The latest version of WebSphere Application Server
, WAS 6, has a new feature called "Service Integration Bus
" (WAS benefits
talks about "a new pure-Java JMS engine"). The SIB is implemented as a group of messaging engines
running in application servers (usually one-to-one engine-to-server) in a cell
. As a service in WAS 6, SIB is a complete JMS
v1.1 provider implementation. (Not just the API; a working messaging system.) The JMS provider is a pure Java implementation that runs completely within the application server's JVM
process. (For persistant messaging
, WAS also requires a JDBC
database such as DB2
.) Thus JMS messaging is built into WAS and easily available to any J2EE application deployed in WAS.
Why Service Integration Bus? IBM's software customers over the past few years have divided into two overlapping but still distinct markets with different needs:
- Connect any kind of app to any other kind of app. This is the traditional WebSphere MQ market, where you've got different apps written in different languages running on different operating systems and you want them all to talk to each other. This market hasn't changed nor has IBM's commitment to supporting this market.
- Connect J2EE apps running in WAS servers. What's changed in the last few years is that many of our customers are converting everything to J2EE apps deployed in WAS and so they don't need to be able to support every platform imaginable, just WAS. WAS 5 addressed this market with its Embedded Messaging feature (see below). This market is now better addressed with Service Integration Bus in WAS 6.
For a customer that finds itself in both groups--you have lots of WAS apps communicating, but you also need to communicate with other non-WAS apps--you will still need full WebSphere MQ. Embedded Messaging and Service Integration Bus only support WAS apps, so if any of the apps are not WAS apps, you need full WMQ. WAS 6 has a feature called MQ Link
for connecting SIB and WMQ
So here's the basic breakdown of WebSphere JMS options:
- MQ Simulator -- A feature of the test server (aka, the single user WAS server) in WebSphere Studio
and Rational Application Developer. Not a real messaging provider (did the term "simulator" tip you off?), it doesn't provide interprocess communication (pretty much a must-have for messaging) or persistence. What it is very useful for, and why it's in the test server, is testing and demoing your WAS apps that use JMS, without needing a separate JMS provider. When you're developing J2EE apps that use JMS, use this simulator.
- Embedded Messaging -- A feature with WAS 5 for messaging just between WAS applications. It is a simplified version of the WMQ code base and is a full JMS implementation, but does not provide all of the quality of service advantages of full WMQ. Runs as several processes (written in C) that run outside of the WAS JVMs. So it involves more moving parts that consume more resources and need to be managed.
- Service Integration Bus -- The replacement for Embedded Messaging in WAS 6. Implements the JMS spec; implemented in Java, runs in the app server JVM. (Think of it as "Really Embedded Messaging"!) Provides most (all?) of the same quality of service of full WMQ (such as clustering, which works as part of the WAS ND clustering model), but only supports WAS apps.
- WebSphere MQ -- Messaging for just about any computer platform used in business, including WAS and JMS. WMQ is used to connect non-J2EE apps, and to connect a J2EE app to a non-J2EE app. It can also be used to connect J2EE apps, although this is usually because you also have non-J2EE apps as well. Written in C, it runs in its own processes, and does not require WAS or Java in any way (unless your app is a WAS app).
- External JMS Provider -- This is the support WAS provides for using any J2EE-compliant JMS provider, so you can use our app server with someone else's JMS product.
Feb 23, 2005Building an Enterprise Service Bus with WebSphere Application Server V6 -- Part 1
-- The first in a series of articles on the SIB in WAS 6. Also see my blog posting, IBM Info on ESBs
Here's an interesting conflict between JMS and J2EE that I just rediscovered:
You can't run an implementor of MessageListener
in a J2EE container. J2EE 1.3 says not to do it in the EJB container. J2EE 1.4 says not to do it in the Web container either. Basically, you can't use it in any container that controls thread creation, which is any container except an application client container.
WAS 5 and 6 don't allow MessageListeners to be used in either container. When you try, you get an error like this:
javax.jms.IllegalStateException: Method setMessageListener not permitted
. . .
