Operating systems optimize

IBM releases open AIX 6 beta


IBM's AIX OSIt appears that IBM has launched a beta for the latest version of its AIX operating system. In a bid to entice more customers to its UNIX platform, Big Blue has for the first time released it as an open beta.

The primary new features in AIX 6 appears to involve support of its new Power6 processor, which debuted in May. It also taps into the virtualization capabilities of the Power6 processor via IBM's own hypervisor to better availability and consolidation of workloads.

Tony Iams, a senior analyst with Ideas International of Rye Brook, N.Y., in this eWeek report notes that:

while IBM is looking to follow the open-source model by offering an open beta of AIX 6, he said it was not clear how the company would attract new users since AIX only works with servers that use IBM's Power processors.

Iams observed nonetheless that opening up the beta will allow more people to see the new AIX and help with debugging the operating system.

My personal feel is that, at the end of the day, the predominant question is the place that UNIX will occupy in the computing landscape of tomorrow. With clustered or grid architectures increasingly taking over the back end, previously the exclusive domain of the high-end UNIX kit, the inevitable question is: will UNIX continue to be relevant?

So tell us, do we still need UNIX?

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About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

14 comments
tomofumi
tomofumi

I think we still need UNIX for mission critical services until Linux kernel no longer panic or dump core easily. We have over 400 linux servers in our data centers and there are about 3-4 random servers will get such problem every month. On the over hand, our rs6000 server does not halt or reboot for 5 years already. And some of our solaris servers has an uptime of over 1200 days..

sean
sean

My main question will be, is this "Open" enough to run on any platform like in the past ?? It will be nice to have an Open Edition of AIX for the PC and other micro platforms to leverage the linux gap.

paulmah
paulmah

Do we still need Unix?

apotheon
apotheon

You can get the licensing benefits of Linux-based OSes without giving up the rock-solid stability of old-school Unix. Just use BSD Unix systems (such as FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD) instead of proprietary UNIX and GNU/Linux OSes.

brad.davis
brad.davis

What's the cost of doing business? Managing, developing and maintaining is much more cost effective on single large box for apps with lots of users - large boxes may even be tightly coupled clusters in one cabinet that work like a single computer - not going away anytime soon?

apotheon
apotheon

You talk about the possibility of "grid computing" replacing Unix on the back end, and you refer to AIX as the representative of "Unix" in the abstract. There are problems with both of these characteristics of your question about the relevance of Unix. 1. Grid computing does not imply an absence of Unix. In fact, Unix and unixlike OSes such as Linux are among the most effective foundations of grid/cluster computing: each node of a cluster has to run some kind of operating system, and more often than not it's something designed in the Unix tradition. 2. AIX, Solaris, and other traditional commercial Unix OSes are not the only representatives of the Unix tradition in operating systems. Not only is there the collection of Linux distributions out there, but there are also true open-source Unix OSes, such as OpenSolaris and the family of open source BSD Unix OSes. In fact, there's a reasonable chance that in the long run both Linux and commercial Unix OSes will ultimately give way to true Unix OSes that are developed and distributed under an open source software model. Open source Unix and unixlike OSes are gaining mindshare and market share from both commercial Unix systems and Microsoft OSes. That trend is only likely to continue in the near future, from what I can see. Thus, on one hand, (commercial) Unix systems may lose relevance in years to come -- but Unix in general is likely to grow stronger in the market.

jtbowerse
jtbowerse

Hearing an analyst ask a question like that reminds me of the days that MetaGroup and Gartner were trumpeting the death of Mainframes because of PC technology. That didn't happen either. Yes Linux is very good (and cost effective)...and yes Grid architectures make sense for many computing needs. But no, it's not the solution for everything in the world. If we look at the cost model from a TCO perspective and the amount of work that can actually be performed over time with various processor architectures, I think there's still plenty of room for mainstream Unix server vendors.

crazijoe
crazijoe

Man, there are still alot of Unix systems out there that are stable and running without problems. Normally the bigwigs see it as "If it still works, don't fix it."

bob
bob

Who needs Unix when you have Linux? I suppose there are some niche market needs, but when looking at the big picture, operating systems like Solaris and AIX are yesterday's news.

DanLM
DanLM

When linux can meet the track record of security that Unix has. Then no, we don't need Unix. But, then again... I was thinking openbsd and freebsd. Also, linux has not met that level of security yet. Dan

F4A6Pilot
F4A6Pilot

MS is the old bottles. Applications that limit you to one server and lend themselves to small networks. New wine expands. Most of the newer top end servers are COD (Capacity on Demand) it works great for storage. You pay for what you do use. A T or 50, same frame. Less grief more flexibility. Look at vpars and Superdomes. The virtual partitioning is extremely parallel. This concept has been moved down the platforms in the HP line with Virtual servers... Similar stuff for SUN. PCs are still not as capable, and with their bus system and architecture are not as scalable as yet.

henry.a.mckelvey
henry.a.mckelvey

I feel that UNIX still holds a place in the networking and enterprise market. First of all I like Linux and I use Linux, but the fact remains, Linux support is based on me the IT Manager having to have support for the product, and Linux support is based on the guy you hired to manage your system, God forbid he should get hit by a truck. The thing is when you purchase UNIX you get a full support staff and support system to help you through your issues and not someone who has to cobble together support documentation and hope that whatever distro they are using has enough support to get by on. I like Linux and it has done some great things, but when supporting large scale systems it is best to go with a product that has full support throughout its life cycle.

F4A6Pilot
F4A6Pilot

But, for large enterprise jobs you need enterprise class HW and SW.

Richard.Miranda
Richard.Miranda

I may be behind on current events in this but I thought that the stock exchanges used SunOS. If not, someone please post an update to this.