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This course provides a general overview of system mechanisms such as interrupt priority level, spinlocks, CPU context, and access modes. It is designed to examine the components, structures, and mechanisms of the OpenVMS operating system on Integrity Server and Alpha platforms.


  • Advanced system management skills (completion of Managing Complex Systems or equivalent experience)
  • A general understanding of operating system concepts
  • An understanding of binary and hex numerical representation

Course Objectives

Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Identify the internals of the operating system
  • Use SDA
  • Describe OpenVMS processes and data structures
  • Understand the OpenVMS scheduling mechanism
  • Describe lock mechanisms and synchronization

Course Audience

OpenVMS system managers
OpenVMS system programmers

Course Outline

  • OpenVMS access modes
  • Data representation
  • Data structures
  • Stacks
  • Asynchronous events and context
  • Synchronization
  • Interrupts and exceptions
  • Spinlocks
  • OpenVMS symbolic naming conventions
  • Hexadecimal and binary representation of data
  • SDA requirements and uses
  • Command summary
  • CLUE
  • Process concepts
  • The Process and kernel threads
  • Process data structures overview
  • Job Information Block (JIB)
  • Process Header (PHD)
  • Kernel threads
  • PCB vector table
  • Thread states
  • Event flag wait queue
  • Computable queues
  • Hardware context
  • SMP support for scheduling
  • Boosting software priority
  • Report System Event (RSE)
  • Quantum end activities
  • Wait state activities
  • Timer queue entries
  • Distributed locking mechanism
  • Dynamic resource remastering
  • Pre-v8.3 dynamic resource mastering
  • v8.3 lock manager changes
  • Deadlock detection in a cluster
  • Subsecond deadlock wait
  • Resolving lock resource contention
  • Dedicated CPU lock manager
  • Dedicated CPU lock manager interaction
  • AST concepts

Instructors in this course

Homi Faris

31 years of VMS support and teaching experience, started at DEC teaching almost all VMS courses, now a member of the VSI support team and pre-sales in France.
Languages: French

Gerrit Woertman

38 years of OpenVMS support and teaching experience. Application support, Fortran programming, demo-center, consultancy, pre-sales. HP Certified OpenVMS Systems Engineer with extensive systems management and migration experience.
Languages: English, Dutch

Mark Jilson

20 years of VMS support and teaching experience.
Languages: English

Tom Wade

HP Certified OpenVMS Systems Engineer with 36 years of OpenVMS support and teaching experience; has lectured in UCD to degree level in computer science and computer networking.
Languages: English