So WAS doesn't actually prevent you from deploying a class that implements MessageListener, but when you try to run your code, WAS prevents the MessageConsumer.setMessageListener(MessageListener)
method from running by throwing an IllegalStateException
. For details, see IBM WMQ FAQ answer #92
and IBM Technote #1114239
So when you get this error, the problem isn't a bug in your code, it's your entire approach. In a nutshell, if you want to run a MessageListener in J2EE, don't implement a MessageListener, implement a (can you guess?) messsage-driven bean
(the JMS kind, which implements MessageListener). And if you don't like using EJBs
? Get used to it. MDBs work in J2EE; MessageListeners don't.
IBM sees at least three main trends for "The Future of Computing
." (This web page specifically speaks to governmental programs, but the trends apply to any use of computing, including commercial.) The trends are:
- Pervasive Computing (WebSphere) (developerWorks) -- Computing devices everywhere, from PDA's and wrist watches to car dashboards and kitchen appliances. Many of these devices may not have much power or memory, but they will be networked, often wirelessly, to provide access to any information you need. A simple example is a dashboard device giving driving directions that can adjust your route real-time to avoid traffic backups.
- Autonomic Computing (developerWorks) -- Computers and networks that manage themselves, fix or reroute around problems--to quote the "Self-Everything" commercial, a computer that can "practically heal itself." No more admins getting woken in the middle of the night because the system's down. A simple example is a network storage device that notices one of its disks is deterroriating, moves that data to other disks, shuts down the faulty disk before it looses any data or availability, and notifies a network administrator to replace the disk.
- Grid Computing (developerWorks) -- Distributed computing where tasks dynamically load balance across resources to optimize resource utilization and maximize task performance. Resources become "virtualized" so that the grid looks like a single gigantic computer whose different parts can be harnessed as needed to perform the tasks at hand. A simple example is a program that performs a large task as many small tasks, dispersing the tasks on various computers that have idle time available, then merging the results.
So, if you're looking to learn more about where computing is going, these topics are a good place to start.
Something about SOA that no one seems to be talking about is that when you go to develop an application with a service-oriented architecture (SOA), you're developing the application in two distinct tiers. These tiers (i.e. layers, parts; pick a term) are as distinct as the two parts in a client/server architecture, serve different purposes, and require different skills to develop.
For the sake of discussion, I'll name and define these two tiers this way:
- SOA Service Provider (SOA-SP) -- This is the tier whose code implements the services. The code has a service API which declares the services and provides the means for clients to invoke those services.
- SOA Service Coordinator (SOA-SC) -- This is the tier whose code provides user functionality which is implemented using services in one or more SOA-SPs. It probably has a UI/GUI so the user can interact with the SOA-SC as a traditional application.
If the SOA-SC has a GUI, when the user tells the GUI to perform a task, the SOA-SC runs the task synchronously (while the user waits). It implements the task using one or more services, probably run sequentially and perhaps conditionally, but concurrent services are also possible. When a task needs to run for longer than a user wants to wait synchronously, the GUI can provide the user the means to kick off the task asynchronously. The GUI would implement the asynchronous task using a business process/workflow (such as one implemented in WebSphere Process Choreographer
An SOA-SC and all of the SOA-SPs it uses could all run in the same process (i.e. Java virtual machine), which would be more efficient and provide better performance, but less clustering and fault-tolerance, and isn't really the idea of the whole SOA thing. Rather, the idea is that the SOA-SC runs in a process and the services it uses run in one or more SOA-SCs, where each SOA-SC runs in its own process. In theory, a single process might contain code for both an SOA-SP providing services and an SOA-SC using services and providing end-user functionality, but in practice I think an SOA-SC and SOA-SP will run in different processes with different QoS requirements. (For example, a service in an SOA-SP needs to always be available and always scale, whereas an SOA-SC that's unavailable may be annoying but permissible.)
While an SOA-SC may have the ability to directly invoke the services in the SOA-SPs it uses, a better plan is for an SOA-SC to connect to its SOA-SP through an Enterprise Service Bus
(ESB). The SOA-SC gains the advantages of the ESB of not needing to know what the SOA-SPs are, how to connect to them, etc. (See ESB vs. Message Bus
So when you think about an SOA, don't think about it as a single application running in a single process. (This is possible, but not really the whole idea of SOA.) Although it all may be running on the server, its two distinct tiers probably running in two processes. Is that still one application? Users will think of the SOA-SC as the application, but developers will put the heavy-lifting horsepower mostly in the SOA-SP, so they'll seem like separate applications.
