Posts Tagged ‘IBM Impact’

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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Impact 2013 – a few notes

May 7, 2013

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.

 

A new era for WebSphere MQ – WebSphere MQ V7.5

April 24, 2012

It is not everyday that we announce a new release of WebSphere MQ. In fact past history has shown we typically bring them out every 2-3 years. So given we brought out an substantial new release – WebSphere MQ V7.1 in 4Q 2011, we clearly wouldn’t normally expect another release to be announced so soon – and certainly not today. But that is what we are very pleased to be doing.

Today sees the announcement of WebSphere MQ V7.5. But this is a different type of release. After all we did so many functional and performance improvements in V7.1, you wouldn’t expect to see more of the same. So we are doing something very different with this release.

WebSphere MQ V7.5 changes the way we are delivering not just the WebSphere MQ product, but the other related MQ offerings – WebSphere MQ File Transfer Edition and WebSphere MQ Advanced Message Security. What this release does is it takes all those products, and together with WebSphere MQ Telemetry, it packages them together in a single offering – available through a single selectable install process. All the capabilities of the WebSphere MQ family are now delivered to every customer, making it easier to be aware of their capabilities, and to install them once entitlements have been purchased.

One of the changes that as made in WebSphere MQ V7.1 was to include the WebSphere MQ Telemetry capability as a chargeable component within the package – therefore ensuring that all customers had the function available if they wanted saw a need for it. Then all they would need to do is buy the additional entitlement for the chargeable component, and start building a solution to take advantage of it.

We have now taken the same approach with the WebSphere MQ File Transfer Edition and WebSphere MQ Advanced Message Security products. These are being included in the WebSphere MQ V7.5 package as chargeable components. This means the price for WebSphere MQ itself is unchanged, but it increases the availability of these additional functions which are now simpler to add. Further to this we are now changing the name of WebSphere MQ File Transfer Edition to WebSphere MQ Manafed File Transfer as we think this makes the function it performs much clearer – and instead of the two components being the Client and Server, they are now called Agent and Service.

There are some licensing changes as a part of this announcement, and these affect not just the WebSphere MQ V7.5 release but the previous releases – V7.0.1 and V7.1. One key change is to remove the charge for using the WebSphere MQ Extended Transactional Client. This client is used when you need the client/server connection to be performed as a transactional unit of work, taking advantage of a client side Transaction Manager. Unless the client side transaction manager was WebSphere Application Server, this client was previously charged as if it was a WebSphere MQ Server – from the date of this announcement there is no longer any charge to use this client – making it cheaper to connect up your application server farms to your WebSphere MQ environment for critical business information.

The second licensing change affects the WebSphere MQ Telemetry Client. Previously these clients have been charged on a per client connection to the server. So when a solution that used Telemetry clients was deployed – say connecting utility meters which would connect maybe once a day, a client would purchase entitlement for the maximum number of client connections that would connect to a MQ Server at any one time. It could be hard to predict this number of connections, and as deployment sizes increased, this additional charge could grow quite large. This pricing metric has now changed so that an additional flat charge is made for any MQ Server to which Telemetry clients will be connected, removing the cost per client and simply adding a very small cost on to each Server that will host these connections. This applies not just to WebSphere MQ V7.5 but also for WebSphere MQ V7.0.1 and WebSphere MQ V7.1. There is no change in the pricing or licensing for the WebSphere MQ Advanced Telemetry client.

We believe that these changes will bring in a new era of use of WebSphere MQ, allowing users to leverage more of their existing investment in WebSphere MQ through Managed File Transfer, Telemetry and also through end-to-end message encryption using WebSphere MQ Advanced Message Security. Previously these products were available with separate installers and could seem to be separate from WebSphere MQ itself – a particular problem on the distributed platforms – unlike the z/OS platform which has always been excellent at ensuring that products look and feel the same on that platform. Therefore with this release available for the distributed platforms, IBM has brought together all of its WebSphere MQ family offerings and increased their availability for customers, allowing all of us to move forward into this new era.

Just one more thing – if you are still using WebSphere MQ V7.0.1 or WebSphere MQ V7.1 – and you don’t plan to migrate for a while, you can of course start to use the existing function of the WebSphere MQ File Transfer Edition or WebSphere MQ Advanced Message Security products – as the separate products will remain in market – but bear in mind all future functional enhancements will be aimed at the new integrated offerings shipped within WebSphere MQ V7.5

If you are coming to Impact, you will no doubt hear a lot more about it, or ask me!

Back from a busy week at Impact

May 11, 2009

So back home again, having spent the last week in Las Vegas for IBM Impact 2009. Of course in IBM’s SOA and WebSphere marketing team we have been working towards this event for what seems like ages – probably because it has been ages.

What were my overall impressions of the week? Well it was another good conference. Looking at the agenda there seemed to be lots of interesting sessions, and the general sessions were well attended. One of the biggest new aspects of the conference was the social media aspect, especially Twitter. Conference attendees were encouraged to ‘tweet’ about the event with the #tag #ibmimpact, and this was then tracked on various screens around the event as well as occasionally up on the big screens in the general session. This allowed the opening guest speaker, Billy Crystal, to gently mock attendees as geeks – sigh!

So other than indulging in various food and drink, and a little light blackjack, what else did I get up to in the conference? Well mainly I was working in the Solution Center as the co-ordinator of the Guided/Walking tours of the Solution Center. The idea was that customers/sales reps would register for one or more of the seven tours that interested them and would then get a quick 30 minute tour introducing them to the topics on each ped, allowing them to come back for a longer, more detailed visit as required.

So – did the tours go well? On the whole, given it was the first time we ran these I was pleased. We learned a lot and we will hopefully do more and better next year. We had maybe 25 pre-booked tours over the 3 days we ran them, and up to maybe another 10-20 where customers turned up wanting an immediate tour, and either got guided round or used one of the tour maps to guide themselves round. Did we get good feedback? Well a number of customers came back for additional tours – in one case, three times and where we got feedback forms, there seemed to be good areas of interest. Probably our most popular tours were the Process Automation tours and the Retail tours. However as the week went on, I quickly learned that customers were sometimes interested in more than just the 7 tours I had designed so I produced some customized tours, combining the various tours, and in one case creating a bespoke 15 stop tour to meet a customer’s needs. I think where possible, this might be something to do for more customers next year, if we get enough notice of the cutomer interests. However I think what we should offer to every customer is a set of self-guided tours so that they can quickly start to discover the value in the Solution Center.

Other than working on the tours it was of course great to see my colleagues face to face for a change instead of through the phone line or over SameTime. But it was also good to talk to customers and to attend some sessions. I have to say one of the most interesting sessions I attended was about the use of RFID in Supply Chains. Businesses truly are transforming themselves by applying technology to their supply chains and even their manufacturing lines. The potential for cost savings and increases in speed are fascinating.

So, it is now back to the day job. I will be spending a lot more time focusing on creating more Industry Marketing content for WebSphere Connectivity marketing, and having met my SOA industry marketing colleagues at Impact, that should be a lot easier and we will be working together to produce better content.