AIX Version 7.1

Open, secure, scalable, reliable UNIX operating system for IBM Power Systems servers


AIX, the future of the UNIX OS

Businesses today need to maximise the return on investment (ROI) in information technology (IT). 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 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 OS that leverages decades of IBM technology innovation designed to provide the highest level of performance and reliability of any UNIX OS.

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 (TB) segment support which leverages memory management capabilities of POWER7 processors designed to improve memory performance. This TB 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 (WPARs) for AIX 7' product, is designed to allow administrators to simply back up an existing logical Partition (LPAR) running AIX 5.3 and restore it into an AIX 7 WPAR.

AIX 7 also includes a new built-in clustering capability called Cluster Aware AIX (CAA). This new technology builds clustering technologies in the AIX base OS. This built-in clustering support provides commands and application programming interfaces (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 CAA functionality is primarily intended to provide a reliable, scalable clustering infrastructure for products such as PowerHA SystemMirror and PowerVM, clients can directly use the CAA 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 (RBAC) is an enhancement to 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 extensible markup language (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.

Feature Benefits
AIX 5.2 WPARs for AIX 7 (separate product)
Live Application Mobility
Multiple Shared Processor Pools
Shared Dedicated Processors
Domain support for RBAC
Encrypting Filesystem with hardware acceleration
Trusted AIX
AIX Security Expert
Secure by Default
Filesystem Permissions Tool
Near-continuous Availability
Firmware Assisted Dump
Concurrent AIX Updates
Storage Keys
Dynamic Tracing
Enhanced FFDC
Nonintrusive Service Aids
Functional Recovery Routines
1024 thread/256 core scalability
Live Application Mobility
PowerVM WPARs Manager
IBM System Director Console for AIX
Automatic Variable Page Size
TB Segment Size
AIX Profile Manager
IBM Systems Director agent included in base AIX installation
AIX Event Infrastructure
Supported versions of openssh and openssl included on base AIX installation media

2 Supported only on Power Systems servers with POWER6 or POWER7 processor technology.
3 Also supported by AIX 5.3.

AIX 7 is available in three different editions: An AIX Express Edition that includes most of the functionality of AIX 7 Standard Edition but has some restrictions on vertical scalability and does not include the AIX Profile Manager and CAA capabilities, an AIX Standard Edition that includes AIX with no vertical scalability limits and an AIX Enterprise Edition that includes AIX 7, the WPARs Manager for AIX and the IBM Systems Director Enterprise Edition, including several Tivoli products. The base AIX installation media is the same for all three editions: The client specifies the edition to be installed during the installation process. A new command, 'chedition' can be used to identify which edition is in use or can be used to change the edition dynamically without rebooting.

All editions of AIX 7 are available on all models in the IBM Power Systems hardware product line. Clients may mix the different editions on a single server. AIX Version 5.3 is only available in a Standard Edition.

1 More information on the binary compatibility of AIX can be found at

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Rob McNelly

IBM Premier Business Partner from Meridian IT Inc.

Rob McNelly got his first big break when he started working with three IBM AS/400's as a computer operator. Although he still remembers OS/400 fondly, he now spends most of his time with AIX and Linux on IBM Power servers. Rob spent six years with IBM Global Services in Boulder Colorado, and is now employed by IBM Premier Business Partner Meridian IT in a pre and post sales role. Rob is a Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) and an IBM Certified Advanced Technical Expert (CATE).

Rob has worked in computer operations, systems management, systems architecture, and planning for organisations ranging from healthcare to financial services to retail.

Rob's blog

AIXchange is meant to be an exchange of tips, ideas, and information around IBM's Power systems and AIX operating system. Although Rob tries to exclusively write about these topics, now and again you will find him reminiscing about computing environments from twenty years ago, along with observations on tools and techniques that are useful for system administrators.

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* Postings on non-IBM sites are independent of IBM and do not necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

Chris Gibson

AIX and PowerVM Specialist, Southern Cross Computer Systems

Chris Gibson is an AIX and PowerVM specialist located in Melbourne, Australia. An IBM CATE, AIX, Chris has over 10 years of AIX experience and 20 years working in IT, Chris is keen to share his knowledge with the AIX community. He works with clients to help design and implement AIX and PowerVM solutions running on the IBM Power platform. One of the co-authors of the IBM Redbooks publication, "NIM from A to Z in AIX 5L", Chris has also written numerous technical articles on AIX and PowerVM. A regular contributor to the IBM developerWorks AIX and UNIX technical library. His articles have covered many of the latest AIX and Power technologies, such as Micro-Partitioning, Virtual I/O, Live Partition Mobility and Active Memory Sharing. Chris also writes his own AIX blog on the IBM developerWorks website.

Here is a full list of all of Chris's published technical articles.

Chris's AIX blog

Chris's AIX blog is a place where ideas, information and experiences with AIX and PowerVM can be shared. Chris provides regular updates on his real-world experiences with AIX/PowerVM and offers advice on implementing these technologies. Chris hopes that by sharing his ideas with the AIX community, it will foster a culture of collaboration within the IBM developerWorks AIX community.

Other ways to connect with Chris

Chris also recommends

* Postings on non-IBM sites are independent of IBM and do not necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.