How to sum up an event like IBM’s annual Impact conference? Attended by thousands of IBM clients, Business partners, IBM execs and specialists, as well as analysts and press. There are obviously thousands of stories to tell. However as I am the product manager for the WebSphere MQ family I will try to cover my perspective of the week in Vegas – which is clearly going to present a messaging-centric view.
So to start with, this was a good conference for WebSphere MQ and messaging. One of the major announcements of the conference was the new IBM MessageSight appliance. Traffic in the solution center was constant with everyone wanting to talk about the new solution in the context of upcoming Mobile and M2M opportunities – and there was much discussion of how IBM MessageSight would provide a secure high performance gateway into the enterprise infrastructure.
For WebSphere MQ this was an important Impact, where IBM celebrated 20 years of WebSphere MQ (previously of course called MQSeries). On Wednesday I presented a talk looking back at the last 20 years of MQ, with a look at new opportunities and then there was a reception with food, drinks and cake to celebrate MQ. In telling the story of the 20 years of MQ it was a good chance to review how IT infrastructure has changed over the 2 decades. and I think a strong case can be made that MQ has been a key factor in the changes. Consider how 20 years ago connectivity between applications and systems was complex and haphazard – and that MQ was specifically designed to address this need, providing a simple, platform neutral API to provide reliable connectivity – and this actually led to a sea-change in the way systems were connected in virtually every business. Today all business IT infrastructure is connected together with common connectivity infrastructures, and although MQ is just one choice, alongside the continued use of FTP, home grown connectivity or HTTP, if any business was to actually draw out their ideal architecture for connecting their IT assets, having a connectivity bus would be the selection of the vast majority.
In discussions with partners, clients and IBM technical experts a number of themes did come up. One was the importance of monitoring what is happening – this is very much seen as a critical part of the solution – at least from the operation and management side. From the other side of the business, there was also a focus on developers. Clearly our recent announcement of WMQ Advanced for Developers was good for this – and there was also a lot of discussion about the needs of Mobile and M2M developers driven by the IBM MessageSight announcement, and it was good to clarify that the MQTT clients connect to both WMQ and IBM MessageSight in the same way, letting developers run against WMQ to begin with, with it being then simple to deploy IBM MessageSight as soon as required, without any application changes.
A further good piece of news for developers was that we recently opened a new early access program called MQ for rapid application deployment – we think this will be extremely interesting for application developers – and you can ask your IBM rep to get access to this program – which should be of interest to solution providers and clients alike. More public news on this to come in the future, I’m sure.
And finally a To-Do for me. A number of discussions with clients were highly interesting as they were all running very impressive solutions that relied on MQ, but they were always keen to know how to improve them, and to look at best practices – both from a development perspective and an operational perspective. Although we have lots of good tools and utilities on our Supportpacs site, and some great documentation on best practices in our redbooks, there is always room for improvement. One avenue for this is our new Messaging Community which is a useful social resource where not only will IBM be providing content, but anyone else can also contribute and comment. Please continue to visit this, and other resources like our Facebook page, and as we produce more of these best practices and other assets, we will continue to make them available.