IBM Pushes Publish-Subscribe

IBM Corp. is adding publish-subscribe messaging to its MQSeries platform, providing as part of the core product a feature previously available only from Big Blue's partners, such as Tibco.

IBM has begun beta testing its publish-subscribe software at some customer sites with MQSeries Version 5, said Taf Anthias, chief technology officer of IBM's MQSeries group, in Hursley, England. Version 5 began shipping in October on some platforms. General availability of IBM's publish-subscribe software is expected in 1999.

Publish-subscribe messaging involves the dissemination of data from applications or other data sources to authorized subscribers, whether users or systems, and can range from point-to-point to broadcast messaging.

"Version 5 has some [enabling support] for publish-subscribe messaging. It allows an application to send a message to multiple targets, but it's not explicit support. What we've been telling our customer is that we're providing it as part of the base product, [first as an add-on for] Version 5 and then in different levels for forthcoming versions," Anthias said.

"The aim is to provide it integrated in the product, as opposed to requiring a separate layer. Publish-subscribe becomes one of the many behaviors that an application can deploy," Anthias added. The move does not necessarily pre-empt third-party products, he said.

"It's possible that third parties could provide alternative offerings that do other things that may be applicable in some settings, whether more specialized products or different qualities of service," Anthias said.

IBM's move at first glance might seem borrowed from Microsoft's play book, in which third-party, add-on features are followed up with in-house development of the same functionality and bundled with the core product. However, third-party developers and analysts strongly downplayed any parallels to Microsoft, lauding the move as a validation of the publish-subscribe messaging model.

"This validates our view that publish-subscribe is the preferred way of inter-application integration," said Dale Skeen chief technology officer of Vitria Technology, in Mountain View, California, who is credited with inventing publish-subscribe. Vitria's Velociti publish-subscribe server and products from New Era of Networks, Level8, and others, work with MQSeries.

IBM first went on the record with its publish-subscribe plans to Trading Technology Week, a newsletter distributed in New York and London by Waters Information Service.

IBM Corp., in Armonk, New York, can be reached at www.ibm.com.

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