Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Simpler and cheaper – MQ MFT changing for your benefit

June 2, 2015

Change is always with us. IT infrastructure needs are changed. Application needs change. Skills profiles change. Even workloads and expected response times change. These changes we see in the market drive how we view our products. We frequently update MQ products, perhaps too frequently for some of our customers. As well as adding to and updating the functions and capabilities of MQ, we also try to update or change the packaging and the pricing of our various MQ offerings. We do this to try to respond to the changing needs of the market and the feedback we get from our customers.

As a way of describing this process, we have been recently talking about the different deployment choices available for IBM MQ. Check out this recent webcast on this.

The fundamental thought here is that your business should be able to use the value that MQ provides; however you choose to deploy MQ and consume it. The presentation in the webcast highlights a number of different ways in which your business might want to deploy MQ. This could be maybe reviewing the new MQ Appliance as a deployment choice, deploying the complete MQ set of capabilities using MQ Advanced or seeing whether you want to deploy and use IBM MQ in the cloud – whether that is a public cloud like Microsoft Azure or IBM SoftLayer, or a private/hybrid cloud infrastructure running on your own hardware on-premise, using something such as IBM PureApplication.

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Going back to MQ Advanced, IBM announced on May 26th 2015, slightly new packaging and pricing for MQ Advanced. Included in this announcement were also various MQ Managed File Transfer parts. These parts were updated to reflect the needs of our customers – given their growing use of using Managed File Transfer with MQ.

As Senior Product Manager for IBM Messaging I talk to many customers through the year, and one of the constant pieces of feedback I get is about the ever-present need for better handling of file transfers. This is an area where every business has a solution, or 2, or 3 today. No one is happy with their existing offering, and most, even if they are existing MQ customers, are unaware that MQ can help.

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MQ’s Managed File Transfer solution can read data from a file, and send it as a MQ message over the MQ network. Once received on the remote system, the MQ MFT solution can then recreate the original file, achieving the movement of the file with greater security and reliability thanks to IBM MQ. This can help to address many of the issues businesses have with moving files, while also simplifying their infrastructure and consolidating on MQ. After initially using MQ MFT to move files, many businesses then take the next step to make use of one of the unique points of MQ MFT which is ‘file to message’ movement. As the file contents are moved as MQ messages, this data can then be directly consumed as MQ messages – meaning that the file contents don’t need to be written back as a file, identified, and then read in again. Instead the data can be delivered directly to the application as a MQ message.

The May 26th announcement simplified the packaging and lowered the pricing for how customers could purchase the MQ MFT capability – either as an extension to existing MQ licenses or as part of the MQ Advanced bundle. The MQ Appliance can also be a part of a MQ Managed File Transfer solution – acting as the co-ordination Queue Manager to allow the MQ MFT Agents to send and receive the file data as MQ messages. With  more and more MQ customers choosing to use and deploy MQ MFT we are changing the packaging to ensure they can do this more cheaply by removing the Connect:Direct and Control Center products we had bundled in as they haven’t been used as widely as the MQ MFT capabilities.

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Don’t forget that if you buy the MQ Advanced offering you not only get the MQ MFT Service part but also the MQ AMS capability for end-to-end encryption. This has also been a hot topic of conversation with customers and if you want to know more you can read my previous blog about it here.

How is the new IBM MQ Appliance different from a BBQ?

February 17, 2015

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When I am eating at home I really love to BBQ. However, living in the UK, we don’t always have the perfect weather to enjoy BBQs, especially when you have a charcoal BBQ. It mustn’t be windy, and you really don’t want it too cold, or rainy. So conditions have to be right, and then there is the issue of whether you have enough charcoal, can you start it ok, do you have the right food to cook on it? And if you are cooking on it will you have enough fuel on to cook everything you need, or will you have to add charcoal in the middle of cooking?

So although I would generally prefer to cook and eat on the BBQ, it is far simpler on the whole to cook in the ovens in the kitchen. They are there and ready, rain or shine, up to temperature in a few minutes, and able to cook pretty much any type of food quickly and simply. And you know what – once you get to understand your oven, you can get it to produce food pretty much as good as the BBQ. In most cases a lot more reliable and certainly a lot quicker and cleaner. I have a pair of ovens – so I can ‘hot-swap’ between them!

