What's new in WebSphere MQ Explorer V7.1: Part 2
mattchapman 1200004X8B Visits (8550)
In my previous blog entry What's new in WebSphere MQ Explorer V7.1: Part 1 I covered some usability improvements in MQ Explorer and explained why the separate installation of an Eclipse SDK package is no longer required. In this entry I'm going to show how MQ Explorer V7.1 can take advantage of the new multi-version capabilities of WebSphere MQ V7.1.
With WebSphere MQ V7.0.1 and earlier you can only have one installation per machine. Now with WebSphere MQ V7.1 you can have multiple installations. You can even install V7.1 on a machine that already has V7.0.1 installed - this is a great way to try out the new release! The only condition here is that the V7.0.1 installation needs to be at a fix pack level of 188.8.131.52 or later. Each one of these installations can have an associated MQ Explorer component, and you can run all of those MQ Explorers at the same time if you want to!
Each installation of WebSphere MQ V7.1 has an associated installation name, such as "Installation1". This name is used in various places so you can tell installations apart, for example in the Start Menu entries on Windows, or the system menu on Linux. Incidentally adding a shortcut to MQ Explorer from the system menu on Linux is new for V7.1.
The concept of an installation name is new in V7.1 so start menu entries for earlier versions show without an installation name. Entries for WebSphere MQ V7.1 always show the installation name, even if there is only a single installation on the machine.
Once MQ Explorer has been launched, the main window titlebar shows the associated installation name. Now if you select a queue manager in the navigator view you can see the name of the installation it belongs to in the status quick view, as shown below. Each installation can also have a description. This is empty by default but can be useful to distinguish your installations, particularly as the installation name cannot be changed after installation, and is restricted to 16 alphanumeric characters. The description can be changed with the 'setmqinst' command and can contain more characters including spaces.
To get more information for a queue manager you can also right-click on it and select Status > General. In addition to the installation name and description, this also shows the installation path, i.e. where on the filesystem the associated installation is located. This works with remote queue managers as well as local ones (as long as they are V7.1 ones).
Now let's see what happens if you install a second copy of WebSphere MQ! You'll get a second 'MQ Explorer' start menu entry for the new installation. If you launch this you'll see a new dialog:
In order to keep each instance of MQ Explorer separate, a different workspace directory is used for each. The workspace stores information such as your remote queue manager connection information and your MQ Explorer preference settings. You'll see the above dialog the very first time you launch MQ Explorer when additional workspaces are detected on the machine. It offers you the choice between starting fresh, or copying your settings and connection information from one of the other workspaces. If for example you were planning to migrate from one version of WebSphere MQ to another, you would probably want to copy your settings over, to save you exporting and then importing them. If however you installed a second copy of WebSphere MQ with a different purpose in mind, then you would probably want to start with a new workspace. You could still import specific settings if you wanted to. After answering the dialog, MQ Explorer will start up normally, and will do so for subsequent startups.
If you run both copies of MQ Explorer concurrently and create queue managers in each one, you'll see that each MQ Explorer only shows local queue managers from the same installation. It cannot connect directly to local queue managers from other installations. You can of course connect to remote queue managers from any of the MQ Explorer instances, so you could connect to a queue manager from a different installation by treating it as a remote queue manager - assuming it is configured to allow remote administration.
There is still scope for MQ Explorer to provide additional capabilities when working with multiple installations. Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions!
Read the other posts in this series: