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Upgrading Privileged-Code Applications on OpenVMS Alpha and OpenVMS I64 Systems

Upgrading Privileged-Code Applications on OpenVMS Alpha and OpenVMS I64 Systems

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Chapter 1

This manual is divided into two parts: the first, which discusses changes to privileged code on OpenVMS Alpha to support 64-bit addressing and kernel threads; and the second, which discusses the changes necessary to privileged code and to OpenVMS physical infrastructure to support the OpenVMS operating system on the Intel® Itanium® architecture.

This is not an application porting guide. If you are looking for information on how to port applications that run on OpenVMS Alpha to OpenVMS I64, see Porting Applications from HP OpenVMS Alpha to HP OpenVMS Industry Standard 64 for Integrity Servers.

1.1 Quick Description of OpenVMS Alpha 64-Bit Virtual Addressing

OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.0 made significant changes to OpenVMS Alpha privileged interfaces and data structures to support 64-bit virtual addresses and kernel threads.

For 64-bit virtual addresses, these changes were necessary infrastructure work to enable processes to grow their virtual address space beyond the existing 1 GB limit of P0 space and the 1 GB limit of P1 space to include P2 space, making a total of 8TB. Likewise, S2 is the extension of system space.

Support for 64-bit virtual addresses, makes more of the 64-bit virtual address space defined by the Alpha architecture available to the OpenVMS Alpha operating system and to application programs. The 64-bit address features allow processes to map and access data beyond the previous limits of 32-bit virtual addresses. Both process-private and system virtual address space now extend to 8 TB.

In addition to the dramatic increase in virtual address space, OpenVMS Alpha 7.0 significantly increases the amount of physical memory that can be used by individual processes.

Many tools and languages supported by OpenVMS Alpha (including the Debugger, run-time library routines, and DEC C) are enhanced to support 64-bit virtual addressing. Input and output operations can be performed directly to and from the 64-bit addressable space by means of RMS services, the $QIO system service, and most of the device drivers supplied with OpenVMS Alpha systems.

Underlying this are new system services that allow an application to allocate and manage the 64-bit virtual address space that is available for process-private use.

For more information about OpenVMS Alpha 64-bit virtual address features, see the OpenVMS Alpha Guide to 64-Bit Addressing and VLM Features1.

As a result of these changes, some privileged-code applications might need to make source-code changes to run on OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.0 and later.

This chapter briefly describes OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.0 64-bit virtual address and kernel threads support and suggests how you should use this guide to ensure that your privileged-code application runs successfully on OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.0 and later.


1 This manual has been archived but is available on the OpenVMS Documentation CD-ROM. This information has also been included in the OpenVMS Programming Concepts Manual, Volume I.

1.2 Quick Description of OpenVMS Alpha Kernel Threads

OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.0 provides kernel threads features, which extend process scheduling capabilities to allow threads of a process to run concurrently on multiple CPUs in a multiprocessor system. The only interface to kernel threads is through the DECthreads package. Existing threaded code that uses either the CMA API or the POSIX threads API should run without change and gain the advantages provided by the kernel threads project.

Kernel threads support causes significant changes to the process structure within OpenVMS (most notably to the process control block (PCB)). Although kernel threads support does not explicitly change any application programming interfaces (APIs) within OpenVMS, it does change the use of the PCB in such a way that some existing privileged code may be impacted.

Kernel threads allows a multithreaded process to execute code flows independently on more than one CPU at a time. This allows a threaded application to make better use of multiple CPUs in an SMP system. DECthreads uses these independent execution contexts as virtual CPUs and schedules application threads on them. OpenVMS then schedules the execution contexts (kernel threads) onto physical CPUs. By providing a callback mechanism from the OpenVMS scheduler to the DECthreads thread scheduler, scheduling latencies inherent in user-mode-only thread managers is greatly reduced. OpenVMS informs DECthreads when a thread has blocked in the kernel. Using this information, DECthreads can then opt to schedule some other ready thread.

For more information about kernel threads, refer to the Bookreader version of the OpenVMS Programming Concepts Manual and Chapter 6 in this guide.

1.3 Quick Description of OpenVMS Industry Standard 64

OpenVMS I64 8.2EFT has a 64-bit model and basic system functions that are similar to OpenVMS Alpha. OpenVMS Alpha and OpenVMS I64 are produced from a single-source code base. OpenVMS I64 has the same look and feel as OpenVMS Alpha, but runs on the HP Minor changes to the operating system were made to accomodate the architectire, but the basic structure and capabilities of the operating system are the same.

1.4 How to Use This Guide

Read Part I to learn about the changes that might be required for privileged-code applications to run on OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.0 and how to enhance customer-written system services and device drivers with OpenVMS Version 7.0 features.

Refer to Part II for information about changes that might be required for privileged-code applications to run on OpenVMS I64. In most cases, you can change your code so that it is common code with OpenVMS Alpha.

Refer to the Appendixes for more information about some of the data structures and routines mentioned throughout this guide.

Part I
Privileged-Code Changes for OpenVMS Alpha

Chapter 2
Upgrading Privileged Software to OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.0

The new features provided in OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.0 have required corresponding changes in internal system interfaces and data structures. These internal changes might require changes in some privileged software.

This chapter contains recommendations for upgrading privileged-code applications to ensure that they run on OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.0. Once your application is running on OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.0, you can enhance it as described in Part II.

2.1 Recommendations for Upgrading Privileged-Code Applications

To ensure that a privileged-code application runs on OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.0, do the following:

  1. Recompile and relink your application to identify almost all of the places where source changes will be necessary. Some changes can be identified by inspection.
  2. If you encounter compile-time or link-time warnings or errors, you must make the source-code changes required to resolve them.
    See Section 2.1.1 for descriptions of the infrastructure changes that can affect your applications and more information about how to handle them.
  3. Refer to Chapter 3 for information about the data structure fields, routines, macros, and system data cells obviated by OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.0 that might affect privileged-code applications.
  4. Once your application recompiles and relinks without errors, you can enhance it to take advantage of the OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.0 features described in Part 2.

2.1.1 Summary of Infrastructure Changes

This section summarizes OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.0 changes to the kernel that may require source changes in customer-written drivers and inner-mode software. The recommendations in bold face type indicate how each change can be handled.

The remaining sections in this chapter contain more details about these changes.


All device drivers, VCI clients, and inner-mode components must be recompiled and relinked to run on OpenVMS Alpha Version 7.0.

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