IBM unwraps new Websphere MQ

Hoping to add some muscle to its application integration strategies, IBM on Wednesday rolled out a new version of its Websphere MQ product with 150 technical improvements, including improved support for creating an ESB, which can serve as a backbone to a SOA.

In Version 6.0 of WebSphere MQ, IBM for the first time has included the ability to create an ESB from a single Eclipse-based workbench. The new version will allow IT organizations to combine new and existing heterogeneous assets to be part of an SOA.

This capability better ensures that as an organization integrates new Web services into its infrastructure, it will have more options at its disposal to extend its SOA to accommodate the integration of new services as well as integrate existing ones, company officials said.

"We have 12,000 [WebSphere MQ] users, some with 50,000-plus deployments, so we are talking half a billion to 700 million instances of MQ out there. With version 6.0, you can turn the switch on and now have each of those instances become a service both sending and receiving. This is important when thinking about building an SOA," said Scott Cosby, Program Director for WebSphere Business Integration.

With the new release, IBM has expanded the number of platforms and other configurations WebSphere MQ can support to 180, according to Cosby. It has also added support for a number of different 64-bit operating systems. The company has integrated the product to work more closely with its CICS series on the back end and added integrated support for Microsoft's .Net environments.

IBM has also more tightly integrated Version 6.0 with the application infrastructure capabilities found in the latest release of its CICS Transaction Server as well as the latest release of WebSphere Application Server Version 6.0 for its z/OS mainframe operating system.

These new integration features better enable IT shops to configure and manage WebSphere MQ servers, as well as to configure and administer a range of other integration and infrastructure software inside their organizations from a single console, IBM officials claim.

"Wachovia has a long history with WebSphere MQ and we've seen how the development and planning of the product enhancements through the years have remained true to an evolving future. We like the way WebSphere MQ has remained both a highly reliable product as well as one that has evolved with our needs," said Tom Fox, assistant vice president and technology advisor at Wachovia. "New features like SOAP tell us we can continue to depend on the product as a core aspect of the bank's service-oriented architecture."

In a related announcement, IBM outlined improvements to its WebSphere MQ Workflow product that include new features to installation and configuration easier based around a native Java Client API. The new version also has been enhanced to better manage more complex processes that link people and information as well as offer support for shared queues and the latest versions of IBM's operating systems and databases.

Continuing its pursuit of the SMB markets, IBM on Wednesday also expanded its Express line of servers by unwrapping its WebSphere Business Integration Server Express.

Improvements to the product include a library of adapters designed to ease integration of the product with a range of existing applications as well as a range of features to help accelerate business processes, simplify Web-based remote deployment, configuration, and administration, and a series of tools to create adapters for home grown and business applications.

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