Archive for the ‘IBM MQ’ Category

Don’t get caught out by clouds of hot air. IBM MQ builds reliable bridges in a multi-cloud world.

October 5, 2018

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More and more businesses are realizing the value of moving to the cloud. There are as many, if not more reasons to move to the cloud as there are different clouds. Any single business is likely to have already deployed to multiple different clouds, both public and private. And different departments will have different priorities and success goals covering agility, availability, location, cost, or multiple other reasons. Certainly some businesses will be looking for the expected benefits of cloud but want to still run in their own data center using a private cloud architecture.

 

Central to these decisions are the business applications, which are already changing rapidly, benefitting from this new deployment environment. Cloud deployed applications typically scale more readily and may be built out of many cloud specific common services, designed to maximize the positive aspects of deploying and running in the cloud, and not have you running off a cliff, instead of running into the future.

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There are however other important design points. If an application is built solely to use the tools and environment specific to a single cloud, then flexibility and freedom to change will be limited. Around 80% of businesses already admit to using more than one cloud provider, which will see a need for applications running on different clouds to connect together, as well as connecting to any applications still running on-premises. Additionally, applications may need to use functions that are available on multiple different cloud environments in case the applications need to be redeployed on other clouds. And that will definitely be important when it comes to the connectivity mechanism for data exchange between applications.

 

IBM MQ was originally built to connect applications running in different environments, allowing them to exchange data with reliability and security, and to provide a common, cross-platform way for applications to do so. And this is exactly the challenge now being faced with applications built for different environments having to connect and exchange data across different clouds as well and into and out of the on-premises data center.

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A strong benefit of IBM MQ is that all applications can drive their connectivity through a single consistent interface. This not only simplifies the application development, but ensures that the application can remain unaware of not just where it is running itself, but also where the applications that it is trying to connect with are running.

 

As an asynchronous messaging layer, IBM MQ can buffer the connectivity between applications that run at different speeds, and also, with MQ running in every locations, then connectivity breaks between locations, or latency issues can be handled by IBM MQ rather than by complex logic within the applications.

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IBM MQ is able to be deployed as an IBM managed and hosted messaging server on IBM Cloud and AWS, or deployed and managed by customers on any public cloud. And on-premises, IBM MQ can be deployed in mainframes, as a physical appliance, or on servers such as Linux, Windows or more, in containers or in VMs. This flexibility, combined with the persistence, security, reliability, scalability and high availability that much of the world’s leading businesses depend on mean that you can move to the cloud with confidence.

 

There is no better way to bridge between your applications and across the clouds that with IBM MQ.

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What is happening in your business? What are your customers doing? Let IBM Event Streams show you the way ahead

September 27, 2018

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You are developing applications to make your business more responsive. The heart of your business depends on the once-and-once-only delivery of IBM MQ messages to ensure your invoicing, shipment and supply-chain applications can reliably and securely move data between systems, and keep your business running smoothly. But you need to do more.

The world is moving faster, and your customers are harder to reach, and harder to keep. You need to build applications that engage more directly with customers, providing your business with an increased level of insight into their behavior as they engage with you online.

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You want to be in more control and respond to the events taking place triggered by your customers. To do this your new engaging applications need to be event driven and inform you of each action and activity as it happens. Although you know the benefits that IBM MQ provides with messaging, you want to receive a greater amount of data from these new applications as a stream of events, which is a different type of messaging to that provided by IBM MQ.

What you need is IBM Event Streams, powered by Apache Kafka. Newly announced by IBM, and becoming Generally Available on Friday September 28th, 2018, this offering will allow you to build new applications using Kafka clusters deployed on-premises or in a cloud environment. Your applications can now be built to take advantage of streaming event data offering more insight for your business. As an added benefit IBM Event Streams not only comes with IBM’s enterprise class support, but also a bridge to allow connectivity between IBM MQ and IBM Event Streams. You can then feed your applications with activity in your core business applications, as well as your new event streaming applications.

And the place to start is our webinar on October 2nd 2018. Presented by Alan Chatt, you can hear all the details you need to get started with IBM Event Streams. Register here.

