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Unix operating system and server updates Q1 2007

Unix operating system updates, hardware considerations and systems management -- a quarterly report on AIX, HP-UX, and Solaris.

Quarterly Unix updates from provide the latest Unix operating system and hardware trends.

Unix operating system news

HP boosts HP-UX 11vi3: New versions of HP-UX come around every two or three years, and this update is jam packed with new capabilities. According to HP, existing applications will run 30% faster just by doing an operating system upgrade. Users won't have to recompile applications. The performance boost is due to improved I/O operations and a 300% increase in multithreading capabilities in the kernel. HP-UX 11iv3 will also come with a massive boost for addressable storage, allowing up to 100 zettabytes (ZB) of addressable storage to be connected to a single system. That would be equivalent to having 355 million of HP's largest storage arrays (XP12000) addressable on a single server.

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Sun and HP have also boosted their Unix security by adding features to Solaris and HP-UX, respectively. The HP-UX security feature is new support for data encryption, whereas Sun's Solaris security update, called Trusted Extensions, allows levels of security to be applied to each object in the operating system environment.

Though Sun and HP have been busy, a recent Unix customer satisfaction survey finds that IBM Unix AIX is on top. Gabriel Consulting Group, based in Beaverton, Ore., said that IBM topped the list on both the technical and support sides for the second year in a row. Sun Microsystems Inc. slid into second place ahead of Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP).

Sun Solaris has taken some hits of late: Solaris Chief and expert Tom Goguen recently left Sun, shaking things up on the Solaris front. Adding to Sun's woes was the recent Unix worm, known as Wanuk, which was loosed earlier this year. Despite these challenges, Sun is gaining back some of its lost market share. Sun also recently certified Solaris to run on HP's Proliant x86 platform.

Unix server news

Starting off our Unix server update is the new line of Unix servers from Sun and Fujitsu, which are based on the new SPARC64 VI chip. The servers were developed and manufactured by Sun and Fujitsu, and will be co-marketed by both companies along with Fujitsu Siemens under the SPARC Enterprise brand. The servers -- beginning with the midrange M4000 and ranging to the high-end M9000 -- are based on the new dual-core SPARC64 VI chip, and run the Solaris 10 operating system.

Sun also just announced that it successfully booted the Solaris 10 operating system (OS) on a prototype of the codenamed-Rock SPARC processor. This should keep Sun on track to ship their first systems based on Rock in the second half of 2008. Meanwhile, Sun continues to improve on its T2000 UltraSparc server line and announced it would put Sun hardware and services on sale. But considering the delivery problems Sun is running into, we'll have to wait and see how that works out.

HP rolled out two new Itanium based servers recently. The HP Integrity BL860c server blade can share the same BladeSystem c7000 enclosure with other HP ProLiant and HP StorageWorks blades. The HP Integrity rx2660 entry-class rack server lists at $4,931 and is shipping now with dual-core Itanium 2 processors.

Things are looking up for Intel and HP's Itanium chip. IDC and HP customers are pointing to Itanium growth following a slow start. HP's Itanium based Superdome just beat out IBM's P595 in a TPC-C showdown.

Big blue is doing quite a bit to update its System P machines. IBM just rolled out SOA-in-a-box on its Unix servers. Additionally, IBM recently announced beta virtualization software that allows x86 Linux applications to run directly on its System p midrange Unix machines, bypassing the need to recompile applications or beg software vendors to port them over to Linux on Power.

For more info, check out our previous Unix update.

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