Strategy: Future of Unix

Jun 25, 2010


A New Plan for Unix: Unite Hardware, Software, Management

Unix has a well-earned reputation as a stable and reliable operating system. That’s why many enterprises run high-performance, business-critical applications on a platform that combines the Unix OS with specialized hardware from IBM, HP and Sun/Oracle. But Unix’s future is always a question mark, especially on midrange systems, which occupy the market space between mainframes at one end, and low-cost x86 servers at the other. Unix deployments in this middle ground haven’t grown for years. At the same time, Linux is emerging as a potential rival to Unix in the midrange market, in part because more IT pros are familiar with Linux, and because vendors such as IBM are supporting Linux on hardware platforms originally created for Unix. The fact of the matter is that the major midrange vendors haven’t put much energy into Unix over the years.

Now that’s changing. IBM, HP and Sun/Oracle aim to give midrange Unix systems a greater role in the modern data center by rolling out new platforms that integrate x86 and midrange hardware on the same systems. They also promise to simplify data center operations with a unified management console that can manage x86 and midrange hardware, as well as Unix, Linux and Windows OSs—both physical and virtual.

That sounds great, but the catch is, IT must buy into a single-vendor server strategy to get that unified management system. This report drills down into these efforts to breathe new life into a venerable OS, and offers guidance for IT pros on the potential value—and the pitfalls—that this strategy entails. (S1360610)

Research Report