Since its launch in 1986, IBM AIX® has been the platform of choice for organizations around the world in complex, highly regulated industries such as banking, finance, government and healthcare, as well as manufacturing. AIX offers the security and scalability required to run mission-critical applications with exceptional reliability and return on investment. IBM actively supports and develops this platform to ensure it can meet the emerging demands of today’s fast-evolving IT landscape.
Developing a clear picture of exactly how AIX is deployed and the types of initiatives it supports is valuable to the community of IT professionals who work with it every day. The AIX Community Survey, now in its fifth consecutive year, goes in-depth with IT teams to gain a unique perspective into how this platform is being used today and how teams envision using it in the future. Over the years, the respondents of the survey have expanded to include a variety of industries, geographies, and titles within IT. More than 100 IT professionals in North America, EMEA, and APAC participated in this year’s survey, and this input enables all of us to understand the role of AIX with new clarity. This report includes the results of this feedback as well as insights on what it means for the AIX ecosystem.
The 2021 AIX Community Survey underscored the continued reliance on this proven platform when it comes to running core business applications such as ERP, financial programs, CRMs, and the like. Forty-three percent of respondents run at least 50% of their core applications on AIX, and 30% run between 25% and 50%. These include Oracle, SAP, and SAS—used for big data workloads in the financial, government, healthcare, and manufacturing industries—as well as homegrown applications.
When asked to evaluate the ROI of their AIX servers against other options, 90% believe AIX to deliver superior ROI, up from 83% in 2020. Clearly, AIX administrators trust this platform to deliver when it comes to reliability, cost, efficiency, and scalability.
As IT professionals use AIX in many different ways, there’s not a single challenge that rises far above all others. Rather, there’s an even array of concerns, with the need to modernize applications (44%), achieve high availability/disaster recovery (43%), and implement automation/RPA/workload automation (38%) appearing as the top three.
Interestingly, 30% of respondents listed cybersecurity as a top challenge for AIX, making it the seventh-highest concern. This may be because they feel they have effective security solutions in place, or because they don’t believe AIX is prone to cyberattack given ransomware more often targets Windows and Linux. When asked specifically about cybersecurity, more than half of participants indicated the lack of security knowledge and skills is a key challenge (up from 44% in 2020). In fact, 8% of respondents said there wasn’t a single dedicated cybersecurity resource on their staff.
Thirty-three percent of respondents were concerned with the level of AIX skills within their organization. In the 2020 survey, 51% of respondents had more than 16 years of experience with AIX compared to 39% in 2021. These resources could be retiring or possibly laid off due to COVID-19. Fortunately, AIX administrators will have the opportunity to address this knowledge gap with the return of the AIX Certification Program in 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc for businesses around the world, and the survey delved into the ramifications in several areas. With AIX and the flexible consumption models available through Power Private Cloud with Dynamic Capacity, IT professionals were likely able to ramp up quickly to meet the extra capacity demands from surging workloads. However, 38% of respondents said provisioning new infrastructure such as POWER servers has been a challenge, while 36% are concerned with security due to the rise in remote access of company networks. The rise in concern about automation capabilities (21% in 2020 to 38% in 2021) may also reflect the need to support a remote and/or reduced workforce with more efficient, intelligent tools.