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An Executive Guide to IBM AIX (Strategy & Roadmap Information)

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    Digital transformation is likely a turn of phrase that surfaces in most conversations between a business and its end customer. IT modernization – a critical part of transformation conversations – is so important not only because it recognizes how businesses are trying to address fluxing demand with a new digital marketplace, but also the need to regulate and reduce costs, drive sustainability goals, and enhance operational efficiencies.

    As the US’ trusted IBM Platinum Partner, Tectrade’s AIX specialists have been consulted to create this executive guide to help customers and businesses alike navigate one of the world’s most reliable and deployed operating systems. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know – from strategy, roadmap, key dates, and insights from our experts.

    Are you looking for specific answers? Skip ahead to insights that are affecting your business right now, or read on to learn everything IBM AIX, its strategic roadmap, and other important information.

    IBM AIX: A Building Block in Modernization

    Often transformation is the precursor to sweeping change. Cost control, sustainability, answering to market demand – businesses embarking on these areas will modernize infrastructure and applications to drive improvements from the ground up. Increasingly, more applications are being designed and deployed in the cloud; just as the adoption rate for new technologies demonstrates a corporate appetite for this kind of transformation.

    Market dynamics, especially for regulated industries, are challenging to navigate. Businesses on this journey will need equal parts agility and flexibility to engage, assure, and satisfy their customers. Decision makers will need more than business acumen, a sharpened compass, and humour to steer their business through the headwinds of regulatory change. They need a reliable, adaptable, and scalable operating system like IBM AIX.

    AIX Roadmap

    IBM has a market reputation for technical innovation and modernization, starting with AIX and Power, which sits within a long-term commitment to delivering highly performant, reliable, and secure infrastructure.

    The latest version of AIX 7.3 offers customers exciting capabilities for enhancing resiliency and scalability, where businesses are planning to modernize from the inside out. Critical to the AIX roadmap is the long-term IBM Power processor strategy, which lives, as IBM identify, closely within the “AIX ecosystem investment protection story”. Unveiled at Hot Chips in 2020, a revered IT industry event, the Power10 upgrade excited the market with key security and performance capabilities, and even extending into sustainability and enterprise AI.

    For IBM Power users interested in AIX, discover the facts and features in our Guide to Power Systems.
    According to IBM’s AIX roadmap:

    “The strategic direction of AIX is to continue innovating for the needs of the AIX community today while embracing new industry technologies and IT landscape trends for tomorrow. IBM Power with AIX is well-positioned to meet the demands of your most crucial data and business production workloads.”

    For those navigating digital transformation, itself a common story of risk and reward, AIX continues to represent innovation with hybrid cloud and open source capabilities.

    Find out how IBM AIX helps digital transformation

    AIX Support, Explained

    Your investment in AIX is protected insofar as IBM always commits to at least two versions of AIX in market and with support.

    Currently, the AIX operating systems available are indicated in our table.

    Explore AIX Model Support

    Version Status
    AIX 7.1 Full Support
    AIX 7.2 Full Support
    AIX 7.3 Full Support

    AIX Release Dates

    Plan ahead with Tectrade’s AIX release roadmap, designed to unlock foresight into your AIX investments.

    This is the AIX roadmap for 2023.
    AIX Roadmap, courtesy of IBM. Subject to change.

    AIX End of Life Support (EOL)

    2021 was a key milestone in the AIX OS roadmap, because it marked the 35th anniversary of IBM’s operating system. In this time, version histories have come and gone, but innovation has remained the center of gravity for an OS that has opened the market to alternatives for modernizing they ways they work. This milestone not only marked a long journey through innovation, but IBM revealed how the roadmap will deepen over the next decade.

    What is the current AIX version?

    AIX 6.1 has reached its end of support. Users running AIX 7.1, AIX 7.2 or AIX 7.3 are on the most current versions of the AIX operating system.

    Are you on an unsupported version of AIX or considering and upgrade?

    It’s advisable to consult an IBM specialist such as Tectrade, a renowned Platinum Partner, to discuss any complications with unsupported AIX versions. Service planning can ensure longevity and maximal impact from AIX investments.

    IBM AIX and Power Systems

    Operating as one of the most reliable Platinum Business Partners in IBM’s ecosystem for the US, Tectrade has worked closely with technicians to identify exactly what the market desires from an operating system. Increasingly, businesses want varied consumption and deployment models. AIX and Power Systems can deliver this kind of desired flexibility.

    IBM AIX and Power Systems hardware are firmly positioned in the company’s wider roadmap for future innovation, capable of unlocking value in the hybrid cloud era. Power Systems are designed to operationalize new solutions at scale, which in turns allows a business to extend their IT infrastructure across hybrid cloud environments.

