IBM Brings AS/400 Support to MQSeries Integrator

Two of the three products within IBM’s increasingly popular MQSeries family now run on the AS/400, as IBM recently added AS/400 support for MQSeries Integrator 1.1—messaging broker software that allows applications running on a variety of hardware and software platforms to understand each other and share information.

“There was demand from the marketplace to deliver the integrator to the AS/400,” says Alan Everard, business manager, IBM MQSeries. “This fits into our strategy of integration in the marketplace.”

The MQSeries middleware messaging family provides users with an open, scalable messaging and information infrastructure. It is composed of three products: MQSeries, MQSeries Integrator and MQSeries Workflow. MQSeries serves as the basis for the product suite, providing connectivity to over 35 platforms. MQSeries Integrator and MQSeries Workflow basically serve as add on components, increasing the functionality of MQSeries.

Jointly developed and marketed by IBM and New Era of Networks, Inc. (NEON, Denver), the MQSeries Integrator contains three main components: a rules engine, a formatter and MQSeries for messaging and queuing.

NEON’s rules engine serves as a routing function, examining the data and determining where it needs to go based on content management. The data is then sent to NEON’s formatter, which is able to convert the applications to the format (Java, XML, etc.) that the user specifies. From there, the data is then sent to MQSeries messaging tools, which distributes the information to be shared across various applications.

“MQSeries does the moving, we provide the adapters that integrate with specific technologies to pull the information from those sources,” says Mike Donaldson, senior VP of worldwide marketing at NEON.

For AS/400 users, the MQSeries Integrator will allow them to improve the performance of MQSeries while saving both time and money.

In the past, AS/400 users with MQSeries were able to share applications across various platforms. There was one major catch, however, each application had to be programmed to work with each other, a costly and very time consuming process.

MQSeries Integrator eliminates this need, serving as the broker that allows the applications to work together without any changes being made. “There’s a huge programming cost reduction and it provides the flexibility to make changes in applications,” says Everard. “It adds value to MQSeries and takes things up to a higher business level.”

Because it is able to connect to all the applications in the enterprise, the MQSeries Integrator can be formatted to make changes across the entire platform. This means users can add, extend, or replace applications within information flows to achieve business integration. “The fundamental need to integrate applications is there for many shops, especially because of e-business,” says Donaldson.

MQSeries Integrator supports custom built and predefined application libraries. In addition, it also has an easy to use GUI, and supports PeopleSoft GL, SAP R/3, and S.W.I.F.T templates from NEON.

Since its initial offering, MQSeries Integrator has continued to grow, as NEON reported the combined sales of MQSeries Integrator grew 40 percent on a sequential-quarter basis in the third quarter of 1999. Now that it is available on the AS/400, Donaldson expects it to do the same.

“We had a lot of AS/400 users asking for it,” says Donaldson. “In the past, they had to install NT or Unix to use MQSeries Integrator and that wasn’t something they wanted to do. We’re bringing the benefits of the latest technology to the AS/400 installed base.”

IBM MQSeries Workflow captures and uses knowledge about business processes, and helps a user define, document, test, control, execute, improve, and integrate them. Although MQSeries Workflow is not available on the AS/400, there are indications that it may be in the future.

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