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Future of UNIX? Do I need to make a move?

RHELRHEL Member Posts: 195 ■■■□□□□□□□
Hey all -- upon graduating from undergrad about 5.5 years ago, I have been a UNIX systems administrator (over three large companies) supporting various flavors of *NIX. From AIX, Solaris, HP-UX, Red Hat, Tru64. After the first several years, I focused more on AIX/Red Hat, and am now managing an environment which is 95% AIX, with just a handful of Red Hat and Solaris servers.

The problem I'm seeing is that even the larger global organizations who love to hemorrhage money for expensive infrastructure are even moving toward Linux and away from UNIX. IBM has been very clear about their direction to support Linux on POWER hardware -- while sort of referring to AIX as a thing of the past that will still be developed.

My issue is that I have dedicated so much of my career this far supporting AIX. Sure, it'll definitely be around over the next decade or so, but I have the next 30-35 years to think about. At my last employer, I was on track for completing the RHCSA/RHCE certifications, though my current environment now has such a small Linux presence that it's difficult to justify sending me to Red Hat training instead of IBM.

My biggest fear is that I will have dedicated all of my experience toward a platform that will some day become extinct. Do I need to make a move? Should I be worried?

Career-wise, I think that I see myself moving more toward a UNIX/Linux based security architect/consultant type role... My thought is that I stay put where I am at -- I am happy, gainfully employed, and am fairly compensated; however, that I should be focusing my spare time on Red Hat and Security certs...

What do you guys think? Are my concerns legitimate?

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    ExpectExpect Member Posts: 252 ■■■■□□□□□□
    The transition from UNIX to Linux should be really easy for you, I think you have nothing to be worried about.
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    VeritiesVerities Member Posts: 1,162
    As Expect said, with your experience you should be fine. It never hurts to get certified, especially in RedHat since its in such high demand and a lot of companies are using it now. Even if you're trying to grow in place at your current job, nothing shows that more than getting certified.
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    XavorXavor Member Posts: 161
    If you're concerned, just knock out a Red Hat cert or two to pad the resume and diversify. My last contract was Solaris-based, and now I'm working with Linux. The last three jobs have been jack-of-all-trades positions where they need to you work on whatever burns that day.
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    jdancerjdancer Member Posts: 482 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Just pay for your RHEL certs. Can always deduct it from your taxes. Can't go wrong leveraging your background into security. While you are at it, go ahead and get up to speed in virtualization.
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    UnixGuyUnixGuy Mod Posts: 4,567 Mod
    Your career is similar to mine, I was a pure Solaris guy. Worked for SUN, did all the training for all SUN products (including storage and all their hardware really), was a certified instructor...etc.


    Look, people have different opinions; here's mine:
    The market is getting worse. The money I was making as a mid-level Solaris engineer is less than the money those Senior Linux/DevOps are making, and I can see salaries going down.
    Also, the list of requirements doesn't end. It's all about the new cool hip tool (whether it makes sense or not). So many developers are jumping the ship and configuring servers with a click (think devops). This is not a career that I want to stay in.

    You have to learn puppet, then maybe something else. You might have to learn OpenStack, TheForeman, Ruby on rails...depends on your cool team leader. Also, it makes a huge financial sense to outsource everything to the cloud, so you might have to work for a cloud service provider (and become a cloud architect..keep in mind that less people will be required to do the same job in 5 yrs time). You also need to learn MySQL at some point....(not sure how much, depends on the role).

    Career options? I say go to the architecture side as quick as possible. I went to the security side, and kind of starting from the bottom, but it's alright. At the end of the day, it's just a job. Even Storage is not a safe choice now, things are going to the cloud rapidly, and there will be LESS people needed.


