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Comments on the Changing UNIX Landscape

March 26, 2019

I was quoted in this recent NetworkWorld article on the slow decline of UNIX.
 
You'll have to register to read the whole thing, but I want to hit some highlights:

Most of what remains on Unix today are customized, mission-critical workloads in fields such as financial services and healthcare. Because those apps are expensive and risky to migrate or rewrite, Bowers expects a long-tail decline in Unix that might last 20 years. “As a viable operating system, it’s got at least 10 years because there’s this long tail. Even 20 years from now, people will still want to run it,” he says.

The gist of the article is that IBM is the last company standing in the UNIX space. That sounds pretty dire, but the tone changes when IBM executive Steve Sibley is quoted. He notes that 10 years from now the company will continue to have a substantial number of AIX clients, the majority of which will be Fortune 500 clients. Here's the part where I come in:

"No one buys a platform for the platform," McNelly says. "They buy an application. As long as application support remains for some key platforms, it's hard to beat the value of AIX on [IBM Power Systems]. Many times after companies do some analysis, [and consider] the current stability and the migration effort, [it] makes no sense to move out of something that’s perfectly functional and supported and has a strong roadmap into the future."

To elaborate, the beauty of IBM Power Systems hardware is that it's positioned to run whatever application and operating system you want to run: AIX, IBM i or Linux. As stated in the article, these large, powerful systems are designed for uptime and resiliency, but this focus does not come at the expense of enabling smaller nodes intended to run Nutanix or smaller IBM/OpenPOWER servers. IBM runs the world's fastest supercomputers while still providing large enterprise systems with capabilities like capacity on demand and virtualization that competitors cannot.

Posted March 26, 2019| Permalink

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