Happy 20th anniversary to WebSphere MQ


In September 1993 IBM released its first version of asynchronous Message Queuing (MQ) product called MQSeries. Today this product known as WebSphere MQ dominates the market and is being used by more than 90% of fortune 1000 enterprises as a messaging middleware platform for mission critical applications. What an achievement!!!

I want to wish a happy 20th anniversary to all the people that made it happen from both IBM Hursley, UK and from System Strategies, the company that developed and released MQ in the joint venture with IBM on multiple distributed platforms including OS/400, OS2, AIX, Tandem, VMS and DOS/VSE. Actually, I had a privilege to manage the implementation of MQ.

How far have we come in the last 20 years for MQ management? Many software companies built their practices around IBM’s messaging product, but where are they today?

At the end of nineties and the beginning of this century, Gartner had a special Magic Quadrant covering solution providers for MQSeries. Nastel, the company I founded in 1994, was among the first to introduce MQ management on distributed platforms and was ranked as a “visionary” vendor. As a startup company focused on middleware management, we successfully competed against giants such as Boole & Babbage, Candle, Tivoli, BMC, Landmark. BMC, Boole & Babbage, and Landmark all OEM’ed our old MQControl technology.

Although a lot has changed in the past 20 years, Nastel remains focused on middleware management while other competitors have been either acquired or shifted focus to other technology areas. As we look forward to the next 20 years, Nastel is prepared to meet the challenge of addressing the needs of enterprises, financial institutions, retail operations and government agencies with management, monitoring and self-service of WebSphere MQ family of products.

A new breed of Middleware technologies such as new messaging transport layers, ESBs, Message Brokers, etc. are continuously being introduced to the market. These technologies interact with each other and must be highly available and highly reliable to keep continuous performance of mission critical applications. Each middleware vendor provides its own administration or management instrumentation, but has little domain expertise in monitoring requirements. And it’s obvious: monitoring and management is not their business.

Enterprises must deal with the complexity of various middleware technologies and silo tools that do not provide visibility into the interdependency within composite applications. This forces companies to hire highly skilled employees savvy in various technologies, products and multiple operating systems that have to understand not only technologies, but also what it would take to manage and monitor them. These multi-subject subject matter experts build their own tools, write scripts in languages they are personally comfortable with to have ready answers and avoid finger-pointing in the war rooms with dozens of people. Although it may not be immediately evident, companies spend substantial amounts of money and resources in maintaining homegrown solutions, trying to keep with the pace of version changes, technologies and OS upgrades Enterprises that take this approach are exposed to risks of internal multi-subject matter experts turnover, their business services are at risk. . In those cases security is an afterthought and usually homegrown products are in violation of internal auditing and security compliance requirements.

An easily extensible, secure and consolidated middleware monitoring solution can address these pain-points. Middleware management is a segment of the overall APM market that requires deep domain expertise in specific technologies to provide not only alerts, but also diagnostics and visibility into internal interactions. For multi-tier composite applications the messaging layer and especially visibility into an ESB tiers is very important. One person who is a product manager of a leading APM company told me that “understanding the middleware layer from the monitoring perspective is similar to being a brain surgeon”.

In summary, in my view the most pressing topic in the near future in middleware management is simplifying the underlying complexity. It includes providing a unified Middleware Monitoring for the infrastructure groups, well defined highly secured Self Service for development and pre-production teams, quick root cause analysis and problem resolution for DEVOPS. Integration with the corporate eco-system, its Enterprise management products and security, such as LDAP and Kerberos is essential.

I’d like to know your opinions on this topic. Please let me know what your thoughts are…email me at dmavashev@nastel.com

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