The erstwhile Windows desktop challenger is due to be shelved within a few years, but copies are still available, and IBM continues to maintain existing installations.
Despite its inevitable demise, enterprise users, especially in the financial services and insurance industries, continue to rely on the platform for running business-critical applications.
Breathing new life into the operating system is Connectix Corp., which announced last week that it is releasing a new version of its Virtual PC for Windows product with OS/2 support. The companys virtualization technology enables users to run any x86-based operating system within a Windows environment with its own networking, memory and disk space.
Virtual PC already runs any Windows version, even MS-DOS, plus Linux, NetWare and others.
One integrator is working with Connectix, of San Mateo, Calif., to migrate clients to newer systems, taking their OS/2 applications with them.
"Connectix is for users who want to move forward to new software but dont have the time to go back and rewrite applications, which could take years," said Rich Hawkins, infrastructure architect for Network Design Consulting, in Seattle. "These apps have evolved over time; they are not just created, so to get the best of both worlds, [the client] is moving to the XP platform, to [Microsoft] Office 2002 and Exchange and all the latest benefits of new software and still be able to run legacy applications."
Hawkins current client is a financial services company running custom applications on 25,000 OS/2 Warp 4.5 desktops and 3,000 servers. He is about to launch a pilot on 30 systems, then to 3,500 users. The rest of the migration will continue over the course of the next year as users are upgraded to Windows XP, he said.
Connectix technology allows administrators to take a snapshot of an OS/2 system and create a Virtual PC image file from that. Once installed on a host machine, the OS/2 instance runs like any OS/2.
"Its about as simple as Ive ever seen," Hawkins said. "We take a snapshot of a running system and bring it up in Virtual PC right out of the box. It was a 10-minute process."
Hawkins group considered VMWare Inc. technology but believed Connectixs was more robust, handled networking better and supported OS/2.
Connectix Virtual PC for Windows with OS/2 Guest Support retails for $200, officials said.