Auld Lang Syne – IBM Systems Director, AIX 6 withdrawn

Turn the page - Director

IBM officially withdrew a number of products today including virtually all of the IBM Systems Director product line. This is a bittersweet end to a decades-long cross-platform management vision.

Included in the withdrawal announcement are products such as IBM Systems Director, Active Energy Manager, VMControl, Network Control, Storage Control, AIX Workload Partitions Manager, and Flex Systems Manager.

IBM Systems Director

IBM Systems Director started as a hardware management tool called Netfinity Director back in the halcyon “” days of the late 1990s. It started evolving into a more robust systems management platform as the IBM Universal Management Services in 1999, and eventually grew to be a cross IBM platform systems management platform, IBM Systems Director, in 2007.

Ultimately, the “Cloud” killed Systems Director. The concept of a proprietary, all in one, management platform delivered by a single vendor simply did not work in an environment where IT resources are spread between in-house systems of record and systems of engagement that might be hosted by different cloud providers.

OpenStack, a new management approach that leveraged a community of contributors, is much more suitable to managing cloud environments than any proprietary approach by a single vendor. The rapid success of PowerVC is in part attributable to the functionality of its OpenStack roots. OpenStack is rapidly evolving thanks to its huge open source community.

Love it or hate it, the withdrawal of IBM Systems Director marks the end of an era.

IBM will continue to support some Director products for several more years, but the end is in sight.

So long, AIX 6


IBM also formally withdrew AIX 6 from marketing effective April 2016 and from standard support effective April 2017.

I have a special relationship to AIX 6 since it was the first AIX release that I managed from concept to introduction. AIX 6 had many firsts: It was the first release to have an open beta; it included many new capabilities for security and reliability; and a new virtualization technology, Workload Partitions. Even the name the name was unique; known as ”AIX 5.4” for much of its development, I rebranded it to “AIX 6” to recognize the tremendous amount of innovation included in that release.

Although the AIX 6 product has been withdrawn, the innovations delivered in AIX 6 formed the foundation for AIX 7 and subsequent releases.

Other Power Software withdrawn

In addition to Systems Director and AIX 6, there are other older products that were withdrawn including: FastConnect V3.2, AIX Link/X25 V2.1, Performance Toolbox V3.1, CSM V1, and Parallel Environment for AIX V5.2

These products had been functionally stabilized years ago and had few active users.

Software lifecycle

It is always more fun to introduce new products than it is to withdraw old ones. The reality is that eventually you have to throw in the towel and withdraw old products so that you can redeploy the development resources to build new products.

See the official announcement letter for a complete list of the withdrawn products.

P.S. For those you concerned about AIX EE 7.1 withdrawal–understand that IBM rules require that products can only be withdrawn in September or April. Announcements typically happen in the fourth quarter (hint, hint) and second quarter.


About Jay Kruemcke

Jay has had more than twenty years of experience in the information technology industry. Starting from a rather humble beginning at IBM, Jay became a mainframe systems support programmer. Eventually Jay joined the AIX operating systems development team early in that product's development. Jay leveraged technical skills that he built in systems management to establish himself as a member of the IBM Austin Executive Briefing Center. His expertise in systems management with the SAP ERP system enabled his first product management role, as the owner of the Tivoli management product for SAP. Over the next three years he established that product as a success with the help of a strong development team. Jay returned to AIX in a product management position initially focusing on managing new requirements for the AIX operating system. Jay established himself as a subject manager expert in AIX and Power Systems virtualization and became a frequent guest at conferences around the world. Jay succumbed to the dark side and spent four years in IBM marketing in which he introduced AIX version 6 and AIX version 7 and many product innovations including the first every open beta program for an AIX release and a significant restructuring of the AIX offering structure and prices. Jay was part of the cloud software development organization and and focused on managing development engagements for clients deploying clouds using Power Systems servers with PowerVC and related products. In March of 2016, Jay retired from IBM and started in a new role as a product manager for SUSE, the Open Software company. Jay new focus is on enterprise Linux for POWER and ARM processor based systems. The postings on this site solely reflect the personal views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views, positions, strategies or opinions of my employer. Follow me on twitter @mr_sles, @cloudrancher and @chromeaix.
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2 Responses to Auld Lang Syne – IBM Systems Director, AIX 6 withdrawn

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