Analysts at International Data Corporation (IDC) posted a press release Wednesday highlighting the rapid decline of IBM's AIX and P-Series hardware. Along side the drop in proprietary Unix systems is an associated rise in sales of X86 servers running Linux. IBM has clearly identified this as a long term trend, investing $1 billion dollars in Linux development on Power systems. With the reported 20% drop in sales, the writing may finally be on the wall for AIX.
I've had the dubious pleasure of administering both AIX and Linux systems for the past several years, and if I could pick and choose, I would take the flexibility and ease of use of Linux and the stability of Power. In my experience, AIX is difficult to set up, and difficult to change after it is set up, but once it is up and running it just runs. A properly configured AIX server can run for years without intervention, but when that time for modification comes, which it always does, prepare for a long hard slog. By contrast, Linux has become exponentially easier to manage over the years, thanks to the contributions of thousands of developers and sysadmins, as well as the contributions of big name corporations.