In Web Services Compression and Reliability
, I explained that new SOAP compression specs like XOP and MTOM will not eliminate the need for messaging systems. What might give messaging systems
like WebSphere MQ
a run for their money are emerging standards around making Web services reliable.
Like many specification efforts surrounding Web services these days, there isn't just one spec in the works, but two:
The two specs are similar approaches by two sets of companies to solve the same problem: How to transmit SOAP messages reliabily over a less-reliable protocol such as HTTP. For a comparison of the two specs, see "WS-RM and WS-R: Can SOAP be reliably delivered from confusion?
Also, in the book I co-authored, Sean Neville
wrote an Emerging Standards
chapter which contains a good overview of WS-Reliability and WS-ReliableMessaging. The details may be a bit dated at this point, but it's still a good introduction. Here's a neat picture from Sean's chapter that shows quite effectively how WS-ReliableMessaging works:
So, if you can send SOAP messages reliably, who needs a messaging system anymore? Well, the thing is, the specs are just specs; you need products that implement them. In this case, you need some software running on each end of the connection that stores the messages and resends them/confirms receipt until successful. You know what that software is? That's a messaging system! So guess who's going to be in the marketplace of providing these spec-complient products?
So as I see it, the key to reliable Web services is not as a replacement for messaging systems, but as a way to make messaging systems interoperable
. Wait, doesn't JMS make messaging systems interoperable? Seems like it, but no. JMS is an API that makes two different providers look the same to an application. JMS has nothing to do with making two different messaging systems talk to each other, even if they both support the JMS API. However, two messaging systems which both implement the same reliable Web services standard should be able to interoperate via that standard. Interoperability is the whole point of the standard.
So reliable Web services won't eliminate the need for messaging systems. Rather, the standards will make messaging systems interoperable.
If you'd like to play around with an implementation of WS-ReliableMessaging, check out the Emerging Technologies Toolkit
(ETTK) on Alphaworks
. To learn more about the lastest release of the WS-RM spec, see "Web Services Reliable Messaging reloaded
Remember Six Degrees of Separation
(and Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon
)? Ever heard that you're not just sleeping with
someone, you're sleeping with everyone they ever slept with
? Well, here's picture of what those relationships look like.
This is an interesting example of how graphics can be used illustrate data. Time Magazine
recently had an interesting article, "A Snapshot of Teen Sex
." It describes the results of a study of sexual behavior amongst students at an anonymous
but real high school in the Midwestern United States in 1995. An accompanying graphic illustrates who had sex with whom. (Besides describing what teens are up to, the really interesting part of the article is the graphic, which isn't included in Time Oneline Edition
version. You can find the graphic in Sexual network of high school mapped by researchers
, shown below.)
The picture shows who had relations during an 18-month period. It shows a number of small clusters of people who had relations in small groups (such a 63 monogomous
pairs), and then one huge ring of 288 students that each had relations with someone else in the cluster. It's difficult to describe, but easy to see in the picture, hence the value of showing statistical data graphically.
This also shows the limits of graphics
, and how they can be misleading
. The picture hopes to show how an STD
can easily spread from one person to many. The problem is, the picture doesn't show time
. Those 288 students probably didn't all have sex at the same time
. The circle was probably many isolated parts until people between parts connected to make bigger links and finally a full ring. In other words, there was no ring until enough time went by for enough people to have enough sex with enough partners, and that took awhile (although apparently less than 18 months). So to show the potential path of an STD, the links not only need to show encounters, but the order of the encounters.
Many readers probably look at a picture like this and don't think too discerningly
about it. They read the article, glance at the picture, and think, "Golly, if any one of those 288 teens has an STD, so will the rest of them.
" Well, only if the teen with the STD was part of the first couple in the statistical period to hookup
, and only if everyone else in the ring became part of the ring when they hookedup, not through later activities of their partners. So the graphic is interesting, and compelling, but can also lead to false assumptions.
Separately, I also like this quote from the article: "Adult sexual networks...usually involve clusters of wanton individuals known to public-health experts as "core transmitters." (Think prostitutes, NBA stars.)
