IBM updates AIX 6 with virtualization, security

IBM on Friday will pull its Unix operating system AIX 6 out of beta and make it generally available, an exec said Monday.

The new OS features improved security management and virtualization features, said Scott Handy, vice president at IBM. The virtualization features take advantage of a hypervisor included in the Power6 processor to ensure 100 percent uptime of applications.

The Workload Partition Manager, included in the OS, allows administrators to create multiple partitions, each with customized memory settings for users and application workloads, Handy said. The Live Application Mobility feature, part of the Workload Partition Manager, can shift applications from one server to another on the fly, keeping applications running as they are being moved.

That is essential to keep a Web server or e-commerce site running, and it makes it easy for IT administrators to move applications during regular business hours, Handy said.

The AIX 6 virtualization features blend well with IBM’s Live Partition Mobility hypervisor included in the Power6 processor, which can move an entire OS and its workloads from one server to another while they are running, Handy said. The hypervisor can move AIX 6, Red Hat Linux and Suse Linux Enterprise OSes.

AIX 6 also includes the Security Expert feature, which administrators can use to control more than 300 security settings. Administrators can create role-based access to applications and set up authentication features for user-based access to servers and applications.

Independent software vendors are working with IBM to make their applications compatible with AIX 6, Handy said.

The OS was downloaded 14,000 times by 700 customers since it was released as a beta in the last week of July, Handy said.

As part of its Power6 processor push, IBM also announced its first Power6-based blade server, the BladeCenter JS22 Express. The Unix blade server has two 4Ghz dual-core processors, an optional hard drive and an Ethernet controller and supports as much as 32G bytes of memory.

The blade server, targeted for high-performance and general-purpose use, will include virtualization features to make it energy efficient, Handy said. By turning one physical server into as many as 10 virtual servers, the Advanced Power Virtualization system can cut down on energy consumption and consolidate servers, Handy said.

The blade server ships later in November for the BladeCenter H and BladeCenter HT chassis, Handy said. Pricing depends on user needs and the chassis, Handy said. A JS22 Express for the BladeCenter H chassis with 4G bytes of memory and a 73G-byte hard drive is priced at US$10,363.

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