AIX, the future of the UNIX operating system
Businesses today need to maximise the return on investment in information technology. Their IT infrastructure should have the flexibility to quickly adjust to changing business computing requirements and scale to handle ever expanding workloads—without adding complexity. But just providing flexibility and performance isn’t enough; the IT infrastructure also needs to provide rock-solid security and near-continuous availability and while managing energy and cooling costs.
These are just some of the reasons why more and more businesses are choosing the AIX operating system (OS) running on IBM systems designed with Power Architecture® technology. With its proven scalability, advanced virtualisation, security, manageability and reliability features, the AIX OS is an excellent choice for building an IT infrastructure. And, AIX is the only operating system that leverages decades of IBM technology innovation designed to provide the highest level of performance and reliability of any UNIX operating system.
The newest version of AIX, Version 7, known as “AIX 7,” is binary compatible with previous versions of the AIX OS, including AIX 6™, AIX 5L and even earlier versions of AIX. This means that applications that ran on earlier versions will continue to run on AIX 7—guaranteed.1 AIX 7 is an open-standards-based UNIX OS that is designed to comply with the Open Group’s Single UNIX Specification Version 4 AIX 7 runs on and exploits systems based on POWER4™, PPC970, POWER5™, POWER6® and POWER7®, including the latest generation of POWER7 based technology, the POWER7+. Most of the new features of AIX 7 are available on the earlier POWER processor-based platforms, but the most capability is delivered on systems built with the POWER6 and POWER7 processors. The AIX OS is designed for the IBM Power, System p®, System i®, System p5®, System i5®, eServer™ p5, eServer pSeries® and eServer i5 server product lines, as well as IBM BladeCenter® blades based on Power Architecture technology.
AIX 7 extends the capabilities of the AIX OS to expand the vertical scalability of AIX to partitions with 256 processor cores and 1024 threads to handle the largest workloads. To support higher performance for large workloads, AIX 7 also includes new Terabyte segment support which leverages memory management capabilities of POWER7 processors designed to improve memory performance. This Terabyte segment capability is also included in AIX 6 at Technology Level 6 but is not automatically enabled on AIX 6.
AIX 7 also includes new virtualisation capabilities designed to simplify the consolidation of older, AIX V5.3 environments. This new capability, which requires the purchase of the “AIX 5.3 Workload Partitions for AIX 7” product, is designed to allow administrators to simply back up an existing LPAR running AIX 5.3 and restore it into an AIX 7 Workload Partition.
AIX 7 also includes a new built-in clustering capability called Cluster Aware AIX. This new technology builds clustering technologies in the AIX base operating system. This built-in clustering support provides commands and programming APIs to create a cluster from a group of AIX instances and provides kernel-based heartbeat, monitoring and event infrastructure. This new infrastructure supports common device naming for storage devices across the cluster. While this new Cluster Aware AIX functionality is primarily intended to provide a reliable, scalable clustering infrastructure for products such as PowerHA® SystemMirror and PowerVM®, clients can directly use the Cluster Aware AIX functionality facilitate management of scale-out computing environments.
AIX 7 also includes new security features to improve and simplify security administration. For example, the new Domain Support in Role-Based Access Control is an enhancement to Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) that allows a security policy to restrict administrative access to a specific set of similar resources, such as a subset of the available network adapters. This allows IT organisations that host services for multiple tenants to restrict administrator access to only the resources associated with a particular tenant. Domains can be used to control access to Volume Groups, Filesytems, files, and devices.
Finally, AIX 7 includes new manageability enhancements such as the AIX Profile Manager. The AIX Profile Manager can manage the configuration of AIX via XML profiles. This capability builds on the Runtime Expert capability introduced in AIX 6 Technology Level 4. This new management capability features an IBM Systems Director interface.
This AIX release underscores IBM’s firm commitment to long-term UNIX innovations that deliver business value. This release of AIX continues the evolution of the UNIX OS that started in Austin, Texas, with AIX on the RT PC and the RISC Systems/6000 (RS/6000®) over 20 years ago.
1 More information on the binary compatibility of AIX can be found at ibm.com/systems/power/software/aix/compatibility/ (US)