Big Blue Lines Up Queuing

IBM Corp this week rolled out an updated version of its MQSeries messaging software that boasts integrated publish-and-subscribe messaging, ease-of-use features, and performance improvements.

Big Blue is positioning the message queuing software as a key ingredient of its application integration and electronic-business strategies, according to John Swainson, general manager of IBM application and integration middleware.

MQSeries 5.1, which IBM will begin shipping in the second quarter, adds publish-and-subscribe features to the messaging types supported by the base MQSeries platform, said Bill Reedy, vice president of marketing for MQSeries.

"Publish-and-subscribe is in the base product at no additional charge. It's an extension of the messaging model, where we had send-and-forget, request-and-reply, and now publish-and-subscribe. They all use the base MQ messaging services," Reedy said.

However, in adding publish-and-subscribe messaging features to MQSeries, IBM is seen by some to risk encroaching on its third-party partners' turf. (See "IBM pushes publish-subscribe," 5.1 upgrade also performs dynamic workload distribution, which adds load-balancing and fail-over capabilities, according to IBM officials.

Windows NT is the first platform to implement the version's usability features, which include improved graphical tools for development, implementation, and administration of message queuing applications. Unix, OS/2 Warp, and AS/400 variants will also incorporate the GUI features, officials said.

NT is commonly used as a development and administration platform for MQSeries applications that span multiple OSes, Reedy said.

Trends fueling the demand for MQSeries and related integration software include the Web-enabling of existing applications; business integration such as supply-chain management, business process integration, and customer relationship management; mergers and acquisitions; industry regulatory changes; and the increasing use of packaged applications, Swainson said.

The integration product category as a whole is headed toward an expansion of base-line integration capabilities, with more flexibility for fault-tolerance, custom and packaged adapters for specific applications, business rules support, workflow, and business process modeling, according to Dave Kelly, an analyst at the Hurwitz Group, in Framingham, Mass.

IBM this week also announced the branding of MQSeries Integrator as a core MQSeries offering. Available this quarter, the MQSeries Integrator, a so-called "message broker," performs rules-based message routing and translation among applications.

As part of the rollout, the company also introduced Version 2.1 of MQSeries on OS/390, which includes most Version 5.1 features of the distributed systems platform releases, as well as MQSeries Workflow for OS/390 3.1.

MQSeries 5.1, which runs on NT, AIX, HP-UX, OS/2 Warp, Solaris, AS/400, and OS/390, is priced starting at $3,000. MQSeries Integrator will ship later this quarter, and is priced starting at $100,000.

IBM Corp., in Somers, N.Y., can be reached at

High points

IBM queues up point release MQSeries 5.1.

* Dynamic load balancing and fail-over among clusters of queue managers* Easier administration of clusters of queue managers, which can be distributed and multiplatform* Publish/subscribe features that include user- and application-based subject filtering of messages* Graphical tools for configuration and administration of MQSeries applications* Maximum message queues: 2GB

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