software and systems going forward.

The Wang VS was first released in 1977 as the VS80, an interactive system with an IBM 360 instruction set and memory architecture, supporting up to 32 users and numerous I/O devices in a maximum of 512 KB of main memory. Many generations and models followed, culminating in the VS18950, released in 1999, and the smaller VS6700 models release in 2000. The top-of-the-line legacy VS18950 is able to support up to 500 users, usually in less than 1 GB of main memory.

The principal language employed on the VS is COBOL, either COBOL 74 or COBOL 85, although major systems have been written in C, Wang BASIC, RPG II, PL/I and others. The VS IDE supports about a dozen languages. The VS also offers PACE, a 4GL and rdbms, with ironclad referential integrity that is rule-based rather than trigger-based.

The Wang VS has seen service in virtually every industry and most countries, including the third world. At one time, every U.S. State Department facility worldwide had a Wang VS, all of them networked using Wang System Networking, variant on the multilayer OSI protocol model. The largest WSN network was Wang's own, with over 900 systems supporting email, scheduling, package distribution, remote logon and file transfer. There were even VS systems on U.S. Navy ships.

TransVirtual's post-legacy New VS, which forms the VS22000 family of official VS models, runs on modern Dell PowerEdge server hardware and brings to the VS world levels of performance, reliability and fault tolerance unknown in the legacy VS world. High end performance is presently 220% of the legacy high-end VS18950. The principal precept underlying the New VS is 100% seamless compatibility. The New VS passes the same VS platform certification tests used for legacy VS models and runs all VS software from the VS Operating System all the way through to customer applications. It can even IPL from a legacy Wang VS system disk. There is no conversion whatsoever, not of programs and not of data. The New VS is truly a VS, just in modern platform clothing and with modern performance.

Transvirt ual Systems is a Texas company formed in 2004 specifically to bring a new generation of Wang VS computer to market. TVS has principal offices in Cypress, Texas, a few minutes from the former Compaq campus. The company already employs several key former Wang people but its engineering core studied the Wang VS hardware for ten years before the virtualization was attempted. The company and its products are an outgrowth of The Unofficial Wang VS Information Center, a VS-centric website in operation since 1995.

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End of Life for 30-yr-old Wang VS line

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