December 17, 2019 By Leif Davidsen 3 min read

Check out these exciting new features in IBM MQ V9.1.4.

Sometimes change happens slowly and gradually. We have seen this a lot with updates to IBM MQ. Innovations have been rolled out, release by release, following our continuous delivery (CD) cycle over the last few years. This has allowed the product to gain enhancements and subsequent releases have seen additional improvements to the first release. By the time all the subsequent CD’s are rolled up into a long-term support release, there is a rich set of capabilities that deliver more than the sum of the parts.

Occasionally, a significant enhancement comes along and provides potentially huge benefits in one release. In MQ V9.1.4, customers with MQ Advanced or MQ Appliance entitlements get access to a breakthrough innovation—the Aspera gateway.

What is the the Aspera gateway and what are the benefits?

The gateway is a new innovation using the Fast and Secure Protocol (FASP). Deployed within the customer environment with an MQ Queue Manager (either with MQ Advanced entitlement or running on the MQ Appliance) configured to connect to it.

Specified messages from IBM MQ would flow from the Queue Manager to the gateway, where the message would them be sent over FASP to a remote gateway that is similarly configured to another appropriately entitled Queue Manager, which would then receive the MQ message.

So why do all this? What would be the benefit? Let’s consider the situation of a business sending MQ messages between locations over hundreds or thousands of miles, such as between New York and Singapore.

Individual MQ messages can be up to 100MBs in size. And, if the data originated in a file, this could be a much larger total amount of data that is split into multiple MQ messages.

Using regular MQ configurations, the messages would flow over TCP/IP. Sending large amounts of data over long distances using TCP/IP can be much slower than the notional line speed would suggest if the line is lossy or experiences high latency.

In these situations, using the Aspera FASP protocol can provide a predictable and much-faster way to transport that data. Therefore, for some use cases, sending MQ messages over FASP will see them delivered much more quickly than would have been the case, which could be an extremely valuable new enhancement if that time helps the business move and respond more quickly.

What else is new in MQ V9.1.4?

The uniform cluster feature delivered initially in 9.1.2 and enhanced in 9.1.3 is further enhanced in MQ V9.1.4. We have added support for .Net and XMS .Net applications. We have also simplified the configuration of Queue Managers in the uniform cluster and speeded the time to rebalancing as well as provided more information about the rebalancing.

Security remains a critical feature of IBM MQ, and we have now added in support for TLS 1.3 for the first time. This is initially supported for C/C++ MQ client applications and will be further extended in the future. 

Adding to the security aspect, many businesses send and receive MQ messages through their firewall. Due to MQ persisting data in storage, IBM doesn’t recommend deploying MQ Queue Managers in the DMZ and, instead, has provided the MQ Internet PassThru (MQ IPT) to be deployed in the DMZ. This proxy has been available as a Supportpac from IBM, and although it was fully supported, this delivery outside MQ made it hard for some customers to deploy and use it. With MQ V9.1.4, MQ IPT is now a part of the MQ package and, therefore, should be more widely available for deployment.

The MQ Managed File Transfer feature of MQ Advanced also continues to be enhanced. The MFT Agent is now Highly Available, with another instance able to continue to transfer in the case of a failure. Additionally, the REST API support for MQ MFT is further extended with support for Create Monitor added.

Also, for MQ Advanced, the MQ Bridge to Blockchain adds support for Hyperledger Fabric for improved interaction support between MQ and the Blockchain.

The last point I will mention is around Red Hat OpenShift. Following the acquisition of Red Hat by IBM, the MQ Advanced certified container now supports deployment directly on Red Hat OpenShift, without the need for IBM Cloud Private. The MQ Advanced certified container can either be deployed on its own in OpenShift or as a part of the IBM Cloud Pak for Integration.

Learn more

As with every release, IBM MQ moves forward. Sometimes it moves in small steps and sometimes it accelerates into the future, just like a MQ message sent using the gateway. Forza! MQ.

Learn more about IBM MQ.

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