Posts Tagged ‘WebSphere MQ Telemetry’

A few notes on WebSphere MQ and Clouds

June 27, 2013

A bit of a different blog post from me – not directly about a new announcement but more a few notes on WebSphere MQ and deploying on private clouds and virtual machines.

Living in the UK where WebSphere MQ is developed, we are well accustomed to clouds, and rain. Wind too. Basically any weather that might ruin your plans to sit out and enjoy yourself, maybe have some friends round, and fire up the BBQ. However for pretty much everyone in IT, clouds now have a different meaning. One that many believe means the future of IT.  And if the future is coming, or indeed already here, how does WebSphere MQ help to connect applications and systems in clouds, just as it does for existing on-premise systems?

To explain this more, let’s narrow down what we are looking at, as the term cloud has a lot of different meanings for IT infrastructure. For now, let’s focus on the way many businesses are looking to make the most out of their existing infrastructure, as virtualized environments, or private on-premise clouds. Here there are substantial savings to be made if systems can be provisioned and made available more quickly with the right configuration, either for development, system test, or even for production. After all, these businesses have already invested in hardware, and it will not just frustrating to have it sat idle, but costly.

And it is not just frustrating and costly to have hardware sat idle, but doubly so to have invested in software such as WebSphere MQ, and to not have it readily available when you have an urgent need for a new system ready to go. And in these days of ever more pressing deadlines, alongside ever more capable software, you don’t want to have to install and then configure what might be multiple settings in the software to meet the specific needs of your deployment.

What you need is effectively a push button rapid deployment of your software – in this case WebSphere MQ, onto your waiting systems, to meet the dynamic needs of your business. With WebSphere MQ you can get just that – however you want it.

For example you might have seen the value in IBM PureApplication System which provides a flexible scalable system designed for transactional workload. We have a specific version of MQ – WebSphere MQ Hypervisor Edition, which is optimized for deployment into the virtualized platform offered by IBM PureApplication System.

WebSphere MQ Hypervisor Edition V7.5 is a packaged offering with the choice of either AIX or Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server as the operating system, which is deployed at the same time as WebSphere MQ itself – providing a repeatable deployment pattern for MQ to lay down as a clean image. What’s nice about this is that you can deploy the image, configure it how you want, and then recapture the same image. So that now, when you subsequently deploy it, you have got a tailored image to match your exact requirements, all deployed on a fresh Virtual Machine in around 5 minutes.

Note that you aren’t restricted to just capturing WebSphere MQ by itself. If you have license entitlement to WebSphere MQ Managed File Transfer Edition, WebSphere MQ Advanced Message Security or WebSphere MQ Telemetry, these can also be deployed, configured and recaptured for subsequent deployment. In this way, your virtualized environment can be configured and deployed ready for you to bring up a development, test or production instance at a moment’s notice. There is no faster way to get the complete messaging infrastructure you need when you need it.

Some of the benefits of taking the WebSphere MQ Hypervisor Edition as the offering to deploy into private clouds and virtualized environments are that you get the integration with the IBM Workload Deployer appliance or the IBM PureApplication System hardware. So if you are choosing either, or both of these, then using WebSphere MQ Hypervisor Edition in conjunction with them is great, both from an integrated deployment point of view and also from the license management that they provide. You then have an easy way to configure and capture tested WebSphere MQ configurations to meet your deployment needs at every stage of your application lifecycle.

However if you simply want to manage and deploy your own virtualized environments then you can do this by creating your own scripts to deploy the WebSphere MQ environment of your needs. Clearly this will require more skills and expertise than making use of the WebSphere MQ Hypervisor Editions, but for some virtualized deployment environments, this would be normal practice – aligning with the typical MQ administrator behaviour over many years. 

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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.

 

Bringing it all together – WebSphere MQ Advanced

October 9, 2012

The last 12 months have been very busy for WebSphere MQ. First, in November 2011 there was a great new functional release with WebSphere MQ V7.1, bringing improvements to performance, security, install and more on all platforms including z/OS. Then we brought out a major shift in how we packaged and delivered the whole WebSphere MQ family with WebSphere MQ V7.5 in June 2012. And now we follow up both of those with the announcement of WebSphere MQ Advanced V7.5 and WebSphere MQ Advanced for z/OS V7.1

So what are these new offerings, how do they build on the other recent releases, and why are they important and of benefit for our clients – they many thousands of MQ users?

