Posts Tagged ‘Retail’

Beginning the new, looking back to the old

January 17, 2017


The month of January is named after the God Janus – who both looked forward to the new year and back to the old one. So it is perhaps time to set ourselves up for what will be no doubt another very busy year for IBM MQ by a quick review of 2016 – looking at what you should have seen, and also finding time to tell you something new, which you are unlikely to be aware of.

So a quick recap first. In June we released a hardware refresh for the IBM MQ Appliance, adding large capacity SSDs and additional 10Gb network ports as described here. And IBM MQ brought out MQ V9.0 with a new option for end-to-end encryption with an order of magnitude performance boost, and CCDTs now accessed through a URI – and this was described here.

There were additional enhancements in November with IBM MQ moving to MQ V9.0.1 – the first Continuous Delivery release, with MFT enhancements and repackaged MFT Agents, availability of the new MQ Console, and the initial delivery of REST API verbs. These were all described here. And the IBM MQ Appliance also moved the MQ V9.0.1 and added additional features like Floating IP support, SNMP and LDAP authentication of admin accounts. This was written up here.


So if we are all ok with that, I had better share the news that you missed at the end of last year. First a word or two about Processor Value Units. This is IBM’s typical capacity based pricing metric for software. Each machine type and processor type has a PVU rating per core. And software products like IBM MQ have a price per PVU. So as a customer you buy a number of PVU entitlements to meet your capacity need and then deploy IBM MQ on the hardware that matches the PVUs you have bought. However this means you need to always count and be sure that the capacity you have provided to IBM MQ is in line with the entitlement you have, and the physical machines you are running on. But more and more these days software is being deployed on environments that are more abstracted from the actual physical machines – and the capacity being allocated, either on premise or in a cloud, is assigned as virtual cores. But with IBM MQ (and other products) priced only by PVUs, there was some confusion in mapping PVUs to virtual cores.


On December 6th 2016, IBM MQ addressed this by adding a Virtual Processor Core metric to its pricing. This is only available as a monthly pricing metric but provides a new simple, and possibly more appropriate way of buying capacity for IBM MQ deployed in these virtual environments either on premise or in clouds where IBM MQ is deployed with a number of virtual cores of capacity rather than into a fixed physical machine. This is an additional metric. The PVU metric with both perpetual and monthly pricing is still available, but customers now have an additional option of the Virtual Processor Core pricing. There is no announcement letter for this, but the pricing is already available for IBM MQ and for IBM MQ Advanced, so simply ask your IBM sales rep or business partner about this if you want to know more.

Certain customers who can find it difficult to count PVUs might find this very useful. These might include customers such as retailers or retail banks where IBM MQ can be installed in 1000+ different environments, and for customers like this there are other ways to price for this type of deployment so again ask your IBM rep.

That was the last news and updates from 2016, but there is plenty to come in 2017. And you don’t need to wait for long. Just one week to go and I expect to have something new to share here. Not long to wait.



New updates for WebSphere MQ Managed File Transfer

July 16, 2013

One of the biggest ‘new’ use cases for MQ over the last few years has been for managed file transfer – that is making use of a MQ network to send files as messages, as well as the typical use of connecting applications. This is actually something that MQ has been used for over many years, but the release of WebSphere MQ File Transfer Edition, now called WebSphere MQ Managed File Transfer has helped bring that to the fore, and this capability is front and center in the benefits that WebSphere MQ Advanced brings to customers. 

We have had many successes with this offering – not least because so many businesses make use of files pretty much everywhere in their infrastructure and WebSphere MQ MFT not only moves the files, but as it moves them as messages, allowing the data in the file to be created or consumed seamlessly, without secondary processes and delays. 

Some of the businesses that have been fastest on the uptake of this have been retailers – which has historically been very file-centric. They have enthusiastically been using, or exploring how to use WMQ Managed File Transfer in both their head office and in each and every store. However some of these retailers use 4690 hardware in their stores – a dedicated retail platform – and they have been asking for us to supply WMQ Managed File Transfer Agents to run on the 4690 Store Controller, simplifying their store management and IT admin. 



I am pleased to say that on July 9th we announced a new platform for our WMQ Managed File Transfer Agent – the 4690 Store Controller. This will be delivered as part of the second fixpack for WebSphere MQ V7.5 and should be available on July 26th. You can read the announcement here

I hope that many of our retail customers will be able to take advantage of this enhancement.

There has been even more good news for WebSphere MQ Managed File Transfer users – as in June we also had another announcement about improvements in monitoring WebSphere MQ Managed File Transfer. From the wider IBM portfolio, our colleagues have extended the IBM Sterling Control Center product to enable monitoring of WebSphere MQ File Transfer Edition and WebSphere MQ Managed File Transfer. This is a great benefit from those customers who might already use that with IBM Sterling Connect:Direct or who are simply using WebSphere MQ Managed File Transfer but wanted more powerful and configurable monitoring than that provided by the WebSphere MQ Explorer. You can again read the announcement here