MQSeries gets the message across

Integration between disparate systems is more important than ever before, largely due to the many e-commerce applications cropping up in the industry, according to IBM Corp. With this in mind, IBM has introduced several enhancements to MQSeries, its message-oriented middleware.

“Companies are beginning to embrace e-business in record numbers,” said John Swainson, general manager of application and integration middleware at IBM Corp., in Armonk, N.Y., during a recent press conference.

“Customers want technology that allows them to Web-enable their core applications – not rip them out and replace them with untested applications.”

Several other factors driving this need for business integration include the Internet, mergers and acquisitions within companies, and industry regulation and deregulation, Swainson said. According to IBM, currently about 40 to 60 per cent of IS development and maintenance costs in most companies go towards integration and communication programming for heterogeneous systems and applications.

The new software line has three components, all with new integration features: MQSeries, MQSeries Integrator and MQSeries Workflow.

MQSeries version 5.1 and MQSeries for OS/390 version 2.1 include a feature called dynamic workload distribution that enables automatic recovery when systems fail. Those versions also have new publish and subscribe abilities so that users can share information across an enterprise.

MQSeries for Windows NT version 5.1 has a new default configuration, graphical tools and a programming interface intended to make MQSeries network management easier.

MQSeries Integrator uses an advanced rules and formatter engine from New Era of Networks Inc. and is targeted at IBM business partners that want message-oriented middleware.

Dave Kelly, vice-president of applications strategy service at Hurwitz Group in Framingham, Mass., said this type of product is needed in the industry because currently many companies are not maximizing the reuse of their infrastructure.

“If you go back five or 10 years, an enterprise architecture was defined by the hardware the company purchased. Architecture was never really viewed from an enterprise perspective. This left us with legacy systems that really inhibited change and couldn’t keep up with today’s dynamic requirements.”

If a company is to succeed, it must be able to accommodate business change, he said. “The successful architectures that we are seeing must integrate multiple vendor architectures. This translates into the need for application and integration systems.”

Russ Hartmann, a senior systems officer at Boston-based State Street Bank, agrees that using multiple platforms is often unavoidable. His company uses the MQSeries Integrator for content based routing, and sending and receiving messages to and from customers.

“We run many disparate platforms here: mainframes, Unix, IBM, Sun, HP, DEC, Tandem and Windows NT,” he said. “With MQSeries, we don’t have to worry about how to do the application integration. We just put a message on a queue and it’s taken care of.”

MQSeries 5.1 (, will be available in Q2 of this year for Windows NT, AIX, HP-UX, OS/2, Warp and Solaris, starting at $4,390. MQ Series Integrator will be available later this quarter for various platforms starting at $155,000. MQSeries Workflow for OS/390 version 3.1 will also be out later this quarter for a one-time cost of $14,870 plus additional licence fees based on the number of users and processor capacity.

IBM Canada Corp. in Markham, Ont., is at (905) 316-5000.