SAN MATEO (03/21/2000) - Shoring up its position in the US$1 billion EAI (enterprise application integration) market, IBM Corp. early next month will roll out a new version of MQSeries Integrator, adding a tooling environment that aims to let business analysts significantly shorten times needed to integrate mission-critical software.
Version 2 of the product is entirely icon-driven, allowing developers to drag and drop chunks of code around in order to "wire" programs together. The new version also has pull-down menus through which programmers can now select SQL Primitives, which are easier-to-use "English-like" commands, to help integrate applications.
IBM also is adding XML (extensible markup language) support to Version 2 of MQSeries Integrator, which will help programmers access information stored in proprietary file formats and, without having to change any code, convert those formats into XML.
"We are seeing a lot of companies standardizing around XML. However they all have tons of application interfaces and data stored in proprietary formats in their VSAM, Unix, or Windows NT-based systems. We think this is a more pragmatic way of evolving to the XML standard without having to change existing apps and data," said Rob Lamb, program director of integration at IBM.
Lamb said the process by which many IT shops make EAI software implementation decisions will be greatly shortened. Typically, a business analyst explains the project to a systems analysts, who in turn explains it to programmers, who then write and test the code, and finally put it into production.
"We want to take out those latter steps and cut to the chase by empowering the business analysts so they can make these changes immediately," Lamb said.
As part of the April 4 release of Version 2, IBM will announce that its core MQSeries product will support Windows 2000 as well as all of the popular-selling versions of Linux. Additionally, the company will announce that, for the first time, MQSeries will take advantage of the coupling facility in IBM's Parallel Sysplex that is built into its S/390 mainframes, Lamb said.
The coupling facility is a storage capability that is beyond the control of any one mainframe operating system image, or set of applications and data, that ensures its security and the higher availability of that image.
IBM also will announce that the MQSeries will be able to pass messages back and forth in HTTP data streams, which means those messages can pass safely through firewalls without having to open up holes in the firewall itself.
"You could pass MQ messages before over native TCP/IP, but you would have to open up part of your firewall to let the TCP/IP streams through. With HTTP, the firewall can better manage things because it understands what an HTTP data stream is, takes a look inside, and deciphers whether it wants to let it in or not," Lamb explained.
IBM Corp., in Armonk, New York, is at http://www.ibm.com/.