Deciding when you should upgrade Websphere MQ just got easier
Gregory(Greg)Bowman 1000007M77 Visits (9010)
When it comes to making the decision on when to upgrade the maintenance on a WebSphere MQ system, many people prefer not to think about it. They wait until they are forced to make the upgrade, either because they hit some very serious problems or because a version of MQ has gone unsupported. After going through a "forced" upgrade, it is very common for a person to look back at their experience and wish they could have avoided that scenario. Often times, the person will say "I wish I knew then what I know now". Thinking along those lines, the WebSphere MQ support team has put together a technote that highlights several of the known issues impacting the WebSphere MQ classes for Java™ and JMS. The intent of this document is to try to emphasize the importance of upgrading your WebSphere MQ maintenance so you can avoid these known issues.
Another common factor that has impeded upgrades of MQ in the past has been the inability to test the new version or maintenance level without impacting your production environment. Help for this situation is provided in one of the new features beginning in WebSphere MQ v7.1. This new feature is Multi-Version support. This feature will allow you to have more than one version of MQ running on a machine (on certain platforms) at the same time. This will allow you to install and test new versions of MQ along side your current version of MQ, on the same machine. This helps you to remove some of the restrictions and limitations that would have prevented an upgrade in the past. Here are some very good Webcast presentations which go into much more detail about using the Multi-Version feature and some other benefits this feature provides.
Another helpful feature that is available at MQ v7.0.1 or later is Multi-Instance queue managers. Multi-Instance queue managers improve availability by allowing you to set up a standby server in case the active server fails. Making use of Multi-Instance environments could help you to minimize your production down times and may help make upgrades easier to schedule. If you want to know more about Multi-Instance queue managers, there are many documents that have been created on this topic. Here are three new Knowledge Collection Technotes which will help you find those documents.
One final comment; for those of you out there who are still running WebSphere MQ v6 and waiting until you are forced to upgrade, you better get moving quickly because your time is running out. The End of Support for MQ v6 is September 30, 2012.