blog-image-092720_cdFor anyone who used Thermo Scientific™ Atlas™ Chromatography Data System (CDS) over the past couple of decades, I am sure it holds a special place in your heart, just as it does for us. Atlas software has been an extremely successful partnership between Thermo Fisher Scientific and you (our customers) for many years and we are extremely grateful of the input you have provided.  We are very proud of the product that we have developed together over the course of the past couple of decades.

That said, we had to recently (10th July 2020) make the extremely difficult decision to start the formal discontinuance for Atlas CDS. We made this decision because of the mounting technological challenges that we faced as a result of the aging tools that Atlas software depends on. Atlas CDS began development in the early 1990s and it is incredible to think how much technology has changed in the two decades since Atlas was first launched. At that time, you probably had internet at home, but it was likely still dial-up. Broadband was launched in 2000 in the UK, and at that time you could only get around 512 kbit/s download speed. Equally in the late 1990s, PC hardware was not what it is today, and every megabyte of storage was important, making development very challenging. However, this also forced our developers to be incredibly memory efficient, which they did remarkably well.

Here is a list of some other technology-related milestones and events in the 1990s[1] (and a couple of early 2000s), to underline further just how fast things have changed and how far we have come:

  • Microsoft™ Windows™ 3.1 was released in 1992, with 16-bit architecture[2]
  • Microsoft Foundation Class (MFC) Library for C++ was released in 1992[3] (which is used heavily by Atlas CDS)
  • Microsoft Windows 95 was released in 1995, with 32-bit architecture2
  • JavaScript (now the most popular programming language in the world[4]), was only just conceived in 1995 (by Netscape) and introduced in their browser in 1996
  • 32-bit architecture was becoming more common-place in 1996/97 – with RAM up to 2GB (more common 128MB – 256MB)
  • Microsoft Windows 98 was released in 1998, with 32-bit architecture2
  • Microsoft Windows XP was launched in 2001, with 32-bit architecture[5]
  • Microsoft .NET framework was launched in 2002[6] (which is used heavily by Chromeleon CDS)

As you can see, things have changed a lot since the 1990s, and today, there are more tools available than ever. Microsoft, and other large companies, as well as open-source communities, are often moving from one version of their product or tool to another, from one year to the next, constantly in search of the latest-and-greatest features and performance. While this is great and is needed for technology to continue to advance at the pace in which it has, it also means that older products and tools are forgotten, no longer actively developed, or often no longer actively supported. MFC is a great example of this; it is still officially supported, but not actively developed. As such, the feature gap between the most modern versions of C++ (soon to be C++ 20[7]) and MFC is only continuing to widen, meaning that developing with MFC requires using some outdated practices and ignoring a subset of the modern language features. It is not clear when Microsoft might drop support for MFC, but it seems like it cannot be too far away. For this and many other reasons, continuing to maintain and develop Atlas CDS is getting harder and harder for us.

Atlas may be coming toward the end of its life, but we have been working hard on Thermo Scientific™ Chromeleon™ 7 CDS to provide the same great enterprise CDS functionality that you are familiar with from Atlas software. Chromeleon 7 CDS is an extremely easy to use the software, designed with a modern user interface and with operational simplicity as one of its core values. It has the widest range of instrument control on the market with a familiar instrument overview, an advanced peak detection algorithm (Cobra), data analysis tools to handle your data, and Atlas CDS layouts to ensure immediate familiarity for your users.

Existing Thermo Data Servers v5 (TDS5s) can be used with Chromeleon software, and the Chromeleon Administration Console gives you all the tools you need to manage your entire enterprise, centrally, from anywhere. We have added many features to Chromeleon CDS that Atlas software customers will be familiar with ensuring that migration and getting up to speed are as easy and seamless as possible. With the latest Chromeleon 7.3 CDS release, we added features such as an instrument overview (like the Atlas Instrument Manager) and we are currently working to add some of the final items from our list into Chromeleon.

Chromeleon CDS is built for the lab and built for IT so that you don’t need to compromise. We are sure you will love it! You can visit the website to find out more: https://www.thermofisher.com/Chromeleon

We look forward to welcoming you to our strong, global network of Chromeleon CDS customers and to the next couple of decades working together to continue to drive science forward.

Thank you again for the last few decades, it has been an incredible journey. Please see the discontinuance timeline below and please contact your local Thermo Fisher Scientific representative if you have questions. If you are a supported customer, you will also be able to view our announcement on the Atlas Forum.

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Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.


[1] Accessed 8-Sep-20: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_computing_1990%E2%80%931999

[2] Accessed 8-Sep-20: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Microsoft_Windows

[3] Accessed 8-Sep-20: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Foundation_Class_Library

[4] Accessed 8-Sep-20: https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2019#most-popular-technologies

[5] Accessed 8-Sep-20: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_XP

[6] Accessed 8-Sep-20: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.NET_Framework_version_history

[7] Accessed 8-Sep-20: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%2B%2B20