IBM Targets Business Integration

Business integration has become increasingly important because of the rise of e-business, corporate mergers and acquisitions and electronic commerce. As companies automate business processes to increase efficiency and strengthen relationships with customers, they drive the burgeoning enterprise application integration (EAI) market, which is expected to be worth more than $1 billion by the year 2001 according to Dataquest.

IBM addressed this trend by announcing new capabilities for its MQSeries suite of messaging software, including support across MQSeries to use eXtensible Markup Language (XML), making the MQSeries family the bridge between the emerging XML standard and heterogeneous enterprises.

MQSeries also has new Java Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for even greater platform independence. The enhancements increase productivity by reducing the amount of programming required by business partners or customers. Also included in the announcement are new MQSeries APIs and new versions of the MQSeries Integrator message broker and MQSeries Workflow.

Enhancements to the MQSeries family include:

The Application Messaging Interface (AMI) which moves message handling code from the application into the middleware. Using the AMI, the application specifies the message destination and the name of a policy, so applications can focus exclusively on business logic. IBM’s AMI has been approved by Open Applications Group (OAG) members as the standard middleware API for application integration, pending final approval from the OAG board. The AMI will be available on MQSeries Version 5.1 for AIX, HP-UX, Sun Solaris, Windows98 and Windows NT in 3Q 1999, and will be available in the future for OS/390.

Java Message Service (JMS) is the Java-standard API for enterprise messaging services, and the foundation services API for message queuing in the IBM Application Framework for e-business. Applications written to the JMS API can communicate with applications written to the MQSeries Message Queue Interface (MQI) and the AMI. JMS support will be provided with the MQSeries messaging foundation, available for MQSeries Version 5.1 and downloadable from the Web at no charge in 3Q 1999.

The Common Message Interface (CMI) can be used with the AMI, JMS and MQI. The CMI provides comprehensive programming support for XML-based messaging. The CMI will be available for future versions of MQSeries, platform support will be announced at time of availability.

MQSeries Version 5.0 is available in U.S. English on Sun Solaris for Intel immediately. MQSeries Version 5.1 will be available in French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese on AS/400 in 4Q 1999. IBM intends to make MQSeries available on Compaq Tru64 UNIX. Pricing varies by platform, starting at $3,000.

MQSeries Integrator

MQSeries Integrator Version 2.0 builds on MQSeries Integrator Version 1.0, a basic message broker provided by IBM partner, New Era of Networks, Inc. (NEON). Version 2.0 provides visual interfaces for combining brokering components, more tightly integrates databases into the messaging infrastructure and is easier to integrate with business partner applications.

Version 2.0 offers an open and extendible architecture supporting IBM, OEM and customer plug-in processing functions. Version 2.0 takes full advantage of XML. By defining internal system message sets in XML, and distributing them between system components via MQSeries, the message broker communicates with short and concise message structures.

Version 2.0 will be available in U.S. English on AIX and Windows NT in 4Q 1999 and will be delivered in the future on OS/390, HP-UX and Sun Solaris. In addition, MQSeries Integrator Version 1.1 will be available in U.S. English on AS/400 in 4Q 1999 and on OS/390 in 1Q 2000. Pricing varies by platform, starting at $100,000.

MQSeries Workflow

MQSeries Workflow Version 3.2 advances the state of workflow automation by providing workflow APIs in Java for seamless support of e-business. This support enables customers and business partners to create platform-independent programs that interact with MQSeries Workflow. Version 3.2 also allows external partners and suppliers to become part of a company’s workflow process by using XML.

Version 3.2 allows workflow databases and servers to run on different machines for stronger performance, enhanced scalability and flexibility. On the AIX server platform, this new release can now support high availability operation and SP2 exploitation. Functional improvements provide for a Process Monitor that graphically displays work status and activities, and the Buildtime environment now allows multi-user modeling.

Version 3.2 is a client/server solution running on platforms including ultra-thin clients (with HTML or XML), Java-based thin clients, native clients for Windows and Lotus Notes desktops. Servers span the broad range from personal computers running OS/2 or Windows NT, over workstations running the most widely installed UNIX implementations, up to S/390 enterprise servers.

Version 3.2 will be available in U.S. English on HP-UX and Sun Solaris in 2Q 1999, and on OS/390 in 4Q 1999. Version 3.2 is available immediately on AIX, HP-UX, OS/2, Solaris, Windows 98 and Windows NT. Pricing varies by number of users and processor capacity.