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Data in motion is data adding value. Using MQ for data transfer from files as well as applications

September 21, 2018

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Data. It’s sometimes described as the new gold. Certainly, it is valuable. But how exactly does it compare to gold?

The value of gold is that it can be made into gold objects such as jewelry which will have both the value of the metal and have additional value because it has been put to higher value use. But there are also costs associated with owning gold, keeping it safe, and moving it safely and reliably from where it is to where it needs to be. In order to realize the value, the gold jewelry must be moved from where it has been created to where it is needed.

 

What about data? Like a delicate piece of gold jewelry, some people might value a piece of data highly, but to others it is of little or no value. While gold is essentially fungible – as any gold can be fashioned into something, each piece of data is unique, not just in itself but set in its own context. Think of when you are trying to complete on a purchase of a house. An agreed mortgage is all very well, but what’s important is that the transfer of funds happens at a specific time to a specific account to allow the purchase to go through.

 

While a piece of data might represent something, the value of the data is only really achieved when it is moved to the right place at the right time. Having the data held securely in a system is not valuable on its own. It needs to be moved to be valuable. Data is created somewhere in the infrastructure but needs to be consumed somewhere else to add value.

 

This gives us a number of problems with data. Storing it safely; moving it safely; knowing it has arrived, so it can be put to use. This is again similar to gold. You have to keep it safe, and certainly you have to look after it as it moves as well. And if you have made a piece of jewelry for someone, you have to let them know you have it ready for them.

 

In your business you will have huge quantities of data. Data that is being created every second and stored in your file system. Buried treasure. I have already discussed this in here before. So what are you going to do?  You need to move it safely and securely to the part of the business that can make use of it. Probably the faster you move it, the better. And you certainly don’t want to lose it. Or have it stolen as it moves. And wouldn’t it be helpful if as it was delivered to the destination, the target application could immediately be made aware of it.

 

All this of course is handled for you by the Managed File Transfer component of MQ Advanced or MQ Appliance. The name is slightly misleading as it doesn’t move files but instead the contents of files can be moved as MQ messages. This means they take advantage of MQ’s unmatched secure and reliable delivery. No lost messages. No lost data. Your data gold will reach where it needs to go. And it can even be delivered directly to the target application without being written to the file system again.

 

Just as you wouldn’t want to keep all your gold in a vault where it wouldn’t add value to your business, don’t keep your data held up not adding value. Put it to work by moving it through MQ. When you have MQ Advanced or MQ Appliance you can deploy unlimited numbers of MFT Agents inside or outside your business. You can even embed them inside applications you share with your partners or suppliers. And the latest updates in MQ V9.1 add further enhancements to the MFT functions.

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Think of all the buried treasure that has been lost over the years. Don’t let your data join those wasted resources. Get started today by learning MQ or with downloading a MQ trial. Or see what you can do with a hosted MQ on IBM Cloud or now on Amazon Web Services.

 

Not all data is treasure of course. You have to understand what’s valuable. But if it is valuable, then you should ask yourself why you aren’t moving it reliably through MQ Advanced, taking advantage of end-to-end encryption. After all you don’t want to go on a pointless quest with nothing at the end of it. Or find that your treasure has been taken.

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No need to watch the clock with new hourly container-based pricing for IBM MQ

September 18, 2018

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Your business is 24×7 now. No downtime. No waiting for additional machines to be brought online. Simply deploy more containers to handle more workload. On-premises or on cloud, either public, or private, or both.

After all workload varies through the day, across the week, throughout the month, and over the year. If that’s the case, then you are either already adjust or are planning to adjust the deployed resources to match the workload.

Deploying into containers makes this easier than ever. Co-ordinating these deployments into a managed environment using Kubernetes is the basis to private cloud infrastructures such as IBM Cloud Private or Red Hat OpenShift.

But building resources based on container deployments provides flexibility to make use of these assets either in these private clouds, or in public clouds, or anywhere really.