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If you need enterprise messaging, then maybe you are in the same dilemma? You know you need enterprise messaging – but the amount of effort you find it takes to install it and deploy it on a system if too high to think about using it everywhere. So you limit use to just your enterprise datacentre. But then there is the problem of keeping it up to date once you have it on multiple different machines, all of them running your business. What you need is a solution where you can just switch on – much like an oven.

IBM is really happy to announce today a new offering – the IBM MQ Appliance. With this you get all the enterprise messaging benefits of IBM MQ V8 – but in a state of the art physical appliance. No more having to configure and maintain a separate physical server and then install IBM MQ. The MQ Appliance is designed to be unboxed and up and running in less than 30 minutes, making it faster and simpler for new MQ messaging capacity to be available wherever you need it.

We anticipate the MQ Appliance will be welcomed in the enterprise datacentre where a highly capable appliance will be able to process high MQ messaging workloads in a single physical footprint, and with not just a simple deployment process but far easier maintenance, with fixes for both MQ and the firmware delivered together as a single firmware flash, allowing you to keep your appliance up to date quickly and simply, knowing the fixpack has been tested by IBM on exactly the same hardware.

Another anticipated use case will be outside the enterprise datacentre, such as in remote locations where there is a need for MQ Queue Managers but no local MQ skills on site to setup or maintain the MQ environment. This could be a factory, branch office, warehouse, or a business partner. Now, if a MQ Appliance is shipped out to the location, it can simply be unboxed, plugged in, and have any further administration done remotely.

Appliances can be deployed in a High Availability pair, with persistent messages mirrored from one appliance to the other, to ensure continuity of workload in the case of failure, without any complex setup or external storage dependencies. A pair of appliances work even more seamlessly than my pair of ovens pictured above – with queue managers starting up and processing work automatically, with no marooned messages.

The appliance is built using the experience of the IBM DataPower appliances to ensure that you can depend on it for your enterprise, but it focuses on delivering just an optimized MQ experience. No tuning is needed to get the best performance out of the MQ Appliance. And a new browser based tool, the MQ Console, provides a customized interface for monitoring and configuring MQ on the appliance.

The MQ Appliance will be available on March 13, 2015, and will be available as the M2000A, and the M2000B – 2 price points to meet different message throughput needs in the market. You can read the announcement letter here. Visit the webpage. And feel free to talk to your IBM rep or selected business partners about it today. Why not come and see us and the IBM MQ Appliance in person at IBM InterConnect 2015, in fabulous Las Vegas. We even have a video posted on YouTube of me talking briefly about the MQ Appliance. We don’t do that everyday!

I will admit, that as good as it is, the MQ Appliance isn’t a great way to cook ribs, burgers or steak. For that, I’ll pick my BBQ.

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IBM MQ Light – What’s in a name?

October 3, 2014

“A picture paints a thousand words”. A well-known phrase. Undoubtedly true, but a single word can be critical. Change a single word and the meaning of a sentence, a paragraph, maybe a whole book or more could be altered. So what about IBM MQ Light? Is it MQ, but Light? And what does Light mean in this case?
We see the description ‘Light’ every day. Some product advertises itself as “Light – all the flavour, half the fat”. You know the sort of thing. So does it apply to IBM MQ Light? How does this new product compare to IBM MQ itself?
Well, I would say that maybe the best way to think of it, is not IBM MQ but “Light”, but rather IBM MQ for those “Lightbulb” moments, such as when Archimedes shouted “EUREKA!”.

