Next Window Please!
It is amazing how MQ has managed to stay relevant over all of these years. Looking back to when it first came out in the 1990’s, we were dealing with 2400 baud modems connected to remote locations running a number of different technologies, over spotty telephone lines using token ring protocols. Computing power of the MQ servers was probably less than in most people’s watches today.
One of the first installations that I did of our MQ monitoring product was in Mexico City. We had installed it in the corporate office, and everything worked fine.
Then they said “can we install it in the store” and we said “of course,”
We then walked down a very narrow street to a store that was just a few blocks away. The first surprise was when we entered the store to find that the computers were inside of a vault that was in the middle of the store. To get into the vault we had to call a number and after a period of time, the vault door unlocked. We then had 30 seconds to get through the vault door and have it closed. Once in the vault, we weren’t allowed to leave for 30 minutes. These were security measures that prevented someone being able to break in the vault because they would be stuck in the vault. Very logical measures since the vault contained money.
But once in the vault, I got my next surprise. The computer hosting MQ was being used by one of the tellers, servicing customers paying their bills. In order to install our software, I had to sit in their place and as I was installing, people came up to me wanting to pay me money. I did learn the Spanish equivalent of “next window please”. And once we got the software installed, we had to repeat the process to get out of the vault. And as luck would have it, we did find some issues that needed to be fixed so we had to repeat the process again the next day.
While not to the same scale, we still deal with many of these problems today. Security is very important because the messages represent money or key business artifacts, and we need to make sure that no one can steal anything. Not quite the same way as they used to deal with the robbers in the stores, but no less critical to business operations. Technology has changed a lot, but with current trends moving to cloud hosted servers, we have to deal with technology that is widely distributed across servers that are dynamic and can be down at any given point. Integration with other components is fundamental.
The people paying their bills have moved from the teller window to their homes, but they still expect them to be paid, for the transaction to be secure and responsive.
For additional thoughts of the relevancy of MQ, see this short video.
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