IBM Unveils Unix Collaboration Center

If you thought IBM was going to rest on its laurels while Sun Microsystems garners attention for its new multi-core T1 Unix servers,
think again.

IBM today opened the AIX Collaboration Center (ACC) in Austin, Texas, a facility where IBM engineers can help software vendors write new applications and middleware for IBM’s AIX operating system and 64-bit Power systems.

The center is the culmination of a two year, $200 million investment of hardware and personnel to improve the performance and scalability of Big Blue’s current and next wave of Unix servers.

For example, software makers will work to create virtualization software that is more fine-grained, allowing servers to be partitioned more than they ever have before, said Karl Freund, vice president of IBM’s Unix server division. They will also work on better automating the systems and software so they can manage themselves without human intervention.

Specifically, Freund said programmers can expect to use software that lets applications be moved from one server or set of servers to others on the fly and without disruption. IBM acquired this technology when it bought Meiosys last summer and plans to introduce it to the market after testing in the ACC.

The ACC will be managed by Satya Sharma, an IBM Distinguished Engineer and the chief AIX architect for the company. Symantec and SAS are just two of the several vendors participating in ACC that IBM plans to announce in the coming year.

Think of the ACC as another strategic strike to help IBM take over the multi-billion-dollar Unix market.

After watching Sun grow share at a rapid clip in the 1980s and 1990s, IBM began the long steady climb up the ranks in the current decade, thanks to its Power chip architecture and highly virtualized, strong 64-bit servers.

IBM has enjoyed
some 14 consecutive quarters of Unix system growth at the expense of Sun, which still leads in Unix sales.

“We’ve continued to take share and grow and find lots of new customers,”
said Freund. “What we’ve decided to do [with ACC] is take this up to the next level because we have a lot of new innovations in the market and a lot of clients are looking ways for exploiting those innovations.”

In other IBM news, the Armonk, N.Y., company today introduced new Tivoli management software that automates the way organizations can audit and report on sensitive information to accommodate compliance mandates.

Normally, when companies or agencies are audited, they must check who has access to each application in e-mail systems, portals or databases. For example, if an employee has access to five different applications, IT administrators must take the time to check each set of systems to gather data.

IBM Tivoli Access Manager 6.0 acts as an “all-in-one audit center” for customers, capturing the data in one centralized location and then generating automated compliance reports. This helps companies avoid compliance violations by allowing IT security teams to control who has access to what application.

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