FTP and Message/Queuing Come Together

Continued investment in IBM’s MQSeries message/queuing technology as a method of file transfer among business applications provides the inspiration for CONNECT:MQ, the latest addition to Sterling Commerce Inc.’s CONNECT family of products.

Actually a re-branding of Tampa, Fla.-based MessageQuest’s FTFMQ product, CONNECT:MQ combines MessageQuest’s message/queuing expertise with Sterling Commerce’s worldwide sales force, according to Johnny Long, director of product strategy for Sterling Commerce (Dallas).

Sterling Commerce believes there is room for both file transfer and message/queuing to coexist in the enterprise, according to Long. "Both have a well-defined set of operational characteristics," which is significant due to the differing requirements of different businesses, he says.

"IBM’s MQSeries is growing in the AS/400 space," says Paul Roth, CTO of MessageQuest. "CONNECT:MQ adds file transfer capabilities to message queuing systems, enabling message queuing and file transfer systems to coexist in the same MQSeries backbone.

"MQSeries is a commercial messaging product that treats files as files, but moves them across the network as messages," Roth explains. Files treated as raw data – or messages – are smaller in size. "In fact, messaging relies on transferring bursts of data," he continues. "[CONNECT:MQ] extends high-quality communications to the file transfer world."

Sterling Commerce’s partnership with MessageQuest "could be signaling the fact that Sterling, over time, would like to jump over more into this interactive way of satisfying customer needs," says Ed Acly, director of middleware research for International Data Corp. (Framingham, Mass.)

FTP and message/queuing are both perfectly valid technologies through which a user can transport data, depending upon what their business situation is, according to Acly.

"Message/queuing and FTP are viable alternatives," Acly says. "When you’re doing message/queuing, you’re not transferring files. It’s more like a one-on-one transfer. You’ve got two points between which you have to communicate data, and you do it interactively; it’s more like a particular transactional data stream. FTP is more the result of accumulating a whole bunch of transactions, and at some point you transfer them in batch."

In response to Sterling Commerce’s partnership with MessageQuest, Colin Osborne, MQSeries business executive with IBM Transaction Systems Software says, "This is another indication of the growing, industry-wide endorsement to leverage MQSeries as an industrial strength transport to solve the pervasive challenges associated with business integration."

CONNECT:MQ supports OS/400 (V3R2 and higher), MVS/ESA, AIX, OS/2, Windows NT, HP-UX and Sun Solaris platforms. The product requires MQSeries for open systems Version 2 (and higher).