Project management often involves choosing computing platforms

Many organizations are essentially forced to use their existing computer platforms for all new development projects. While there are often efficiencies to be gained from this approach, there are often limitations as well. Ironically, some new projects may actually benefit greatly by choosing obsolete computer platforms for their new projects. It's all about the software.

Back in the early days of computing, the choice of which computer platform to use was often clouded by economics, salesmen and irrational decisions. For example, new projects might be required to use a particular brand of computer simply because that was the type of equipment already installed. This did make sense in the early days when machinery was very expensive. Over time, the economics shifted as new computer equipment became cheaper. Unfortunately, the software actually became more expensive as the value of the computer hardware decreased. Some organizations were convinced to continue using certain computers on the advice of salesmen. This was often a good choice, but sometimes it wasn't.

Now with the luxury of time, and continual development of established systems, the choice of computer platform for new applications is extensive. Standard systems such as Windows or UNIX are the obvious choice of most projects. For several reasons, these may not always be the best options. These systems are definitely the most popular with millions of installations active worldwide. UNIX is the commercial operating system which has been developed into open systems called Linux and Ubuntu. Windows is the server operating system released by Microsoft.

There is an alternative operating system which can be used for new applications. HP corporation sells the OpenVMS operating system which is capable of handling thousands of application users. This operating system was orginally developed by the Digital Equipment Corporation in the 1970's. Digital was purchased by Compaq which was then purchased by HP. OpenVMS was originally supplied with large, expensive computers produced by Digital, (then Compaq). Today, HP offers OpenVMS with specialized hardware produced expressed for the system. The operating system is also available as a server product that can be installed on any modern computer with an appropriate bridge system.

Project managers may find it incredible that a new application should even consider implementation on an operating system that is over 30 years old. There are real benefits to be gained from the selection, however. Security is a big one. OpenVMS is used by far fewer servers which results in a significant advantage. First, since there are so few OpenVMS systems, the world's hackers are far less likely to target such a system. Should hackers actually target OpenVMS, the system is practically immune to the regular attacks that can devastate a Windows or UNIX server.

OpenVMS is an operating system which was designed from the beginning to be secure, multiple user and 64 bit. It did originate as a 32 bit system but a major re-design in the 1990's created a new 64 bit version for new systems. Conversely, both Windows and Unix started with much less capable specifications. Windows was even a single user system in the beginning. 64 bits refers to the size of data that can be processed by the computer in one step. Generally, bigger is better. This is because more data is moved in one transfer.

While many, or most project managers will opt for installation of applications on Windows or Unix, but OpenVMS should be considered. The increase in security for the completed application will be considerable.