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Most popular Unix in production? - Linux / Unix Administration

I would like to know the most popular Unix in production environment. The choice is really between Solaris and Linux IMO, HP-UX is also quite popular but nowhere near as much as Solaris. Is Solaris on the way out in production environments and it is really replaced by Linux or will Solaris remain strong for years to come? I am asking because I know several flavors but would like to get certified and want to go in the direction with most opportunities available, I hear of explosive Linux growth but hesitate to jump on that bandwagon... this is all strictly ...

  1. #1

    Default Most popular Unix in production?

    I would like to know the most popular Unix in production environment.
    The choice is really between Solaris and Linux IMO, HP-UX is also quite
    popular but nowhere near as much as Solaris. Is Solaris on the way out
    in production environments and it is really replaced by Linux or will
    Solaris remain strong for years to come?

    I am asking because I know several flavors but would like to get
    certified and want to go in the direction with most opportunities
    available, I hear of explosive Linux growth but hesitate to jump on
    that bandwagon...

    this is all strictly from pragmatic view point, not nuts and bolts.

    SQ Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: Most popular Unix in production?

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    SQ wrote: 

    What do you mean by "Unix"? Do you mean "an operating system that, by virtue of
    the fact that the manufacturer has acquired a licence from The Open Group,
    carries the 'Unix' trademark"? Or do you mean "an operating system that, by
    virtue of it's interfaces, acts like a one of the de-facto Unix implementations"?
     
    Which is a "Unix"(tm), and a Unix(behaviour)
     
    Which is not a "Unix"(tm), and is sort of a Unix(behaviour)

     
    Which is another "Unix"(tm), and a Unix(behaviour)
     

    My /guess/ is that the most popular "Unix" is Apple OS X, which uses BSD under
    the covers.

    - --
    Lew Pitcher
    IT Specialist, Enterprise Data Systems,
    Enterprise Technology Solutions, TD Bank Financial Group

    (Opinions expressed are my own, not my employers')
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    Lew Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Most popular Unix in production?

    On 27 Jun 2005 10:44:27 -0700, SQ <com> wrote: 

    Solaris has the edge on big systems, and will for some time.
     

    Well, you're looking at it the wrong way. certifications will only get
    you an interview - I've interviewed (and not hired) plenty of certified
    peole who didn't _get it_ when it came to real-world. The real answer
    is to pick one or two (solaris and linux are a natural combination), set
    up a home network between the two, sharing printers & files, and get
    some screen time.
     

    Well, the details make the question either meaningful or meaningless, so
    if you want to "get it", you're gonna have to learn the nuts and bolts
    too. A good Unix guy can sit down at any random flavor of unix and be
    up to speed pretty much right away. The type who memorize procedure
    based on which OS, rather than _understanding Unix_, don't last in the
    field, or if they last, they never advance beyond "1 year of experience,
    10 times".

    Get a couple of boxes, pick a Linux (RedHat looks good on a resume;
    there are better distros but you need to get past HR's keyword filter),
    get Solaris X86, and start learning.

    Dave Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: Most popular Unix in production?

    The issue is specialization. Like High Availability. The
    implementation between different flavors is quite different. HP has
    Logical Volume Manager, Sun has Veritas, and recently Linux got
    something looking very similar to HP's LVM. But still, it's very
    doubtful a person who knows HA on Sun will be able to seat down at the
    HP-UX prompt and configure Service Guard. Once you get to know a
    flavor in depth beyond the find or tar command, you find out that the
    difference between HP-UX and say AIX is really quite big with regard to
    advanced topics. Yeah, methodology is the same, but commands different.

    SQ Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Most popular Unix in production?