 

If that’s all understood, then let’s imagine a scenario of a workload that is only run at certain times. Perhaps it is payroll or ordering new supplies. But the applications, and their supporting infrastructure, such as the IBM MQ messaging layer only needs to run for a relatively well-defined period of time. And with the applications, as well as the MQ Queue Managers ready for container deployments, you can quickly and easily get everything up and running with the containers started with just the right number of cores to match the expected workload. But how will this be licensed? For transient workloads buying perpetual entitlement might not be the most cost-effective answer. Especially if the applications only run for a short time, or if there are brief spikes in the workload which require a large amount of resources but only for a short time.

 

The good news is that today IBM announced that for IBM MQ V9.1, as well as IBM WebSphere Application Server V8.5.5 and V9 a new licensing approach to reflect this type of deployment, making it easier for businesses to not only gain operational benefits from new container deployments but also cost benefits as well.

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There are 2 main aspects of the announcement. One is that the licensing required for container deployments is based on the number of cores allocated to the container, rather than the size of the physical or virtual machine where the container is running, as reported by the deployed product to an instance of IBM Cloud Private which is monitoring and reporting on this. The second aspect is that this monitoring and reporting will be fine grained enough that the reports will include the number of cores used for the number of hours, and license entitlement will be available based on Core-Hours.

 

Let’s go back to the example. We are deploying a WebSphere Application Server (WAS) application into 8 cores of containers, and this will be supported by 4 cores on IBM MQ in containers. This needs to run on a Sunday, and runs for 20 hours solid, before finishing all tasks, cleaning up all data and shutting down the containers. If this runs 4 times per month, then for each month you would need license entitlement for 4x20x8 core hours of WAS, and 4x20x4 core hours of MQ. The new licensing allows customers to buy blocks of 1000 Core Hours of WAS or MQ. And the included free entitlement to an instance of IBM Cloud Private just for reporting on this usage will allow customers to track and report on their usage against their purchased entitlement.

But supposing at the end of the year things are busier and the workload needs to run for longer – maybe 60 hours per week instead of 20 hours per week, although still the same number of cores. Then each month would be 4x60x8 for WAS and 4x60x4 for MQ – so 240 hours per core in these busier months. The good news is the licensing provided in this announcement includes a cap on monthly usage of 160 hours per core. So although each core used for this workload is running for 240 hours each month, the reporting mechanism will make it clear that only 160 hours of usage per core is chargeable.

 

This new licensing includes support for both the new Virtual Processor Core Hours part, as well as the existing VPC month part for MQ. If you are deploying MQ or WAS inside IBM Cloud Private, rather than simply using it for reporting on usage, then PVUs can also be used for container deployments.

 

You can now get on with deploying and using IBM MQ and WebSphere Application Server to run your business, however and wherever you need. And the licensing will help you better reflect your container usage. Try to contain your excitement!

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MQ Advanced powered by MQ V9.1 – now it’s time for business – join the webinar

September 3, 2018

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It’s early September and seasons are changing. For some, summer is turning to autumn, and elsewhere, winter is changing to spring. Despite holidays ending for some, business is never on holiday. There are increasing demands to improve availability, response times, security and agility.

 

Businesses can’t take infrastructure for granted. In fact, it is critical to the success of the business. Ensuring that IT infrastructure is delivering maximum value is a huge differentiator in an ever more competitive world. And that can mean not being left behind and taking the best advantage of what your infrastructure can do.

 

IBM MQ has been at the heart of many of the world’s leading businesses for years. And MQ Advanced allows businesses to do even more with their MQ infrastructure, moving more data, from any environment more securely and reliably. The recent release of MQ V9.1 provided even more value to customers, especially if they are using or if they upgrade to MQ Advanced.

 

On September 12th there will be a webinar covering the benefits of MQ Advanced and the advances included in IBM MQ V9.1. Simply click here to register and find out how your business can take advantage.

Why the IBM MQ Appliance might be a good choice for your business

July 27, 2018

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I have already written about the announcement of the new IBM MQ Appliance M2002 which is generally available today (July 27th 2018). It is an amazing bit of kit, and already has demonstrated some staggering performance figures.

