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IBM AIX top trends for 2018

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Today’s businesses demand infrastructure that’s secure, highly available and able to adapt quickly to changing business needs. They need innovative ways to deliver services to their customers. IBM AIX delivers these capabilities and more, and that’s why it’s still at the core of many IT ecosystems across industries.

When you’re running mission-critical workloads on IBM Power Systems, you need an enterprise UNIX platform, and AIX is a preferred UNIX operating system for the job. Even though cloud applications attract a lot of attention these days, AIX is still an incredibly important and critical component of any enterprise IT system. New cloud applications often rely heavily on AIX servers and the core applications they run.

For more than 30 years, AIX has provided clients with innovative features and functions to enhance and strengthen its capabilities. Here are the top trends I’m seeing in 2018 as AIX continues to deliver on its robust roadmap:

Availability is more important than ever

Starting with version 7.2, AIX provides the Live Update function, which eliminates downtime required when patching the AIX OS kernel. Your application workloads aren’t stopped, yet they can take advantage of the new fixes immediately after the Live Update operation, without a reboot. Clients striving to provide continuous availability for their mission-critical applications are now another step closer to achieving this all-important availability goal.

Performance can always improve

With the advent and speed of solid-state devices (SSD), using server-attached flash storage for more frequent caching is an effective practice. AIX now lets you dynamically enable SSD as a read-only cache to accelerate performance for many workloads. Server-based flash caching can provide benefits for read-intensive applications and environments, including improved transaction rates, reduced response times and reduced memory requirements. This feature helps to offload I/O operations from your SAN infrastructure, resulting in better overall SAN performance and scaling.

Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (CAPI) is an exciting feature that allows a more direct data exchange between host software and CAPI-enabled PCI-E attached resources such as FPGA accelerators and I/O devices. AIX 7.2 includes support for CAPI-attached devices, in particular, CAPI-attached flash. If applications need superior performance with a much smaller programming investment, CAPI provides the best way forward. It provides a truly shared address memory space with the accelerator, allowing the application to quickly process the data. On systems where processor resources are at a premium, CAPI provides a great solution to accelerate performance by offloading the CPU-intensive processing to the accelerator in a seamless manner.

Security is top of mind

Enterprises running their businesses on IBM Power Systems have come to rely on the platform’s scalability, continuous ability and highly secure infrastructure for their most critical applications. IBM PowerSC helps you deliver an environment that ensures maximum security and compliance. It further hardens AIX environments against security threats, simplifies administration, and accelerates compliance and audit preparation. This reduces costs and risk by increasing visibility to security threats. PowerSC provides additional capabilities such as real-time malware detection and dashboards that provide a consolidated view of all relevant AIX security information and reporting.

Cloud and open source–ready platforms are highly desirable

IBM Power Systems is constantly enhancing the open source ecosystem for AIX, with a strong focus on the community trend around configuration, management and automation. Gone are the days when open source software was used only by start-up companies and small corporations. The outlook toward open source has changed. Today, many big corporations are not only using and promoting open source software, but also contributing to it. Hence the investment IBM is making in open source for AIX to help our clients simplify systems installation and management, and keep key packages up-to-date. When combined with IBM PowerVC (for speedy deployment of AIX virtual machines), AIX can be automatically deployed as a “cloud ready” OS, capable of meeting any organization’s private cloud requirements.

Looking ahead

The future for AIX is very bright. The OS continues to offer improved performance, security features and high availability as well as opening up to cloud and open source. AIX is well known for having low unplanned downtime. This is a testament to the reliability of the platform. It can handle the varied demands needed to run your mission-critical business environments, including modern workloads that require a high-performance stack and a highly secure infrastructure.

If you’d like to learn more about how AIX can change your business, contact IBM Systems Lab Services and put our proven expertise to work.

For more information, check out this archive of AIX blog posts on IBM DeveloperWorks.

In addition, IBM Systems Technical University can be a great place to learn more about AIX. I’ll be talking about AIX Live Update at TechU Orlando in a few weeks. If you want to learn how to update your AIX systems without a reboot, please join me!

AIX and IBM Power Systems Consultant, IBM Systems Lab Services

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