Overall Satisfaction with IBM AIX
IBM AIX has been used to support the core, enterprise systems here at Tucson Medical Center for more than 14 years. AIX runs our mission-critical applications such as Epic Electronic medical record, Sunquest Lab, Oracle databases, Intersystems Cache Databases, and PeopleSoft. These systems support the enterprise at both the departmental and enterprise levels.
- Stability. In the 14 years that I have used the product, I cannot think of a single time that we had an OS level failure. It is rock solid. We have had systems that have been booted and run for literally years without interruption.
- Virtualization. We run IBM AIX as LPARS on Power infrastructure. All of our AIX infrastructure is virtualized making it easy to scale as needed.
- Their logical volume manager makes the task of managing storage very simple. It is feature complete and they have mitigated much of the complexity that usually is inherent in LVM implementations.
- I have a love/hate relationship with Smit. It is their administrative interface. It is very powerful and very complete which is why I marked it as a pro. It is also a bit clunky and somewhat arcane in its interface but still usable.
- Staying current with open source software such as MySQL, Apache, Python, Perl, PHP, etc. These packages are usually only available from third parties and are often very out dated and difficult to implement.
- Software maintenance is cryptic, difficult to manage, and fragmented. There are Service packs, Technical Levels, APARS, RPM updates, CPAN updates, and each has its own way of being managed and applied.
- IBM AIX could be more security conscious. By default, insecure protocols such as Telnet and FTP are enabled and are the expected interface.
- IBM AIX on Power hardware has been the backbone of our most critical applications.
- The versatility of IBM AIX virtualization has been extremely useful, scalable, and provided configuration with redundant dual VIO servers.
- IBM AIX is not Linux so special skill sets are needed to actually manage the systems. Finding qualified engineers can often be a challenge
The only real comparable competitors to IBM AIX come from the Linux world. Linux is beginning to approach the reliability and stability of IBM AIX and is often a better choice. Linux also has a shorter update cycle with more significant leaps in functionality and feature sets. Linux also integrates much more tightly with open sourced programs by making them easily installed, maintained and updated through simple command line tools such as apt and yum.
While IBM AIX has a great deal in its favor, given a choice between Linux and IBM AIX I would choose Linux for all but the most critical applications, and even then I would probably still choose Linux.
IBM AIX is a very powerful and extremely stable operating environment. It is well suited for applications that are business critical and cannot tolerate outages. It is best used to address large enterprise level application needs where stability and scalability are of paramount importance. IBM AIX is less useful for small enterprises.