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IBM MQ after all already delivers the benefits of messaging to millions of applications running in tens of thousands of businesses around the world. I have described some of those benefits on these pages already. It does this primarily for enterprise critical applications, written in C, Java or even COBOL, dealing with Systems of Record. These applications handle business critical transactions, moving key customer and enterprise data between applications systems and services. And it makes a lot of sense to ensure these applications, and the associated data can benefit from IBM MQ’s reliability, robustness, security and scalability. After all if you are moving and updating business transactions, you want to scale, be secure, and be highly available.
However, there are many millions more applications that don’t face the same requirements, but yet are still critically important to the business. Maybe the app helps the business interact with customers with more immediacy. Maybe it shares information more widely with partners. Maybe it is building brand awareness or promoting the business across different platforms and devices. These type of apps are written by a different type of developer, using different languages, for very different purposes to the more traditional application that works with the systems of record. These are unlikely to be updating business critical information systems or processing transactions, although they will need to interact with existing systems. So maybe they don’t need everything that IBM MQ has to offer. But does that mean they don’t need anything that IBM MQ has to offer?
Messaging as provided by IBM MQ, does after all benefit program architecture and operation. Applications can be simpler. Applications producing and consuming data at different rates can be easily buffered. And aspects of security can be built in. Along of course with the ability to connect and exchange data across different systems, even if one application is down.
If messaging can bring all these benefits, why would the programmers of all applications not use it, when there is a widespread and well proven technology like IBM MQ? We have already called out many of the reasons. The developers are a different set of people, with different skills, and code in languages that IBM MQ doesn’t natively support. And IBM MQ is designed around the needs of those critical business transactions. That doesn’t mean that it can’t handle simpler needs, but if you are not familiar with using IBM MQ, there can seem to be a lot more options in the API to deal with than maybe are needed for a different, more straightforward use case. So why not produce a messaging product, which takes everything from IBM MQ that would be useful to this new set of developers, but presents it to them with a simpler API, more in line with the restricted needs of the type of applications they are producing. This is what IBM has done with IBM MQ Light.
IBM MQ Light is a new and different messaging product from IBM. It aims to bring the benefits of messaging to a new set of developers building the latest applications for a rapidly changing world.
The goals of MQ Light are as follows:
• Provide messaging that application developers will love to use
• Help applications be responsive and scale to meet demand
• Make it easy to get access to the code and to start to use it – simply download, unzip, use
• Run on premise or on Bluemix in the cloud
• Offer simple, open APIs in a mix of popular scripting languages
• A new breed of tooling to ensure developers know what is happening to their messages
You can see by these goals, this is something new. And also MQ Light is not trying to be an alternative to IBM MQ. It is very different. It focuses on the needs of the new developers. And in keeping simple, it means that it doesn’t provide some of the key characteristics of IBM MQ. There is no clustering, no high availability, and no transaction support. If your application is likely to need those functions, then the right choice should be IBM MQ. If however your application doesn’t need any of those, but it still could benefit from messaging, allowing it to buffer and scale workload, respond to events, schedule actions or queue responses, then MQ Light may be a good match for them and their developers.
For development use, MQ Light is of course free to download, and is available on Windows and Linux for x86 or Mac OS X. Once applications are developed and ready to be put in production, they can be run on premise in the MQ Light runtime (payable per Install), or deployed using MQ Light in Bluemix (payable per Message). And in the future, as mentioned in the IBM MQ V8 announcement letter, there will be the ability to run MQ Light applications in IBM MQ itself.
All in all, enough to make a lightbulb go off in anyone’s head. If it is going on in yours – check out the MQ Light webcast to learn more. Or even better download it today and be using it in a few minutes.

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IBM announces IBM MQ V8

April 22, 2014

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There are some things that come around every day. Good things, like new business and new customers. Other daily occurrences are not so good, like hardware failures, network problems, or security fixes to apply. Then there are some things that come around much less frequently, but they are worth waiting for. Good days like when a new version of IBM MQ is announced. Days like today.

That’s right. At IBM we are happy to announce IBM MQ V8. You can read the announcement letters here: Click here for the announcement letter for IBM MQ V8 on distributed platforms. Click here for the announcement letter for IBM MQ for z/OS V8. And click here for the announcement letter for the various IBM MQ V8 offerings on z/OS with a One Time Charge pricing metric.

There are a lot of new capabilities, and plenty of enhancements and improvements included in the announcements. At this point I will just call out a few of the high level items, and leave myself plenty of opportunity to come back on subsequent blogs and dive a little deeper into some of the new and improved areas.

