The approaching release of Vulcan 64-bit

As the head of the global Vulcan Quality Assurance team, I am responsible for overseeing the testing and QA of Vulcan. My team has been working diligently reviewing the latest release of Vulcan, version 8.1.4, set to be released on April 10. This release marks the first version of Vulcan developed for 64-bit operating systems.  

I am often asked what makes the 64-bit version of Vulcan unique. Simply put, Vulcan 64-bit is a version of Vulcan with 64-bit compilers instead of 32-bit, which all previous versions have been built with. It is supported on 64-bit Windows Vista and later operating systems, and is designed to give users the ability to harvest more memory on 64-bit operating systems. A 32-bit application is limited to two or three gigabytes of memory whether or not it’s running on a 32-bit or 64-bit operating system. However, a 64-bit application can use all the available memory on a machine. In Vulcan this allows users to do things like load larger dynamic models and triangulations. With proper dynamic memory usage, this gives enhanced capabilities in many options. For example, Windows 7 can use up to 192 GB RAM, or 4,700 percent more than Windows XP 32-bit.

It is not uncommon for new laptops and desktops to come standard with not only Windows 7, but with 16 GIG RAM as well. Vulcan 64-bit will be able to use that RAM when needed. Most of our Vulcan users have already moved off of Windows XP 32-bit, so giving them a version of Vulcan that better leverages their system’s RAM is very important.

Another enhancement in Vulcan 8.1.4 that Vulcan users may notice is our migration to InstallShield 2012. InstallShield is a time-tested enterprise solution and offers more capabilities than our previous installer did. One feature it offers natively is the ability to script installs that many of our larger clients have requested. We run the scripted installs nightly in our test automation labs and plan to take advantage of what InstallShield can do for us.

Vulcan 8.1.4 is the most rigorously tested release of Vulcan to date. As part of our testing protocol we have been utilizing virtualized environments to expand the number of tests we run. Each of the development offices’ test servers operate Windows Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 SP1 as the virtualization host, which allows us to run over 30 virtual machines on one host. This provides us with the ability to greatly increase the numbers of tests we run. Many of our clients are looking to us to assist them with their virtualization needs so this is an initiative that we are taking very seriously. Clients have also started to ask about Vulcan support for Windows 8, which is scheduled to be released this year. We are now testing in Windows 8, and are excited to see all it can offer.

The Maptek Vulcan QA team has worked very hard on the 64-bit release, testing and re-testing it. We are definitely pleased with the product we are releasing this month, and are excited to hear user feedback.

Tom Sweet
Director of Global Quality Assurance - Vulcan
April 2, 2012

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