The VMS SharkConservative Computing Overview
(from a midrange-large perspective)

Operating Systems

Name Description Benefits Drawbacks
OpenVMS
  • 32 bit for VAX
  • 64 bit for Alpha
  • 64 Itanium (some people refer to this as 192-bit since 3 instructions are always bundled)
  • doesn't appear to be hackable
  • provides good (JCL like) batch processing support
  • easily deals with large numbers of spooled devices
  • can be easily clustered
  • rock solid
  • large base of freeware and shareware
  • Apache is free from HP/Compaq
  • proprietary
  • TCP/IP stack is optional and not free
  • TCP/IP stacks are available from various vendors
  • OS licenses used to be expensive but are coming down now that Compaq has taken over DEC
UNIX/
Linux
  • DUNIX or Tru64 (for Alpha)
  • AIX
  • SCO
  • HP-UX
  • Solaris-8 (for SPARC or Intel)
  • Linux (for any hardware)
  • QNX
  • difficult to hack (although a few application hacks have come from Apple's iMac implementations)
  • both Solaris + Linux are free
  • all others are cheap (except HP-UX)
  • many people trained to work on it
  • large base of freeware and shareware
  • Apache is free
  • poor vendor support for free UNIX
  • batch processing support is poor (e.g. CRON) unless provided by 3rd party software vendors
  • installing spooled devices is a joke (except on Tru64)
Windows
  • Windows-98/SE/ME
    - personal use
  • Windows-NT4
    - small business use
  • Windows-2000 (a.k.a. NT5)
    - replaces NT4 for business
  • Windows-SE-2003 SD (Server Edition)
    - large servers
    - SQL-Server
  • cheap
  • many people trained to work on it
  • large base of freeware and shareware
  • apps developed on personal machines can be easily moved to business machines and servers
  • Apache is free
  • most popular for hacker attacks
  • batch processing is relatively new
  • easy to crash by overwhelming the network card

Software Tools

Tool Examples Benefits Drawbacks
3rd Generation Databases
  • OpenVMS RMS (record management services)
  • HP FMS (forms management system) for OpenVMS
  • HP DECforms (for OpenVMS)

Languages with built-in ISAM support

  • BASIC
  • COBOL

Languages with ISAM support

  • C
  • C++
  • FORTRAN
  • Pascal
  • requires hardware 10 times less powerful than 4th Generation s/w
  • no limits to what you can do
  • full control over record locking schemes
  • no annual license fees required
  • harder to learn (and usually only technically minded people are good at it)
  • no rapid application prototyping (RAP) or rapid application development (RAD)
  • usually text based
  • harder to change (sometimes a recompile and occasionally a database conversion)
  • usually need to take offline for maintenance and tuning
4th Generation Databases
  • Oracle
  • Ingres
  • Informix
  • Remedy
  • MS-SQL Server
  • MS-Access
  • easier to learn (especially for non-technical people but novices can abuse)
  • rapid application prototyping (RAP) and rapid application development (RAD)
  • usually GUI based
  • easier to change (database conversions are not usually required)
  • interface to 3rd Generation Tools is available
  • formal enforcement of relationships
  • available 24/7 and no need to take offline for tuning
  • requires hardware at least 10 times more powerful than 3rd Generation s/w (you pay for run-time flexibility)
  • harder to recover from crashes and corruption
  • you are limited to pre-canned solutions (since these tools are written by programmers using 3rd generation s/w)
  • limited control over complex record locking schemes
  • annual license fees required (except for MS products)

Scripting Tools by OS

OS Tool Benefits Drawbacks
OpenVMS (HP)
  • DCL
  • very powerful and JCL like
  • can do anything other scripts can do including connecting to web servers
  • only available on OpenVMS
UNIX (various)
  • Bourne Shell
  • C Shell
  • Korn Shell
  • popular with ISPs
  • programmers switch between the various shells because each one has strengths and weaknesses. This means you usually need to support them all
Windows/DOS
  • BAT
  • BAT is easy to learn
  • primarily built for DOS maintenance, not batch processing
Common
to All
  • Perl
  • Tcl/Tk
  • popular with web masters
  • none

My Approach to Intranet Protection

                    +------------------+          +------------------+
                   | AS-DS20e         |          | AS-4100          |
                   | Main Application |          | Sacrificial Lamb |
                   | Server           |          | Web Server       |
            TCP/IP +-------+--+-------+  DECnet  +-------+--+-------+ TCP/IP
            only   |  NIC  |  |  NIC  |  only    |  NIC  |  |  NIC  | only
Corporate  --------+  #1   |  |  #2   +----------+  #2   |  |  #1   +-------- Real World
Intranet           +-------+--+-------+          +-------+--+-------+         Internet

Notes:

open "63.999::my$path:my_file.dat" as #98 &
    ,access modify                        &
    ,allow modify                         &
    ,organization indexed                 &
    ,map     map_d96                      &
    ,primary d98_some_field

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Neil Rieck
Kitchener - Waterloo - Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.