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But you may well be sitting there reading this going “so what”? Why would I want a physical appliance? Surely this is enterprise middleware software, so I simply build an image, configure it and deploy it on a server, either somewhere inside my enterprise, or in a public cloud. And that is a perfectly valid question. And selecting to deploy software on servers, perhaps in a VM or a container is certainly the typical choice of deployment model these days. And IBM is doing what we can to make that style of deployment easier, simpler and yet more powerful as well. So, given all that, why might you consider and choose a MQ Appliance?

 

Most importantly, it is a choice. It provides an alternative. One of the benefits of the MQ Appliance as an alternative is that it provides a lot of benefits enabling the use of a very powerful MQ configuration without a number of the costs and burdens that otherwise might be associated with such a deployment. And although it might initially look expensive, it is important not just to realize that the price includes state of the art hardware, but that along with that, there are a multitude of benefits which make the MQ Appliance actually a lower cost alternative to many other software deployment configurations.

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Many businesses using MQ have one or more highly skilled MQ administrators, who have, over the course of a number of years, built up a rigorously controlled MQ environment where individual Queue Managers are carefully deployed and managed for significant periods of time. While this is effective, it can also be limiting, as each environment becomes bespoke and dependent on the skills only available in the team and become restrained to the specific deployment environment which is tuned to fit that particular need.

 

Problems in this type of deployment arise when one of the key resources is no longer available for some reason. There can also be significant disruption at maintenance time, and when moving machines for lifecycle reasons. In the same way it becomes very difficult and time consuming to try and add to the system either to provide additional capacity to the existing applications or to support new applications as the MQ environment is very strong, but not very agile and responsive to change. And one of the problems is that with IT infrastructure, change is continuous. Servers need regular attention, with new OS or firmware patches required, and new hardware needing to be purchased and deployed that is always slightly different to the existing deployed systems.

 

The MQ Appliance is designed to provide a very strong and resilient MQ environment, primarily for production environments on premises. And it does this without requiring a highly skilled MQ administration team to design, configure, deploy, maintain and operate the MQ environment.

 

There is no need for what can turn out to be months of optimization and tuning of the MQ environment, as the MQ Appliance gives you optimized Queue Managers out-of-the-box.

There is no need to disrupt operations as an operating system or firmware update is scheduled. With no need to then have another disruption as a separate patch is applied to MQ itself. Instead the MQ Appliance is updated with a single firmware flash, updating all aspects of the appliance including MQ in a matter of minutes.

 

Unlike with servers where each machine might be different, each generation of MQ Appliances are identical, and will have exactly the same counterpart in IBM itself for development and testing of each firmware update. No more differences between systems. No more ‘install and hope’ that your environment is close enough to the supported environments for that version of MQ. And if the MQ Appliances are defined as a Highly Available pair, then both appliances can be updated to the latest level, with no down time, in less than 15 minutes.

 

With the MQ Appliance there is no risk that malware or additional code will be placed on the system as it is completely locked down. The only code that can be added to the MQ Appliance is the signed firmware updates that are downloaded from the IBM systems. And with MQ AMS included in the MQ Appliances, all messages flowing through the MQ Appliance can be encrypted end-to-end, simplifying audits, and helping to protect data from breaches, and to help meet GDPR requirements for data protection.

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Even High Availability becomes much easier with the MQ Appliance. With each MQ Appliance able to run as a self-contained solution with local storage inside the appliance (the M2002A provides 6TB of SSD storage), it is trivial to set-up replication between 2 appliances. This offers a very easy solution to meet high availability needs, with no external dependencies, and literally just a 2-click setup. One of the outcomes of this benefit is that it makes it very easy to deploy MQ Appliances in remote locations, where MQ might be needed in HA configurations, but there aren’t any local skills to setup and maintain a complex network attached storage environment.

 

Imagine therefore you have MQ running today in an existing environment. Your hardware is old and needs replacing, and so you would need to start planning and evaluating for new hardware. Then there is the issue of how long it will take to order and configure the hardware, which is likely to be done by a different team to the MQ administration team. Once that is setup then there is the issue of what is the standard environment for that type of system? What other software needs to be installed, and then what is the maintenance program for the hardware, OS and other software. All that before installing a version of MQ, configuring it, and then figuring out how to move the existing MQ configuration and runtime across, once sufficient testing had been done.

