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Hey, Don't Count Unix Out Just Yet

Given all the attention paid to the Windows and Linux operating systems during the past couple of years, you'd think that Unix no longer plays a significant role in business computing. But the facts tell a different story. The Unix business is strong and growing, and Unix servers remain the computers of choice for businesses that need high-powered computing.

While Windows and Linux may dominate the market for low-cost servers, businesses spent more than $4 billion in the second quarter on Unix servers. Sales of high-end machines (priced at $500,000 and more) grew around 20% in the second quarter, while sales of midrange servers ($25,000 to $500,000) grew more than 15%, according to research firm IDC. And competition among the three major Unix vendors is just as robust as the market.

"A lot of people thought Unix servers were going away, but not only are they not going away, they're playing an incredibly important role in the data center to handle mission-critical applications" such as databases, enterprise resource planning, and business intelligence, IDC analyst Jean Bozman says.

'Unix is far from dead,' Byram CIO Richard Entrup says.

"Unix is far from dead," Byram CIO Richard Entrup says.

Richard Entrup is a believer. For the CIO of Byram Healthcare, a provider of medical supplies that has doubled in size through acquisitions during the past 18 months and plans to double again in the next year, Unix is the only choice for crucial apps like the company's ERP system.

Faced with upgrading its existing IBM p660 Unix server, Byram in May installed an IBM eServer p5-570 server to run IBM's AIX operating system and Informix Dynamic Server database. The machine provided "an exponential increase in performance," Entrup says. "Everything is running 10 to 100 times faster. Things that used to take days now take hours. Things that took hours now take minutes."

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