Tag Archives: message broker

Connectivity and Integration podcasts

As well as being WebSphere Messaging Community Lead out of IBM Hursley right now, I’m also part of what we refer to as our “Connectivity and Integration” organisation (middleware… plumbing… the hidden inter-application messaging and adapter stuff, ensuring that systems can talk to one another reliably). Much of what we do in Hursley, and the software that we develop there, is part of the Connectivity space. It’s the software that joins up all the pieces of a Smarter Planet, and it’s an interesting space for a techie like me.

We thought it was about time to talk about some of the features that are in our WebSphere Messaging products – WebSphere MQ, Message Broker, and the family of software that fits around them. So, my colleague Leif Davidsen and I sat down and recorded a series of podcasts. Each episode zeroes in on a specific feature or capability, such as high availability, or telemetry, or security – you get the idea.

As we were talking, Leif and I were trying to keep the discussions bite-sized (about 10 minutes at a time); highlight things that users might not have heard about before; be interesting to administrators and developers as well as to architects; and we tried not to use too much “marketingese” – although I reckon you might spot that in some of the podcast episode titles! 🙂

You can start to subscribe to the Connectivity and Integration podcast series right now in iTunes or add the RSS feed to your favourite podcatcher. There should be some web content and show notes with links and references to follow soon – watch out for those, I’ll tweet about them and update this post when I know more.

NB did you check out my first and second columns for Sphere yet? More to come soon, and I’m hoping to join the GWC Lab Chat series for a future episode as well. Cool stuff.

Advertisements

Product updates and new releases

I don’t have time to post an in-depth update on the latest announcements from IBM Hursley today but will hopefully have a chance to dig deeper on some of these later in the week. My colleagues in Development have been working hard on new and updated software offerings in the WebSphere Connectivity space, and today was “the big reveal” of a slew of them. For now, here are the links to the announcements… I’ll try to fill in more detail on some of the areas in which I’ve been particularly interested, soon.

  • WebSphere MQ Advanced Message Security (AMS) version 7.0.1, also available for z/OS of course! This is a new product providing significant enhancements to MQ’s security story by encrypting data at rest with no need to re-code your applications. This is one I’ll definitely be coming back to in a future post… it’s very cool indeed, particularly since it’s non-invasive and transparent to the user.
  • WebSphere MQ Low Latency Messaging V2.5 includes major updates to self-management and additional message delivery styles. Incidentally, I’ll be talking about WMQLLM at the European WebSphere Technical Conference in Düsseldorf next week (and of course I also have other sessions at the event on topics like Telemetry!)
  • WebSphere MQ File Transfer Edition V7.0.3 adds some nice web and REST features, as well as ad-hoc transfers and sweeter integration with WebSphere Message Broker (which itself gained new FTE nodes recently). There’s a fantastic story developing around enterprise managed file transfer interoperating with an ESB, here. Oh yes, and this version also works with AMS if you need to thoroughly encrypt your FTE data, both on disk as well as the existing wire capabilities using SSL channels.
  • WebSphere Message Broker Hypervisor Edition enables WMB to live happily in a virtualised environment on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and also to be used with the WebSphere Cloudburst Appliance.
  • WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus Registry Edition V7.0 puts the SOA registry at the heart of the ESB (which is quite honestly where it belongs!). There have been great improvements in WSRR and WebSphere ESB lately, and again I should come back to point some of these out soon.

Phew. Busy developers. If you follow me online you’ll know I’m a techie so it should come as little surprise that I’m excited, and dare I say it, “pumped”, about some of these updates. Looking forward to playing with them in more detail.

    WebSphere Message Broker for the win…

    The very brilliant Martin Gale joined my team at work last week. I’ve known Martin for a few years now and we had a bit of a shared experience last year going through our professional certification at the same time. He’s an unbelievably clever and talented chap, and it’s a privilege to now be sharing an office with him… I’m hoping that some of his Master Inventiveness rubs off on me! 🙂

    Whilst he gets settled in, I’ve had the opportunity to seed my own technology preferences into his mind… this week, he’s been playing around with my personal favourite, WebSphere Message Broker (WMB), whilst developing his own newly-acquired interest in WebSphere Business Events (WBE). He’ll be an expert in both by, oh, 10am tomorrow…

    I was very pleased that Martin has enjoyed his Message Broker experience so far! I’ve been using and consulting with the product for many years now, so I know I’m regarded as a bit of a bigot in this area, but it’s a pleasure to see someone using the product for the first time!

    wmb-win
    NB @martinjgale stream is private, this screenshot used by permission

    The secret of success? I believe that it’s the fact that the programming model and toolkit for Message Broker have seen steady improvement and evolution over a number of years – rather than having large chunks of the model revamped between releases. It really has steadily become a stronger and stronger product.

    Anyway – victory! More converts needed 🙂

    Building a mainframe with nodes and wires

    Last Friday, I built a mainframe. It looks like this:

    message flow

    Well OK. That’s a very, very big exaggeration. Let me explain. I’m doing some work at the moment that involves using some Enterprise Service Bus logic with CICS and various other systems. In one particular case I needed to be able to invoke a CICS transaction across the CICS/MQ bridge. This is actually incredibly straightforward, but at the last minute I couldn’t get my queue manager connected to the host thanks to some firewall issues, so I decided to create a stub version instead.

    My own “ESB of choice” is WebSphere Message Broker, and coincidentally that was what I was using to develop logic late last week. I’ve been using the product for about seven years now, on and off. The development environment for WMB enables the user to create message flows that receive data over various input protocols, and wire together various operations which transform, route or otherwise make use of the data.

    All this “mainframe emulator” flow does is receive a message with a COBOL copybook formatted body; map the values into a response message (there’s some conditional logic in the map which decides whether to return an error of some kind based on the specific account number in the incoming message, to emulate different conditions); and then just reply to the ReplyToQueue specified in the input message.

    Total time – about 3 minutes (OK… a bit more, as I was fiddling with the return conditions and a little bit of XPath in the mapping node). Obviously it’s not a real CICS system, but it served the purpose I needed. Since the interface to the actual CICS/MQ bridge is well-defined, it would be a simple matter of redirecting the message traffic to the real system if it was required for some other degree of testing.