IBM AIX Is Still a Pillar in the Enterprise

This is Part One of a three-part series. Click here to read Part Two, and Part Three where we dive deeper into how AIX application development is evolving, and how organizations will incorporate AIX into their cloud strategy.

While cloud-native applications often grab a lion’s share of headlines in the tech world, the data center-native applications that many “modern” applications heavily rely on still play an incredibly important role in nearly every industry. Skytap is keenly focused on helping bring the benefits of the cloud to traditional application architectures, and today we’re honing in on the mature operating system that runs many of world’s largest businesses: AIX.

We recently took advantage of our close partnership with IBM to discuss the AIX operating system, and the role AIX, the UNIX operating system for Power Systems, continues to play in the enterprise. We interviewed internal IBM AIX experts to learn about the mission critical applications enterprises run on AIX, why enterprises continue to trust AIX with their most critical workloads, and how modern cloud strategy will begin to incorporate traditional, on-premises AIX applications.

Enterprises Trust AIX for Mission Critical Workloads
In a recent IDC worldwide quarterly server tracker, IDC measured the current UNIX server market at being worth over $5 billion, with AIX taking about a 58% share.


These numbers make sense when you examine Power Systems usage by industry. In fact, the majority of Fortune 500 companies run their most demanding mission-critical workloads on AIX. Consider the following statistics:

  • 10 out of the world’s top 10 banks run on Power
  • 10 out of the world’s top 10 telecommunication companies run on Power
  • 8 out of the top 10 retailers run on Power
  • 8 out of the top 10 insurers run on Power

Source: An executive guide to IBM’s strategy and roadmap for the AIX Operating System on Power Systems.

What accounts for this dependency on AIX and Power Systems? As IBM’s AIX Offering Manager puts it:

“Our AIX customers trust us. I can’t tell you how many customers I go to visit who tell me how reliable and solid their environment has been, and how their colleagues over on the x86 side are constantly having to deal with failures, outages, and other issues in their environments.

When you couple that with high availability and more performance per core than x86—which means reduced software licensing cost, and our strong security record—it’s a pretty powerful combination for somebody trying to run mission-critical business processing for their organization.”

Skytap-webinar-AIX-Feb2017When it comes to industries like healthcare, federal government, and global financial institutions—these enterprises need this level of performance and dependability to run their most critical applications like databases and ERP systems. These are applications that simply cannot go down; the potential for catastrophic results is simply too high, and because so, they must run on the most secure and reliable OS and infrastructure available. AIX continues to offer that to IBM’s customers.

While cloud technologies may be changing the software industry in dramatic fashion, AIX and IBM Power Systems are certainly here to stay for the foreseeable future.

How data is influencing IBM AIX usage
A November 2016 survey conducted by HelpSystems, revealed that 60 percent of polled AIX users planned to either maintain or increase their AIX footprint. The growing importance of big data—and the sheer amount of data coming onto customers’ platforms is one of the factors driving these continued and increased investments. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty’s describes big data as the “world’s natural resource for the next century,” and as data continues to grow, the ability to gain insights into how to perform better in the future will make the value of that data increase exponentially. Many organizations looking to collect vast amounts of data—and then use it to their competitive business advantage—are relying on AIX and Power Systems to provide them with that ability.

How will AIX fit into enterprise cloud strategy?
Cloud migration is accelerating in all industries—though no two cloud journeys are alike. While AIX and Power Systems will continue to serve as a reliable platform, enterprises can derive significant benefits from leveraging those systems in a cloud computing model.

IBM recognizes this and is looking to make AIX more cloud-friendly through feature upgrades, integrating with OpenStack management, and supporting cloud solutions that easily migrate AIX into cloud environments.

Skytap helps enterprises with data center dependencies accelerate their cloud strategies, and we see several opportunities for enterprises to derive benefits from moving AIX to the cloud, including accelerating application delivery cycles of AIX and AIX-dependent applications. In the coming series, we’ll dive deeper into this topic by unpacking the current challenges associated with developing AIX applications on-premises. We’ll also introduce a solution that bridges the gap between AIX in the data center and AIX in the cloud.

This is Part One of a three-part series. Click here to read Part Two, and Part Three where we dive deeper into how AIX application development is evolving, and how organizations will incorporate AIX into their cloud strategy.

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