Let’s start with one of the changes that maybe either big or small depending on your perspective. We are starting, with this version, to call this product IBM MQ, as opposed to WebSphere MQ, mirroring a change you may have seen in some other products in recent years. After all MQ connects your entire infrastructure, so referring to it as IBM MQ rather than WebSphere MQ is perhaps more indicative of that breadth of coverage. It does of course continue to work with all the previous releases of WebSphere MQ, and in fact when you order it and install it, you will still see it as WebSphere MQ, but over time, expect changes in the product to reflect the new branding, while continuing to deliver the same robust messaging infrastructure.

So what else is new? Plenty of course has changed for the better, and many of the changes can be grouped as enhancements to boost both security and scalability, improving support for standards, and also doing more to exploit the hardware being used. This changes should reflect an overall improvement in the ease of use of IBM MQ in this release, simplifying configuration and reducing operational tasks.

From a security point of view, some of the key changes include the authentication of userids defined in the operating system, or in LDAP for distributed platforms. More changes include support for multiple certificate authorities in a single queue manager, and the use of DNS Hostnames in Channel Authentication Records.

From a scalability point of view MQ is now better at scaling to the limits of a SMP machine. And there are various other enhancements, especially for publish-subscribe, including a change in the way clustering works for pub-sub. These changes in scalability are particularly designed to improve real-world scalability, rather than being tuned to demonstrate performance in confected examples.

Notable in new standards is support for JMS 2.0 with new messaging features and updates to the API. Also there are enhancements in Microsoft .NET support as well as WCF extensions. And for improved connectivity options, the function that was previously a part of MQ Telemetry Advanced is now a part of MQ Telemetry, giving customers more for less.

For our customers using MQ on z/OS there are some particularly notable enhancements that offer new capabilities and exploit some of hardware updates likely to be available. There is support for 64 bit buffer pools, and a wider log Relative Byte Address as well as support for the zEDC compression and Coupling Facility Flash. Likely to be of real interest is the announcement that we have removed the Client Attachment Feature, meaning that there will no longer be a charge to connect MQ Clients on other platforms to MQ on z/OS. This applies from today, not just on MQ V8 but on WMQ V7.0.1 and V7.1 as well.

As I said, there is quite a lot of new information to share here. I didn’t even get a chance to mention that the MQ AMS code is now integrated into the base on all platforms, and available on IBM i for the first time. Lots more detail to come so please come back for more, and hopefully I will see you at IBM Impact next week in fabulous Las Vegas.

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The Paradox of Choice – the best Managed File Transfer solution?

March 18, 2014

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We all know the feeling – you are shopping, maybe for some food. You have a vague idea of what you want until you are confronted by reality – dozens or even hundreds of different options. Which is better for you? Which will better meet your needs? It becomes harder to make a choice if there are too many choices. When I am out for dinner at a restaurant I suffer much the same dilemma. I love Cherry Pie for dessert, but what about the refreshing creaminess of Ice Cream? It might seem a simple choice but it would be easier to make a decision if the menu was more restricted.  

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This was explored in a very interesting book by Barry Schwartz called ‘The Paradox of Choice – why more is less’. I highly recommend a read of it.

This applies quite widely in other areas. Take for example how you want to deal with files in your business. Let’s face it; you have files, filled with business critical data, on every system in your enterprise. And you need to move the files, or at least the data inside them, across your enterprise to consume the data elsewhere. So you plan to move them, only this creates your first dilemma – should you use simple FTP even though you know it can be unreliable and insecure, and you never really know what happens to your files. Or should you use a managed file transfer solution?

Well hopefully, your business cares about the files and the data enough to look at a managed file transfer solution. After all you don’t want to create a management and security headache when trying to move the files, and you certainly don’t want to troubleshoot what has gone wrong every day, and maintain hundreds of FTP scripts.

So you want a managed file transfer solution – but which one? This opens up a whole different solution set. Do you want a bespoke solution, dedicated to file transfers, or one that is maybe multi-tasking – perhaps a function built out from another piece of infrastructure that might be more adaptable for some of your use cases, even though the dedicated solution looks good for other use cases?

