IBM's Unix Migrates to Monterey!

Once thought ready for pasture with the emergence of Windows NT, IBM's Unix-based operating system has since earned its place as a respected part of the total solutions mix for e-business. Many of the technologies that support today's Internet, such as TCP/IP, were originally developed on Unix, which first began development more than 30 years ago.

Project Monterey is IBM's Unix-based AIX operating system initiative, designed to extend AIX enterprise strengths to the Intel 64-bit microprocessor architecture. It incorporates technologies from IBM's AIX and NUMA-Q brands, and SCO UnixWare. Intel and SCO are working with IBM to spearhead this effort. Yes folks, "coopetition" still reigns where it makes good business sense!

Just last month, IBM began making the system available in test form (alpha code) to a selected group of software vendors. Tests for hardware compatibility were conducted—successfully—late last year. Project Monterey clearly represents a large investment by IBM's Enterprise Systems Group, which incorporated IBM's Internet Division last year.

So what is IBM's 64-bit Unix strategy, and how does it stack up against the competition? Project Monterey is designed to provide developers with one common set of programming and systems management interfaces across multiple environments, allowing them to deliver their applications across the range of systems most frequently used for Unix solutions—IA-32, IA-64 and RISC—with the smallest incremental investment. So, for example, developers could begin porting applications that run on 32-bit platforms to the new Intel 64-bit platform.

It is all part of IBM's continued push to take e-business to the next level. Project Monterey fits well with IBM's recent efforts to move the Linux software application environment (an open operating system) toward an industry standard; both moves seek to provide integration of business processes across disparate server platforms.

Miles Barel, program director for Unix Brand Marketing and IBM's Project Monterey leader, says Monterey is about providing customers with the flexibility to fit technology to their business, not force-fit their business into existing technology.

Such a strategy makes good sense, when you consider that today's e-business applications often span multiple servers, architectures, geographic locations and company bounds.

What is the migration path to this open source server? There is a natural evolution path between Linux and Unix systems. Core applications on one can migrate to the other via a simple port.

A Linux Application Execution Environment is now under development for both AIX and Monterey/64 that will allow many Linux binaries to run on IBM Unix platforms. By providing this portability, IBM is making its platforms available to a broader set of customers whose needs might be better served by running Linux applications. This compatibility also means that fast growing companies can easily migrate to a more robust and powerful Unix environment.

As I mentioned before, IBM has made a comparably large investment in Linux as a strategic component of its Unix strategy. I haven't seen other vendors doing the same. Competitors such as Hewlett-Packard, Compaq and Sun—all of which develop their own versions of the Unix operating system—appear to be moving away from multiple operating environments and RISC technology.

Barel explains it this way: "Sun focuses strictly on Solaris on SPARC no matter what the customer problem is. …HP has been working on a strategy to abandon its RISC technology‚ and Compaq's Tru64 and Alpha technology have been relegated to the high end of their Unix line." IBM appears to be switching places with competitors that have come out strongly against open standard platforms and non-proprietary systems.

When Intel's IA-64 processors ship later this year, Barel anticipates an avalanche of new applications for the Monterey/64 Unix operating system. Already I'm seeing major software vendors around the world signing up. VARs and Web integrators, prepare for the avalanche. I believe its time is coming. And this initiative is real. Welcome the IBM that wants to satisfy its customers, i.e. THE OPEN IBM!

Related Information:

  • Project Monterey (new window)
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