IT folks: VMS, MUMPS, and Cache

I’m in the running for an internal job here in the biggish healthcare organization I work for. The job would involve working on one of our main billing and Electronic Medical Record systems. The system uses a Cache database, uses MUMPS programming language, and sits on HP servers running OpenVMS. I have no experience in any of those systems, so this would be an opportunity to pick up some new skills. I’m just trying to get a sense for how useful those skills would be in the wider world.

Wiki claims that MUMPS/Cache is pretty widely used in healthcare, including by GE Healthcare, EPIC, and Quest Diagnostics. It goes on to say that financial companies, including Ameritrade, are also big users. As far as VMS, HP claims that "OpenVMS powers the world’s largest manufacturers, thousands of major hospitals, telecommunications giants…<vendor self-aggrandizement snipped> ". So, from that information, it looks like MUMPS, Cache, and OpenVMS are decently represented in large organizations.

But, a search for MUMPS finds a mere 46 hits nationwide, and careerbuilder turns up a measly 18. Searching for VMS does a bit better, with 182 hits on dice and 88 on careerbuilder, again nationwide. That suggests that putting MUMPS and VMS on the ol’ resume won’t necessarily cause hearts to flutter.

So, to make a short story long, I guess what I’m looking for are opinions on the prevalence of MUMPS, VMS, and Cache in your industry sector and the outlook for the future of those technologies. Any other related thoughts are always welcome.

VMS used to command a major share of the market - high availability stuff like production lines, telecoms, banking - that sort of thing. In my understanding it has shrunk a lot over the past few years. There are a number of reasons but I think the main are competition from Unix & Windows and also that it was linked to proprietary hardware. It also seems very complex to the uninitiated.

MUMPS - never touched but it’s got an awful reputation. Try and search for it.

I think that in certain sectors (high availability, 5x9s uptime) then VMS would go down well. As it’s become less popular there are less people who are well versed. Becoming a VMS wizard could be a good idea - but bear in mind the market space is comparatively small.

Good luck!


VMS is definitely on its way out. Our company just got a big VMS job because we are one of the few places that still supports VMS systems. There are many places still running VMS systems, and those places have a hard time finding qualified people to take care of their systems, but it is turning into a niche market.

Thanks for the replies. Hopefully a few more folks will chime in as well. It’s sounding like it might not be a great use of my time to develop MUMPs and VMS skills. I’m planning on staying in the healthcare sector, and if products like GE (IDX) and EPIC use VMS/MUMPS, those skills might come in handy. But on the other hand, I doubt I would put in enough time in the position to really develop expertise. I don’t envision ever inhabiting a MUMPS/VMS niche. I’ll see if they offer me the position, but I’m leaning toward the view that there are better skills I could spend the next year or two developing.