Many customers today might look at their existing solution providers such as IBM who has been providing middleware for this type of solution for many years. And here there has been a choice to be made:

IBM Sterling Connect:Direct, a market leading managed file transfer solution with years of expertise as a dedicated offering in this space, with a secure protocol and purpose built tooling to provide all a business needs when moving files, extended with IBM Sterling Control Center for event based monitoring of file transfers. Looks good for a dedicated solution.

IBM MQ Managed File Transfer, an extension to the widely used IBM MQ messaging middleware offering. This also provides file transfer, moving the files as messages over MQ, but also allows not just file to file transfer but also file-to-message and message-to-file transfers which can help the business make faster use of the data being moved. A highly adaptable solution, but also supported by IBM Sterling Control Center as a management and monitoring dashboard.

So even from IBM you would need to make a choice, even though you could probably adapt both offerings to meet your needs. But it would be nice to not have to choose, but to use whichever offering was best for any particular use case.

On March 11th 2014, IBM announced that it was solving this dilemma of too much choice by combining the two offerings of IBM Sterling Connect:Direct and IBM MQ MFT, and also including IBM Sterling Control Center. Now there is just one solution to buy for Managed File Transfer. And when you buy it you don’t have to choose which to use, as you get entitlement to both offerings included, as well as Control Center. No more choosing between Cherry Pie or Ice Cream, as you can have both.

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A smaller number of choices in this case is definitely better. You can read more about this offering in the announcement letter here. Dig in.

Life’s too short to drink bad coffee?

February 4, 2014

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It has been a lot longer than I wanted since I last wrote an entry on this blog. I guess I have been searching for inspiration. The problem of course being that I work on a lot of things that I can’t talk about until they are ready to announce. So what can I say about what we already have in the market?

I was struck last week with some inspiration. I don’t recommend getting your inspiration the same way, as I was off sick for a couple of days with a temperature of 104F, but it did give me a couple of days thinking time, on a restricted diet. One of the things I was missing was my espresso and cappuccino. I have, for reasons that don’t matter here, two separate espresso machines. A manual La Pavoni and a Gaggia Classic. For either to make decent espresso you need freshly ground coffee, ideally from freshly roasted beans.

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I buy my beans from a small UK roaster called hasbean, and have been for a number of years. But here’s the thing. Until a few months ago, I had just bought the same ‘espresso blend’ of beans from them. I went to their website, clicked on their ‘blends’ page, selected the espresso blend I chose, and bought it. Again and again. I was perfectly happy with my choice. The beans were roasted that day and posted out. I would drink my coffee and be happy. Except (and you knew that was coming) I gradually thought there might be something more. Maybe my coffee could be better. I knew it was already way better than the coffee providers on the high street. In fact it was rare I would drink a coffee outside the house that I liked as much as mine. But my feeling persisted. And maybe what I might have done would have been to find another roaster. But all of a sudden, when I was on the hasbean website about to buy some more coffee, I looked a little closer at the website – and clicked on one of the tabs for a specific coffee region…in this case I clicked on America. And there a whole world opened up. Yes there was Brazil, which I knew provided many of the beans in my chosen blend. But there were options for Bolivia, Guatemala, Colombia, El Salvador. The list went on. And click a country, and there was even more choice. Individual producers. Detailed notes of the crop, the harvest conditions, the processing method, and tasting notes. A whole world of choice ready to be roasted and posted.

This was what I had been missing, and it was there for me all along, right in front of my face. Now I am selecting a range of individual beans, drinking different, better coffee, but from the same roaster, and mostly at the same price I was paying. There was even an option to pay a little more for some exceptional beans. Truly a win-win.

So is this relevant for WebSphere MQ users? Well I did visit a long standing customer last month who admitted that they didn’t use any publish-subscribe. Now IBM has been suggesting trying out publish-subscribe for years. It is there in the product. There is no additional cost to use it. And for many uses, you get far more flexible deployments.

