IBM has upgraded its WebSphere MQ software with more powerful Java-based messaging technology for small and midsized companies faced with data integration challenges.
The enhancements offer a greater array of tools to support both SMBs and the 12,000 enterprise-level companies that make up WebSphere MQ's core market.
"What we have found is that businesses, whatever their size, tend to evolve their IT systems project by project, with the tools familiar to people at the time," said Leif Davidsen, product manager for WebSphere. "In order to have a really flexible IT infrastructure, they need to have data that flows around their business reliably and can be validated as it flows around," he said.
As their applications change, it's important that the links to other applications don't break."
Mike Gilpin, research director for Forrester Research Inc., said the new version represents a "generational shift" in IBM's MQ software.
"The WebSphere 6.0 platform has the most powerful Java-based implementation of the WebSphere MQ messaging platform to date. It used to be the case that you could either have Java-based messaging technology in WebSphere that was kind of a weak sister, or you could have the full-blown MQ series, but it was the older pre-Java technology. Now, you can have both," Gilpin said.
"They've done that in a way that doesn't require rip and place of existing MQ series installations. This is really a major advantage -- to evolve the WebSphere messaging platform to the newer technology, which is easier to run and manage, but also have it work with everything you already run and have," Gilpin said.
Customers can use IBM's Eclipse technology to configure their entire systems from a single console window, without needing to log on or remotely access those systems, Davidsen said. The new version also offers new customers more automation, he said. That's a response to many SMBs that use file transfer technology (FTP) and custom-coded point-to-point application links to move data, Davidsen said.
"We have added an FTP application on top of MQ that will not require them to change the way they are moving data around their systems but take advantage of the built-in functions of MQ," he said.
Financial services company Wachovia, a beta customer for WebSphere, put its stamp of approval on the new release. As new features like Simple Object Access Protocol are added, we know that we can continue to depend on WebSphere MQ as a core aspect of the bank's service-oriented architecture," said Tom Fox, Wachovia assistant vice president and technology adviser.
IBM also recently announced a new version of its WebSphere Business Integration (WBI) Server Express software, aimed squarely at helping SMBs implement the software.
The improvements include sales and technical training, along with marketing resources and technical support of the latest version of WebSphere MQ.
A new tutorial called Quick Tour for WebSphere MQ provides instructions and animations to explain how the software works and how to deploy it quickly.
A new user aid, File Transfer Sample Application, shows how to safely move files between applications.