 

Or you can simply select the MQ Appliance. It comes as a choice of 2 models offering different levels of processor capacity and storage capacity. And you can upgrade from one model to the other with a command. Then you install it into the rack, cable it into the network. It will already have the latest version of MQ and as you create Queue Managers they will be allocated a protected share of the Appliance resources. If you want to configure the Queue Manager as Highly Available, it’s as simple as identifying where the other appliance is on the network. You want to have Disaster Recovery as well in a remote site – again as simple as connecting to that appliance.

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The MQ Appliance is a simple, secure, reliable and powerful way to deploy, run and maintain IBM MQ in your on-premises environments. Suitable for consolidating your existing MQ infrastructure in your data center, or deploying new MQ capacity in your data center, or in remote locations. The MQ Appliance works well if you have existing MQ systems, or if the MQ Appliance is your first MQ system.

It’s good to have a choice. Especially if you choose the IBM MQ Appliance, with the M2002 model available today.

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Ensuring your business and customers see you as Highly Available thanks to MQ Advanced

July 19, 2018

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How high is high? If you are considering climbing, then Everest is pretty high after all at 8848M above sea level. Although without the right equipment, team and preparation, trying to climb just 2M can be impossible. But ‘high’ is used in other contexts as well. Like when you are trying to keep a business running these days. If you are then it’s likely the high you may be thinking about is High Availability. Without the right approach, tools and infrastructure you may be trying to solve a problem that can seem to be the same scale as Everest.

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With business becoming more global, and being more responsive to events, and with mobile or web traffic coming direct from partners, customers or suppliers, downtime has to be avoided. How do you keep your systems up, your applications running and your data available all the time? Even when, inevitably, there are failures?

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IBM MQ is a critical part of your business connectivity. It provides a reliable, secure, scalable and robust middleware layer connecting applications, systems and services and exchanging data between them. Making use of IBM MQ ensures your applications can be simpler and more agile, yet more reliable, and also easier to shift between deployment environments. Your applications will rely on IBM MQ persisting their messages, ensuring that messages are never lost. How do you reap these rewards of simpler applications unless the MQ middleware is highly available to ensure the applications can keep running?

 

Having been around for 25 years, IBM MQ understands this need very well. As such it provides a variety of ways to configure and manage High Availability. And the most recent innovation, based on the High Availability approach used in the MQ Appliance is designed to not only offer extremely robust and effective high availability, but at the same time ensuring it is simple to set up and maintain, without additional external complexity: Replicated Data Queue Managers.

 

Many clients were facing the same set of problems: they didn’t like the costs and complexity of providing and maintaining network attached storage, which was a common way of providing high availability for MQ. The request was high availability that was more self-contained, without external dependencies. A way to deploy MQ in highly available configurations without the requirement for an environment that needs lots of setup, with highly skilled resources and additional costs.

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With IBM MQ V9.1, our new Long-Term Support release, customers can now take advantage of Replicated Data Queue Managers, which offer a 3-node configuration, making use of replicated local storage, which make the MQ messages available on each of 3 MQ systems, instead of relying on a single copy of data on network storage.

 

Instead of requiring lots of setup, and ongoing extensive maintenance, MQ itself will do almost all the setup during the initial MQ install. Then, when you are creating a Queue Manager, you simply request it as a RDQM resource, and that’s pretty much all that’s needed. And it’s not just simple in the configuration of the Queue Managers. As it supports Floating IP, when one Queue Manager fails, and another instance automatically starts up on one of the other 2 nodes, the original Queue Manager IP address will move with it, meaning the applications are essentially unaware of the move, and the workload is uninterrupted as the messages and logs had been kept up to date synchronously on all 3 systems.

 

With an additional option allowing for manual startup in a replicated pair of systems by choosing either synchronous or asynchronous replication to provide Disaster Recovery configurations, this new approach to HA really goes a long way to make it much simpler to reach the highest peaks of high availability.

 

There are already a few places to look for more information on this exciting new development. There is a technical blog entry by John Colgrave, along with a GitHub community, and of course the Knowledge Center.