" NBA stars? See Wilt Chamberlain
Oh, and if you really want to be disturbed about how teens are behaving today, see the movie Thirteen
. For a lighter take, see Mean Girls
The World Wide Web Consortium
(W3C)--keepers of the pivotal Web specifications like HTTP
, and SOAP
--has announced a new initiative to make SOAP more efficient and therefore make Web services faster. (Web services that are SOAP-based, anyway.) This comes out of an effort called SOAP Optimized Serialization Use Cases and Requirements
, part of the SOAP 1.2
effort. Optimized SOAP consists of three parts:
Do you want to know more?
- XML-binary Optimized Packaging (XOP) -- Enables an XML document to contain binary data. Previously, the binary data would have to be converted to character data, increasing the size of the data.
- SOAP Message Transmission Optimization Mechanism (MTOM) -- Enables a SOAP message to contain binary data using XOP. This effectively replaces SOAP w/Attachments (SwA), which was never supported by Microsoft and therefore not part of the WS-I Basic Profiles 1.0 or 1.1 (although WS-I Attachments Profile 1.0 does support SwA). MTOM can also be used to encode an entire SOAP message in binary form, decreasing the size of the message.
- Resource Representation SOAP Header Block (RRSHB) -- Enables a SOAP message to contain references to external resources. These resources can be cached by the recipient so that they don't need to be transmitted in the message, which saves bandwidth when multiple messages contain the resource.
, one of the architects and developers of WebSphere Appication Server
, has a blog: /dev/websphere
. It's a really good resource that explains some of the more interesting new developments in the WAS products, as told by one of the guys who helped put those features in there. I've added it to this blogs list of blogs that I need to be keeping up with (a.k.a. "Blogs I read," in the right-hand column).
Case in point: Billy just posted WebSphere 6.0 and NFS V4/SAN FS, a match in heaven
. Of course! Huh?
Basically, he explains how the transaction manager in WAS 6
provides rapid (i.e. about 12 seconds) recovery of in-doubt transactions
. That means that if your Web site crashes, even if a customer that was in the middle of placing a bizillion dollar order and successfully committed the transaction, the order won't be lost; his work will failover to another WAS server in the cluster and will take a fraction of a minute to recover, as if nothing happened. That's pretty quick recovery, and it's automatic. Furthermore, such an arrangement usually requires some pretty fancy (and expensive) storage hardware such as a SAN or a disk array, but WAS 6 does it with the disks on any standard file server.
Check out Billy's blog
to learn more.
This month's issue of the IBM WebSphere Developer Technical Journal
is now available. Here's some of what it features:
So, lots of good stuff to check out. Also, for older articles, they have an archive of the previous issues
Lately I've been speaking with some colleagues who are knowledgeable people, but who know relatively little about messaging. So for their benefit and for any of you who feel a little confusion along these lines, here's an explanation of basic messaging terminology. For reference, I'll use terms from the Java Message Service
(JMS) API and the corresponding patterns from Enterprise Integration Patterns
, the book I co-authored with Gregor Hohpe
and several contributors
Messaging is a technology applications use to exchange data, to transfer a data structure (such as a record or set of records, a serialized Java object, the text for an XML document, etc.) from one process' memory heap to another. To transfer the data via a messaging system, the applications put the data in a Message
) and transfer it via a Destination
(aka Message Channel
). An application that adds messages to a destination does so using a MessageProducer
. An application uses a MessageConsumer
to remove messages from a destination. (A.k.a. Message Endpoints
There are two kinds (subtypes) of destination in JMS:
- Queue (aka Point-to-Point Channel) -- A queue delivers each message to exactly one consumer. A queue can have multiple consumers, but only one will get each message. (See Competing Consumers.)
- Topic (aka Publish-Subscribe Channel) -- A topic delivers each message to all of the topic's consumers, so every consumer gets a copy of every message.
A queue producer is called a QueueSender
and a queue consumer is called a QueueReceiver
. A topic producer is called a TopicPublisher
and a TopicSubscriber
is a topic consumer.
So, some quick conversational messaging-speak: An application uses a sender to send a message to exactly one receiver (via a queue), but uses a publisher to broadcast a message to multiple subscribers (via a topic). For more of a quick overview of what messaging is all about, check out the EIP book's introduction
Now, the next time you're at a dinner party and the conversation turns to messaging, you'll be prepared. You can thank me later.