First, a quick restatement of the reason for using WebSphere MQ – IT infrastructure becomes ever more complex as it is more inter-connected. More applications, more systems, more services. All looking to exchange information rapidly, simply, reliably, securely. And the truth is that no matter how robust you make your infrastructure, failures inevitably occur, which means your applications that move and exchange data need to cater for all types of potential failure. This introduces complexity, potential errors and vastly increases the time and cost to both implement and maintain each and every application. 

So WebSphere MQ exists on virtually every commercial IT platform to allow developers to focus their applications on the business logic, and to leave the handling of the data movement to WebSphere MQ, where failures can be managed and handled without logic in the applications. 

WebSphere MQ was able to be extended to add additional value, generally for fairly general use-cases, such as managed file transfer using MQ as a transport, and for end-to-end encryption, and also extending the MQ infrastructure to more lightweight, infrequently connected devices.

In WebSphere MQ V7.5 we changed how we made all this MQ content available, by shipping all of it within the core WebSphere MQ package. All content was separately installable and separately entitled, but it was all available to all WebSphere MQ users as a part of the package, and hence a core part of the whole MQ value proposition. This was how IBM would be delivering WMQ content from now on – as a whole package. And customers could easily trial any of the features in the offering to see if they were of interest to their business. 

But it was then clear that part of the value of the WebSphere MQ V7.5 package could be progressed further, by making it even simpler for customers to move up to use all of the WebSphere MQ capabilities, by enabling customers to buy and install all of the capabilities more easily. So we are today – October 9th 2012 – announcing WebSphere MQ Advanced V7.5, which will be available on October 12th 2012. This part provides entitlement to WebSphere MQ V7.5, and also WebSphere MQ Managed File Transfer Service, as well as WebSphere MQ Advanced Message Security. If you buy 1000PVUs of WebSphere MQ Advanced you get entitlement to 1000 PVUs of each of those 3 offerings. Customers who buy any entitlement to WebSphere MQ Advanced also get unlimited entitlement to deploy WebSphere MQ Telemetry, allowing the standard WMQ Telemetry clients to connect to any of their WMQ Servers. 

The addition of WebSphere MQ Advanced to the licensing options available to customers (none of the existing licenses are being removed) will make it easier for customers to buy and deploy all the WebSphere MQ capabilities they need, without worrying about whether they are actually entitled to deploy them.

Buying and deploying WebSphere MQ Advanced will also encourage more developers to take advantage of the use-cases around WebSphere MQ Managed File Transfer, WebSphere MQ Advanced Message Security and WebSphere MQ Telemetry, which will allow WebSphere MQ users to get more benefit from their existing WebSphere MQ investment and help that network drive those benefits more deeply into their business. 

An important aspect of this announcement is that we have not just announced WebSphere MQ Advanced V7.5 for distributed platforms but also WebSphere MQ Advanced for z/OS V7.1. When we announced WebSphere MQ V7.5, it was just for distributed platforms as it made substantial changes and fixes to the specific install procedures on the distributed platforms which weren’t an issue on the z/OS platform. However with WebSphere MQ Advanced we wanted to deliver on z/OS something as similar as possible to the plan for the distributed platforms. As on the distributed platforms the z/OS versions of WMQ Advanced Message Security and WMQ File Transfer Edition depend on WebSphere MQ being available. However unlike the distributed platforms where multiple WMQ servers may be deployed on multiple different physical machines, on z/OS you would tend to see WebSphere MQ deployed on a z/OS partition with numerous other applications. As such the best way to provide the aggregated and integrated value of the wider WebSphere MQ family on z/OS is to combine both WebSphere MQ Advanced Message Security and WebSphere MQ File Transfer Edition in a single package, where WebSphere MQ for z/OS is a pre-req, but otherwise customers buying this new offering will gain entitlement to both WebSphere MQ Advanced Message Security and WebSphere MQ File Transfer Edition. 

We believe both of these announcements will help our customers better understand the wide set of WebSphere MQ capabilities and find it easy to gain entitlement to all the functions they need. Customers can of course continue to buy and use the separate WebSphere MQ parts already available, and buy WebSphere MQ Advanced as they see the need.

One last item before I finish this blog update. There was a recent item on the MQDev Community Blog about how you can use the MQTT protocol in a Hybrid android mobile app developed using IBM Worklight Studio. This is a great example of the exciting ways in which both the MQTT protocol, and also WebSphere MQ Advanced can be used going forward. 

Now what shall we do next with WebSphere MQ? Watch this space!

 

 

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!