    SQ wrote: 

    No. Specialization equals extinction. The goal is
    "being a table". A table has generalization because
    it has a big flat surface that is competent edge to
    edge. A table has *several* specializations that are
    so deep they go all the way to the floor, or one
    extremely thick specialization that's much thicker
    than one product and it's at the center. A good
    table also has edges that fold out or inserts that
    are usually stored in the closet - stuff like good
    enough knowledge of databases to do vacation coverage
    for a DBA or good enough knowledge of networks to
    handle the switches during a datacenter migration or
    similar. A fancy table has a few nice tablecloths
    that is has used to practice several styles of
    presentation. A clever table comes with a chest
    full of assorted serving tools and more than one type
    of flatware: It can serve a BBQ on the stoneware or
    a wedding reception on frilly bone china but to the
    table they're all just dishes.
     

    No they aren't. The differences are cosmetic.
     

    You haven't met anyone good yet. Are you aware
    that all of the clustering products started with a
    common source base? That they all use the same
    principles? That once you understand the principles
    every one of them is just another variation on the
    same?
     

    Variations on the same theme. It takes me entire
    minutes to adjust back and forth among them. You forgot
    the AIX one. Fun point - One is more different than
    the others. Most are rather like paged virtual
    memory but one is like the old segmented virtual
    memory. Extra points for which one and why. ;^)
     

    No, you will find that the advanced topics are all
    variations on the same set of themes. They use the
    exact same underlying principles. Learn the principles,
    everything else is just putting new pages into an
    already indexed book. Fail to learn the principles,
    and every command is a new separate item to learn.
     

    Translation - You have not learned any of the principles
    so you make yourself busy learning each new tool as a
    separate item independent of its underlying principles.
    As a result you can't glance through the catalog of man
    pages and build a new gidget until you've learned the
    pieces in individual detail. This defines the difference
    between a techician and an engineer. SysAdmin is an
    engineering job when done right.

    Doug Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: Most popular Unix in production?

    SQ <com> wrote: 

    You left out AIX, which is also very popular in some circles (such
    as finance, IIRC). Of course, another question we have to ask is: how
    are you counting? We can more or less assume that every SPARC machine
    Sun sells is running Solaris, but I don't know how anyone would know how
    many SPARC/Solaris machines there are in total. Likewise, what about an
    IBM p690 running AIX on multiple LPARs? Does that count once, or once
    for each LPAR? Frankly, the best way might be to look up the various
    manufacturers and see if you can find out how many Solaris hosts, AIX
    hosts, HPUX hosts, etc. shipped in the last year.

    JDW

    Jeremiah Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: Most popular Unix in production?

    Dave Hinz wrote: 
    >
    > Solaris has the edge on big systems, and will for some time.[/ref]

    Though I've worked 50%+ on Solaris for many years, I disagree.
    Sun has rarely pursued the large end of the market. Sun's
    strength has always been the mid-sized systems. Both HPUX
    and AIX comes on hardware that regularly beats the equivalent
    Solaris boxes. The big iron datawarehouses and such are
    where HP and IBM shines not Sun. But the big iron isn't the
    most common type of box, either. That's Sun's strength. They
    go for the numbers of boxes not for getting onto the list of
    the 500 biggest supercomputers. As a result Sun hold the
    layer of web servers, application servers and so on. It's
    where the most hosts are used.
     [/ref]

    Knowing several flavors wins anyways.
     [/ref]

    The best certification in the UNIX field is for Junior
    level. It's only usefull to folks out of college or
    coming in from other fields.
     [/ref]

    Since there's no ultimate difference among brands of
    UNIX that are greater than the difference between
    driving a truck with or without a trailer, so long as
    you know several who cares about jumping on one. There
    are plenty of others to jump to late so long as you
    stay strong across the board.
     

    Certification is Junior level. Looks cool on the resume
    but talk to me about debugging a machine that only came
    half way up after a data center migration.
     

    Know a couple of brands. Get on a team with more brands
    and some overlap. Do some transfers or moves. In under
    10 years you'll be strong across the board.
     [/ref]

    Both pragmatic and nuts and bolts ignore the real source
    of strength. Knowledge of the principles.
     