 

Suitable for customers on RedHat Linux on the x86 platform, you need MQ Advanced licensing on just one system node, and MQ Advanced High Availability Replica licensing on the other 2 nodes. Also, this can’t be used with container deployments – but virtual machine images or bare metal is fine. With RDQM now part of the Long-Term Support release of MQ V9.1, you can scale the highest peaks of availability. You are not starting at base camp. You are already close to the summit. Let’s get to the top.

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Complying with GDPR and the importance of protecting data with MQ Advanced

July 11, 2018

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As a business, acquiring and keeping customers is crucial. You need to ensure that you are continually delighting them, ensuring you deliver the best value, and are easy to do business with. And one critical thing above all others is to ensure that the customer can trust your business.

 

Why is this important? A key reason is that the customer is trusting your business with their information, and you therefore have a responsibility to keep it safe. Because if a customer can’t trust you with their information, they won’t do business with you.

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And it is not just a question of customer trust. There is more and more legislation around the world designed to ensure that businesses are taking the protection and security of 3rd party data seriously. The headlines recently around this have been driven by the deadline date for the EU’s GDPR. But honestly protecting your own data, as well as customer information should have been essential practice anyway.

 

Meeting the needs of GDPR, other legislation in this area, and also customer trust isn’t just about ticking a box and can’t be addressed through a single change or product. There needs to be a comprehensive approach to ensure there aren’t gaps in the security. One of the best ways to ensure that is the thought of ‘privacy by design’ as mentioned in GDPR. Instead of having to try to protect multiple aspects of security in every system, you can ensure security is applied much more widely so that individual areas of security and multiple connected systems are protected without additional effort or overview.

 

There are multiple reasons why a business might use IBM MQ’s messaging to move data within a business, or between businesses. Thousands of the world’s leading businesses have depended on it for reliable, scalable, secure and highly available messaging for 25 years. And while IBM MQ is a secure environment, today’s connected business systems, with the challenge of regulations like GDPR requiring demonstrable protection and records of who could have had access, and the need to show removal of data requires even more security. And this is available as a part of IBM MQ Advanced or IBM MQ Appliance with end-to-end encryption including encryption of data at rest.

 

Why is this important, and how would it help protect data, as well as help to comply with GDPR and other legislation? Consider a typical connected environment with messages flowing across many different connected systems. Maybe data originating from a customer will bounce across different business systems as a message: ordering, invoicing, manufacturing, shipping, loyalty programs. Some of these might be with the enterprise, and others might be 3rd party businesses who provide a service. As messages flow, they will get persisted to disk to ensure they don’t get lost in case of a failure. But how to ensure that every system and every disk is protecting these messages without having to be in control of all these systems and disks, which might be owned by other organizations?

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The end to end encryption in MQ Advanced is policy-based and doesn’t require application updates. In fact, the applications themselves will be unaware that the messages will be encrypted between the sending and receiving applications. The messages being sent over MQ will have the MQ message contents encrypted, but the messaging header (properties) will remain in the clear. As each message is persisted to disk in a queue, the contents will remain encrypted. The messages will only be decrypted at the destination application as set in the policy. With this in place, it becomes irrelevant how many systems the message will travel through between source and destination, or even the security or ownership of each system. It can be demonstrated that the message will not be accessible except to the receiving application, therefore ensuring that there is a complete record of who has had access to every message, and therefore it is under complete control.

 

The enhancements to this end-to-end encryption in MQ Advanced V9.0 and most recently in MQ V9.1 (announced July 2018) not only provide this strong encryption that doesn’t require application changes, but also can be applied with virtually no performance impact either.

 

With your business under pressure from GDPR and other legislation, and the need to ensure your customers can trust you to look after their data and personal information, it has become essential to consider the move to MQ Advanced in order to take advantage of this cutting-edge data protection capability.

Update: For more information in detail about the security features of the IBM MQ family and how they might help as part of a GDPR approach, here is link to a presentation by Jamie Squibb on this topic, presented to Guide Share Europe earlier this year.

Get started today, by downloading the MQ Advanced trial, or MQ Advanced for developers or even simpler try out the new hosted IBM MQ on IBM Cloud .