    PS: before I get flamed...YES I KNOW, service providers need staff to run the cloud, my point is that they need FEWER people (and count on them paying them less).
    Certs: GSTRT, GPEN, GCFA, CISM, CRISC, RHCE

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    networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    Agree with the fewer people part, but service providers pay a lot better than most enterprises in my experience. The people are usually way more technical as well which probably has a lot to do with it.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
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    tt0000tt0000 Member Posts: 15 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Expect wrote: »
    The transition from UNIX to Linux should be really easy for you, I think you have nothing to be worried about.
    ^^ This right here. There is $$$ still to be made especially if you are in AIX or Linux or Z Linux- Mainframe. These areas are not going anywhere for awhile (probably in 100 years but I will be dead so it won't matter then) . I still see a big presence of AIX out there and it will be for sometime. I am a Unix /Linux admin as well. Started off with Solaris /Aix then ended up in Linux (Red Hat) .The transition is easy especially if you already know command line. Just make sure you keep your hands on a linux box whether it is Ubuntu, Red Hat , or SUSE. Take the cert on your own for Red Hat RHSCA or RHCE if you wish but not really necessary when you got the years of experience to back it and can prove your knowledge about it.
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    tt0000tt0000 Member Posts: 15 ■□□□□□□□□□
    UnixGuy wrote: »
    Your career is similar to mine, I was a pure Solaris guy. Worked for SUN, did all the training for all SUN products (including storage and all their hardware really), was a certified instructor...etc.


    Look, people have different opinions; here's mine:
    The market is getting worse. The money I was making as a mid-level Solaris engineer is less than the money those Senior Linux/DevOps are making, and I can see salaries going down.
    Also, the list of requirements doesn't end. It's all about the new cool hip tool (whether it makes sense or not). So many developers are jumping the ship and configuring servers with a click (think devops). This is not a career that I want to stay in.

    You have to learn puppet, then maybe something else. You might have to learn OpenStack, TheForeman, Ruby on rails...depends on your cool team leader. Also, it makes a huge financial sense to outsource everything to the cloud, so you might have to work for a cloud service provider (and become a cloud architect..keep in mind that less people will be required to do the same job in 5 yrs time). You also need to learn MySQL at some point....(not sure how much, depends on the role).

    Career options? I say go to the architecture side as quick as possible. I went to the security side, and kind of starting from the bottom, but it's alright. At the end of the day, it's just a job. Even Storage is not a safe choice now, things are going to the cloud rapidly, and there will be LESS people needed.


    PS: before I get flamed...YES I KNOW, service providers need staff to run the cloud, my point is that they need FEWER people (and count on them paying them less).

    I am not sure where you are located but the Unix / Linux market is not getting worse from what I have seen since this spring. I disagree storage is not going away it is used in the cloud . Someone will have to manage it and add more when it is maxed out. Also everything will not be going into the cloud just yet due to some companies having restrictive regulations (Federal, Healthcare, Banking and so on) on what can be allowed in the cloud and some applications just don't perform well in the cloud & require physical hardware for top performance. If you are not stagnant I don't see how your salary is going down. Mines have been steadily increasing over the years but I am always learning new things . I usually focus on 3 top demand skills & apps that go in tow with Linux/Unix ( Middleware, Vmware, DB ) and become an expert in them to go with my Linux/Unix skills. If you have the right skills you will always be in high demand and can name your price in this field.
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    gespensterngespenstern Member Posts: 1,243 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Korn shell and bash which is typical for linux have a lot in common. I don't see how AIX admin can get lost in Linux world.

    If you have a large PowerVM infrastructure at work why don't you use some modern systems to install and play with RedHat in test environment?

    Another possibility is switching to DBA over time cause Oracle is probably number one software that is run on AIX.

    Overall, I agree that IBM tech is declining from bottom to top, but I'd say it's somewhat sticky and not that easy to get rid of so I'm pretty sure that you have plenty of time ahead of you.

    Of course you've heard that IBM recently "sold off" their Power Systems manufacturing business to Global Foundries. I put it in quotes because Global Foundries hasn't paid anything, but instead, IBM gave a lot of money to them to run this business. What a deal, man. Plus, they shrink for I don't know how many quarters in a row and recently blew off their goal to get $20 per share in 2015 despite layoffs and divestures.
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