    Here comes the important part:
     

    That's important. Sit down in front of a brand of UNIX
    you've never seen. Use your knowledge of the principles
    to be productive on day one. The person who can do this
    is good. The person who memorizes will never, ever,
    become good. Not that memorization is bad, just that its
    only a tool.
     

    Doug Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: Most popular Unix in production?

    Jeremiah DeWitt Weiner wrote: 

    AIX has a better history of stability than other vendors.
    Whether that's true this year I'm not sure but it was
    true for very many years.
     

    Count of host serial numbers.

    Count of booted images.

    Total dollar cost of shipped servers.

    Total MIPS of shipped servers.

    All are valid ways of claiming popularity. For years
    Sun held the first two and HPUX one of both of the
    bottom two. Some recent years AIX has claimed at least
    one of them. As Linux gradually moves into the data
    center we'll see on the first one. I doubt that LPARs,
    domains and VMs will make a big difference for a
    while.

    Doug Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: Most popular Unix in production?

    In comp.unix.admin Doug Freyburger <com>: 
    [..]
     [/ref]
     

    ;-)

    Couldn't agree more.

    [..]
     [/ref]
     

    Personally, like the powers of AdvFS + lsm.

    [..]
     [/ref]
     

    Exactly, learn how to master shell + vi + man system, anything
    else can be looked up. Do not forget 'awk', you'll never regret
    it.;)

    --
    Michael Heiming (X-PGP-Sig > GPG-Key ID: EDD27B94)
    mail: echo qr | perl -pe 'y/a-z/n-za-m/'
    #bofh excuse 337: the butane lighter causes the pincushioning
    Michael Guest

  10. #10

    Default Re: Most popular Unix in production?

    Michael Heiming wrote: 
    > [/ref]

    >
    > Personally, like the powers of AdvFS + lsm.[/ref]

    AdvFS is indeed more different than the others. It is
    different in concept. It merges LVM and FS layer if I
    read it's doentation correctly. All the others put
    an LVM layer between the UNIX devices under /dev and
    the filesystems that are mounted.

    Doug Guest

  11. #11

    Default Re: Most popular Unix in production?

    In comp.unix.admin Doug Freyburger <com>: 
    >> 
    >> 
    >>
    >> Personally, like the powers of AdvFS + lsm.[/ref][/ref]
     

    With AdvFS you can move storage from one mount point (fileset) to
    another while running even in a cluster environment with shared
    filesystems. There's a +500 pages book "Tru64 UNIX File System
    Administration Handbook" I can highly recommend if you like to
    dig deeper.;) Tru64 has lsm (logical storage manager) in addition
    as layer between hardware and AdvFS if you want sw raid.;)

    We'll see what will be left from this amazing technology, mostly
    I'm curious what will happen with "TruCluster"?

    --
    Michael Heiming (X-PGP-Sig > GPG-Key ID: EDD27B94)
    mail: echo qr | perl -pe 'y/a-z/n-za-m/'
    #bofh excuse 301: appears to be a Slow/Narrow SCSI-0 Interface
    problem
    Michael Guest

  12. #12

    Default Re: Most popular Unix in production?

    On Mon, 27 Jun 2005 23:41:14 +0200
    Michael Heiming <michael+heiming.de> wrote:
     

    I doubt HP considers these OS arcana part of their
    "core business". The Alpha went to Intel - maybe
    they could give Tru64 to Microsoft?

    --
    Stefaan
    --
    As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning,
    and meaningful statements lose precision. -- Lotfi Zadeh
    Stefaan Guest

  13. #13

    Default Re: Most popular Unix in production?

    On 27 Jun 2005 12:06:37 -0700, Doug Freyburger <com> wrote: 
     
    >
    > Though I've worked 50%+ on Solaris for many years, I disagree.
    > Sun has rarely pursued the large end of the market.[/ref]

    Fair enough. I should have prefaced it with "in my experience".
     

