Posts Tagged ‘MQ Statement of Direction’

The rewards of patience – IBM MQ V8 for HPE NonStop

July 4, 2017

Rewards of Patience

Time can be subjective and objective. Subjective time is referenced by the frame of the observer. A period of a few seconds can seem very short, or incredibly long. Putting your hand on a hot surface teaches you a second can seem a long time. Yet reading the book by Penfolds winery “The Rewards of Patience” can make you understand that 10 years can be no time at all.

How then should we measure the time it takes to release a new version of an enterprise software product where it might be used for a decade or more without change. For at the heart of key parts of the world’s infrastructure are systems that run HPE’s NonStop Server platform, and on those systems they also use IBM’s MQ software. These systems are very stable and it is a testament to that longevity that the last time that IBM released a new version of MQ on this platform was in 2006.

However, just as a good wine ages until it is ready to enjoy, so the time has now been reached for a new version of IBM MQ to be available on the HPE NonStop platform as promised in a previous Statement of Direction. This announcement on June 20th 2017 of IBM MQ V8 for HPE NonStop comes at a time when customers using the HPE NonStop platform are looking at new hardware such as the new x86 based machines now available to support the platform. The new version of IBM MQ supports both the x86 and Itanium platforms, giving customers a choice of deployment with the same function on each.

Existing customers of the prior version of MQ on the HPE NonStop platform who have been paying S&S will be entitled to move to the latest version. Customers should be careful in assessing the number of PVUs of the system they are deploying on as the x86 based NS7 machines in the HPE NonStop line are rated at 120 PVUs per core, rather than 100 PVUs per core.

As mentioned in the announcement letter there are no immediate plans to announce End of Support for the MQ V5.3.1 offering on this platform until functional equivalence is reached. Expect further updates to allow this to be achieved. Please read the announcement letter linked above to understand what has been delivered in this version to date.

An additional blog is available on DeveloperWorks.

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Setting out markers for MQ’s road ahead

February 16, 2016

2016-road-ahead

Working as the Offering Manager for IBM MQ and the IBM Messaging Portfolio, there are lots of parts of my day-to-day work that I can’t share on here until we announce it. However there are times when we can provide a small look ahead at what’s coming. This is called in IBM a “Statement of Direction”. And today IBM MQ has released a Statement of Direction for both IBM MQ and for the IBM MQ Appliance.

You can read the Statement of Direction here.
As you will see in reading it we are talking about a couple of important points. I will deal with the MQ Appliance statement first. As covered elsewhere in this blog, there has been a lot of interest in the MQ Appliance since we announced it at IBM InterConnect 2015 – just about 1 year ago. One of its key features has been about the High Availability function – the simple way to connect up two appliances and to allow for seamless failover between them benefitting from synchronous replication.
At the end of 2015, as detailed here IBM extended this High Availability option with asynchronous replication to other MQ Appliances, which could be deployed further away, offering Disaster Recovery. However, deployments needed to choose either one style of replication or another, on a Queue Manager by Queue Manager basis. So a Queue Manager on a MQ Appliance could be defined for High Availability, or for Disaster Recovery, but not both.
This created an obvious question when we discussed this with customers, who in some cases would want to have local MQ Appliances offering High Availability, but in the case of a whole site failure, wanted to then offer Disaster Recovery off-site. As giving forward looking statements can be an issue without legal clearance, we have ensured that with this Statement of Direction we can clearly state and assure customers that IBM indeed does intend to support the ability of Queue Managers to be configured for both High Availability and Disaster Recovery in a future update.

DR-phase2

For MQ itself the Statement of Direction covers less function, and more the delivery and support approach used for MQ itself. For many years IBM has released updates to IBM MQ every 2-3 years as major new versions, and sometimes with additional interim updates as incremental releases. But over the last few years IBM has been adding function into the regular fixpack deliverables where we also include maintenance updates alongside the new function.
While this approach allows IBM to add useful new functions between releases, and thus getting it to customers earlier, it can lead some customers to choose to keep their MQ implementations on older releases until IBM stops adding new function to that particular release. The concern is that adding new function in a release that will be used in production can create the need to have a major new testing cycle, even if IBM has designed that the new function is off by default.
As IBM thinks customers would benefit from being at the latest level of code, and certainly IBM wants to encourage customers to stay up to date with the latest fixpacks, IBM has decided to offer two separate code delivery and support options.

One option will be the Long Term Support Stream. A new version of MQ will be released, and from that point on, there will be no new function shipped on that code-stream. The fixpacks that IBM will continue to ship on a regular basis will only contain fixes to existing functions and no new functions will be added. As such it should be simpler and safer for customers to move more rapidly to this level of code and to then stay on it as fixes are rolled out, improving stability and performance.
The second option will be the Continuous Delivery option. Based off the same original code drop as the Long Term Support option, subsequent updates will be delivered containing not just fixes but also incremental new function. Each mod-level update will be designed to continue to add new function. And, important to understand, customers who choose to deploy the Continuous Delivery stream will have to keep taking the additional functional increments and fixes if they want to stay on that stream by moving to the most recent mod-level. If they decide they want to be on the Long Term Support stream then will need to change the MQ installed which will likely cause a degree of disruption as they will effectively be moving to a different release. While this continuous delivery of function will ensure that customers of MQ will have new functions that enhance MQ and the operation of their environment, those customers will need to be able to continue to update their environment with each update as it is delivered. For many customers this might be appropriate as they have a need for the new function or they may want to apply it only to a particular environment and set of applications.

LTS

After a number of functional updates to the Continuous Delivery Stream of IBM MQ, over probably a period of 2 years or so, it is expected that the incremental set of new functions delivered in the Continuous Delivery Stream will be released as the new starting point for the next version of the Long Term Support stream, and will reset the version for the Continuous Delivery Stream as well. The cycle them will repeat again, with fixes applied to the Long Term Support Stream and new mod-level updates with new function (as well as fixes) delivered to the Continuous Delivery Stream.

This new approach for delivering MQ may be significantly important for some customers as they make future plans, and IBM therefore thought it was important to set this out in a Statement of Direction prior to a future announcement of a new release of IBM MQ supporting this model.

As for when any new releases to backup these Statements of Direction are coming out? Well, keep watching this space.