When 9.1 + 3 equals 2002 – the new MQ Appliance M2002 with MQ V9.1

July 3, 2018

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Children seem to grow up so fast. One day they are new to us, and exploring what they can do, but very quickly they grow up, learn new skills and impress us with their capabilities.

 

For the MQ Appliance it was first released just 3 years ago, as the MQ Appliance M2000. Then 1 year later there was a minor update, released as the M2001 providing bigger, faster SSD storage and more 10Gb networking. Now, stepping out confidently into the world is the 3rd generation of MQ Appliance – the new model M2002, coming out along with the new MQ V9.1 software. Read the announcement letter here.

 

So, what do you need to know about the new model? Many of the benefits are the same. It still is very simple and rapid to deploy and get running. And applying maintenance is also straightforward as a single flash image. And it is still MQ Advanced in a box, with the major benefits of MQ Advanced such as unlimited free connectivity to MFT Agents, end to end message level encryption and access to the Blockchain Bridge. But the M2002 model provides some significant hardware improvements that also lead to pretty outstanding performance improvements.

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There are now 24 cores (Intel Skylake architecture with hyperthreading). The storage has expanded with now 4 SSDs, each with 3.2TB capacity. They are now making use of RAID 10, with a doubled RAID cache. And networking has been increased with there now being 6 of the 10Gb network ports. Plus, there are now 40Gb ports – there are 2 pairs of ports, with each pair being able to provide 40Gb in total.

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There are still 2 models available – the M2002A and the M2002B. As before the ‘A’ model provides access to the full capacity of the Appliance, including all cores and all storage (about 6TB of usable storage). The M2002B model had access to 6 cores, and access to half of the storage capacity (about 3TB). As before there is an additional capacity option to enable the conversion of the M2002B to the M2002A without any hardware changes or modifications.

 

The combination of the additional number of SSDs and the change to RAID 10 with an increased cache, plus the increased, faster networking means that operational performance can be dramatically increased. Particularly with HA connectivity being able to use the 40Gb networking to reduce latency of the synchronous replication, increased workload can be driven through the appliances at very high rates. Due to various other improvements in MQ V9.1, even customers with the M2001 appliances will see performance boosts.

 

The 40Gb networking ports can be used individually or aggregated together, and while many businesses will yet to have 40Gb networks, if MQ Appliances are in the same rack, they can be cabled directly together.

 

With link aggregation now supported for the 10 Gb network ports, and with 6 of them now provided, the connectivity is far more resilient than before.

 

In another important change, with MQ V9.1’s release, the MQ Appliance will now move to the same mix of Long Term Support and Continuous Delivery releases that have been available for MQ software delivery. MQ V9.1 itself is a Long Term Support release, so MQ Appliance customers will be able to put that into production with stability assured and only fixes in fixpacks, but then subsequent Continuous Delivery updates with additional features will be available, with customers being able to choose to deploy one or other releases on each MQ Appliance.

 

The M2002 models will only be able to have MQ V9.1 or later releases. MQ V9.1 can be installed on all MQ Appliance models, including the M2000 and M2001. With the release of the M2002, the M2001 will be withdrawn from marketing, and the end of support date will be set at 10 July 2023, so that even customers buying the last of the M2001s will get 5 years of regular support. You can read the withdrawal announcement letter here.

 

Another point to note is that the M2002 does not include the Host Bus Adapter that was used in the previous model to provide SAN connectivity. Based on customer feedback, this is no longer viewed as strategic, and will not be progressed any further.

 

The new M2002 Appliances, the 3rd generation of appliances, will be available later in July, and as before with the previous models of MQ Appliances, will connect easily and seamlessly into existing MQ environments, or be a great way to start out a MQ deployment.

Everyone gets the point. MQ V9.1 delivers the latest features in a Long Term Support release.

July 3, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 09.42.14They say anticipation is half the fun. And one of the good things about the split release approach for MQ with Continuous Delivery releases and Long Term Support Releases is that as new function is developed and made available in the CD stream, customers intending to use the LTS release can build their anticipation for the new function for up to 2 years.

