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IBM launches open beta for virtualization-enhanced AIX

For the first time, IBM launches an open beta for AIX 6 in an effort to attract new customers.

IBM on Thursday released the beta of AIX 6, the operating system for its Unix servers, which will be commercially available in the fourth quarter this year.

In an effort to make AIX easier to try out, IBM for the first time is making the beta available for free to anyone, rather than only AIX customers.

AIX 6 has enhancements in virtualization and takes advantage of the performance improvements in IBM's Power6 processor, according to the company.

The software-based virtualization reduces the number of operating system instances, or images, that need to be managed. That makes it easier to consolidate jobs onto a single servers--a more energy-efficient approach than running the same workload on multiple servers.

Companies can also set up separate partitions to run Suse Linux Enterprise or Red Hat Enterprise Linux on a System p server.

IBM said it improved administration of AIX servers with the ability to move workloads between servers without having to restart them. AIX 6 also has a role-based access control system that lets administrators delegate management of some tasks to end users.

The operating system runs on IBM's previous Power processors, including Power4, PowerPC 970, and Power5. It can run applications written for the two previous versions of AIX, versions 5.2 and 5.3.