Then there is security. Changes made in the V7.1 release back in 2011 gave the product far more usable security, but still customers continue to use exits which now ought to be redundant thanks to the same or better function in the product. Then there are transactional clients, improvements in clustering, API options, etc. etc. And that’s before I even start mentioning Telemetry support, Managed File Transfer and Advanced Message Security options.

Now I understand that WebSphere MQ isn’t a cup of coffee, even if an espresso machine can be complex to use well. Applications connected with WebSphere MQ are systems that run for years, or even decades. And it can take quite a bit of work to consider changing them. But with features like multi-version install, and even the new ability to download the entire WebSphere MQ Advanced stack at no cost for development use, we have been working to make it easier to try new ways of using WebSphere MQ. So at no additional cost, you could be making your applications more flexible, more robust or more secure. You could be simplifying your administration tasks, and reducing the overhead of recurring operational activities. And for a little more you could be encrypting messages end to end without changing your applications, or using your MQ network to move your file data, and to make better use of it. I am pretty sure that with MQTT you could even hook up your coffee machine to your smartphone. 

Now that I have been trying the new coffees I won’t be going back to less variety. Why shouldn’t you be trying some of the good stuff too? Tomorrow morning I’ll be drinking for the first time some Colombian El Meridiano Rioblanco Washed. What are you going to be trying tomorrow?

 

A simple explanation of how money moves around the banking system

November 28, 2013

A fascinating, and mostly straightforward insight behind the curtain of the banking system by @gendal

Richard Gendal Brown

Twitter went mad last week because somebody had transferred almost $150m in a single Bitcoin transaction. This tweet was typical:

There was much comment about how expensive or difficult this would have been in the regular banking system – and this could well be true.  But it also highlighted another point: in my expecience, almost nobody actually understands how payment systems work.  That is: if you “wire” funds to a supplier or “make a payment” to a friend, how does the money get from your account to theirs? 

In this article, I hope to change this situation by giving a very simple, but hopefully not oversimplified, survey of the landscape.

First, let’s establish some common ground

Perhaps the most important thing we need to realise about bank deposits is that they are liabilities

View original post 2,350 more words

Did you remember to lock your car?

November 12, 2013

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We’ve all done it. You have driven your car to a car park, walked away, and then had a momentary pang of doubt about whether you locked your car. It has become second nature to lock your car. To keep it secure. The car even locks the doors itself when it is in motion. But when you park it and walk away, that’s when the uncertainty comes in, and also when your car is most vulnerable.

It is the same with your enterprise messaging. What happens when you use a product like WebSphere MQ to send a message across your enterprise? Well, of course, what is happening is the application takes some data and packages it in the contents section of a message structure, along with some header information to describe the message and the destination. The message is then dispatched. All in all that’s pretty similar to you getting in your car and driving to the shops to buy something like food for dinner, or presents for a birthday. There is a destination and something of value to be transferred. With a car, you have to park in a space in a car park. With messaging, instead of a car park you have a queue manager and queues.

Messages start in an application and a MQ Client packages the information to be moved into a message. This then is sent to a queue manager, to be written into a queue. According to the destination or other information, the message is then sent on to either another queue, another queue manager, or to the destination client application.

As far as securing the message goes, when the message is moving between the client application and the queue manager, then the MQ resources are secured by MQ built-in security definitions and the message and contents itself is secured while moving over the ‘wire’ by use of SSL. However while the message is encrypted by SSL as it moves, once it reaches the queue manager, and is written to the queue, it is unencrypted and thus sits on the queue without any encryption. Thus if the system with the queue manager is penetrated, the messages on the queues are available in the clear. This is the same as parking your car in a ‘secure car park’ but leaving the car unlocked as the car park is secure. Would you do that? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t.

Now what would we like to happen? What would be smart would be a routine that ensured our car was locked, pretty much at all times unless people wanted to get in and out of it – subject to key rules – such as ensuring people could actually get out or in when they needed. For messages we would want to make sure the message contents were secure at all times, including when sitting in queues, but would continue to be available to the receiving applications, and of course would still expose the header information needed for routing etc.

