IS IBM REALLY KILLING PROJECT MONTEREY?

August 25, 2000

FEATURES & COMMENTARY

San Diego, CA — Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols and Jacqueline Emigh report that IBM insists that Monterey really isn’t dead. It’s just metamorphosed into AIX 5L. Too bad Caldera/SCO, IBM’s main Monterey partner, wasn’t told.

Ransom Love, Caldera Systems’ CEO, said IBM’s announcement that Monterey was completed “could not have been an official statement. We have partnership agreements with IBM and it would not be appropriate for IBM to declare the project done.” That stated, Love agreed that many of Monterey’s goals had been completed. He also said that the Linuxication of Monterey AIX 5L was a good thing for both AIX and Linux users.

Caldera/SCO’s take can be summed up as it can see why it is time to wind up Monterey. After all, with the advances of Project Trillian, 64-bit Linux for Intel, there’s little practical point to spending more time and effort on advancing another 64-bit Unix. IBM’s timing and presentation, however, are another matter.

Officially, IBM is saying that “IBM has accomplished its objectives as set forth in the Project Monterey initiative.” In other words, AIX 5L for the RS/6000 and IA-64 is simply Monterey taken to the next level. An executive for another Unix system vendor, however, icily asked, “Isn’t it hard to declare a project over when the silicon IA-64 isn’t even ready for deployment?”

Partly as a result, IBM’s next steps remain unclear. An IBM spokesperson said that “not all the code of Project Monterey will be included in the first release of AIX 5L,” which IBM is calling version 5.0. Conversely, though, IBM has in the past characterized Monterey as a version of Unix based on AIX, as well as an evolutionary step in AIX.

Other observers were even more critical of IBM’s spin of its operating-system news. Hetz Ben-Hamo, system administrator at Israeli software development company, Intercomp and an open-source developer, comments that “more than half of what Project Monterey features that should have been there are not. Monterey is D-E-A-D! Only some parts of Monterey will be folded to the next version of AIX OS.”

“We’re also focusing Linux on a brand new market of people who might not know anything about AIX,” said Scott Handy, IBMs director for Linux solutions marketing, during a technical session at the Solutions 2000 developers conference in Las Vegas.

IBM’s multifaceted moves to Linux go a long way toward opening up the companys commercial code base. This is a far cry from the IBM of old, which once teamed up with Hewlett-Packard and Digital Equipment Corp. to create the Open Software Foundation (OSF), whose sole purpose was to splinter Unix and protect its members respective proprietary OSes.

Within the established Linux community, Linux is having its strongest impact in server-based applications like Web servers, networking, e-mail/messaging, database and file/print, say statistics from International Data Corp. IBMs projections for the next 12 months dont vary much.

IBM has much grander visions for the OS, however. The company sees it as a “pervasive” computing environment, able to run in just about any hardware or software environment. IBM has already started running Linux on S/390 mainframe, Netfinity and RS/6000 servers, in addition to ThinkPad, Intellistation and NetVista clients. A port is under way for AS/400 midrange servers.

Now, under the upcoming AIX RL, IBM will integrate AIX with Linux to create a common operating environment with shared systems management, along with high-end technologies that were supposed to be included in Project Monterey.

In RL, IBM is building “strong affinity with Linux,” combining Linux source-code compatibility, a Linux build-time, and an AIX enterprise environment for running Linux applications, said Miles Barel, IBM’s program director for Unix marketing, also at the conference in Las Vegas.

Advantages of the Linux/AIX integration will include “using your existing servers, applications, data, skills and business processes with little to no change as technology advances,” according to Barel.

Nevertheless, it will take some time to get the same kind of performance out of Linux that IBM currently gets from AIX. One of the biggest problems is scalability. “Right now, were lucky if we can get Linux to support two- or four-way SMP,” said Handy. “Meanwhile, AIX is kicking butt on 32-way SMP.”

Noted Barel: “With AIX RL, Project Monterey effectively goes away.” IBM previously teamed with SCO on Project Monterey. Recently, however, Linux distributor Caldera announced its intentions to acquire SCOs Server Software and Professional Services divisions.

Under a road map handed out this week during Solutions 2000, version 5.0 of AIX RL will provide a 64-bit kernel and device drivers; Java 2 version 1.3 in base; an enhanced JF32 file system; SVR4 technologies; and improvements to TCP/IP and the Workload Manager.

Barel maintained that AIX RL will be the first OS to incorporate Java 2 version 1.3, ahead of Suns own Solaris. Other sources at IBM said the enhancements to Workload Manager will include the ability to manage disk I/O.

The next release of AIX RL, 5.1, will add the Linux operating environment (LOE); a multiserver Web-based system manager; NUMA system enabling and tuning; RS6K Power4 enabling with LPAR; and SecureWay LDAP 3.2 with Kerberos5, also under IBMs road map.

Further down the line, AIX RL version 5.2 will include NUMA and SMP performance tuning; dynamic partitioning support; NUMA and SMP performance tuning; and systems management and RAS enhancements.

IBM has targeted the fourth quarter of this year for release of the final version of AIX 5L version 5.0; spring of 2001 for AIX 5L version 5.1; and the first half of 2002 for version 5.2. The final version of 5.0 is slated to run in both Power and IA-64 environments. For the third quarter of this year, IBM is planning an early adopters release of 5.0 on Power, plus a developers release on IA-64, according to Barel.

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