AIX is Evolving to Meet Client Needs for Cloud, AI and Open Source
AIX is a rock-solid foundation to accomodate emerging workloads.
By Petra Bührer12/02/2019
Even though the AIX* OS isn’t front-page news often, the OS has evolved, adapting to changing market demands in areas such as cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and open source. Too often, AIX workloads are characterized as legacy, but clients running their mission-critical workloads on the OS are typically up to date and innovative. With AIX, they have a rock-solid foundation, with outstanding capabilities around performance, scalability, high availability and security that are continually enhanced further to accommodate emerging workloads.
AIX in the Cloud
Many clients are unwilling to put their businesses at risk by moving their mission-critical workloads to the public cloud running Linux* on commodity hardware environments. Recently, a client told me that his organization had experienced more downtime within the last six months running on a well-known public cloud provider than in a decade on AIX.
Clients can leverage all of the benefits of cloud, such as dynamic scaling, simplified management, self-service capabilities, improved resource utilization and cost efficiency for workloads running on AIX—both on-premises and off-premises. That's why IBM and vendor partners offer the ability to purchase and run AIX instances (VMs) in public cloud environments in a variety of ways, including:
- A very flexible AIX in the IBM Cloud* offering
- T-shirt sized offerings in the Google cloud, available via GCP marketplace
- AIX instances via Skytap and other service providers
The key to a thoughtfully designed, holistic IT infrastructure is that all of these different environments can integrate and interoperate with one another. It’s one of the value propositions of the AIX ecosystem, made possible by the PowerVM* virtualization layer and Power Systems* software offerings:
- PowerVC offers simplified cloud management and capabilities such as the export/import feature that allows users to move VMs between on- and off-premises clouds facilitating hybrid cloud deployments.
- PowerHA* high availability (HA) provides HA and disaster recovery (DR) for near-real time takeover. Recovery managers are a flexible, OS-agnostic, VM restart-based solution that's well-suited for cloud deployments.
- The PowerSC* security and compliance portfolio not only provides virtualization and cloud-aware security extensions, but also simplifies security and compliance management.
In addition to running mission-critical workloads in the hybrid cloud, expand the picture to include cloud-native apps running in Linux containers on AIX. This is possible by leveraging the Cloud Automation Manger (CAM), part of the IBM Cloud Pak for multicloud management that runs on top of Red Hat OpenShift*. This integration transitions particular workloads into microservices, for example, while keeping mission-critical components like databases on robust AIX environments running in VMs. CAM allows for integration with PowerVM* environments, IBM Cloud, Google, AWS and Azure. And the Multicloud Manager—another component of the Cloud Pak—provides a single dashboard across all of these cloud environments.
Many clients prefer to pilot AI projects at a smaller scale, leveraging the on-premises systems and capacity they already have in place. They want to get additional insights from data that, in many cases, is residing on a highly secure and available system running AIX on
PowerVM-based Power Systems servers and are hesitant to move data off of these machines. A variety of options are available for leveraging AI on an AIX environment:
- Connect your Oracle or Db2* databases to Watson*,leveraging a secure gateway
- Python-based machine learning packages, part of the AIX open-source toolbox
- Leverage H20 DAI fordriverless AI
- Deploy a trained model from a Linux on POWER* VM to do interfacing and scoring close to where the data sits
Clients are continuing to gravitate toward open-source options for all OSes—including AIX—for a variety of reasons, and IBM is supporting these efforts by heavily investing in the open source on AIX ecosystem. The AIX open-source toolbox has several packages available, with new and updated packages being added regularly.
IBM is also active in various cloud automation communities such as Ansible, Chef and Puppet to provide building blocks for specific tasks, such as AIX patching or virtual I/O server upgrade scenarios. This can serve as an alternative to a perpetual patching solution like PowerSC security and compliance.
What’s more, IBM is also currently investing in options to support AIX open-source components at a large scale.
Petra Bührer is an offering manager for IBM Power Systems (AIX; security).