    IBM AIX with IBM Power
    AIX enablement on IBM Power – chart courtesy of IBM.


    Live Kernel Update

    Did you know that, starting from AIX 7.2, the operating system now provides AIX Live Update Function. Designed to remove workload downtime, this function bypasses AIX system restarts that were orginally required in previous AIX releases on deployment of fixes. This enables OS patching without the need for rebooting and aligns with a move toward the future of “continuous computing”.

    Ask an AIX Expert

    Find out why global businesses rely on AIX on Power for the ultimate combination of price, performance, security & reliability.

    Book a Call 

    Who Uses AIX?

    IBM AIX is the operating system of choice across regulated industries, including financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, government, and many more. Regulated industries share more than compliance and security challenges, but they have a common desire to scale (often rapidly).

    IBM is committed to supporting the growing AIX community – this includes an innovative roadmap (detailed above), a strategic vision and support plans that will be executed beyond 2035.

    But aside from technical information, what is the business value from adopting AIX OS?

    IBM AIX Advantages

    Not only does AIX support new technological adoption, but this is achieved with subscription-based consumption models, meaning that it can flex to your business needs.

    Working across a multitude of IT environments, Tectrade’s technicians’ spotlight how AIX is supportive with the changing nature of workloads and even IT infrastructure.

    In many cases, we can right size client environments allowing them to either save substantial costs associated with the environment or resolve performance issues for some underpowered workloads.

    – Phil Pennington, Technical Sales Lead, Tectrade (North America)

    Nowadays, enterprises navigating the strategic benefits of any operating system (OS) can quickly feel overwhelmed. IT teams in communication with decision makers will relay the importance of an OS like AIX, where it can become foundational for your IT environment.

    IBM AIX is advantageous for businesses desiring a secure, available, reliable OS with supported features. Common business anxieties like planned obsolescence will not affect the AIX install base for years to come – with features and support planned into the long-term vision for this OS.

    Initially reaching the market in 1986, AIX has remained highly supported. The history of IBM AIX is rich and long, with updates and critical features that have helped enterprises pull at modernization levers and redefine how they transform and evolve to anticipate market demands. With this powerful operating system installed at the center of some of the most complex global infrastructures, AIX has become a popular “engine” for business’ that need the agility and security to rapidly evolve, scale, and answer market headwinds.

    Market cynicism can dismissively view AIX as “dead”, as if this operating system has enjoyed the same unfortunate trajectory as the co-developed OS/2 (Operating System/ 2), withdrawn in 2006. Instead, AIX is the market favourite for reliability, scalability, and security – enterprises will also benefit from virtualization infrastructure.

    More relevant than ever in cloud initiatives is the broad challenge with transformation and the frequent struggle with legacy applications. Now, companies with legacy AIX workloads can look to Tectrade’s PowerCloud or IBM PowerVS and other cloud destinations, making AIX one of the market’s most compelling hybrid cloud solutions.

    A rock-solid, competitive solution, AIX is at the center of many businesses across the globe. The benefits of AIX range from easy configuration to better problem diagnostics, and more:

    • Enhanced network performance
    • Strong security options
    • Compliance management
    • Flexibility with network management
    • Reliability
    • Serviceability
    • Simplify large data transfers between clouds
    • Network integration, growth, and change


    IBM AIX security benefits

    Why Use IBM AIX?

    For regulated industries that rely on a highly performant, dependable OS, AIX has become the leading choice for financial institutions, manufacturers, governments, and many others. AIX OS is enjoyed by a large and growing install base where data security and cloud configurability are key priorities within their wider growth agendas.

    AIX has the right building blocks to enhance data security options, including system hardening against vulnerabilities, a range of authentication methods, and advanced policy implementation. For organizations running AIX 7.3, for example, IBM PowerSC offers further layers of resilience for environments competing against sophisticated security threats. New security features intuitively address common system vulnerabilities like misconfiguration, whilst simplifying and streamlining administration, and even prioritising how quickly (and effectively) your business answers to compliance.

    When it comes to cloud acceleration, IBM is quickly disrupting how businesses plan to migrate, secure, and evolve their workloads in a modern, digital age. In many of these cloud conversations, hybridity defines the multitude of cloud platforms used to support applications. AIX is cloud-friendly, offering businesses with legacy workloads more options than ever.

    Need AIX Support?

    Renowned for leadership in the AIX OS space, Tectrade’s specialists and technicians work closely with some of the US’ most complex workloads and industries to optimize their IT infrastructure in terms of cost, performance, security and compliance. Whether it’s a question about legacy application, or you want to ensure your AIX investment is protected, get in touch and one of our team will be happy to help.

    About the author

    Ted Donnelly

    VP of North America