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Paper: Migrating the STARLINK Network from VMS to Unix
Volume: 77, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems IV
Page: 371
Authors: Clayton, C.
Abstract: The Starlink Project is a UK-wide astronomical computing service consisting of a network of computers used by UK astronomers at over 25 sites, a collection of software to calibrate and analyze astronomical data, and a team of people to give hardware, software, and administrative support. In order to exploit the most cost-effective hardware and to maintain compatibility with the international community, Starlink is migrating from an entirely VAX/VMS based service to UNIX-based systems. This migration is almost complete, and this paper describes some of the solutions adopted for the wide variety of problems which were encountered. Migration of the hardware platform is discussed first. Equipment which can be re-used under Unix is identified. System software and non-astronomical applications which are required to allow a smooth transition from VMS to Unix are considered next. While many VMS functions can be replaced with Unix equivalents, it has become apparent that there is a small number of key VMS applications which must be provided on the replacement Unix platform to avoid considerable disruption to users. Various strategies for moving the users themselves from VMS to UNIX are considered and their relative merits compared. Fast migration routes are considered to be more effective as long as certain key applications and user aids are already in place. The porting of the Starlink Software Collection is discussed, as is the problem of migrating large quantities of private user code.
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