A "statement of direction" from IBM has said that a full-blown implementation of IBM's Unix version, AIX, on the iSeries mid-range servers will be available -- but not until 2004, although earlier hints had suggested it might have been delivered this year.
An in-depth feature on ZDNet's Tech Update explains the future of the iSeries.
iSeries servers can already run AIX programs through emulation in a "portable application solution environment " or PASE, but users have been hoping for a complete AIX implementation, running in its own logical partition (LPAR) a technology that allows a server to be divided into multiple machines each running a different operating system.
AIX in LPAR on the iSeries would allow users to consolidate servers, perhaps doing away with little used pSeries machines, or adding extra partitions to existing machines instead of buying new servers.
The feature was not included in version 5 release 2 (V5R2) of the iSeries operating system announced in April, despite hints that it might be. A "statement of direction" is IBM's way of promising something that is about 18 months away.
LPAR has been very popular with iSeries users. Despite only being properly available for about a year, it is now implemented on nearly half of the installed systems, according to Amit Dave, segment manager for enterprise technologies on the iSeries. "We want 100% deployment, and it is now 45%," he said.
The delay to running AIX in LPAR may be an effort by IBM to maintain the two systems' separate markets for longer, and avoid them hurting each other's sales.