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Almost 40 years ago, IBM introduced its Advanced Interactive eXecutive Unix operating system for RISC-based workstations. Soon after that AIX was released for the IBM RS/6000 platforms and started to build a reputation for reliability, security, and scalability that complex and regulated industries still depend on today.

AIX Thriving in the Face of Competition

Despite the myths that IBM AIX is dead and Unix is no longer relevant, in its 2020 findings, HelpSystems’ AIX Community Survey reports a thriving AIX base of IT professionals committed to maintaining or expanding their AIX footprint.

Even in the face of competition from numerous flavours of Linux, x86 servers, and hyperscale public clouds, AIX remains a critical component of IT infrastructure for many organisations around the world.

Now in its fourth year, the HelpSystems survey is invaluable in understanding what IT challenges businesses are facing and how AIX environments are delivering exceptional value.

In this blog, we take a look at some key insights from the report which dispels these myths.

Top Priorities of AIX Users

AIX continues to support major business applications and databases with Oracle and SAP being two of the most common applications that run on AIX. This is followed by applications developed in-house, which are very hard to replace as they’ve been built to meet a specific requirement. 

With fewer young IT professionals entering the workforce with knowledge of AIX, there is a growing concern of relevant skills being retained within regulated industries. Notwithstanding these challenges, 43% of participants are either increasing or maintaining their current use of AIX. Fewer than 10% are planning to migrate from AIX in the next two years.

To appreciate the issues that IT professionals face on a regular basis, the AIX Community Survey asked respondents to rank their top five priorities for their AIX environment. Despite a broad range of industries and company sizes, the findings show a great degree of common ground across AIX users:

  1. 1. cyber security
  2. 2. high availability/disaster recovery
  3. 3. a drive to reduce IT spending
  4. 4. application modernisation
  5. 5. a growing AIX skills gap

The survey also found that AIX infrastructure tends to scale out rather than scale up, with organisations generally running AIX on multiple mid-sized IBM Power Systems, rather than fewer, larger servers.

A scale-out approach can save money over the long term but increases the effort required to monitor, manage, and maintain a growing estate – so without a dedicated internal IT team, is this option feasible for all businesses? 

Compounding the management challenge, the survey found that over 80% of participating organisations stated that they run POWER6 and POWER7 servers, which are no longer supported by IBM.

Maintenance for POWER6 ended on 31st March 2019, with POWER7 server maintenance finishing on 30th September 2019. Naturally, upgrading to IBM POWER9 servers is an option – but with over half of respondents reporting they had not upgraded to AIX 7.2 citing budget constraints or application limitations, can they justify further investment in new hardware?

Modernise your AIX Environment in the Cloud

The majority of businesses today are looking at some kind of cloud strategy to take advantage of new technologies like AI or blockchain while improving performance, scalability, availability and security. So it’s good news for AIX users, as IBM Power Systems has a strong value proposition for running mission-critical workloads on-premises, within a private or public cloud environment.

CSI has been managing critical AIX workloads running IBM Power Systems for decades. As an IBM Platinum Business Partner, our experts can support client platforms on-premise, hosted in a third-party data centre or in the CSI Cloud.

Our multicloud platform allows organisations to meet changing demands, increasing or scaling-back resources in a private, hybrid or public cloud environment. Migrating to the CSI Cloud means you can take advantage of the latest versions of IBM Power Systems without the capex investment of hardware upgrades.

We ensure systems are correctly sized, securely connected and comprehensively monitored and managed by:

  • Reacting quickly to alerts through a 24/7 service desk and proven service management processes
  • Monitoring all components that can impact system stability
  • Confirming that the operating system and firmware are maintained at correct versions
  • Ensuring that backups complete successfully, or escalating failures
  • Providing a disaster recovery or high availability environment

The CSI Cloud AIX Services have been designed to help our clients optimise the availability and performance of their critical workloads running on AIX and IBM Power Systems – and with the popularity of IBM AIX and Unix continuing to grow, we’ll continue to evolve our skills and services into the future.

Next Steps

For an overview of our services, please click here to view the CSI Cloud AIX Services datasheet.

Alternatively, if you would like to discuss anything in more detail, please get in touch with the CSI Team.

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