Andy Piper on WebSphere MQ Telemetry

Our Hursley researcher explains how to make the most of remote reporting devices

IBM® Hursley researcher Andy Piper explains how WebSphere® MQ Telemetry and the related MQTT protocol makes it easy to get the most out of your remote reporting devices. Plus what's new at developerWorks.


Scott Laningham (, Podcast Editor, IBM developerWorks

Scott LaninghamScott Laningham, host of developerWorks podcasts, was previously editor of developerWorks newsletters. Prior to IBM, he was an award-winning reporter and director for news programming featured on Public Radio International, a freelance writer for the American Communications Foundation and CBS Radio, and a songwriter/musician.

09 September 2010

developerWorks: This is the developerWorks podcast. I'm Scott Laningham. Today, Andy Piper from the IBM® Hursley labs joins to talk about making the most of remote reporting devices with WebSphere® MQ Telemetry.

(Editor: To discover what new resources are available this week in developerWorks and My developerWorks, jump to the end of this interview.)

developerWorks: I'm joined now by Andy Piper, member of the IBM WebSphere product team from IBM Hursley. He just returned from China where he was visiting with IBM customers there and he's here to talk about WebSphere MQ Telemetry and the publication of the related protocol on developerWorks. Hi, Andy.

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Piper: Hey Scott, how are you?

developerWorks: Doing great Andy, thanks. You know, you and I were talking just ahead of this about how this WebSphere solution and the specification fit into the theme around enabling A Smarter Planet— or the theme of enabling A Smarter Planet which we talk often about in this podcast. Why don't you set up what this is all about from that standpoint if you would?

Piper: Sure. So [A] Smarter Planet is divided into three main themes. So we talk about the planet becoming more instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent. So we've got three I's ... okay now, let me just take those in reverse order.

  • If we look at Intelligent, we're talking about business systems that are becoming able to analyze lots of data, do predictive analytics, and basically process our transactions as before.
  • Then we've got the Interconnected piece which is about networks, the ability to connect all these systems, translate information between them ... and that's where we put our enterprise service bus.
  • And then finally, at the edge, we've got these Instrumented devices. So everything from very small sensors that can be monitoring all kinds of data from sort of traffic systems, environmental information. And we might talk about some of those in a moment, up to mobile phones, right? Mobile devices becoming pervasive.

So this is where the telemetry protocol fits in. So we're talking about connecting out these edge devices, this Internet of things, up into our enterprise networks and our existing messaging systems.

developerWorks: Very cool, Andy. Sounds very powerful. I'm wondering if you might give an example of what it would mean to a business that's using it.

Piper: Sure. So we've got a bunch of people who are already using this because actually the MQTT protocol— MQ Telemetry Transport — has been around for a number of years already.

So we have customers and companies using this for, for example, monitoring patients in their homes, so maybe a patient has a pacemaker, can't get into a clinic for regular checkups but would of course, need to be regularly monitored. So we can have a mobile device next to them emitting messages up to the clinic.

We can start to look at smart energy metering, and in fact, I use MQTT, the Telemetry Transporter, in my home energy-monitoring solution. We can do water-level monitoring for flood alerts. All kinds of different systems that this technology is applicable to. It's very exciting.

developerWorks: Oh yes, it sounds like there would be endless settings where you could use this. I mean, we had a strong rainstorm last night and if I had some kind of moisture meter in my attic it could tell me if I had a leak or something, couldn't it?

Piper: Exactly. Exactly, that's right.

developerWorks: Now talk about the specification on developerWorks ... what that is and what developers maybe can do to get involved with this.

Piper: Okay, sure. So we've got the MQTT protocol which is the base protocol what we implement in our WebSphere MQ Telemetry product. And that's a specification that has previously been published inside some of our product manuals, but we've it taken out, we've put it on developerWorks, and we've made it royalty free.

Okay, so anybody can start to implement that protocol and interoperate with WebSphere MQ Telemetry and other products supporting the MQ Telemetry Transport. So it's really a messaging protocol. It's quite straightforward. It's a publishing subscribed protocol with just a few verbs so you can connect, publish, and subscribe to topics and then disconnect.

And yes, anybody can implement it.

So it's really exciting. We've already got a bunch of people and a bunch of different APIs beginning to be developed by the community. We've got APIs in PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, .NET. So, you know, the list goes on. In IBM, we provide Java and C APIs as well.

So yes, there's also a little broker that's available. There's a third-party one called Mosquitto which is "mosquito" with two Ts. But IBM also provides one via alphaWorks which is called the Really Small Message Broker and that's just a little tiny piece of code that lets you start to play around with MQTT and start to build applications that publish and subscribe messages on these topics.

developerWorks: Wonderful. And they can easily get to this by just going to the WebSphere zone on developerWorks, is that right?

Piper: They can and there's also which is a web site where we are starting to build out that community some more as well. And if you start to implement that sort of thing and then you want to bridge into your WebSphere MQ, your MQSeries messaging network, then our new WebSphere MQ Telemetry feature for MQ, if you're an IBM customer, that's a really nice way of bridging between them because it makes MQ applications full applications interoperable with these smaller MQTT devices and applications that you're building as well. So it's really cool stuff.

developerWorks: Fantastic. Andy Piper from IBM Hursley. Andy, thanks for the time as always.

Piper: Pleasure, Scott. Talk to you again.

developerWorks: This is the developerWorks podcast. DeveloperWorks is IBM's premier technical resource for software developers with tools, code, and education on IBM products and open standards technology. I'm Scott Laningham, talk to you next time.

What's new in the developerWorks community?

developerWorks: Now, John Swanson with his developerWorks newsletter highlight for the week. John?

Swanson: Scott Laningham, how's it going?

developerWorks: It's going well, how about you?

Swanson: Not too bad. Getting the newsletter up and running for another week and this week we're talking about UNIX® and AIX®. Do you know how old UNIX is now?

developerWorks: How old is it?

Swanson: It's 41 years old ...

developerWorks: Man.

Swanson: ... which is ancient history in tech circles.

developerWorks: And still going strong.

Swanson: Still going strong and of course, AIX is IBM's implementation of UNIX and that's almost 25 years old which is not too shabby either.

And so this week, I'm putting a little attention on AIX 7, or more specifically, AIX 7.1 which is just being released, in the process of going out for general availability. And we are ... there's an open beta of AIX 7 available.

So this week we've got a feature from our AIX and UNIX zone that focuses on the features and functions of AIX 7 including great new features like virtualization and security and availability and manageability. Lots of other improvements to this version of UNIX. So there's a lot going on and we're pretty excited about all the new updates to AIX 7.

developerWorks: Wonderful. John Swanson, developerWorks newsletter's editor. Thanks, John.

Swanson: Thank you Scott.

developerWorks: Also new on developerWorks this week:

All that and more at



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