FREE ... it is a very powerful word. The word "free" can generate a lot of excitement and draw a lot of attention, but for many people, including me, it will also generate a lot of skepticism. After all, there is a good reason that old saying of "you get what you pay for" has been around for many years. Personally, I find that the word "free" offers enough potential reward to hold my attention long enough to find out what is the prize and what is the catch. In this case, if you read on further, I am sure you will find the reward is worthwhile and this is one of the exceptional cases where you get something without any catch.
Hopefully you will be pleased to know the free prize that I want to tell you about here is the WebSphere MQ (WMQ) Extended Transactional Client, also known as the WMQ XA Client or XTC. I will try to summarize it as simply as I can for anyone who is not very familiar with the WMQ XA Client. The WMQ XA Client allows a WMQ client application to be able to update resources owned by something other than WMQ. For example, a WMQ XA Client could update a DB2 database. If you want to read more about it, there are more details in the WMQ Information Center
The WMQ XA Client has been around for quite a while. There are versions of it available inside a few other IBM products such as WebSphere Application Server, but the stand alone WMQ XA Client has always been a separate feature for which users had to pay. In case you missed it, that all changed when WebSphere MQ V7.5 was announced. In the WMQ V7.5 announcement letter, one of the enhancements was listed as "Licensing changes for the Extended Transactional Client". If you did not read the details of what that means, you may have missed this little extra Free benefit that extends to users of the WMQ V7.0.1 and WMQ V7.1 clients as well. Here is the exact statement from the announcement letter:
"The Extended Transactional Client enables customers to configure their WebSphere MQ client to participate in a transactional unit of work when exchanging messages to an MQ server. Use of this client without charge was previously restricted to customers using WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus, or WebSphere Process Server as the Transaction Manager. With the announcement of WebSphere MQ V7.5, the Extended Transactional Client is available for use in all client deployments without additional entitlement. This includes all supported versions of WebSphere MQ client connecting to any supported version of WebSphere MQ queue manager.
With the availability of WebSphere MQ V7.5 the capability previously delivered within the Extended Transactional Client is incorporated into the standard WebSphere MQ client. Customers using WebSphere MQ V7.0.1 and WebSphere MQ V7.1 gain the benefit of use of the Extended Transactional Client without charge from the date of this announcement. IBM is making available refreshed code including updated License Information. Customers can realize this benefit through the download and acceptance of this new License Information."
What that means is now anyone who downloads the free WMQ Clients for WMQ V7.0.1 or V7.1 or V7.5, will get the bonus feature of having the license to use the WMQ XA Client functionality included in that download.... for FREE.
So you are probably wondering where is the catch? What do I have to do? There is no catch, but it may be a little confusing about what level of WMQ client provides the XA functionality, which contains the free license to use the XA functionality and which contains neither.
The WMQ V7.5 client has contained the XA client functionality and free license from inception. So for WMQ V7.5 you can use the client supplied in the WMQ server installation or the WMQ V7.5 client included in SupportPac MQC75 and you have everything you need to make use of the XA Client for free.
The free license to use the XA Client functionality was not provided in the clients until after WMQ V7.5 was announced. So if you were already using a version of the WMQ V7.0.1 or WMQ V7.1 free client, you will need to go download an updated version of the client to have a free license to use the XA client functionality. The suggested way forward would be to use WMQ v7.5 client but if you need to continue to use the V7.0.1 or V7.1 client you will have to install the XA enablement component from your WMQ server installation. The XA enablement code was not included in the updated WMQ V7.0.1 or V7.1 SupportPacs, only the license to be able to use it. Also note that IBM does not support copying files around. You must install the XA enablement component as part of the server install for WMQ V7.1 or V7.0.1.
In order to try to make things easier and less complex for the WMQ V7.1 and V7.0.1 Client, APAR IV43443 has been created to include the XA enablement component as part of the client installation. At the time of the writing of this update, APAR IV43443 is still being coded and tested and has not yet been included in a Fix Pack nor has it been rolled out to the client the SupportPacs. After APAR IV43443 is completed and closed the WMQ V7.1 and V7.0.1 clients will be updated to include the XA enablement component as well as the license to use it. This should make XA enabling the WMQ V7.0.1 and V7.1 clients free and easy.
Here are the links to the SupportPacs where you can download each of those clients for FREE:
There is also a technote which offers a lot of this same information: "How do I download the Extended Transactional Client (XA)"
If you have not downloaded your WMQ XA Client, go get it today and see how good it feels to get something for free.