Informing the IBM Community

A message from our new AIX expert, Anthony English


Anthony English

When I saw that PowerWire had hit the virtual newsstands, I naturally wondered whether it was short on material about AIX. As it turns out, the editor was more than happy to add some antipodean Unix articles to the mix.

As an AIX techie from way back (I worked on the first commercial release, AIX 3.1), I have been amazed at the resilience of the OS and the hardware it runs on. What surprises me even more is how many different applications and industries I see that run AIX.

You just never know when you are going to see a system running AIX. It could be a mining machinery supplier or a mail-order house. Maybe a hospital handling thousands of specialist appointments, or perhaps a major media company that needs its core systems dealt with.

However, despite its ubiquity, in recent years those of us with a strong background in the platform have found we’ve had to spread our wings beyond being just AIX specialists.

As technology moves mobile in every sense, businesses are more interested in people who are adaptable and enthusiastic about taking on new challenges.

We’re not just technical any more, and it is a rare animal that can still cut a living being platform-specific. It’s not just desks that are hot swappable: sometimes our skills have to be too.

Just as we techies have had to learn to stop talking tech in polite company, we’ve also discovered that other techies from other worlds are human as well. In my present role, I’m sharing a floor with people from storage, mainframe, IBM i and Linux – and the company didn’t even give us our own stairwell for each team.

Boundaries are becoming more and more fluid. We’re recognising that there is a world outside of our own little tech space. It’s challenging, at times unnerving, often liberating and, well, just a lot of fun.

Troubleshooting skills are valuable everywhere and, with them, we’re all just that little bit less nervous when we hear about IBM’s move to the cloud or the emphasis on platforms that we didn’t necessarily grow up on.

In such a dynamic world, there’s a lot to talk about, so I’m very glad to have a ticket aboard the good ship PowerWire where I can do just that. There are plenty of stories, tips and tricks that we’ll all be able to share.

I will continue to offer some ideas in the virtualisation space, with some examples that might be helpful both in AIX and outside of it. I also hope to share some ideas in the wider world of business, customer relations, time management and, well, pretty much anything that I think might help unravel a mystery or ease a pain point.

From what I’ve seen of PowerWire, it’s no surprise that readership is growing. It’s great that it is a genuinely mobile-friendly offering. And it’s great to be on board.

Editor’s note: read Anthony’s first tech tip for PowerWire, Make Friends with the VIOS command syntax.

Anthony English has worked on IBM Power Systems and their predecessors since the first commercial release of AIX. He is a well-recognised author in the field of IT, and has some unique perspectives on technical and business-related topics. Anthony is based in Sydney with his wife and seven young children.

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