When you turn on the tap to get a glass of water, you don't think about the maze of pipes, pumps, and valves that bring the water to you. The same should be true of the information systems you use to run your business; they should deliver the information you need, when you need it and in the form you require, without demanding expertise in the "plumbing" of the underlying operating system.
However, your choice of an operating system does have a major impact on how you'll be able to run your business; it can become a help or a hindrance. You should care about your operating system only insofar as it provides you the ability to get on with real work.
AIX(r) Version 4.1 from IBM(r) is designed to support real work for real people.
AIX Version 4.1 is an industrial strength UNIX(r)-based operating system, with roots in UNIX System V and Berkeley Software Distribution 4.3 (4.3 BSD(tm)), and conformance to the Portable Operating System Interface for Computer Environments (POSIX(tm)) IEEE 1003.1-1990. Version 4.1 is consistent with IBM's Open Blueprint client/server computing model, will be submitted for XPG4 evaluation and is designed to provide full compliance with the emerging Spec 1170 standard.
However, while standards compliance is essential, it's the added qualities that make the difference between a lab environment and a commercially viable platform.
Building upon innovations IBM has brought to the table, such as Logical Volume Manager (LVM) and Journalled File Systems (JFS), IBM continues to bolster the industrial strength qualities of AIX. Support for larger (over 2GB) file systems and the capabilities to easily deinstall unused software, optimize the use of expensive disk resources, and take advantage of modern disk striping techniques are some examples.
The enhancements introduced with AIX 4.1 go deeper than new function. The very structure of AIX has evolved to meet the needs of today's client/server environment.
The AIX client and server packaging options let you choose, and pay for, only the AIX you need. More flexible and granular licensing options let you individually select software, support, publications, and media (including CD-ROM) while better matching costs to your usage. iFOR/LS, a new usage monitoring and control facility, is also provided.
These new packaging and licensing options offer potential savings on software license costs as well as system resources required.
Many systems fall down in their efforts to shield the customer from the "plumbing" underneath during the initial installation of the system itself. Here, again, IBM applies its real world, end user environment experience to AIX Version 4.1.
AIX 4.1 installation is faster and easier with Installation Assistant, an addition to the Visual System Manager (VSM) graphical user interface facility, guiding the novice user through the initial installation process.
Pre-selection of necessary operating system components reduces the decision-making and, therefore, the expertise required of the user.
What's more, the system automatically detects the hardware devices attached to the system and installs only the required device drivers to further simplify and speed installation.
Integrating Xwindowing capability with Motif and a new, intuitive desktop based on the emerging Common Desktop Environment standard enhances the system's basic usability.
An optional Wabi product provides access to a number of Microsoft(r) Windows(tm) applications and interfaces that PC users are accustomed to. Also available are 3270, 5250, and 5080 emulator products for users to access various host systems and separately orderable OpenGL and PEX/PHIGS API products to support entry 3D graphics on 2D workstation hardware and on IBM's POWER 3D accelerators.
The InfoExplorer(tm) product provides a usability bonus in the form of on-line system documentation. In addition, the InfoCrafter(r) product can be used to create and add user-specific documentation to this on-line library, thereby eliminating the age-old problem of missing or out-of-date manuals.
Finally, in addition to working with the interfaces and applications they're accustomed to, users across today's multinational companies often have an even more basic need -- interaction with their systems using their native languages and alphabets. AIX 4.1 is enabled for wider internationalization support than ever; further evidence of IBM's continued attention to the end user in today's global enterprises.
While usability is of paramount importance to clients, AIX 4.1 also provides many attributes that are key for a server system:
These features provide all the qualities you should expect in a premier server platform.
An essential link between the client and server systems involves tools and facilities to manage this complex environment. The AIX platform offers a comprehensive set of products to manage all aspects of the system and network, including:
These facilities extend AIX's management capabilities across multiple IBM and non-IBM LAN-based and mainframe systems. The AIX platform provides an unmatched level of coexistence and interoperability.
No group of users is more important to IBM than our existing AIX customers. As such, a prerequisite for the introduction of AIX Version 4.1 was a clear migration path for systems, applications, and users.
For the majority of existing AIX 3.2.5-based applications, upward binary compatibility is provided. Documentation, education, and services are available to help migrate remaining applications where compatibility issues exist.
If you are migrating from the AIX 3.2.5 operating system itself to AIX 4.1, migration tools help smooth the transition.
Like AIX 3.2.5, AIX 4.1 supports common mode compilation, a means for application developers to ensure their applications can be run unchanged across all RISC System/6000 systems, whether POWER, POWER2, or PowerPC based.
AIX 4.1 will support an upcoming new line of PowerPC-based systems, as well as the forthcoming RISC System/6000 Symmetric Multi- processing (SMP) systems. These additions will extend AIX's support over an unprecedented range of processor power, all on a single, binary-compatible version of AIX.
Through the immediate support of most existing AIX 3.2.5 applications, assistance for migrating remaining applications, common mode operation to support all RISC System/6000 processors, and migration tools for the operating system itself, AIX 4.1 offers substantial returns for minimal investment.
For developers, the AIX 4.1 platform offers a comprehensive set of traditional compilers, development tools, and an integrated SOMobjects Base Toolkit to begin exploring the reusability and portability advantages of object technology. With the planned additions of OpenDoc and Taligent framework technologies to its platform, AIX 4.1 will become the premier object oriented programming development environment.
OpenDoc and Taligent frameworks are also integral Workplace technologies. Version 4.1 will become the focus for continued AIX integration of Workplace technologies.
As with any other business investment, operating system technology must be viewed based on its potential returns. For an operating system, the returns can be operational enhancements or reduced costs. These, in turn, can result in a significant competitive advantage for your business.
So the question becomes, what specific benefits can be realized through IS technology, in this case, AIX Version 4.1? Some potential examples include:
The introduction of technology into information systems should be performed with an eye toward the real, tangible benefits it will provide. Applying our experience in information systems, the AIX platform uses technology to business advantage.
For more information about AIX Version 4.1, or the RISC System/6000 and AIX family, call your IBM marketing representative, your IBM Business Partner, or IBM Direct: 1 800 IBM-CALL (1 800 426-2255). In Canada, call 1 800 363-RISC (1 800 363-7472).
You can also call 1 800 IBM-4FAX (1 800 426-4329), and more information will be faxed immediately to your location.
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Copyright 1994 International Business Machines