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IBM Upgrades WebSphere MQ Messaging Software For SOA

The new release will make it easier for companies converting their enterprise applications into Web services.

Charles Babcock

April 20, 2005

2 Min Read

IBM is upgrading its WebSphere MQ messaging software, one of the vendor's most prevalent pieces of middleware, to provide a foundation for companies building out a services-oriented architecture. The upgrade, WebSphere MQ version 6.0, brings the software's reliable messaging to those services.

WebSphere MQ, formerly known as MQ Series, was one of the first store-and-forward technologies for passing messages between operational systems. If a target system isn't available to receive a message, WebSphere MQ stores the message in a queue and waits until the target signals it's available before forwarding the message and receiving confirmation of its receipt.

Such reliable messaging will be particularly important to members of the large WebSphere MQ customer base when they start to convert their existing enterprise-resource-planning, customer-relationship-management, and legacy applications into Web services, says IBM's Scott Cosby, program director of WebSphere product management.

WebSphere MQ automatically connects applications and passes messages between them. The software includes a large library of connectors to Oracle, SAP, and Siebel Systems applications, as well as mainframe systems such as CICS and IMS.

WebSphere version 6.0 can send and receive Simple Object Access Protocol messages, which are often used in establishing Web services between applications running on disparate systems. While WebSphere MQ could previously read Soap messages, users had to install an updated support pack for the system. "Now Soap-based messaging is tightly integrated" with the rest of MQ functionality, Cosby says.

It's been more than two years since WebSphere was last upgraded, although IBM has supplied nine support packs in that time. Those packs have increased the amount of messaging and length of messages the software supports, so in WebSphere 6.0 IBM has increased the size of the queues in which messages can be stored from 1 to 4 Gbytes.

The new release also includes support for FTP file transfers, meaning WebSphere MQ will check to see if the recipient is ready to receive a file and obtain confirmation of receipt after it's sent.

WebSphere MQ 6.0 also has an interface to the Eclipse open-source programmer's workbench. That means the many Eclipse-based development and testing tools can be used to develop applications that make use of the WebSphere MQ message bus to communicate with other parts of a company's IT infrastructure. That will make it easier for WebSphere MQ users to build composite applications or build out a services-oriented architecture, Cosby says.

WebSphere version 6.0 will be available by the end of May, priced at $6,000 per processor on a Unix server. For IBM's zSeries mainframe the software will be priced according to system capacity, starting at $9,500 a month for 100 million service units.

IBM also is offering an updated Express version of its WebSphere Business Integration Server for small and midsize businesses. It includes new adapters for integration with existing applications and makes greater use of wizard-driven business rules for governing processes between applications.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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