    We're leaning towards linux/intel for our web layer, leaving apps and DB
    on Sun. Economies of scale help make intel blades look nice at the web
    layer, where we don't pay a per-CPU licensing fee.
     [/ref]
     

    Exactly. Let's talk scenarios, or war stories. "OK, you just start
    your job, and find out that a tragic accident involving a hot air
    balloon and a beer truck has left you as the only sysadmin in the group.
    The receiving dock just called, and wants you to get all these Sun boxes
    off of the dock. How do you find out what they're for and what you're
    supposed to do with them?"

    Good answers would include "follow the money; see what cost center
    approved the purchase to figure out whose they are", "Well, if someone
    is dead, then we can go through their desk and email, right?", or "Call
    the Sun sales rep to ask what the deal is". Less-good answers would
    include "Put 'em on eBay", "Re-activate my resume on Craig's List", and
    so on. It's not so much the answer, it's how the question is responded
    to, if you know what I mean.
     [/ref]
     

    Unless you get tied into memorizing details instead of understanding
    concepts, that is.
     [/ref]
     
     [/ref]
     

    Right. Don't memorize the syntax for useradd (or is it adduser? I can
    never remember), know that there is a man page for it that lists the
    options. Also, know what it's doing, not just how to use it. It's
    editing the passwd file, probably a shadow file, making a directory for
    the user, changing ownership of that directory to that user, maybe
    making a group for that user or adding them to an existing group, and
    populating the user's home account with a set of template files. Once
    you know what it does, it doesn't matter which tool (if any) you use to
    add accounts - adding them by hand for a while isn't a bad idea, so if
    something goes wrong with the tool, you can run down the checklist of
    what it's supposed to have done.

    Either way, start digging in & build a home network that we can discuss
    during an interview. I'd be asking about protocols, services, and
    problems you ran into while setting it up and how you overcame them.

    Dave Hinz

    Dave Guest

  14. #14

    Default Re: Most popular Unix in production?

    Dave Hinz wrote: 
    > [/ref]

    >
    > Fair enough. I should have prefaced it with "in my experience".[/ref]

    It isn't even a trend without exceptions. There have been
    years where Sun tried to come out with the biggest fastest
    server on the market and ended up with entries in the top
    500 supercomputers. But there have been a lot more years
    when HP and IBM did that than Sun and Sun has often had
    only a couple of big boomers in their product line. All
    of the major players have produced full lines; it's more
    a matter of where the usual focus has been in each vendor.
     
    >
    > We're leaning towards linux/intel for our web layer, leaving apps and DB
    > on Sun. Economies of scale help make intel blades look nice at the web
    > layer, where we don't pay a per-CPU licensing fee.[/ref]

    Part and parcel with why Sun stock prices have been falling
    IMO. Intel attacks from the bottom and before Linux Sun
    held the workstation market. Intel gradually pushes Sun
    into direct competition with HP and IBM about the same time
    as the SPARC design reaches obsolescence.

    The long term popularity of Solaris does win in the job
    market, though. If we had access to the DICE skills
    registration database, I bet a graph of vendor by years
    of experience would show Solaris beating all others after
    5 years of experience and Linux only beating Solaris at
    under 5 years of experience.
     [/ref]

    >
    > Exactly. Let's talk scenarios, or war stories. "OK, you just start
    > your job, and find out that a tragic accident involving a hot air
    > balloon and a beer truck has left you as the only sysadmin in the group.
    > The receiving dock just called, and wants you to get all these Sun boxes
    > off of the dock. How do you find out what they're for and what you're
    > supposed to do with them?"[/ref]

    Thank you for some interviwing tips. I've conducted hundreds
    over the years, even taught interviewing skills at a couple
    of places. This is what I'd consider the business part rather
    than the technical part and I always cover technical, business,
    leadership, goal orientation and so on in my interviews.
     [/ref]

    >
    > Unless you get tied into memorizing details instead of understanding
    > concepts, that is.[/ref]

    This bears repeating enough for me to keep it in my posting.
     

