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Unix in the UK: Mission critical!

Report shows cost worries among IT managers

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Unix is hanging tough

In addition to talking vaguely about blades and mission critical computing, Coleman Parkes asked some specific questions about the use of Unix and other operating systems at IT shops in the United Kingdom. Not surprisingly, Solaris is still the dominant operating system for mission critical workloads, with 29 per cent of those polled saying Solaris underpins their primary mission critical workloads, followed by 25 per cent using HP-UX, 21 per cent using Windows, and 18 per cent using AIX. Another 8 per cent use other platforms for mission critical jobs, such as OpenVMS boxes, Power-OS/400 machines, mainframes, and presumably Linux.

Some shops are looking to dump Unix, and maybe sooner than you think. Some 38 per cent of the IT managers polled in the UK said they would be ditching Unix boxes in the next few years. Another 36 per cent said they are sticking with Unix systems because they are strategic, seven per cent said they would stay because moving off Unix incurs costs and risks (as all change does).

Another eight per cent said they will be putting in more Unix boxes to feed the data processing needs of their businesses, and five per cent said they would be upgrading their Unix machines to "increase agility and minimize sprawl." Only six per cent of the shops polled said they would be reviewing their strategic partnership with a Unix vendor, which backs up my contention that at any given time, only a relatively small percent of any server base is actually in play because customers are unhappy enough to contemplate moving to another platform.

That said, a lot of shops have multiple Unixes already, so it is not really a question of a shop being in play as much as a platform among many getting new workloads or not. Coleman Parkes found that among the UK IT shops polled, 50 per cent were using Hewlett-Packard's Integrity and HP 9000 boxes running HP-UIX, followed by 49 per cent having IBM Power machines running AIX, and 42 per cent having Oracle/Sun boxes running Solaris. Other Unixes (including Solaris on x64 machines) were running at 20 per cent of the sites.

As for who can bring a converged, mission critical, infrastructure running Unix to market best, HP and IBM were tied at 39 per cent of respondents, with Oracle/Sun getting a much smaller 16 percent.

A year from now, if Oracle can show its plans for systems, storage, and networking, Oracle's showing could be much better. For the Sun customer bases' sake, and for the sake of the increased competition that the Unix racket sorely needs, let's all hope so. ®

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