Top-level security is taken for granted with core System z middleware, and WebSphere MQ has always allowed close integration with RACF and third-party alternatives. WebSphere MQ for z/OS offers full support for 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), essential for supporting today’s Web Services, and the Extended Security Edition (based on Tivoli technology) goes a stage further, providing applicationlevel data protection with facilities for remote management of security policies and non-intrusive distribution across existing production environments. This makes it a worthy option for users who need an integration backbone that allows cross-platform data exchange without compromising data security.
Supporting the Remote Manager
With today’s rapidly changing business priorities and IT managers constantly on the move, centralized management of mainframe tools is no longer sufficient. The distributed version of WebSphere MQ Version 6.0 includes a toolset based on the Open Source Eclipse Workbench, which allows WebSphere MQ for z/OS V6.0 (and any other WebSphere MQ V6.0 deployment) to be remotely managed from a Windows PC or a system running Linux on Intel. So, for the first time, queue managers on multiple platforms in an MQ network can be managed and configured from a single laptop, with all changes protected via SSL.
For enterprise management of a WebSphere MQ infrastructure across multiple platforms, including multiple z/OS queue managers, a centralized management approach is necessary. This simultaneously supports management of all queue managers. IBM Tivoli OMEGAMON for WebSphere Business Integration (WBI) manages the entire WebSphere MQ and message broker environment from a Web-based console, so when a channel fails, it can be automatically restarted; it allows L2 or L3 support to dig down into the collected metrics to see which application isn’t processing the messages on the queue in a timely manner. This automated approach is necessary for keeping the messaging backbone running in support of WebSphere ESB.
Once there are more than a few queue managers to configure, it makes sense to have a centralized management tool for configuring WebSphere MQ. Tivoli provides for centralized MQ configuration management where all objects are kept in a central database. They’re verified for correctness and can then be scheduled for deployment. Scheduling these changes across all platforms in the WebSphere MQ infrastructure guarantees they’ll be simultaneously updated.
Consistency and Scalability
Perhaps the most striking feature of MQ and the other WebSphere products at Version 6 is the level of consistency and portability they now offer. In the broader framework of the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), the various WebSphere components—including application server, message broker and WebSphere MQ itself—combine to provide universal connectivity and data transformation across the enterprise. At Version 6, there’s a high level of commonality between the code bases on different platforms, which greatly simplifies cross-platform support. Moreover, with a standard messaging API (message queue interface) across the board and full support for JMS Version 1.1, WebSphere MQ and WebSphere Application Server offer a strong combination of technologies for managing and integrating new-generation J2EEbased applications wherever they reside in the enterprise.
The Bottom Line for Application Integration
WebSphere MQ isn’t the only messaging middleware product available, nor is message queueing by any means the only approach to integrating the disparate elements of the typical enterprise application portfolio. However, recent developments in IBM’s WebSphere MQ backbone clearly address a growing need in the enterprise to integrate the flexible, lightweight services that characterize the SOA environment with the same high level of performance, resilience, and security that MQ has achieved with core mainframe applications for more than a decade.
Large enterprises, typically in the financial, retail, government and manufacturing sectors, are under increasing pressure to exploit the exciting opportunities promised by SOA and Web Services, but to do so in a way that doesn’t compromise any of the strategic functionality that’s accrued in the existing enterprise infrastructure. For SOA to succeed in organizations at this level, it must be firmly supported by an underlying messaging backbone that provides the guaranteed availability and integrity absent from the services themselves. In this respect, products such as WebSphere MQ can certainly look forward to a new lease on life. Z