What IBM offers for WebSphere MQ is WebSphere MQ Advanced Message Security, which is also available as part of the entitlement of WebSphere MQ Advanced. This is a policy-based encryption capability which allows message contents to be encrypted from sending application to receiving application. So the contents are encrypted while it flows over the network and while it sits in intermediary queues. The applications are unchanged, with just updated client libraries to be used. And the security is based on policies, so different rules might apply for different message contents, or different queue managers. After all there are some times when you have to leave your car unlocked. So I’m pretty sure you have rules for securing your car. Isn’t it about time you had rules for securing your messages?

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When dinosaurs ruled the earth? They still do.

October 16, 2013

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One of the odd things about having worked in IBM for 24 years now is that there are people I work with at IBM who hadn’t been born when I started working in IBM Hursley. And when I started I was given a desk with a 3270 mainframe terminal on it which weirded me out somewhat. At University, studying Computer Science I had been used to using Unix machines with large graphical displays. And the closest I had come to a mainframe was the department Vax, and various other mini computers connected to the UK academic JANET network around the country which we were happy to hack into in order to play MUD and MIST in Essex and Aberystwyth. I had assumed that mainframes were dead. And pretty much so did everyone else out in the world.

Funny thing was they didn’t die. They evolved. Just like dinosaurs did. Mainframes back in the 80s and early 90s were different beasts to those we see today – completely different technology – but still the same goal. Very high performance. Very high throughput. Very high reliability. Which, by an odd coincidence, is the same set of characteristics that businesses need for their core business systems. These aren’t systems that the regular public have much to do with, even though they interact with them every day. When checking their bank account, withdrawing money, booking a holiday, interacting with a large business in any way, you are driving work on a mainframe. You never see it, because it just works. Any failure you see would typically be on the front-end. If there was a failure on your ATM, it is likely a Windows (or similar) error screen you see, not a mainframe error message. These machines are invisible, ever present, running and running like the Duracell bunny. Running the world? I think they might just be. And it appears I am not alone in thinking that.

If you have applications on a mainframe, running your business world, then these applications won’t run in splendid isolation. They need to connect to the rest of your business, sharing data, completing orders, adding new customers. And ideal for these workloads, and any new workloads is WebSphere MQ. We have a specific offering for running on IBM System z mainframes – WebSphere MQ for z/OS – which is built to exploit many of the key features in our leading mainframes. It handles a million messages per second. It uses the Coupling Facility and Shared Queues to help you to avoid ever losing messages. And of course it has tremendous robustness and security, ideal for ensuring your business can keep doing what it needs to do. Day-in, day-out.

And October 15th 2013 we announced a new way to buy this offering – WebSphere MQ for z/OS Value Unit Edition. This offers the exact same product as the existing WebSphere MQ for z/OS, but is available to buy as a ‘One Time Charge’ transaction, rather than being charged per monthly usage as the existing WebSphere MQ for z/OS product is. So now there is a choice of how to buy this leading messaging solution for z/OS – a monthly license charge, or buy it upfront for your new workloads, deployed on new logical partitions (called zNALC). The dinosaurs just got a little more agile, a little faster. I guess they are evolving into birds.

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WebSphere MQ. You want it? It’s yours. For free.

October 4, 2013

No kidding. Image

That’s right. WebSphere MQ for free. In fact even better than that. WebSphere MQ Advanced. Not just the industry leading simple, reliable, rapid and secure messaging engine of WebSphere MQ. Not just that. Including Managed File Transfer with WebSphere MQ Managed File Transfer. Including end to end encryption of message contents with WebSphere MQ Advanced Message Security. And connectivity to mobile and M2M devices with WebSphere MQ Telemetry. 

All of that capability. For you to download. From today. For free. What”s the catch? No catch. It is actually our WebSphere MQ Advanced for Developers offering we made available earlier this year. That is still available for development and Unit Test use, priced per Single User, with IBM Support. This is the exact same product, also limited to development and unit test use, but without IBM Support. But that means you can download it for free. Develop apps for free. Build your skills for free. Get a jump start on everything you want to do. 

What’s the most innovative thing you can do with WebSphere MQ Advanced on your laptop? What projects can you dream up? Tell us what you are thinking of.

So what are you waiting for?

Go here to download it

Go on – go!

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