I can say I am impressed by both the upcoming
and the new AIX 6 release
preview . They
both are innovative, and come with a large set of new or updated
features. For the purpose of this entry, I will concentrate on a little
side-by-side comparison between the features announced for AIX, and
those available in Solaris.
- The Workload Partitions (WPAR) on AIX seems to be very similar to
the Containers, or Zones, which is an Virtualization
found on Solaris.
- Live Application Mobility on AIX, which will make possible to move
WPAR without end-user disruption, is not available as-is in Solaris.
You currently can
detach a halted zone, not a running
zone. This is due to the fact that Containers is primarily intended
to be a Utilization feature, not a virtualization approach. It can
be mentioned that an upcoming Solaris equivalent may be the
support, although not an exact match to WPAR.
- Role Based Access Control, Trusted AIX, Security Expert LDAP
integration, and Secure by Default on AIX are all already present
via the Security
features and Sun
Java Enterprise System
found on Solaris.
- The Encrypting file system on AIX (using JFS2) does not have an
equivalent, yet. Watch carefully the work currently being done on
OpenSolaris, particularly the ZFS on disk encryption
- The Graphical Installation on AIX already has a counterpart on
Solaris. More, there exists an active OpenSolaris project code-name
Caiman, Solaris Install
Revisited which is a
completely new installation infrastructure for Solaris with a
simplified web graphical and text user interfaces, and Live CD/DVD
- The general Continuous availability features on AIX are interesting,
and based on IBM longstanding experience with mainframe technology.
Solaris currently has a pretty great list of Availability
to mention the impressive RAS features provided by the recently
announced SPARC Enterprise
Servers build on top
of the SPARC64 VI processor. The Dynamic tracing capability
advertised by IBM (probevue) seems very interesting. We will see how
much this enhanced feature will differ from the Observability
known as DTrace on Solaris. Please refer to the ongoing discussion
about DTrace on
dtrace-discuss forum on opensolaris.org.
- POWER6 processor exploitation using AIX 6. It may be noted that
processor specific features--or technology--exploitation are
currently available using Solaris, with a wide range of SPARC-based
and x64/x86-based systems, up to the upcoming Niagara 2
Processor, and the very
- Last, the Binary
program for AIX. Solaris has a similar and rather complete
compatibility program known as the Solaris Binary Application
covers both binary and source code compatibility.
Although this comparison is more an entry point for comparing the two
biggest players in the UNIX world these days than a complete description
of each side, don't forget to take into account the following remaining
- All the features are currently free of charge on Sun Solaris. Even
the upcoming features which will be backported or incorporated in
future Solaris Updates or new releases. This is the Support and
Services which are
charged, according to your needs. On AIX, nothing is freely
available, and some advanced features will be available only
through a separately offered licensed program product.
- Although some specific features are not yet available in Solaris,
most of the aforementioned ones are currently provided by Solaris 10
from the GA release, in January 2005. Please consult the What’s
New page for
detailed features availability on the Solaris OS. AIX 6, along with
the POWER6 processor specific features, will be available in
Last, all of these news from IBM are very interesting, and features such
as WPAR, Live Application Mobility, and probevue are particularly
exciting. So, wait and see!
Update #1 (2007-05-24): Please consult this interesting blog
from Jim Laurent on the same subject.
Update #2 (2008-10-16): I encourage you to read Joerg Moellenkamp
entries on UNIX virtualization
and IBM´s Workload