    When I'm mentoring I type in pipes to do various stuff and
    I watch what notes are taken. Notes that quote what I typed
    are not a good sign. Notes that include the commands without
    the switches are an excellent sign. It's the difference
    between a memorizer who will never advance past Intermediate
    and an understander who I'll eventually see published.
     

    It's a general case not a specific case. Know the how and
    you will forever need to memorize the next how. Learn the
    what and each new how will be quick to pick up (adding users
    with vipw, useradd, GUI). Learn the why and each new what
    will be easy - Networking is just some protocol stack so
    adding IPv6 or Appletalk or ISO is just plugged in some more
    modules, reading some white papers to know what's going on
    and reading some man pages to figure out what commands are
    available and how to use them.

    The why is in books like The UNIX Philosophy or in books on
    toolsmithing like Software Tools or in university CS classes
    in algorythm design and modularity. It becomes obsolete
    very slowly - modular is still as valuable now as it was in
    1975.

    The what is in the better books by Nemith, Frisch and such.
    It becomes obsolete medium slowly. See how many years there
    are between the editions.

    The how is in the man pages. It becomes obsolete potentially
    with every OS release by every vendor. Oh tar now uses the
    getopt standard? Is that good or bad? ;^) No, tar still
    doesn't use getopt, that's just my own dream ...

    Doug Guest

  15. #15

    Default Re: Most popular Unix in production?

    On 28 Jun 2005 09:04:32 -0700, Doug Freyburger <com> wrote: 
     [/ref]
     

    Well, that and the fact that (IMHO) they've made some bone-headed
    decisions. I own stock in Sun & RedHat, and Sun has gone down more than
    RedHat has gone (back) up.
     

    Right.
     [/ref]
     

    I just did some digging and re-found a doc that was used on me many many
    years ago by my mentor Paul Ottenberg (RIP, my friend)...
    http://www.davehinz.com/tiki-index.php?page=quiz
    Some of it is pretty dated, but with a bit of update could be used.
    More entry-level than anything else, I see.
     
    >
    > When I'm mentoring I type in pipes to do various stuff and
    > I watch what notes are taken. Notes that quote what I typed
    > are not a good sign. Notes that include the commands without
    > the switches are an excellent sign.[/ref]

    Right. "I'm going to show you what can be done; you can work out how to
    do it specifically, later, but I want to show you the capabilities of
    the (thing)". If it's "Ah, so you use cpio to do that, I've never tried
    that", great. If it's "Wait, what was after the dash?", not so much.
     

    Yup, which is why that quiz is mostly still good, despite being 15+
    years old in places.
     

    It's still purple, right? I gave my red one away to a friend when
    purple came out. I use it at least once a week; it's net to postfix,
    postfix, perl, and "Solaris Internals" on my desk.

    Take a look at the quiz, and if you think it needs fixing, well, it's a
    wiki - feel free.

    Dave


    Dave Guest

  16. #16

    Default Re: Most popular Unix in production?

    Dave Hinz wrote: 
    >
    > Solaris has the edge on big systems, and will for some time.
    >[/ref]

    I sort of agree. But you have to assume infinite dollars for this
    to be true. I mean if you're running on the highest end Sun box
    that existed 3 years ago, it could well be true that today's
    4-way Opteron would run circles around it... and for a lot less
    money.

    My experience is that people spend a ton of money on those
    high end machines from Sun and usually regret their decision
    because technology updates so fast. Even those who lease, find
    it expensive to move/upgrade... it's often times more economical
    and flexible to run several cheaper platforms.

    I'm speaking mainly about performance... obviously, performance
    is not the only criteria.

    Just as an example, we had anE4500 with 4 processors... I replaced it
    with a dual processor Intel box, we more than quadrupled our performance
    AND the new box was paid for 2 months of lease payments on the E4500.

    We have a couple of E15K's that are already starting to look
    pretty poor. Sure... you can upgrade them... but at a PRICE (a HUGE
    price). Sun's system price is pretty reasonable, but they'll get
    you with the prices on their add-ons and upgrades (about a 4x
    markup).

    Chris Guest

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