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What are some issues that come up in a Unix-to-Linux migration?

What are some issues that come up in a Unix-to-Linux migration? Are there networking issues, like with compabitility of network adapters used in Solaris and in Linux? What about problems with compilers?

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Application support may be the biggest step for you in ensuring that your migration will go smoothly. Many applications will just work pretty much exactly as they did on the Unix environment. You will need to be very detailed in your review of all existing applications that need to be migrated. If the application exists in Linux, you'll need to gather as much information as you can regarding migration steps.

The manufacturer should be your first stop. If you're migrating to Oracle on Linux, contact Oracle and get the information that you need. There are a number of white papers that vendors put out to make your migration strategy painless. Red Hat has tons of white papers and case studies on their site to help people during the transition.

Training is another area you'll need to focus on. While Linux is "Unix-like," it is not Unix. Do not try to save money on training, as it will come back to bite you. Many companies, including IBM, offer Linux training specific to Unix administrators. Look at these kinds of courses for your staff.

Regarding the specific question you have on network adapters, you won't be taking out cards from your Unix boxes and throwing them on your PCs. There are all sorts of driver type issues you'll run into. Hardware will be more difficult for you, as Unix people are used to manufacturer support for their hardware. When you are supporting AIX, you are using an RS600 with IBM NIC cards supplied by IBM or an authorized dealer. The drivers are usually already on the box. Sometimes, you may need to upload a patch or something.

It's a different world with Linux altogether, as you are much more free in that open world. You may find it either more frustrating or more challenging depending on how you view things. Compilers are usually purchased today in a Unix environment, where with Linux you get things pretty much for free. You will usually get better vendor support using a compiler from a hardware vendor then a shareware product.

I'm not trying to scare you, but preparation is key.

This was first published in September 2003

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