In Better Web Services Performance
, I talked about three new specs from the W3C that will help make Web services more efficient. A reader asked if this will make SOAP compete with messaging systems. No, they're different things.
Specifically, the reader asked:
Do you think these changes will cut into MQ's market share in middleware messaging? I know that MQ is often used as a transport for Web Services. Do you think SOAP can compete in this space?
So, are MTOM and XOP the death knell for WebSphere MQ
and similar products? Interesting question, but the comparison is apples and oranges. XOP and MTOM are about compression; message-oriented middleware
(MOM) is about reliability.
The typical transport for Web services is HTTP
, based on TCP/IP
, which is generally regarded as an unreliable protocol. Why? Because when there are network problems, packets can get lost. To make it reliable, you need something like FTP
that will detect and resend lost packets.
A more reliable transport is asynchronous messaging
, such as JMS
providers like WebSphere MQ. A messaging system provides exactly-once delivery semantics, meaning that a message can't get lost. Why? Because the messaging system will store the message at the sender's end and retry transmitting the message to the receiver's end until it suceeds. (See Basic Messaging Terminology
.) That's exactly-once delivery.
Also see the Guaranteed Delivery
pattern. As my co-author Gregor Hohpe
likes to say: Reliability is relative. No networking transport is completely reliable. Even with guaranteed messaging, the disk might get full, or it might get hit by a meteorite
--either way, messages are lost. Heck, even the ARPANET might not survive a nuclear attack. (Answers.com
, Internet Gurus
So a messaging system is used to make delivery of a SOAP message reliable, whereas XOP and MTOM compress it. HTTP can still loose an MTOM message, it will just waste less bandwidth doing so.
One of the new Google tools I mentioned in Google Stuff
was Google Suggest
. Turns out Bill has already discovered Google Suggest
, as has Joel on Software
. Great minds think alike, or at least rediscover the same things.
Turns out there's also a Google Suggest FAQ
. (Access it through that "Learn More" link on the Suggest page.) Google Labs
lists a whole bunch of tools they're working on. (Reminds me of IBM's alphaWorks
.) There's also 2004 Year-End Google Zeitgeist
, a pile of statistics
about what was searched on during the year.
Part of what's cool about Google Suggest
is not just what it does, but how it's implemented. It has a dropdown list that updates as you type, without reloading the web page. How do they do that? Joel points to the answer: XmlHttpRequest
from Apple (doesn't it figure somehow? Apple is still the innovator of so much cool stuff!), as explained in Auto complete comes of age
. As usual, Slashdot has been on this for two months now, complete with an explanation of the Implementation details
There's an article on ACM Queue
, "A Conversation with Alan Kay
." Alan Kay
is a founder of Smalltalk
(where Java got all its best ideas!), a Fellow at Apple, Turing Award
winner, and much more. As Alan likes to say
, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it," so go read
what Alan has to say about the future today.
Here's a question that keeps coming up that I keep forgetting the answer to:
Say you're trying to measure how long it takes some data to get from one computer to another, whether it's an RPC call
or a message
or whatever. Or say you want to use message expiration
. In either case, to measure the elapsed time, both computers have to agree on what time it currently is. How do you make sure that two computers' clocks are synchronized?
The answer (as you may have guessed from the title) is the Network Time Protocol
(NTP). It runs on Internet Protocol
(IP), typically on port 123. It uses a master/slave configuration: the master hosts a reference clock
and the NTP service to make that clock available; the slaves synchronize by getting the time from the master and using that to set their own clocks.
For more information:
BTW, a handy dandy site for showing the time to us humans (at least in the United States) is The Official U.S. Time
, operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology
(NIST) and the U. S. Naval Observatory
(USNO). It displays Coordinated Universal Time
(UTC) for any U.S. time zone
you choose, including adjustments for Daylight Saving Time
Did you know you can configure Windows XP
to automatically synchronize your computer's clock with an Internet time server? See Synchronizing your computer clock
As I've mentioned before
, the department I work in publishes the WebSphere Recommended Reading List
. As promised, it has been updated for 2005. You can also download the PDF
. The updated list already includes resources for WAS 6, including a WebSphere Application Server V6 Technical Overview