 

Of course, there is nothing to stop early experimentation with the CD releases even though you may be waiting for the LTS availability. But the good news is that the wait is now over and IBM has published the announcement letter for MQ V9.1 and MQ Advanced on distributed platforms here. Also MQ V9.1 is being announced for the MQ Appliance, as well as a new model of the MQ Appliance – the M2002. You can read that announcement letter here, and a blog about it here. Also we have announced MQ V9.1 for z/OS – there is an announcement letter here for the MLC offering, and another announcement letter for MQ Advanced for z/OS VUE and other z/OS OTC offerings here.

 

Has it been worth the wait? What has been the most anticipated new capability? It’s not like a Christmas present where you are not sure what’s under the tree. Almost every feature, function and enhancement in MQ V9.1 has been already available in one of the CD releases, so there shouldn’t be much of a surprise. You can read some of my past blog entries covering the prior V9.0.x releases (V9.0.1, V9.0.2, V9.0.3, V9.0.4, and V9.0.5)

 

And don’t forget than the previous LTS release – MQ V9.0 included important updates that have proved very useful such as the enhancements to MQ AMS providing end to end encryption, including encryption at rest without performance impacts, which can be very helpful in addressing GDPR requirements.

 

However, let’s cover here some of the most interesting areas of focus over the last couple of years of function, and which ones seem to have attracted the most customer interest.

 

There are many different areas of enhancement, which hopefully means pretty much all users have something to interest them.

Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 09.52.28

Simple and more powerful Administration

  • MQ Console – a customized browser based for configuration and operations
  • REST API for admin – an extensive set of APIs enabling new tools to be written using REST HTTP calls, usable across older releases as well
  • Improved awareness of MQ activities and logging – Publishing MQ statistics to Prometheus and Grafana; forwarding MQ error logs to ElasticSearch or Splunk; Error logs output JSON for improved parsing
  • Automation of Linear Logging – simplifying the operations and administration of logging and management of those logs.

 

Supporting Developers

  • REST API for messaging – Enabling developers writing simple applications and micro-services to access MQ capabilities.
  • Additional API and protocol support – as well as publishing a new online tutorial for using MQ
  • Connecting to Salesforce – the MQ bridge to Salesforce allows for the 2 way publishing of information between SalesForce and MQ
  • The MQ Bridge to blockchain – only available for MQ Advanced or MQ Appliance customers.

RDQM1

High Availability and Disaster Recovery without complexity and cost

  • Replicated Data Queue Managers for HA – synchronous replication across 3 nodes using local disks instead of network attached storage.
  • Replicated Data Queue Managers for DR – manual failover with synchronous or asynchronous replication across 2 nodes.
  • RDQM requires MQ Advanced licenses. But with specific licenses to reduce cost.

 

Managed File Transfers

  • Licensing, packaging and pricing changes. MFT Agents are now free with MQ Advanced or MQ Appliance, and both embeddable and redistributable.
  • FTP Protocol Bridge enhancements
  • Improved reliability and monitoring for Transfers

 

 

z/OS enhancements

Many of the updates described above also apply to MQ on z/OS. There are also some additional enhancements specific to z/OS

  • AMS Confidentiality Performance. MQ Advanced for z/OS VUE sees enhancements in performance of this feature in MQ V9.1
  • Extended deployment for MFT – with MQ Advanced for z/OS VUE.
  • The MQ Bridge for blockchain now using the Hyperledger Composer API to build out the connectivity.
  • Connecting CICS and MQ – Java programs running on a CICS Liberty JVM server can now use MQ classes for JMS to access MQ capabilities.

 

AS MQ now moves to MQ 9.1, this time the point is available for everyone. All the features above, and more I haven’t had a chance to describe will be available later in July 2018. Whether deploying in on-premises environments, on physical Appliances, on VMs, in containers, on private clouds like IBM Cloud Private, or public clouds like IBM Cloud, AWS, or Azure, the Long Term Support release now means the 2 years of functional enhancements, tested already in multiple Continuous Delivery releases are now available for more to use.

UPDATE: MQ V9.1 now available as of July 23rd 2018. Read more here.

And there is plenty more to come. Watch this space both for more updates and use cases of these features, and well as future updates in the next Continuous Delivery releases.