IBM Middleware Goes Wireless

Looking to take advantage of the burgeoning demand for wireless computing technologies, IBM Corp. this week released a version of its MQSeries messaging middleware that supports wireless devices such as mobile phones and personal digital assistants.

Called MQSeries Everyplace, the release is supposed to provide the same kind of messaging features as the corporate-level versions of the software, which store messages from one application to another in queues and ensures that they get to where they're supposed to go.

Carl Zetie, an analyst at Giga Information Group Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said the addition of middleware products such as MQSeries is an important development for the wireless market because of the need to guarantee that online purchases and other transactions done with wireless devices actually get processed by back-end servers.

Microsoft Corp. also offers a wireless version of its messaging middleware, but Zetie said that only supports Microsoft's own Windows CE operating system. MQSeries Everyplace provides more universal support for wireless devices, he added.

Zetie said the new IBM product also avoids some of the complexity that made working with early enterprise versions of MQSeries a challenge for many users.

The application programming interfaces IBM is providing with MQSeries Everyplace "are simple," Zetie said. "It's basically send, get and read."

Working with asynchronous messaging software "can be a bit of a switch (for users), but once you get over that conceptually, the queuing interfaces are pretty straightforward," he added.

Rob Lamb, director of business integration for IBM's software unit, said MQSeries Everyplace has been beta-tested by almost 90 companies. The wireless middleware requires 60KB of memory on the wireless devices, he added, and the software supports standard protocols such as HTTP and TCP/IP.

Lamb said wireless devices equipped with the software communicate with a server-based gateway created by MQSeries, which then shuttles the message to the correct back-end system for processing. The gateway runs on Windows NT and Windows 2000 boxes now, and Lamb said IBM will add support for its own AIX version of Unix as well as Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris operating system in late September.

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