Boole & Babbage Bolsters Message Monitoring

Messaging technology may enable applications to talk to one another, but it takes a good administrative monitoring system to keep those messages flowing to the right destinations. Middleware market vendor Boole & Babbage Inc. (San Jose, Calif.) recently announced it is extending such capabilities to AS/400 operations in Version 2 of its Command MQ message queuing middleware.

Version 2 consists of software agents that run on AS/400s and communicate via TCP/IP to a Web-enabled, centralized console running on Windows NT Server.

Boole & Babbage plans to ship Version 2 -- which also has a modular architecture with separate host and distributed agents -- in August. Agents such as those for the AS/400 help "solve or automate problems right on the local platforms where they occur," says Mike Bunyard, senior director of product marketing for Boole & Babbage. This is an important capability on AS/400-class systems where high availability is crucial, he adds.

Operational and performance information is correlated and delivered via the Web to the central console. A problem or event within IBM's MQSeries can be immediately identified through the Command MQ console, according to Bunyard. "If something goes wrong with MQSeries on the AS/400 -- such as a message being delivered to a dead-letter queue -- Command MQ will recognize and correct the problem with those resident agents," he says.

Analysts see monitoring tools such as Command MQ, Tivoli's TME, or Candle's Omegamon as essential in today's increasingly networked multi-platform environments. Command MQ provides "insurance-like protection to enhance the management and monitoring of current messaging technologies," according to an analysis from Aberdeen Group (Boston). Aberdeen Group also observes that "Command MQ is the only commercially available solution today that provides support for both IBM's MQSeries and Microsoft's MSMQ."

Indeed, Boole & Babbage's monitoring products have grown increasingly more sophisticated, agrees Steven Foote, VP and analyst with Hurwitz Group (Framingham, Mass.). The enhanced capabilities of Version 2 provide both a local and an enterprise view of middleware. "This ability will become even more important as middleware becomes more strategic and complex."

Along with multi-platform environments, Boole & Babbage will also be targeting multi-AS/400 sites with its Command MQ solution, Bunyard says.